Happy Friday, Austin! Here are some of the tech stories we’re reading about this morning.
Earnings, earnings, earnings!
Yep, it’s that time when three tech titans reveal how much more money they’re making than the rest of us. On Thursday, Apple, Amazon and Alphabet all released mixed earnings reports with a few interesting surprises. For its part, Apple gushed about increases in revenue, but some financial sites weren’t impressed, with Bloomberg pointing out that Apple missed financial estimates amid apparently slowing demand for its iPhones (even though price increases are bringing in more money per unit).
One interesting tidbit from Apple’s earnings call: the company plans to brings its cash on hand down to nearly zero, which means the company could buy back shares, go on an acquisitions spree, increase dividends or all three. The company plans to pump $350 billion into the U.S. economy with a tax bill of about $38 billion.
Amazon’s earnings were strong with the company reporting its biggest profit ever, $2 billion for the quarter, with strong sales of its Amazon Prime service and with the company benefiting from tax law changes. Amazon beat analyst predictions.
Alphabet, the company that owns Google, meanwhile, had a disappointing report, with the company taking a nearly $10 billion tax-law hit and seeing increasing costs in mobile search as more people use Google on devices such as iPhones. Google has to pay costs related to acquiring that search traffic on mobile screens.
HQ Trivia finds some cash it isn’t giving away
The company behind the popular iPhone trivia game show, “HQ Trivia,” has found some funding after some reported earlier problems. The company has rounded up $15 million from Founders Fund (run by Peter Thiel) with a valuation of $100 million for the video company, started by the creators of Vine. That should keep the prize money flowing to players for the time being.
Writers, rejoice: Instagram wants you using more text
Taking a cue from Facebook’s background-image text posts, Instagram has added a “Type Mode” for creating text-based Instagram Stories posts. So expect to see more thoughts from people versus straight photos and videos in Stories mode.
Alexa gets an assist from Leslie Jones and J.B. Smoove
You’ll probably be seeing this one during the Super Bowl. Amazon enlists comics Leslie Jones and J.B. Smoove to sub in for voice assistant Alexa:
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