Big Tech companies saw growth accelerate amid COVID
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Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon all have earnings calls this week. Like other companies, these huge tech firms have to try and figure out what the world of work looks like in the near future. If people start going back to the office, some of the products we began using during the lockdown could be rendered redundant.
Some of the biggest tech companies represent about a quarter of the S&P 500’s market cap. Scott Kessler at the investment firm Third Bridge said that these rich companies just got richer as a result of the pandemic. “A lot of these companies, from a revenue perspective, have seen accelerated demand and growth given some of the challenges of last year.”
Kessler said quarterly results will likely reflect that, but tech companies understand that subscription-based services might struggle to win new customers if and when people go back to the office.
Although, Daniel Ives at Wedbush Securities said that even on the other side of the pandemic, “we expect you’ll have 30% to 35% of employees that will be working remote or semi-remote. And that just puts more and more pressure on the cloud and from a digital infrastructure perspective.”
Ives said the investments that tech firms made in that digital infrastructure during the pandemic will continue to benefit those companies through at least the next quarter.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
Millions of Americans are unemployed, but businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Why?
This economic crisis is unusual compared to traditional recessions, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist with Glassdoor. “Many workers are still sitting out of the labor force because of health concerns or child care needs, and that makes it tough to find workers regardless of what you’re doing with wages or benefits,” Zhao said. “An extra dollar an hour isn’t going to make a cashier with preexisting conditions feel that it’s safe to return to work.” This can be seen in the restaurant industry: Some workers have quit or are reluctant to apply because of COVID-19 concerns, low pay, meager benefits and the stress that comes with a fast-paced, demanding job. Restaurants have been willing to offer signing bonuses and temporary wage increases. One McDonald’s is even paying people $50 just to interview.
Could waiving patents increase the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines?
India and South Africa have introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines. Backers of the plan say it would increase the supply of vaccines around the world by allowing more countries to produce them. Skeptics say it’s not that simple. There’s now enough supply in the U.S that any adult who wants a shot should be able to get one soon. That reality is years away for most other countries. More than 100 countries have backed the proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. The U.S isn’t one of them, but the White House has said it’s considering the idea.
Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?
As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.
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