- The surging influence of Big Tech firms, including Amazon, which reports earnings Thursday, has led to calls for increased regulation, higher taxes and stronger antitrust enforcement to foster more competition.
SAN FRANCISCO: Apple and Facebook delivered blockbuster profits on Wednesday in the latest sign of Big Tech's strength as the sector faces scrutiny for its growing dominance during the pandemic.
The two Silicon Valley giants reported profits that essentially doubled, with Apple earning more than $23.6 billion and Facebook some $9.5 billion in the first three months of the year.
Apple was lifted by strong gains in sales of iPhones and assorted products and services, while Facebook saw robust increases in digital advertising, reflecting people's rising internet usage during the ongoing pandemic.
The results followed what one analyst called a "monster" quarter for Google and its parent firm Alphabet, which with Facebook dominates online advertising, and a robust report from Microsoft, which is growing its cloud computing operations.
The latest results are likely to prompt more attention for the giant tech firms which have been able to deliver needed goods and services to locked-down consumers.
Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple are among tech titans that have thrived as the pandemic accelerated a shift to working, learning, shopping and socializing online.
"The large tech companies are in the right place at the right time," said Darrell West, a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Center for Technology Innovation.
"Covid has accelerated digital transformation in education, healthcare, remote work, and e-commerce and that has boosted the profitability of those firms. But there remains a backlash against the sector because people are worried about privacy, security and human safety."
The surging influence of Big Tech firms, including Amazon, which reports earnings Thursday, has led to calls for increased regulation, higher taxes and stronger antitrust enforcement to foster more competition.
"Leaders from a variety of different perspectives want tougher action and seeing the large profits is not going to ease the tension with those companies," said West.