BigTech ReportCard

The report cards of some Big Tech firms are in:

Facebook
  • Reported first ever drop in total users in 17 years.
  • Lost a million users in a quarter, stock price plummets 26%.
  • But Whatsapp and Instagram numbers are up, so is FB stickiness.
  • Keen-eyed observers postulated Meta could be reporting modest numbers to dull an antirust probe.
  • Tiktok isn't a real challenge due its singular focus on short videos (good): no social graph, crypto, messaging, ewallets etc.
  • The one long term possible cause of declining numbers at the top of the funnel is demographic trends (declining birth rate): fewer new young users because there are fewer youngsters.
  • FB will only face a real challenge if a new startup usurps it just as FB displaced MySpace and Friendster. None in the horizon at the moment (some say due to FB blocking or buying up potential rivals but more likely no one has come up with a compelling alternative).

Google
  • In contrast, Alphabet reported a 30+% jump in revenue, pushing its stock price up 5%.
  • YouTube ads did particularly well, raking in more than Netflix global revenue.
  • Shows the attractiveness of crowd-sourced, lightly-produced fun, informative or spontaneous videos over heavily-produced, fictional ones.
  • Nevertheless, not all is well with Alphabet, in our humble opinion.
  • There are many comments by knowledgeable users that the results of Google Search have been noticeably deteriorating over time.
  • Google used to trawl public forums for info. These sources have dried up as discussions move to siloed Twitter, FB, Whatsapp etc. This shows what a devastating loss the dropping of Google Plus was. Google Search is now mainly extractive without nurturing the garden of information that is extracts from.
  • Another is YouTube, the jewel in Alphabet's crown. Although it seems to be making good ad money, it keeps pestering users to subscribe with the most obnoxious ads. This is like having one's prized, pedigree poodle dumpster dive for food. YouTube has the absolute right to charge for its service as it sees fit, here's hoping it can be more imaginative and brand friendly going about it.