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Top Tech Stock News: 7 Things You Missed This Week (6-Sep-2019)

1. Netflix to Change Its Service Model

Netflix is changing its service model. Starting this October, the company will no longer release all of the episodes of certain TV shows in one go. Instead, they plan to release groups of episodes each week.

Netflix executives hope that this new strategy will not only provide more value to their customers, it will also allow them to compete more effectively with Hulu, Disney+ and Apple TV.

The idea behind the new model is that viewers benefit from watching shows that don’t spoil their own endings. By releasing chunks of episodes per week, people who don’t have the time to binge-watch an entire series in one go will no longer have to worry about spoilers.

However, despite the new weekly model, Netflix will not be abolishing their older binge system completely. Reality TV and certain shows will still be released using the old model, whereas the new policy will be used for the latest Netflix series.

2. Dell Quarter EPS and Revenue Beat Estimates

Dell Technologies recently reported quarterly earnings of $2.15 per share, well above $1.81 from about a year ago. The latest quarterly report represents the second time in the last four quarters that Dell has surpassed consensus estimates.

Furthermore, Dell Technologies posted revenues of $23.37 billion for the quarter that concluded on July 2019. This is also the first time that the company has beaten consensus revenue estimates over the last four quarters.

However, it’s also worth mentioning that Dell Technologies’ stock has underperformed the market throughout 2019, and there are also concerns over estimates for succeeding quarters as well as the current fiscal year change.

So far, the current earnings per share consensus for Dell Technologies is around $1.41 on $22.99 billion in revenues for the coming quarter, while estimates for the current fiscal year is $6.31 on earnings per share and $93.23 in total revenues.

3. Uber and Lyft Face Problems in California

Uber and Lyft may be facing problems in California. On August 29, both companies released a proposal where they promised to pay drivers $21 an hour, provide sick leave policies and allow them to have a ‘collective voice,’ which basically means allowing them to form their own unions.

The proposal was presented as an alternative to Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), which will force Uber and Lyft to designate their drivers as employees rather than as independent contractors. Both companies, however, consider the new bill a threat, and are doing all they can to prevent it from becoming law.

Supporters of the law argue that it will address many of the problems faced by many Uber and Lyft drivers, including poor pay and lack of certain legal protections. Furthermore, AB5 is also meant to address problems within Uber and Lyft algorithms that disadvantage drivers and passengers alike.

However, both companies are concerned that the new bill will undermine the rideshare business model, and if California passes the bill into law, there are concerns that other states may pass similar laws, thereby undermining Uber and Lyft’s ability to operate anywhere.

California state senators are set to vote on the bill soon.

4. Gartner Embraces Algorithmically Guided’ Sales Tools

Gartner, Inc. recently conducted a survey which revealed that around 51% of all sales organizations have either deployed or are in the process of deploying ‘algorithmically-guided’ sales tools in the next five years.

Algorithmic guided sales tools combine the latest AI technologies with up-to-date sales data to guide business decisions, automate manual sales and reduce the need for individual decisions throughout the sales process.

The downside, however, is that the algorithms are based on existing customer data. So bad or outdated data can lead to inaccuracies in the prediction algorithms, which in turn leads to lower return on investments.

Despite these problems, Gartner, inc. believes that AI driven sales algorithms have a lot of potential. Businesses will need to learn how to use them correctly, and they will need to implement strict data hygiene policies, but algorithmic guided sales are becoming more and more popular each day.

5. Roku’s New Soundbar Also Works as a Streaming Device

Roku’s expansion into the home theatre market continues thanks to the new Roku Smart Soundbar. Not only can it function as a speaker, it can also be plugged into a standard HDMI port and used as a 4K streaming platform/audio hybrid device. And the best part is that it is compatible with most TV brands.

Compatibility has been an issue with a few Roku products. Some of the company’s previous wireless speakers were only compatible with Roku TVs. The new soundbar indicates that the company has been aware of these compatibility issues and taken the necessary steps to address them.

The player that’s built into the soundbar is similar to Roku’s Ultra player. It features 4K, HD as well as HDR video. What makes the soundbar different, however, is that it can be paired with Google Assistant and Amazon Echo, and it comes with its own Roku remote, which can be used to connect to various streaming accounts.

6. Apple Borrows in the Bond Market

According to a prospectus filed on Wednesday, Apple is planning to borrow in the bond market, the first time since 2017. The company plans to use the proceeds for share buybacks, dividend payments, funding for acquisitions and other expenditures. According to Dow Jones, Apple hopes to raise between $4 billion to $5 billion.

As of the last earnings report, Apple has reported that the company has around $210.6 billion in cash and marketable securities on hand, but the company is also planning to become net-cash-neutral in the foreseeable future, and they plan to use the bonds to help meet that goal.

7. Facebook Enters the Dating Market

Facebook is apparently entering the online dating business. The social media giant recently launched Facebook Dating in the US, and the new service promises to leverage Facebook users’ personal data to provide better matches than other online dating platforms, like Bumble, Match or Tinder.

Furthermore, Facebook Dating will also allow users to integrate their Instagram posts into their dating profiles as well as add Instagram followers onto a Secret Crush list.

The new dating service represents a significant step in Facebook’s strategy to expand beyond its traditional niche as a social media platform for friends and family. With Facebook Dating, it has now thrown its hat into the online dating market.

However, it’s worth mentioning that this isn’t the first time that Facebook has expanded its horizons. The company launched Facebook at Work a few years ago as a way to reach out to businesses, and Facebook Dating is the latest step in a broader strategy.

It’s Facebook Official, Dating Is Here

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Beth KindigI’m an industry insider who writes free in-depth analysis on public tech companies. In the last 12 months, I predicted Facebook’s Q2 crash, Roku’s meteoric rise, Uber’s IPO flop, Zoom’s IPO success, Google’s revenue miss and more. Be industry-specific. Know more than the broader markets. Sign up now. I look forward to staying connected.

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