- Facebook has a massive, $35.5 billion hoard of cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities. It's the third biggest S&P 500 company by this metric that isn't paying a dividend, after Berkshire Hathaway and Alphabet.
- Facebook's headcount is now at 20,658. That's up 43 percent since last year
- Average Revenue Per User Rises 23% to $4.73, Down from 4Q 2016
- Facebook Offers No Break Out of Instagram Revenue
- 2Q Daily Active Users 1.32 Billion, Monthly Active Users 2.0 Billion
- Shares Up 1.6% After-Hours, Near Session Highs
- Zuckerberg: WhatsApp and Instagram Stories each have more than 250 million people using them daily. Each of those is a single SNAP whose entire daily user base is around 170 million.
Wow, this is a company that is killing it right now.
Facebook and Google combine to account for up to 99% of advertising growth.
As this relates to SNAP, I have to think that investors will spend atleast a year spending marketing budges with SNAP but after that, RIP Snap......
Also as a crazy aside, Meg Whitman just resigned from the HP Board and has been reported to be visiting Uber.....
HN just loves to hate SNAP, and I can't really fathom why. I can get being skeptical but every comment here seems like they /want/ to see the company fail.
As for why HN hates Snap, I'm not exactly sure. Is it because the average user on HN is older and isn't targeted by Snap? Maybe it's seen as a frivolous plaything? No matter what the reason, there's definitely a lot of hate for Snap on this site.
But it doesn't look like the couple good ideas they had were enough to make a long-term business. So, unless they do something cool in the next 12 months, RIP. Founders got a nice payday, so who cares?
The swarms of 13 years olds that roam through my house only ever seem to use their mobile for Instagram, snap, and youtube. However, more recently I've noticed that the boys have been walking around with bluetooth headsets on as they have a large group chat going on in the background. Not sure what app they're using.
PS: also a millennial here, not very crazy though, regrettably
Why must it be hate? Couldn't it just be, simply, that we're not that interested in yet another chat application? To me, Snap is a slightly modified ICQ client. Fine, but not very interesting.
Real progress would be some sort of open standard, so who you're speaking with isn't determined by which company's chat server you connect to. But then again email has supported this for several decades already, so maybe the demand isn't there.
I've seen a few people with them on, and my immediate gut reaction every time is to get out of their eyesight. I'm sure I'm not the only one and it makes me wonder if most spectacles owners even think about it.
I also thought their stock set up with zero voting rights was crazy but that's a separate issue.
For me its killer feature was how easy it was to send videos. But it's not worth all the advertising they're stuffing into the app.
Their entire product was marketed on the lie of ephemeral messaging. That's why I've always hated it. I don't like it when people talk down to the general public like that and lie to them about what technology can and cannot do.
Like 5/6 of the comment is an excellent summary of the call (on a story that is behind a paywall), and then a couple of sentences of opinion and speculation and from that you get HN hates SNAP? I don't get it.
When those Facebook users do in fact click and make purchases it is often (not always) a profitable exchange for the companies advertising. Those companies take the revenue from the sales and use it to pay people to do other work for them. Wherever it is you work, they probably advertise on Facebook.
Creating a profitable revenue engine for a million companies is absurdly useful.
Yeah, I would like to market pre-Facebook. In exactly the same way I wouldn't want to advertise with Stalin, no matter how effective his apparatus. I bet you there were people who couldn't understand that either.
My life is a painting. I already have brushes and paint, and while I could of course use more and better brushes and paint, there are also those offers to shit all over my painting for a truckload of generic, lame colours, and thousands of stamps with all sorts of shapes designed by "professionals", because making those with your own brush is just too hard. I say no to that, that is a net negative value for me. I don't live to earn money, I earn money to live. FB is right out. As the song goes: you might win some but you just lost one. Nothing more, but also never anything less.
How many companies in total have more than $35.5B cash/equivalents? Including Apple, for example.
Microsoft ($126b), Apple ($256b), Facebook ($35b), Berkshire Hathaway (near $100b), Cisco ($68b), Google ($92b), Oracle ($66b), Softbank (a lot), Amgen ($38b), Ford ($40b), Samsung ($73b), Johnson & Johnson ($39b), GE ($82b)
There are a lot of financial entities and the like that have more cash than that of course. It's held under a different financial context than the cash that eg Apple is sitting on. JP Morgan for example has $650b, Citi has $422b, Bank of America has $643b, etc.
Out of curiosity, how did you put together that list? Googling seems to only bring up second-hand lists like https://thenextweb.com/insider/2011/08/22/big-money-the-comp... but I think I'm using the wrong terms.
(That's an interesting list too -- for comparison, Apple apparently had $76.2B in 2011.)
Some of these companies are carrying vast amounts of debt now, Microsoft and Apple for example. They can't discharge all of that cash without suffering severe consequences due to their need to sustain a high credit rating.
I added the ignoring debt tag, because who knows which of those cash / cash-like instruments are being used in what way in relation to some of those immense debt piles.
What do you mean by this?
Despite the immense profitability the companies have, their debt holders will get freaked out if those large cash piles were to get discharged down toward zero. For example, Berkshire Hathaway got slapped for allowing its cash to drop a bit low (relatively speaking) a number of years ago (also coincided with the worst of the great recession), their credit rating got dropped a notch in part because of it (despite it being very unrealistic they were actually more risky just because cash was briefly at $30 billion versus $50 billion). You'll often see the ratings agencies & analysts talk about wanting to see Berkshire maintain a large amount of cash due to its obligations.
Apple and Microsoft are paying very, very low interest rates on their debt. Given the scale of those debt piles now, they'll desperately want to maintain those low rates. Maintaining a sizable pile of cash will assist them in doing so.
Edit: I guess I missed "Ignoring Debt" they have too much debt.
GM is far more profitable than Ford, has $22b in cash, and $39b in net tangible assets. With a $53b market cap, GM is sporting a realistic 4.x to 5.x PE ratio currently (depending on how you want to account for their 4Q16).
Companies should hire more people until marginal profit per new hire is $0 to maximize profits. And that number says nothing about marginal profits.
Your theory predicts that price discrimination can't happen because companies would rather sell M widgets at X price than sell M widgets at X price and N widgets at Y price.
Why would you invest $250K for a year's pay of an employee for $0 return. You can invest that $250K in a CD for 2% and get $5,000.
Shareholders are going to have no interest (long term) having companies invest their capital in the form of cash on the balance sheet at below market rates. Hence dividends or buybacks if they can't demonstrate sufficient roic on internal projects.
You can back into a target revenue/employee by looking at risk free rate of return + equity premium (say 7%), net margin (35% for FB this Q), and say if an avg employee earns $250K .... then they'd want a bit less than $800K/employee (35/100 * x >= 250k + (.07 * 250k)).
I don't think your comparison to widgets holds up. Would a company invest capital in more production capacity to sell more widgets at zero margin (all else being equal)? No, they'd distribute it to shareholders so they could invest it in bonds or other companies, and that's the analogy.
Who said anything about zero margin? You're claiming that if I can sell one widget at a high price (high margin!), I should be unwilling to sell any at a lower price (but still high margin!) than the first one would sell for, because my rate of return on investment would go down (assuming the cost of producing a widget is dominated by variable costs). This does not describe the behavior of anything.
You're serving the best interests of your shareholders, who have other things to be doing with their capital. They'd often rather invest $10 and get 10% than invest $20 and get 7%, even though that means getting $.10 rather than $.14.
The scale is nowhere close. Maybe if you include black money, India might be a contender, but how much of that is spent online?
Not much. And besides, I don't think you could spend it online even if you wanted to. Unless Facebook is accepting cash payments for ads in India ;-).
You pay influencers/fake news outlets/biased media sources.
Though, not much is probably spent in India this way, but it's definitely there
Thoughts on anti-trust? If you're capturing every single part of the growth of a huge previously diversified market, whats the arguments against?
These "social networks" exist because it's still too hard to setup and manage a personal website, and those sites lack the interactiveness of FB.
Imagine if everyone had their own 1-click website with glorified RSS feeds, webrtc-based chat, access control, media sharing, and standard APIs for 3p apps - plus, perhaps, a web-of-trust or some other mechanism for validating identity. All rolled into standardized APIs backed by large competitors of FB (perhaps MS/Goog/etc?).
If the ISP monopolies can be broken, perhaps all that could be hosted on a little Android-like box connected to a home ISP - your little social box, connecting you to every human on earth... always online, it caches messages from friends when your phone looses signal, p2p shares videos from friends so you can watch high quality with no load time, and automatically curates content from connected feeds (perhaps with some on-board ML).
No ads, no big brother, for pennies a month.
I know Google's ad revenue is getting eaten by FB - perhaps they would profit from something like this. Cap FB at the knees by giving people FB's functionality without the corporate data-mining/lock-in, and reap ad revenue from the increased relevance of el Goog's search.
There are similar benefits to shops, manufacturers, services, bands, etc all too. Standard information/inventory protocols, and a review system connected to those individual personal identities, could undermine Yelp and even AMZN.
I've been thinking about this quite a bit and I think it's mostly a matter of execution. There is prior art covering all of the pieces, but no one has assembled all the pieces into a compelling product (think: iPod vs prior mp3 players, FB versus the myriad of ex-competitors)... hard but tractable with the right support.
Using email, the rule is that if someone sends you something, you own it; they could ask you to do delete it, but you can refuse. Facebook and other social networks let you edit and delete posts. Snapchat became big because you can send pictures that are automatically deleted after you view them.
Sure, you can reimplement basic message exchange in a decentralized way, but figuring out how to enforce the same rules in a decentralized system is nontrivial.
Good snaps get stored and shared forever, everyone knows to screenshot dumb posts on FB, and there are plenty of twitter archival tools. Youtube's DRM and takedowns work OK against film pirates, but it's still easy to find many movies and redistributed personal content online.
Though I'd be curious what fraction of those instances are someone speaking without thinking, or accidentally sharing to a broader audience... the former seems PEBKAC and the latter is a solvable UX issue.
Even on Hacker News, the various moderation features and things like being able to edit your post after publishing make a difference to how the community works. It's not only what you can get away with but also what people feel like they have a right to do.
An interesting proof of concept might be to try to create a forum like Hacker News, but using distributed software.
If you have protocols and software that lets someone run a social OS on their personal hardware and connected to the global network, then the walls have been broken. Any 3rd party can integrate or offer hosting.
You could also take the rabbit hole of battery improvements leading to running this on mobile devices or sending data through a distributed p2p network instead of personal HW. None of those are orthogonal to the proposal.
No it's not.
>For the first three months of this year, Alphabet reported just over $26 billion in revenue, up 21 percent from the same period last year. Without the EU fine, it would have notched $6.87 billion in operating income, up around 15 percent from the second quarter of 2016.
There are a multitude of problems, like privacy concerns and the fact that FB would have no incentive to keep the API very up to date or reliable, but I wonder if something like that could work.
Before the antitrust action Microsoft was knifing the baby and cutting off the air supply whenever anyone threatened their hegemony. Afterwards, a million little inroads were made that ended up making their monopoly irrelevant.
In fact the continued existence of Apple is a product of the antitrust action. Bill Gates struck the deal with Jobs in order to keep Apple alive as a "showcase competitor." If Gates didn't feel the need to keep up appearances he would have crushed Apple by ending the Office port.
I feel like the thing that really hurt Microsoft the most was the web, which made the OS far less relevant and has largely been their downfall. The failure of the mobile web seems to be largely why mobile OSs do matter.
Clearly, without the anti-trust ruling Microsoft was doing all it could to make the web proprietary, but the web wasn't pre-ordained to happen, and if it hadn't we might still be locked into Windows, regardless of what the anti-trust authorities did. Or maybe we'd be largely where we are today with the web having never happened and the focus shifting to mobile anyway.
And to look at Office, I feel like the real downfall of the network effects of Office was when PDF readers became ubiquitous and embedded in browsers, so that you could export a PDF from whatever editor you were using and send it to everyone and expect that they could read it.
Of course you can, you just need to have standardized protocols.
You and I can use any email provider we like, your client can use exchange to talk to it's server and mine can use a version of POP from the 80's and it /doesn't matter/ because the servers talk over a standardized protocol.
Facebook and Google used to support this. There was once a time when Facebook and Google Plus both had XMPP gateways for their real time chat traffic, which meant you could send a message from Google Plus to Facebook Messenger with no problems.
They shut it down because they both have a strong incentive to push vendor lock-in. They've been so successful that you've started to forget that life could ever be otherwise.
Take a look at projects like diaspora and mastodon. There's nothing stopping Facebook from reaching out to these projects and working with them to incorporate Facebook nodes into their network using the same protocol.
But it'll never happen, because Facebook needs the corral nice and enclosed before they can start tagging you and selling you off.
Social networks have been adding lots of features over the years to compete with each other. Realistically I think that fractured platforms would struggle to catch on because each provider would prioritize different features. Since social networking grows in utility superlinearly with the connectivity with your friends, features get less useful and the whole thing stagnates.
Basically: Microsoft Outlook is a social network of the kind you envision. Even Outlook for Mac versus Outlook for Windows is a sharp divide in terms of features! Do you think that people would use social networks if they looked like Outlook?
Additionally, the notion that the necessity of making group decisions on a protocol must lead to stagnation is not guaranteed. There's plenty of space for Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter to form an an industry working group and make a protocol that meets their needs, and then throw it out and say "this is what we're using. Keep up or get left behind".
However, to more directly answer your concerns, there's nothing stopping Facebook from exposing basic functionality via an established and fairly firm protocol, and keeping advanced features as their competitive advantage. Textual Timeline posts, IM's and event RSVP's are good candidates for things to be exposed by the protocol. Facial tagging of images is a good example of something that a core social protocol could skip.
They need something on the other side of the "or" in "Uses Facebook or ..."
They do their best to buy anybody that sneaks in there.
I'm not convinced that is sufficient. Facebook at 80% isn't really any different than facebook at 99, or whatever. Google has a viable competitor in Bing, but google still dominates search to a massive degree.
As long as it's there, then if there's every a major ball drop on Facebook's part that makes a lot of people want to switch to something else they'll have somewhere to go. When people moved to Facebook from MySpace it was driven by a lot of issues with MySpace that pushed people away.
Something like this past year's election with all of the controversy over how the trending news was handled could have promoted a movement of "Enough, I'm done. Going to X." Enough "me too's" and you start a trend.
A lot of that happened with Instagram. People wanted a place they could go free of political rants and Instagram largely provided that...and Facebook owns them.
You've seen a lot of "quitting Facebook" trends this year and I believe that it's largely a result of lack of a viable alternative.
Unlikely and less efficient but that could be one way to handle it.
Facebook could continue operating as a partnership - that would be much harder to stop - but they might not want to given the liability implications.
Next thing you know, Facebook and Google end up merging.
Please knock on some wood for me.
...Can I just give FB $5/mo to not keep their creepy profile on me? They get more money, I get not as creepily tracked.
The fact that you want/can pay $5/mo probably means FB earns a lot more than the avg on you.
Advertisers pay more to reach people with higher disposable incomes.
I offered to pay 3x the average rate to account for some of that. I think that moves me into covering the average spread across the US and Western Europe (about a third of their active users). Now, I'm still probably one of the more valuable people, but it would be the average cost if all the revenue was spread across people who could afford that cost.
Facebook already claims they don't use a profile to market to me. (It took some digging, but you can delete your tracking profile conclusions and turn off a lot of things.) Which means (assuming they're honest), I'm probably not a high value user because they can't target me for high value ads. This would just be giving them an alternative revenue stream to compensate for that. (So a strict improvement for Facebook.)
Just as a reminder of how insane this is, the population of the entire world is 7.5 billion.
It's "massive" but compared to AAPL's $250 billion in cash, FB's cash it is still fairly small.
> Facebook and Google combine to account for up to 99% of advertising growth.
They both pretty much dominate the search/video/social media space.
What is most astounding to me is that every nation doesn't develop their own google/FB. I still find it incredible that most of europe is dominated by google and facebook. Even india.
I respect what FB and GOOGL have done, but their "tech" isn't hard to replicate. With regulation and government authority, countries like germany, india, france, etc can develop their own FB and GOOGL.
China, Russia, Japan, Korea, etc are smart in developing their own local tech/social media/etc industries. I'm so astounded that germany, france, india, etc have completely ceded their territories to google/FB/etc.
I can understand britain/canada/australia ceding control to the US since we are anglo nations with similar culture, language and historical roots. But why don't spanish speaking countries, german speaking countries, french speaking countries, etc have their own "google/FB"?
I feel like this pattern could be applied more often in real life... some company is being "evil"... don't just abandon them, buy stock in them!