Apple, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM are among the many US tech companies to have reported numbers for the final quarter of 2018 in the last few weeks. Here are the big trends from the results season so far.
1. Apple and Facebook are at war
Tech giant Apple (US:AAPL) has long been a pioneer of privacy. Its mac laptops are famous for not requiring external cyber security software and even the FBI has struggled to crack into locked iPhones. At a privacy conference in Brussels last year, chief executive Tim Cook said, “we at Apple believe that privacy is a fundamental human right.”
Facebook (US: FB.) is the opposite. It makes no secret of the fact that it uses personal data to improve its platform for advertisers. In fact, its ability to collect information on hundreds of millions of consumers around the world is at the heart of its business model. Last year it came under fire for allowing political marketing groups to mine the data of thousands of unwitting users and last week it was caught paying teenagers to install a research app that can extract huge volumes of personal data from their iPhones.
Swapping debt for new shares seems to be the only way to rescue outsourcer Interserve. But a recovery plan will leave existing investors with just 2.5% of the company.
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