We’ve absent some above bazaar account while we’ve covered some new tech issuances. Today we t up, talking about:- Snap (NYSE:SNAP) CEO Evan Spiegel is blame the aggregation to be assisting in the face of apropos over its banknote burn.- Institutional investors waging a war adjoin Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) architect and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.- Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) continued ball with the European Commission over Google’s Android.
A abounding archetype follows the video.
This video was recorded on Oct. 19, 2018.
Dylan Lewis: Welcome to Industry Focus, the podcast that dives into a altered area of the banal bazaar every day. It’s Friday, October 19, and we’re communicable up on some big tech news. I’m your host, Dylan Lewis, and I’m aing on Skype by chief tech specialist Evan Niu. Evan, we’ve been advantageous absorption to some of these big new issuances lately. We’ve been abrogation some bazaar account abandoned for a little while.
Evan Niu: Yeah. There’s been a lot of companies action public. You’ve got SurveyMonkey, Tencent Music. There’s a lot action on on the IPO front.
Lewis: Abundant as we adulation accomplishing those S-1 and F-1 shows that do the breakdown of these prospectuses, we accept to pay a little bit of adulation to the big tech companies that are authoritative headlines. I anticipate we’re action to do that on today’s show, talking a little bit about Snap, Facebook, and Alphabet, and some of the big account advancing out of them. How do you feel about that?
Niu: Sounds good!
Lewis: Why don’t we bang things off with Snap? A brace of big account items advancing out over the accomplished few weeks. I anticipation it ability accomplish faculty to epitomize on those afore the aggregation letters aing week. We had a analysis agenda beforehand this ages from a MoffettNathanson analyst cogent some apropos about the company’s banknote burn. This came as CEO Evan Spiegel is reportedly targeting full-year advantage in 2019, and a amplitude ambition of breaking alike in Q4 of 2018. I accept a little bit of skepticism about that, Evan. [laughs]
Niu: Yeah, I don’t anticipate they deserve a lot of assurance aback it comes to their angle and their forecasts. They’ve apparent time and afresh that they’re aloof not active able-bodied in growing the ad business. MoffettNathanson is not the alone analyst to accurate concerns. BTIG a ages above-mentioned had a agnate note. They downgraded Snap to advertise and additionally acicular to this banknote bake that’s absolutely troubling. They’ve austere through $0.5 billion dollars in the aboriginal bisected of the year. As of the end of the additional quarter, they had about $1.5 billion in cash. Their banknote breeze is aloof horrendous. Free banknote breeze is about in this abrogating $200 actor ambit about every quarter. They’re aloof on this absolutely unsustainable path.
Lewis: I anticipate the anecdotal that the aggregation is spinning is, “We accept this new CFO. He’s a little bit added financially minded, added of a acceptable Wall Street exec.” And we’re starting to see them become a little bit added shipshape. We’re accepting some advice from them. But I don’t apperceive that you can anon about-face a company’s aisle in one or two quarters. To your point beforehand about banknote flow, they’re additionally announcement operating losses of over $300 actor every division for the accomplished year. That’s an operational issue. That’s not necessarily a banking issue.
Niu: Right. On top of that, they appear that they’re accretion their Snap Originals, which are these aboriginal agreeable shows. Now they’re getting into scripted shows and docuseries. They’ve done these kinds of things in the past, a little bit of aboriginal agreeable actuality and there, but this sounds like a ambrosial big expansion. These are basically abbreviate little alternation that you can watch on your phone, they’re vertical format. Anniversary adventure is alone maybe bristles minutes. Then, of course, advertisers can acquirement these ad spots, six seconds, you can’t skip them.
I don’t apperceive about that strategy, either, monetizing aboriginal agreeable with ads. Aboriginal agreeable about is actual expensive. Monetizing it with announcement is a absolutely boxy way to accomplish money. Of course, these are abbreviate shows, so maybe the assembly costs aren’t too big. But it seems like affectionate of a awe-inspiring affair for Snapchat to be aggravating to pull. Is that absolutely action to ster engagement? Their user numbers are already branch in in the amiss direction. I agnosticism that this is action to work.
Lewis: In some ways, it’s hasty for a aggregation like this to get into originals. You anticipate of aboriginal agreeable as actuality article that belvedere companies allegation in adjustment to draw bodies in and accept their archetypal scale. You own and accomplish this content, so you adore the advantage that comes from it. You attending at a Spotify or Netflix, it’s a little bit altered aback you’re licensing added people’s assignment or advantageous royalties on added people’s assignment for usage. So, in some ways, you accept all this user-generated actuality on Snapchat. They don’t allegation to necessarily pay for content. But then, you could additionally accomplish the argument, these aboriginal alternation accord them article that Facebook can’t aloof copy. They can’t aloof anchorage that anon over to Instagram because it is a Snapchat Original, they own it.
Niu: Right. Afresh again, additionally accumulate in apperception that Facebook is additionally agriculture some aboriginal agreeable for its Watch platform, as well. Everyone is aggravating to do aboriginal agreeable in their own affectionate of way. But certainly, Facebook has absolutely a bit added money than Snapchat does. [laughs]
Lewis: The acumen why this works into this banking chat we’re accepting about advantage is, you attending at the books for Snap. Basement costs eat up about bisected of revenue. As we’ve talked about before, that’s a capricious cost, because they do not own all their IT infrastructure. That’s action to calibration ambrosial abundant with acceptance on the platform. The added big costs for them, are amount and R&D. If you see them laying off a agglomeration of people, there’ll be some amount accumulation there. Or, if you see them stop advance in AR, VR, maybe Originals, afresh the amount anatomy ability change a little bit. But clearly, they’re still advance in new actuality and they’re advance in new content. I see all of this as actuality affectionate of at allowance adjoin abiding profitability.
Niu: Right. I anticipate that’s the absolute body of it here. They aloof do all this awe-inspiring actuality that’s arguably a distraction. Spectacles is a acceptable example, too. They’re spending all this money developing Spectacles. No one uses them, no one buys them. Now they’re putting money into these Originals. Of course, everyone’s accomplishing it, so it affectionate of makes some faculty at face value. But again, it’s cryptic if it’s absolutely action to ster engagement, strengthen the platform at all. It comes aback to the money. Is it action to advice them abound ad revenue? We’ll see.
Lewis: [laughs] We’ll see. Yeah, because that’s area it’s action to accept to appear from. For them to ability profitability, they’re action to allegation absolutely able top band advance that outstrips all of the capricious costs that move with added usage. That basically agency they allegation to admission ad impressions or admission the amount that bodies are advantageous for ads. I don’t absolutely apperceive that that’s action to happen. All the acquirement advance that they’ve been announcement has been because they’ve added impressions. Prices accept collapsed precipitously aback they confused over to the automatic ad-serving platform, and I don’t absolutely see that catastrophe anytime soon.
Niu: Meanwhile, they’re active out of cash.
Lewis: And meanwhile, they’re active out of cash. So, article to accumulate in apperception as you attending at Snap’s financials aing anniversary aback the aggregation reports.
As an absorbing little anecdotal thing, one of the things that we’ve had a attempt with Snap is, they don’t accept the aforementioned targeting that a Facebook does, that a Google does, with absorbed and with amusing action and demographics. I was on Snap this morning, Evan, and I was blame the tires of the platform, as I about do afore we allocution about the company. I was blockage out some actuality in the analysis channel, and I was served four variants of the aforementioned ad while arresting content. They were all from Merck, and they were all for bearing control.
Niu: [laughs] Are you not in the bazaar for bearing control? Are you adage their targeting is not working?
Lewis: [laughs] I am not anon in the bazaar for bearing control, and I appearance that as a targeting botheration on this platform, and one of the issues that ultimately traces aback to ad prices. If that’s what I’m accepting served up, there’s acutely some affair there, and that’s action to buck out in whatever the advertisers see in agreement of ROI. For affidavit like that, I don’t absolutely see the ad prices axis about anytime soon. I don’t see this aggregation acceptable assisting anytime soon, either.
Niu: I aloof affliction accepting out of my abbreviate too early. [laughs]
Lewis: [laughs] Alright, why don’t we about-face apparatus and allocution Android in Europe? We got a contempo cardinal from the European Commission, basically attractive at Google’s Android practices and chief that they are anti-competitive. Evan, do you appetite to accord us the rundown?
Niu: The European Commission slapped Google with a ambrosial massive $5 billion fine, which, of course, they’re appealing. That’ll accomplish its way through the courts. Maybe they settle, who knows. The affair is, some of the things that Google does with Android are anti-competitive, decidedly how it has continued paid accessory manufacturers to pre-install Google Apps and Google Play Store. That gives them this huge advantage aural the Android platform. It absolutely undermines the aggressive attributes of added companies that ability appetite to attempt in search.
There’s a lot action on here. Aback the accommodation was announced, Google CEO Sundar Pichai additionally appropriate that this archetypal is action to accept to change. The belief was that they’re action to alpha charging a licensing fee. Now, that’s absolutely affectionate of what’s happening. Google has now said that they will alpha charging manufacturers a licensing fee — not for Android, the belvedere itself, but accurately accompanying to its apartment of apps and services, which includes the Play Store. The Play Store is a ambrosial huge allotment there, because that’s area you get all your apps and stuff.
It’s a ambrosial big reversal, in agreement of the economics of area the money goes. Instead of them advantageous manufacturers, manufacturers now accept to pay them. And, of course, those companies will apparently canyon alternating those costs to consumers in the anatomy of college prices. We’ve apparent this in added accretion anatomy factors. Aback you accept one aggregation that makes the operating arrangement licenses it out, that about leads to college prices, because those companies allegation to accomplish that money back, and they about bandy their own allowance on top. I anticipate that has some ambrosial important implications with the Android ecosystem and the business model, in Europe at least.
Lewis: The aftereffect for all of this is, abbreviate term, it could beggarly that prices go up on Android accessories artlessly because manufacturers accept to pay to admission this actuality in a way that they haven’t in the past. Longer term, theoretically, this leads to added competition. The barriers to antagonism are a little bit lower for bodies accouterment apps in the space.
Niu: Right. It additionally depends on, are manufacturers action to absolutely try to advertise Android accessories that don’t accept Google Apps and services? Maybe some will try, analysis the market, see if those accessories can advertise well. If those accessories can advertise well, afresh certainly, consumers ability adopt lower prices, manufacturers adopt lower costs.
Actually, account bankrupt today that the licensing fee is absolutely action to be ambrosial high. Google had initially said that this fee would be ambrosial baby and not too abundant to anguish about. I anticipate that what they’re accomplishing is aggravating to put in the aerial fee as a way to incentivize manufacturers to accomplish added concessions. This fee is reportedly as aerial as $40, which is massive. That’s added than what Window’s phones acclimated to allegation for its platforms, aback aback Windows phones were a thing. That fee will alter based on country and accessory type. It’s as low as $3, but can go as aerial as $40. Google will action breach if the architect pre-installs Chrome and Google Search. Pre-installing Chrome will additionally become a claim for some of these acquirement administration agreements they accept about Search. It’s basically saying, “We’re action to allegation a ton of money, but we’ll accord you a breach if you basically accumulate pre-installing it.” It’s a ambagious way to added or beneath accumulate the cachet quo. It presents a absolutely able banking allurement for them to still pre-install Chrome and Search, which accept consistently been Android’s primary monetization action for Google.
Lewis: The absoluteness is, the acumen that the European Commission is so almost focused in on Google is, it dominates this market. It’s ascendant actuality in the United States, but I anticipate aural the top bristles bigger European countries, it has over 80% bazaar share, article crazy like that.
Niu: Right. That’s according to Kantar estimates. The big bristles European markets, Android is huge, it’s like 80% of the market. Globally, of course, Android is huge, too. But, yeah, this accommodation does accurately chronicle to Europe. They’re such a huge amateur there and they bang-up this market, and they accept this massive bazaar ability position area they can absolutely attenuate all aggressive chase providers, decidedly on the adaptable front.
Lewis: Right. Also, the amount of it is, they accomplish acceptable products. That’s why bodies abide to use them. Yes, they are the absence for so abounding of these Android devices. They’re packaged in in a way that makes it actual accessible for consumers to use. The beneath abrasion you accept there, the added acceptable they are to use those apps. But a lot of bodies go out of their way — on iPhones, alike — to use Google Apps because they’re ambrosial abundant top of the band for the industry.
Niu: Right. They additionally accept those agreements with Apple, too, area they pay Apple for the absence chase spot. To your point about removing friction, pre-installing this actuality is a huge advantage because a lot of people, alike if they absolutely like Google apps and services, may not go out and install it themselves. If you buy a new buzz and it already has the actuality on there, it’s a seamless thing, it feeds beeline into their chase articles and added services. That’s such a huge cardinal account of accepting these things pre-installed.
Lewis: The big account takeaway for this account is basically, Google is action to do aggregate that it can to advance the cachet quo, although they’ll accept to jump through a brace of hoops to accomplish that happen.
Niu: Right. That seems like how they’re aggravating to access it. They don’t appetite to accord up any of these advantages they have, but at the aforementioned time, they accept to cross this new, ambiguous acknowledged position that they’re in because of this antitrust decision. If they restructure the way the archetypal works, afresh they can maybe get abroad with it. They did accept to get rid of some of these added restrictions about what accessories added bodies can sell. Overall, on paper, it’s a absolute affair for consumers, because apparently it will actualize added choice, ultimately. But if that turns out to aftereffect in college prices, that’s not a abundant thing. To the admeasurement that Google can accumulate things the way they are, maybe there’s not that abundant change.
Lewis: Evan, it has been a asperous 2018 for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, and contempo account from some investors that own a ambrosial ample cardinal of shares of Facebook are alone action to accomplish things a little bit tougher for him.
Niu: Everyone is agitated that Facebook has absolutely adulterated so abounding things. They accept this ceaseless cord of scandals and controversies all about aloofness and data. Bodies accept been allurement for a bigger accumulated babyminding for a continued time. It seems like all of these mistakes and controversies are absolutely riling up the broker base, decidedly aback it comes to institutional investors, to try to advance for change. Trillium Asset Administration has put alternating this angle that will be up for a vote aing year that’ll basically breach the CEO and the administrator roles. They absolutely put up a agnate angle in 2017 that failed. But now, they’re accepting added abetment from added accessible funds. Numerous accompaniment funds are starting to abutment this measure. It’s action to abscess bottomward to whether or not Zuckerberg agrees to it or not.
Lewis: These are institutional investors that primarily assignment in accessible workers and alimony funds. That’s why they accept these actual ample allocations of Facebook shares. The reality, though, is that it depends on whether Mark Zuckerberg wants this to happen, because of the way that Facebook is set up from a voting ability perspective.
Niu: Right. He has about 60% voting power. He can alone vote any angle in or out. He can vote any administrator in or out. He’s administrator of the board, so he answers to himself, which is affectionate of the accomplished acumen why, in general, agreeable the CEO and administrator roles is acceptable for accumulated governance. Of course, the lath of admiral is declared to baby-sit management. Its blank responsibilities are fundamentally debilitated if the CEO is additionally chairman, because you’re your own bang-up and there’s not absolutely any accountability. That abridgement of accountability, I think, has absolutely contributed to these controversies and these absolutely big scandals that Facebook has had, because Zuckerberg is not answerable to anyone.
Lewis: To use Elon Musk as a alongside here, this is article that’s action on with Tesla appropriate now. We’re seeing the SEC advance for this blazon of break to admission accountability.
Niu: The Tesla bearings is camp because Elon is affectionate of erratic, and he fabricated some absolutely alien statements about demography the aggregation clandestine that the SEC acquainted were misleading. They about argued that he committed balance fraud. Then, as allotment of the settlement, he agreed to footfall bottomward as chairman. The net aftereffect is that, for Tesla, the CEO and administrator are action to be breach up. Elon has been both for a continued time. That’s absolutely acceptable news, in agreement of accumulated governance. In practice, who they aces and whether or not the lath absolutely tries to do its job better, that charcoal to be seen.
If we appear aback to Facebook, Zuckerberg doesn’t do crazy things like Elon does that are action to get the SEC’s attention. You’re not action to accept that affectionate of alfresco force to accomplish him footfall down. And because he has so abundant voting power, you absolutely can’t do it unless he agrees to it. He has to voluntarily accede to it.
Lewis: Normally, these huge institutional investors appetite these voting shares of companies that breach out their voting shares or accept non-voting shares at some point. That is why you see that slight basin amid Google voting shares and non-voting shares, or Under Armour voting shares and non-voting shares. If you accept abundant of them as an institutional investor, and you accept bodies on the central that do not accept a analytical accumulation of voting power, afresh you ability absolutely be able to apply some change. The absoluteness here, though, is that the stakes that are endemic by all these groups accumulated — Trillium and these institutional investors on the accessible ancillary — amalgamate to about bristles actor shares, which is finer a rounding absurdity on Facebook’s all-embracing shares outstanding. It’s annihilation on the 60% that Mark Zuckerberg holds in agreement of voting power.
Niu: Right. He has these cool voting Chic B shares, they get 10 votes per share. He basically has all of the Chic B shares. He has like article like 95% of all Chic B shares. It’s affectionate of a austere angle for investors. It’s ambrosial accessible that all the while these investors accept been authoritative these arguments, actual accepted arguments, saying, “This is bigger for accumulated governance. This will be acceptable for investors.” Facebook aloof doesn’t care. They aloof don’t accept to the reasons. I don’t apperceive what’s action to get through to Zuckerberg, but the aggregation has dedicated this bureaucracy for a continued time. As I mentioned before, they voted adjoin this in 2017 and basically said that they still anticipate that the best and best able administration archetypal is that Zuckerberg is both administrator and CEO, and that’s the way they’ve consistently done it, and that’s what’s helped them get actuality today. But it’s ambrosial bright that in a lot of ways, it’s not alive well. We’re starting to see broker agitation and bodies accepting agitated about it, but there’s annihilation they can do.
Lewis: Yeah, barring Mark Zuckerberg recusing himself from the vote, his votes will be casting in a assertive direction, I anticipate we can be ambrosial sure. All of this absolutely highlights the accent of accumulated babyminding and the accent of compassionate the affairs anatomy of the stocks that you’re owning. We absorb a lot of time aback we’re accomplishing those IPO shows attractive at central affairs and how that’s held. We spent a ton of time talking about that with Snap in particular. It can complete like a actual bookish altercation sometimes. This is absolutely why it matters, though.
Niu: It’s additionally account canonizing that Facebook alike tried, a year or two ago, to accord him alike added voting ability aback they capital to actualize this third chic of non-voting stock. Afresh they got sued by all these investors and about aloof alone the plan. But the point is that obviously, capital to booty it alike further, accord him alike added ability so he could abide affairs off his banal to armamentarium his altruistic interests but accumulate all his power. It’s ambrosial bright that they aloof don’t accept to accessible investors at all.
Lewis: Yeah. I anticipate by and large, Trillium and these accessible funds apperceive that they are added adopting an affair than creating any change. It’s accessible that they’re not actual blessed with Facebook’s management.
Before we blanket up, Evan, I put out that we were talking about some of these companies on Twitter. I appetite to booty a adviser question. This one comes from Austin, who has asked us a brace of questions before. He says, “What artefact is worse, Snap’s glasses or Facebook’s Portal, accustomed the company’s contempo aloofness issues?” What’s your booty on that one, Evan?
Niu: Facebook’s aperture is absolutely worse. [laughs] There are so abounding aloofness apropos for Facebook as a company. Whereas Spectacles, they’re affectionate of a asinine product, but as you mentioned before, Snap doesn’t accept this crazy targeting ability into all these aspects of your activity that Facebook has. I’m not as anxious about aloofness issues there. It’s added of aloof a way to use the platform. Whereas Facebook’s Aperture is actual accurately yet addition way for the aggregation to accumulate abstracts on you.
There was a absolutely abominable changeabout the added day when. Initially, Facebook said the Aperture would not be acclimated to accumulate abstracts for ad targeting purposes. Then, this week, they absolutely afflicted their stance, like, “Oh, wait, actually, we will.” [laughs] Or, “We can, but we don’t appetite to,” which doesn’t absolutely assure bodies that don’t assurance Facebook anymore. On top of that, Facebook is reportedly alive on this added blazon of Aperture accessory that goes on top of your TV that has a camera in it that does the aforementioned affectionate of video calling and Watch belvedere actuality that Aperture wants to do. They’re acutely action to accumulate blame in this accouterments direction. But they’re action to use this to ambition you with ads, alike afterwards they said that they wouldn’t. [laughs]
Lewis: For me, both of these bother me for altered reasons. The Facebook Aperture and the barrage of the Aperture comes at a time area you shouldn’t be putting cameras in people’s houses. They don’t assurance you. [laughs] But, what bothers me about Snap is the banking activity that we appetite them to be having, attractive at what’s action on with the banknote ancillary with them. They are a absent business that apparently needs to rein in its spending if they’re action to be hitting the targets that Evan Spiegel wants them to hit and. I attending at it, and I’m like, you guys aren’t absolutely bistro your affable aback it comes to this actuality that you’re talking about in your appointment calls. So, Snap bothers me from a banking perspective. Facebook Aperture bothers me a lot added from a accessible acumen perspective. I assumption that’s all to say that we won’t be giving anniversary added either for this anniversary season, Evan.
Niu: [laughs] Yeah, I’m absolutely not affairs a Facebook camera to put in my home.
Lewis: [laughs] Evan, acknowledgment for bent on the show!
Niu: Acknowledgment for accepting me!
Lewis: Listeners, that does it for this adventure of Industry Focus. If you accept any questions or if you aloof appetite to ability out and say hey, you can shoot us an email at [email protected], or you can cheep us @MFIndustryFocus. If you’re attractive for added of our stuff, subscribe on iTunes or analysis out The Fool’s ancestors of shows over at fool.com/podcasts. As always, bodies on the affairs may own companies discussed on the show, and The Motley Fool may accept academic recommendations for or adjoin stocks mentioned, so don’t buy or advertise annihilation based alone on what you hear. Acknowledgment to Austin Morgan for all his assignment abaft the bottle today. For Evan Niu, I’m Dylan Lewis. Acknowledgment for alert and Fool on!
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