Tech Rewind: Apple Ranks Top of Class

Apple reported a record-setting fiscal first quarter and Snapchat launched Discover, a media channel and brand advertising channel -- this is your tech rewind of the week.

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Tech Rewind: Apple Ranks Top of Class in Earnings Rush

By Columns FOXBusiness

Sandwiched between seemingly endless earnings reports, Apple reported a record-setting quarter and Snapchat launched Discover, a media channel and brand advertising channel -- this is your tech rewind of the week.

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Apple (AAPL) came in top of class this week with a strong earnings beat. The Cupertino, Calif.-company reported record iPhone sales that lifted it to its most profitable quarter ever, and the most profitable quarter for any company in history. The tech titan sold 74.5 million iPhones last quarter, brought in $18 billion in profit and $74.6 billion in revenue. Apple CEO Tim Cook also announced the much-awaited Apple Watch will be available in April. And analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald called Apple’s fiscal first-quarter “exceptional.” Apple shares soared Tuesday on the results and were modestly up Friday.

After much investor pressure, Yahoo (YHOO) announced plans to spin-off its remaining 15% stake in Alibaba into a tax-free company, dubbed SpinCo for now. The online media company also revealed mixed fourth-quarter results, shares were nevertheless up almost 2% in midday trade Friday. Meanwhile, Alibaba shares got slammed Thursday after the company posted a big revenue miss in its second-ever quarterly report since its debut. Analysts say the miss points to a possible slowdown for the Chinese company’s red-hot growth, but Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai says the company is still looking to build on its growth. Alibaba shares were up 1% on Friday.

Microsoft (MSFT) logged weaker second-quarter earnings Monday, citing higher costs, though results matched Wall Street estimates amid stronger revenue from mobile devices. Facebook (FB) added users and topped estimates for the fourth quarter, helped by rising mobile ad revenue. Mobile now accounts for 69% of the social network’s total ad revenue. Facebook said it had 1.39 billion monthly active users as of Dec. 31, 2014 -- a 13% gain.

It was a swing and a miss for Google (GOOGL) in the fourth quarter. The search giant reported a 41% increase in earnings, but fell short of Wall Street views. Amazon (AMZN) reported better-than-expected earnings on Thursday, as sales surged during the crucial holiday quarter. Amazon this week also launched an enterprise email service, Amazon WorkMail, to compete with Google’s Gmail and Microsoft’s Exchange products. And the world’s largest credit and debit card company, Visa (V) disclosed a fiscal first quarter beat, as well as announced a split of its class A common stock.

Telecom giant AT&T (T) posted adjusted fourth-quarter earnings per share of 55 cents, beating Wall Street estimates by a penny. Revenues, meanwhile, came in at $34.4 billion, also topping expectations for $34.27 billion. AT&T shares bounced 1.34% in after-hours action on Tuesday. Wireless chip maker Qualcomm (QCOM) reported earnings and revenue that easily beat Wall Street’s expectations for its fiscal first quarter. But the wireless chip maker didn’t paint a quite as rosy long-term picture, which helped push the stock down Wednesday.

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In non-earnings news, Snapchat launched a new media channel within the mobile app intended for users to peruse editorial content. The brand advertising feature could help transform the disappearing message service into a go-to news destination, and help the slow to monetize social media company bring in revenue.

Spotify is seeking to raise more funding and is working with Goldman Sachs (GS) on the new round, which some indicate could put off the music streaming service's much-speculated-about IPO for another year.

Ahead of Super Bowl Sunday, the NFL launched its very own YouTube channel. The channel will feature a mix of game clips, interviews and snippets from NFL Network shows, and is part of a larger deal between the NFL and Google.

And Taylor Swift told off hackers who broke into her Twitter and Instagram accounts,  assuring fans on Tumblr, assuring fans, "Twitter is deleting the hacker tweets and locking my account until they can figure out how this happened and get me new passwords. Never a dull moment."

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