The latest US tech earnings show a switchover in fortunes for businesses that prospered in the pandemic and those that were hard-hit by lockdowns and travel restrictions.
The recovery of the tourism sector boosted Booking Holdings and TripAdvisor’s first-quarter results.
Booking said its gross travel bookings totalled $27.3bn in the three months to March 31, a quarterly record and a year-on-year increase of 129 per cent. Revenues of $2.7bn represented a 136 per cent jump from a year ago.
TripAdvisor reported a 113 per cent increase in revenues and its $262mn sales figure beat analysts’ expectations of $251mn, helped by a 229 per cent increase in revenue in its “Experiences & Dining” segment.
In contrast, ecommerce platforms eBay and Etsy are suffering from their customers no longer being confined to their homes and having to shop online. Both issued weaker outlooks for the months ahead and said they were experiencing “headwinds”, with Etsy singling out issues related to consumer discretionary spending, coronavirus-related reopenings and geopolitical events.
Lex says Etsy’s share price rose by more than 500 per cent between 2020 and late 2021, but buyer growth has slowed and is expected to go into reverse as inflation bites.
Etsy’s shares were down more than 16 per cent at lunchtime in New York today, while eBay’s stock had fallen nearly 11 per cent. Bargain hunters should perhaps stick to their listings for now, rather than picking up their shares.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost as much as 5 per cent in early afternoon trading in New York, its heaviest intraday drop since September 2020.
The Internet of (Five) Things
1. Oracle’s Larry Ellison backs Elon Musk on Twitter deal
Elon Musk has raised $7.14bn of funding for his $44bn buyout of Twitter from investors, including Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, crypto exchange Binance and asset management firms Fidelity, Brookfield and Sequoia Capital, according to a new filing. Jemima Kelly says Musk is wrong to see Twitter as a “town square”. She says it is more like a theatre — a venue for a dystopian and frenzied open mic night. CNBC reports Musk is expected to serve as temporary CEO of Twitter after the deal is completed.
2. How Rivian’s CEO became the anti-Elon
The electric truckmaker’s RJ Scaringe has no interest in Mars or rockets or building tunnels or Twitter, either to use or to own. The 39-year-old has shied away from using the Elon Musk playbook in his battle with Ford and Tesla, writes William D Cohan in this profile for FT Magazine.
3. Hikvision shares hit by US sanctions threat
Hikvision’s share price fell by the maximum daily limit of 10 per cent in Shenzhen after Washington moved to impose tough sanctions on the Chinese surveillance camera maker accused of facilitating human rights abuses.
4. Russia reroutes Ukraine’s internet
Russian forces have taken over internet infrastructure in Ukraine and rerouted traffic to Russia-controlled operators, making Ukrainians’ data vulnerable to interception and censorship by the Kremlin. A fibre-optic cable in the city of Kherson was taken offline last weekend and rerouted to a separatist Crimean operator called Miranda-Media.
5. Streaming versus the silver screen
Top Gun: Maverick finally got a screening in front of a big audience in a darkened theatre in Las Vegas last week at the CinemaCon conference for the movie theatre industry. Attendees were upbeat about cinema’s revival as they celebrated Netflix’s news that it was losing subscribers, reports Chris Grimes. Over in Tokyo, Leo Lewis reflects on its impact on Sony. The big question for a company now pre-eminent as the world’s all-in entertainment conglomerate is whether Netflix’s travails leave it stronger or weaker.
Tech tools — Marshall’s latest Bluetooth speakers
These Emberton II portable speakers may look puny compared with the stacked Marshalls at a rock concert but the brand stands for quality audio. Engadget says they can be “stacked” just like its amps in terms of being combined using Bluetooth for a bigger sound. Battery life on the Emberton II (£149.99) has been improved to 30 hours, from the 20 hours of its predecessor. It contains two 2in 10W full-range speakers and two passive radiators. Marshall has also launched an ultra-compact speaker, the Willen (£89.99) that has just the one 10W speaker and offers 15 hours of listening on a single charge.