Bytes: What’s new in tech
Big Tech gets even bigger
Microsoft, Amazon, and Google parent Alphabet all announced “booming quarterly growth” last week, said Jack Nicas and Laura Stevens in The Wall Street Journal. Alphabet’s revenue soared 24 percent, to $27.8 billion, with 88 percent coming from its advertising business. Revenue at Amazon swelled by 34 percent, hitting a new quarterly record of $43.7 billion— a first for a nonholiday period. The e-commerce titan will command 43.5 percent of online sales this year, up from 38.1 percent last year, according to eMarketer. Revenue at a resurgent Microsoft grew 12 percent as the software company took advantage of the shift to cloud computing. Shares in all three companies surged on the news, “adding a combined $80 billion in market value” after the results were announced.
Twitter bans Russian outlets
Twitter has banned two Kremlin-backed news outlets from advertising on its platform, said Nicholas Confessore in The New York Times. The move targeting RT and Sputnik “intensifies the battle over Russian propaganda” and triggered an “immediate threat of retaliation from the Russian Foreign Ministry.” Both outlets will be permitted to keep their Twitter accounts and followers. U.S. intelligence officials have said both RT and Sputnik were associated with “a wide-ranging Kremlin effort” to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. RT responded by trolling Twitter, releasing an embarrassing ad sales presentation it says the company pitched in the lead-up to the election. Facebook, Google, and Twitter are currently under the glare of congressional investigations into Russian election meddling.
Amazon to offer in-home delivery
Amazon will soon offer a delivery service that “allows Amazon couriers to open your front door and put your package safely inside your home,” said Ben Popper in TheVerge.com. Dubbed Amazon Key, the program relies on Amazon’s new Wi-Fi-connected Cloud Cam paired with a smart lock. To enter your home, the Amazon courier will scan a package’s bar code. After the package is authenticated, the cloud directs the home camera to start recording, and the courier receives a permissions prompt on his or her delivery app. Once the courier swipes the screen, “voilà, your door unlocks.” The door is then relocked with another swipe of the screen, and the customer receives a short video of the drop-off. The service will be available starting Nov. 8. ■