Each Saturday, Farhad Manjoo and Mike Isaac, technology reporters at The New York Times, review the week’s news, offering analysis and maybe a joke or two about the most important developments in the tech industry.
Farhad: Hello, Mike. I’m having a groggy morning because I stayed up late this week to watch C Span.
Oh, who am I kidding? I stay up late to watch C-Span every night.
Just kidding, I was up late watching C-Span, too. But I watched it on Periscope from my phone. Because, you know, tech.
Farhad: O.K., there wasn’t a whole lot of tech news this week. It’s summer. Everyone’s on vacation. So let’s get to the most exciting stuff first earnings reports!
Mike: Are you trying to put me to sleep? I just told you I was up all night watching C-Span.
Farhad: Uh-huh. So Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reported that it’s doing very well even though European regulators recently slapped it with a $2.7 billion fine. It made about $3.52 billion in profit in its last quarter, which was down 28 percent from last year but if you don’t count the money for the fine, its income actually rose 28 percent. So, yeah, they can take Google’s money, but they can’t take it all, I guess.
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Mike: Slapping Google with a $2.7 billion fine is like giving a dirty look to an A.T.M. It’s gonna keep spitting out cash no matter what.
Farhad: Let’s turn to Amazon. Investors were expecting the company to show more profits this quarter, but that wasn’t in the cards. Amazon reported a 25 percent increase in revenue but its profit declined to less than $200 million, compared with $857 million this time last year. That was way under Wall Street’s expectations, but Wall Street is used to this sort of disappointment from Amazon, so the stock price didn’t fall all that much.
Hey, isn’t that your policy at work? If you never do what people want, at least they’ll get used to it.
Mike: I mean, I usually like to say that I “underpromise and overdeliver,” but I guess your way also sounds right.
Amazon is so funny. They’ve trained the Street not to flinch even when the company loses oodles of money or in this case, doesn’t make as much money as expected because it’s all in service of a greater good. Meanwhile, other companies hemorrhaging cash are considered to be on their deathbeds.
I’m not saying it’s wrong, but it’s just interesting how some companies get a certain amount of latitude even when they’re not delivering the best results.
Farhad: Hey, do you remember the iPod? You may be too young, but it was basically the hot gadget of the 2000s. Everyone had one. And now, they’re nearly all gone. This week, Apple killed off the iPod Nano and the iPod Shuffle, the only two iPods left that weren’t based on the iPhone. The iPod Touch is still around but that’s basically just a phone, so it doesn’t count.
Mike: I’m not that young! I remember when iPods first came out as a big white brick you were supposed to carry around, and it cost some crazy amount of money. As a kid at the time, I was still carrying around my Sony Walkman-esque CD player, praying for it not to skip if I moved the wrong way.
Farhad: I haven’t used one in years, but I really loved the simple days of the iPod. Sure, your smartphone is more powerful and can do pretty much anything, but its power comes at a cost — with all the news and status updates and email and late-night C-Span it brings you, your iPhone regularly makes you feel bad.
But an iPod? Pure joy, every time.
Mike: Maybe we can go back to simpler times someday, my friend. Though judging by the constant vibrations in my pocket, I’d imagine that’s not the case.
Farhad: Finally, what’s up with Uber’s C.E.O. search? This week we got news that Meg Whitman, who’s now C.E.O. of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and who led eBay for years, was one of the top choices for the job. Then on Thursday, she announced that the job wasn’t hers.
Now there’s speculation that Jeff Immelt, who is stepping down as the C.E.O. of General Electric, might be in the running. What’s your read on the search?
Mike: My official read is that the whole thing is off-the-rails crazy. The Jeff Immelt thing seemed only half-real, and I’ve heard a number of folks who are adamantly opposed to Immelt taking any sort of leadership role. Whitman was certainly a contender, but things went south when everything leaked.
The latest? I haven’t the foggiest idea who could be Uber’s next C.E.O. And honestly, after Meg bowed out, I’m not sure if they do either.
O.K., enough of this. It’s summertime, I’m off to drink lemonade and watch C-Span until 3 a.m. Ta-ta for now!