Big Tech, hit by the pandemic, reports mixed earnings

Big Tech companies reported mixed quarterly earnings on Thursday, a day after their top executives faced a tough congressional grilling over their market power and alleged monopolistic practices

Big Tech companies reported mixed quarterly earnings on Thursday, a day after their top executives faced a tough congressional grilling over their market power and alleged monopolistic practices.

The staggering economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic was reflected in reports from Amazon, Facebook, and Google’s corporate parent, Alphabet. Apple, the most valuable company of them all, is set to disclose its numbers for the April-June quarter later on Thursday.

Alphabet, Google’s holding company, reported its first-ever drop in quarterly revenue compared to the prior year. Although it was only a 2% decline, it was a telling sign of a downturn in the digital ad market while also serving as a reminder that the economy is struggling even more than it did more than a decade ago during the Great Recession (Google’’s low point during that time came during the second quarter of 2009 when its revenue edged up by just 3%. Alphabet’s profit for its most recent quarter plunged 30% to $6.7 billion.

Facebook, which also makes most of its money from digital ads, recorded an 11% increase in revenue from the prior year, the social networking company’s slowest growth since going public eight years ago. The company’s profit nearly doubled to rougly $6 billion from the same time last year. Part of the big jump stemmed from special charges last year.

Amazon stood as a notable exception the stay-at-home orders and pandemic fears have help boost sales from its e-commerce sales, although the money that the company is pouring into making its distribution system is at least temporarily depressing its profits. The company's earnings also roughly doubled to $5.2 billion while revenue soared 40% to $88.9 billion.