Facebook: Bad publicity can’t wreck record quarter
Despite a “brutal year” for its public image, Facebook posted record fourth-quarter profits, said Seth Fiegerman in CNN.com. The firm last week showed a “blowout” $6.9 billion in profit, “a jump of 61 percent from the same period a year earlier and well ahead of Wall Street estimates.” Shrugging off “an endless wave of negative headlines,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg projected confidence to Wall Street, signaling an end to Facebook’s defensive posture. Fears of a user backlash “may have been overblown”: Some 1.52 billion people now use the social network daily, a 9 percent increase from last year.
Aerospace: Boeing’s $100 billion milestone
Boeing last week announced that it had soared past $100 billion in revenue for the year, said Michael Sheetz and Amanda Macias in CNBC.com, smashing Wall Street expectations with “monster” earnings. The aerospace company delivered a record 806 aircraft in 2018 and expects to “shatter” that milestone next year, with deliveries of about 900 planes. It will boost production to tackle a lineup of 5,900 orders. This week marks 50 years since the maiden flight of Boeing’s iconic 747; U.S. airlines retired the last of their 747s only a year ago.
Google: The price of moonshot bets
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, this week reported spending more than $1.3 billion in the last quarter on pioneering technologies such as the drone delivery project Wing and the self-driving car unit Waymo, said Nick Statt in TheVerge.com. That was a notable increase in costs for Alphabet’s “Other Bets” category, which also includes its experimental X lab and its internet-by-balloon project, Loon. These divisions are not close to commercial viability, “so costs will likely remain high and revenues low for quite some time.” Still, executives and staff of those divisions have been paid well, getting nearly $500 billion in stock and options for the quarter.
Sports: Super Bowl ads miss their mark
Super Bowl ad sales fell 6 percent to $382 million this year, “in a sign the annual broadcast bonanza may be peaking along with its audience,” said Gerry Smith and Christopher Palmeri in Bloomberg.com. Commercials still cost an average of over $5 million, but this year’s game posted the lowest broadcast ratings since 2008. Highlights included Amazon’s ad for Alexa, in which it “poked fun” at its own technology, and a Bud Light spot that parodied Budweiser’s own campaigns in a collaboration with HBO’s Game of Thrones.