Morning Consult Tech: Amazon Q2 Revenue Growth Slows to 27% Year Over Year
 

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July 30, 2021
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  • Amazon.com Inc. reported second-quarter revenue of more than $113 billion, a 27 percent year-over-year increase but far off the pace it set in the same period a year ago when sales jumped 41 percent. Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said the company anticipates sluggish growth over the next few quarters as increased mobility compared to the 2020 lockdowns leads customers “to do other things besides shop.” (CNBC)
  • Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the ranking member on the Senate Commerce Committee, said he’s considering an amendment to the bipartisan infrastructure bill over concerns that its mandate that internet service providers who receive funding through the $65 billion broadband expansion offer a low-cost plan could result in rate regulation. (Bloomberg)
  • Alphabet Inc.’s Google said in a court filing that Microsoft Corp. has not complied with a subpoena to release documents related to its Bing search engine and Internet Explorer and Edge browsers as part of the Department of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit against the search giant. Google said in the filing that those documents could determine whether Microsoft was truly at a disadvantage regarding competition or if it simply failed to successfully compete. (Reuters)
 

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What Else You Need to Know

General
 

Nooses, Anger and No Answers: Inside the Uproar Over a Future Amazon Site

Davey Alba, The New York Times

The discovery of multiple nooses has set off heated debates about the responsibility of companies and the ability of workers to speak their mind.

 

Lina Khan wants to hear from you

Ben Brody, Protocol

The new FTC chair is trying to get herself, and the sometimes timid tech-regulating agency she oversees, up to speed while she still can.

 

AWS Growth Spurt Overshadows Microsoft, Google’s Cloud Gains

Kevin McLaughlin, The Information

Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet provided details on the growth of their cloud businesses in earnings reports this week, and the numbers show that the market for renting access to remote servers, storage and databases is hotter than ever.

 

Russia fines Google for violating data storage law

Daria Litvinova, The Associated Press

A Moscow court ordered Google on Thursday to pay a fine of 3 million rubles (roughly $41,000) for refusing to store the personal data of Russian users on servers in Russia, a move that is part of the government’s longstanding effort to tighten its grip on online activity.

 

From Facebook to Twitter, Big Tech sees social commerce driving sales growth

Sheila Dang and Nivedita Balu, Reuters

Led by Facebook, social media platforms from Alphabet’s YouTube to Snap Inc and Twitter are investing heavily in shopping features to drive revenue growth, a major theme that emerged during second-quarter results over the past week.

 

China Orders 25 Tech Giants to Fix Raft of Problems

Bloomberg

The Ministry of Industry Information Technology on Friday told 25 of its largest internet and hardware companies including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. to carry out internal reviews and rectify issues ranging from data security to consumer rights protections. 

 

Republicans urge Gensler to investigate Chinese companies

Kellie Mejdrich, Politico

The senators in a letter to Gensler sent Thursday cited the recent stock price plunge of Beijing-based ride-hailing company Didi Global shortly after its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Didi shares took a nosedive earlier this month when regulators in China cut off downloads of its app, citing national cybersecurity risks.

 

China’s Didi denies report of plan to buy back shares

The Associated Press

Didi Global Inc. on Friday denied a report by The Wall Street Journal that the ride-hailing service was considering buying back its U.S.-traded shares after its June market debut was disrupted by Chinese government orders to overhaul data security.

 

Aging infrastructure the ‘single, greatest threat’ to NASA missions and technology

Dave Nyczepir, FedScoop

NASA infrastructure should be part of the wider effort to fund federal research and development infrastructure, said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, during a House Science Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics hearing Thursday.

 
Antitrust and Competition
 

The Invisible Tech Behemoth

Molly Wood, The Atlantic

How has Microsoft escaped the scrutiny of reinvigorated antitrust regulators?

 
Telecom, Wireless and Internet Access
 

5G drives T-Mobile subscriber growth

Marguerite Reardon, CNET

T-Mobile reported that it added more monthly-bill-paying phone subscribers than it had expected during the second quarter of 2021. Demand for its 5G wireless service and devices was the driver, the company said. 

 

Amazon warns early-gen Kindle users their devices will soon lose internet access

Ry Crist, CNET

If you’re still using a first- or second-gen Amazon Kindle e-reader, you may want to download as many titles from your reading list as you can fit — soon, the devices won’t be able to connect to the internet at all, Amazon warned customers this week.

 

US to study internet access for Cubans; more sanctions

Eduardo Castillo, The Associated Press

U.S. President Joe Biden will meet with Cuban-American leaders Friday to discuss the recent social protests in Cuba, the possibility of new sanctions on its government and options for providing internet access to the island’s population.

 
Mobile Technology
 

Huawei launches new smartphones without 5G as U.S. sanctions, chip shortage bite

Ryan Browne, CNBC

Huawei on Thursday unveiled its new P50 smartphone line, which lacks support for super-fast 5G internet, as the Chinese tech giant grapples with both U.S. sanctions and a global chip shortage.

 

Apple Says Leaks Cause Companies to Make iPhone Cases at the Wrong Size

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard

According to the company, posts featuring unverified pictures of upcoming iPhone models could prompt accessory makers to produce cases with wrong sizes.

 

Apple supplier TSMC reports gas contamination at key chip plant

Reuters

Apple Inc’s chip supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co said on Friday that some of its production lines in southern Taiwan were hit by a contamination of gases used in the chipmaking process.

 
Cybersecurity and Privacy
 

48 Advocacy Groups Call on the FTC to Ban Amazon Surveillance

Edward Ongweso Jr, Motherboard

The open letter uses Amazon as a case study to argue that corporate surveillance technologies cause immense harm and fall under the FTC’s authority to ban.

 

White House has spoken to Israeli officials about spyware concerns following Pegasus Project revelations

Drew Harwell and Shane Harris, The Washington Post

The talks follow reporting by The Washington Post and other news organizations into how the NSO Group’s phone-hacking tool was used to surveil human rights activists and journalists around the world.

 

For hackers, space is the final frontier

Rebecca Heilweil, Recode

As the commercial space industry heats up, security experts worry about cyberattacks.

 

Wanted: Accountability for Addressing the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Challenge

Mariam Baksh, Nextgov

Congress should increase its oversight of federal agencies’ efforts to recruit and retain cybersecurity workers by identifying specific benchmarks for success, according to testimony before a House Homeland Security Committee panel Thursday. 

 

Criminals are using call centers to spread ransomware in a crafty scheme

Tonya Riley, CyberScoop

An ongoing ransomware campaign that employs phony call centers to trick victims into downloading malware may be more dangerous than previously thought, Microsoft researchers say.

 

China built the world’s largest facial recognition system. Now, it’s getting camera-shy.

Eva Dou, The Washington Post

Guo Bing, a law professor in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, liked the zoo enough to purchase an annual pass. But he didn’t like it nearly enough to let the zoo take a high-resolution scan of his face.

 
Social Media and Content Moderation
 

She risked everything to expose Facebook. Now she’s telling her story.

Karen Hao, MIT Technology Review

Sophie Zhang, a former data scientist at Facebook, revealed that it enables global political manipulation and has done little to stop it.

 

Pinterest Shares Fall as U.S. Monthly Average Users Decline

Robert Barba, The Wall Street Journal

Pinterest reported second-quarter net income of $69.4 million, compared with a loss of $100.7 million a year earlier.

 

German court faults Facebook’s past handling of hate speech

The Associated Press

A German federal court on Thursday faulted aspects of Facebook’s handling of “hate speech,” at least in the past. It ruled that the social network giant can’t delete posts without at least informing users afterward, and must give users advance notice when it moves to suspend their accounts.

 

These self-described trolls tackle climate disinformation on social media with wit and memes

Taylor Telford, The Washington Post

Environmental activists, researchers, lawmakers and others are haunting corporate social media feeds to push back against greenwashing.

 
Tech Workforce
 

Uber is going to delay its office reopening and make vaccination mandatory for US employees

Tom Dotan, Insider

Uber plans to announce soon that it’s mandating that its US employees get vaccinated when they return to the office this fall. The company is also going to push back its official return to the office by a month to October, people familiar with the matter said.

 

‘NO DASHER = NO DELIVERIES:’ DoorDash Drivers Strike for Tip Transparency

Lauren Kaori Gurley, Motherboard

On July 31, some DoorDash drivers will refuse to work on the app to protest low wages and DoorDash’s decision to cut out a third-party app that allowed them to see their tips.

 

LinkedIn allows employees to work fully remote, removes in-office expectation

Danielle Kaye, Reuters

LinkedIn will allow employees to opt for full-time remote work or a hybrid option as offices gradually reopen, Chief People Officer Teuila Hanson told Reuters.

 
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
 

What the U.S. Can Learn From Europe’s Approach to Artificial Intelligence

Frank Pasquale and Gianclaudio Malgieri, The New York Times

The United States can learn from the European Union’s proposed A.I. regulation. In April, the European Union released a new proposal for a systematic regulation of artificial intelligence. If enacted, it will change the terms of the debate by forbidding some forms of A.I., regardless of their ostensible benefits.

 
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