Challenging! That’s the euphemism of the moment, used by way too many tech CEOs (including Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai tonight and Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel in recent days) to describe either 2022 or the current moment or both. Translated from corporate-speak into conversational English, it means business is bad. Just how bad became clear from the December-quarter results reported Thursday by Apple, Amazon and Alphabet. Strikingly, for each company, its core business—selling iPhones, online shopping and advertising, respectively—shrank.
Still, there were some bright spots, at least for Alphabet and Amazon. For Alphabet, Google Cloud’s revenue growth was strong enough—33%—to lift the overall company’s top line fractionally. And unlike earlier in 2022, when a bigger loss accompanied similar growth, Google Cloud’s operating loss shrank by almost half in the quarter. Google Cloud still badly lags its rivals, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure, and a profit would be nice. Even so, the results must have been heartening for Google Cloud’s chief, Thomas Kurian.
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