Select Page

Google’s ad dominance under fire

The Australian reports the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has raised concerns over Google’s dominance in online advertising. Again. 

The interim report for the ACCC’s Digital Advertising Services Inquiry warns of a lack of competition and transparency across the $3.4bn display advertising sector and Google’s “ability and ­incentive to favour its own related business interests”.

The consumer watchdog’s investigation into display advertising found Google held up to 90 per cent of the industry when measured via impressions, and 70 per cent of the revenue.

Google’s technology powers the real-time auctions in which the ads are sold and the company controls virtually the entire ­advertising supply chain.. This report raises concerns that the tech giant preferences its own ad tech businesses. 

Yet another long legal battle for Google coming up… 

Online trading platforms see a surge in usage as Redditors take on Wall Street

This story has been bubbling along all week, and it’s been bizarre to try to piece together, so I’ll try to explain it as best I can. 

Retail traders on the subreddit WallStreetBets have been coordinating to buy shorted stocks. The motivation it seems is not to invest in companies that have been wrongly devalued, but purely to troll hedge funds that have “shorted” the stock

When you short a stock, you’re making a bet the value of the stock will go down. Gamestop was shorted by many firms to hit around $4 a share, it is currently trading at $300. 

Other shorted companies caught up in WallStreetBets read like a nostalgia trip – Blackberry, Nokia, Blockbuster Video, AMC Movie Theatres, all have seen their stock price skyrocket over the last week. 

Short sellers have lost around $5b so far 

As Molly Wood said so concisely: “You built the world’s largest casino and now you’re sorry gamblers showed up…” 

And now it’s a game of chicken for those holding stock – if they sell now, they’ll make bank, but they won’t achieve their goal of screwing the hedge funds. 

Wallstreetbets was made private yesterday, as markets scramble to put guardrails in place. 

Moving on from crazy wall street bets – The tech giants have all reported their earnings for the quarter, and they’re all getting richer… 

Quarterly Reports

Apple has reported a 21% increase in revenue, year over year. 

All major product lines reported over expectations – with iPhones, Macs, iPads, and wearables – including Apple Watch and AirPods – all seeing growth. Even services were up. 

iPads did best, with a massive 40% increase in sales Year over Year 

Meanwhile, Facebook  reported $28.1 billion in revenue for the quarter, of which $27.2 billion came from ads. Facebook has warned investors that Apple’s changes to privacy in iOS 14 will impact its earnings in 2021

Google will report next week, and is expected to also see a rise in revenue from online ads, but it has also warned Apple’s Privacy Policy will affect its earnings in 2021 

Finally, Microsoft reported a revenue of $43.1 billion over the $40.2 billion expected from Wall Street. Microsoft continued to benefit from a shift in working from home, with Azure and Office the major cash cows. 

Game previews of Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury are out

In the last few years it has become increasingly common for video game embargoes to expire just a day or two before the game goes on sale – so that terrible reviews will not dampen sales 

So it’s a nice change of pace that Nintendo’s embargo for Super Mario 3D World is up, two weeks before the game is on sale 

Initial reviews suggest the remake of Mario is fun and incredibly polished, as you would expect. Cat Mario, as we call it in my house, was one of the most fun experiences of 2020. The game debuted on the Wii U, a console very few people bought, so this should go gangbusters on the Switch 

But the bigger news for me is Bowsers Fury sounds like an awesome stand alone game, meaning I’ll be forced to buy Cat Mario again.