NYT: Apple has enough cash on hand to give every person in the U.S. $600

“The economy split in two on about April 7, 2020. One part of the economy suffered greatly, but another did just fine.”

From David Streitfeld’s “How Tech Won the Pandemic and Now May Never Lose” posted Saturday for the Sunday New York Times:

Even as 609,000 Americans have died and the Delta variant surges, as corporate bankruptcies hit a peak for the decade, as restaurants, airlines, gyms, conferences, museums, department stores, hotels, movie theaters and amusement parks shut down and as millions of workers found themselves unemployed, the tech industry flourished.

The combined stock market valuation of Apple, Alphabet, Nvidia, Tesla, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook increased by about 70 percent to more than $10 trillion. That is roughly the size of the entire U.S. stock market in 2002. Apple alone has enough cash in its coffers to give $600 to every person in the United States. And in the next week, the big tech companies are expected to report earnings that will eclipse all previous windfalls.

Silicon Valley, still the world headquarters for tech start-ups, has never seen so much loot. More Valley companies went public in 2020 than in 2019, and they raised twice as much money when they did. Forbes calculates there are now 365 billionaires whose fortunes derive from tech, up from 241 before the virus…

Tech is triumphant in a way that even its most evangelical leaders couldn’t have predicted. No single industry has ever had such power over American life, dominating how we communicate, shop, learn about the world and seek distraction and joy…

“Call it half luck — being in the right place at the right time — and half strategic tactics…” said Dan Ives, a managing director at Wedbush Securities. “What for most industries were hurricane-like headwinds was a pot of gold for tech.”

The biggest, and perhaps the only, threat to tech now is from government…

“We went from being pirates to being the Navy,” Marc Andreessen, a central figure in Silicon Valley for a quarter-century, told the Substack writer Noah Smith in a recent interview. “People may love pirates when they’re young and small and scrappy, but nobody likes a Navy that acts like a pirate. And today’s technology industry can come across a lot like a Navy that acts like a pirate.”

My take: Interesting piece by one of the winners of the New York Times’ 1993 Pulitzer. (His contribution was about app developers, not Apple.)

16 Comments

  1. Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:
    “ In the Navy! “
    – The Village People

    The safe harbor was apparently inside the fast moving maneuverable ship itself. The USS Apple Inc. with Captain Cook at the helm. Balmy or stormy seas.

    8
    July 24, 2021
  2. Jerry Doyle said:
    “…. Silicon Valley, still the world headquarters for tech start-ups, has never seen so much loot.”

    David Streitfeld in writing this news article seems intent on shaming big tech when it was big tech to whom everyone turned to for solace, for entertainment, for communication with loved ones, for doing their work during the pandemic. If big tech had not been there then lives of citizens would have been void of comforts, cheer, ability to do work and maintain relationships. What is wrong with this guy?

    Streitfeld is being disingenuous in the writing of this article by making big tech as a profiteering cabal making money by methods considered unethical. This comes from the far left leaning mindset and from this current administration’s attempt to target big tech as being involved in illegal profiteering, raising prices during a national emergency, involved in some coordinated scheme of price fixing and other anti-competitive behaviors. What big tech did was to help us get through the pandemic, do our jobs, stay in touch with friends, relatives, loved ones, coworkers, entertain ourselves and survive. Does David Streitfeld denote any of that in his article? No! Streitfeld does not want to go there. He wants to exploit the evils of big tech who pours billions into communities doing philanthropic endeavors, providing millions of jobs for citizens, working to make our environment greener and our lives more meaningful. Tell me what the NYT and its counterparts in the medial has done similarly? I’m waiting.

    11
    July 24, 2021
    • Lalit Jagtap said:
      Yes NYT team has done great service to our nation by “publishing false and wrong articles” about WMD in Iraq. Plus NYT also runs it company as non-profit too.

      3
      July 24, 2021
  3. Jerry Doyle said:
    “…. Tech antitrust reformers say the government response to the pandemic, including the national eviction moratorium, repudiated decades of entrenched belief in a hands-off economic approach. Now, the activists say, they will have their moment.”

    Isn’t the above comment precious? During the pandemic, big tech, we could not have navigated without you. We made it through the worst of the stormy seas. We now feel safe enough to continue our journey without your helping and sometimes coddling hands. So, now we have our moments to turn on you. For what you did to get us to safe harbor our reward is to shackle you. Precious!

    3
    July 24, 2021
  4. Mark Visnic said:
    The implicit premise of the author is that technology has benefited at the expense of others because it is successful when others have not been.
    This premise is flawed. The success of Apple is a blue print, not an exclusive privileged industrial secret. it’s products add value to its customer’s lives. Ownership of it is available to anyone and is widely owned.

    We want more corporate citizens to follow Apple’s lead and not excoriate them for being a model.

    is it envy driving this? Did the naysayers invest in Blackberry? Is that it? : )

    5
    July 24, 2021
  5. Jerry Doyle said:
    “…. Any measures restricting tech will ultimately need public sentiment behind them to succeed.”

    Exactly! And I question seriously such public sentiment and support resides against big tech. Apple is beloved by its consumers. While we hear so much about Google’s invasion into our personal lives, we don’t see its users screaming for help. They have at their hands tools to limit Google’s involvement in their lives as consumers so desire. Instead of Facebook users leaving its platform in droves, Facebook continues to ADD new users and, the stock price is at an all-time high because consumers welcome their involvement with Facebook. Yes, there are complainers about Facebook, but do you see them leaving Facebook? Many of my friends complain about their spouses, but I do not see them getting divorces. Meanwhile there are all kinds of new competitors popping up over the tech landscape. Twitter continues to do great while Snapchat this week produce quarterly results that made Twitters’ outstanding quarterly performance look mediocre.

    1
    July 24, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      I can turn on an IP blocker (“Little Snitch”) to see what goes where. It’s quite hard to fully avoid Google, the worst problem are those (damn) CAPTCHAs that train Google’s AI while making it a pain to log onto a website where you have an account. (I’ve been in a running battle with TIAA about why their website makes me subject to -Google’s- terms of service.)

      But much worse is Amazon Web Services. If you start blocking AWS IP addresses, the internet ‘breaks’. That’s because a substantial number of otherwise independent websites depend on AWS hosting. It’s not clear just how much Amazon is mining AWS connections.

      It is very clear to me that substantial regulation is needed to place controls on the surveillance economy that is the modern Internet. I’m actually less concerned about the big names (Google, Amazon, Facebook) than I am about all those hidden backroom companies that buy and aggregate data without any knowledge on the part of consumers (or even on the part of websites who inadvertently host trackers, etc, from those companies.)

      4
      July 24, 2021
  6. Lalit Jagtap said:
    Technology enabled access and sharing of truth like “black lives”. Did our great journalists shared the truth about “abuse and misuse” of power in last 200+ years of Democracy? The great NYT team still publishes one sided articles about “Hindu nationalist” ruling party in India.

    2
    July 24, 2021
  7. Jerry Doyle said:
    “…. Zillow is something of an outlier. Even after a year of working from home, 59 percent of its employees told the company they planned to go into the office once a month or less.”

    So, it seems the Zillow workforce will be doing their jobs remotely. Now, if those workers desire iMacs with the M1 chips and the orders come in to Apple to ship these new computers is Apple being a profiteer in meeting this legitimate consumer demand?

    1
    July 24, 2021
  8. David Emery said:
    For some, I think it is envy. For others, it’s based on a deeper belief system that assumes economies are zero-sum and therefore one person or company’s profit MUST come at the expense of another’s.

    We are still collectively unsure if we want ‘equal opportunity’ or ‘equal results’. Many people argue for ‘equal results,’ even if that means that a significant number of people have to give up what they have earned to bring up the others on the bottom.

    (I’ve stated my views on NYT often enough that I won’t repeat them.)

    2
    July 24, 2021
  9. Michael Goldfeder said:
    The government didn’t do a thing to prop up big tech like they did many financial institutions when that system imploded back in 2008. Nor did they come to the aid of Big Tech when the dot.com bubble burst at the beginning of this millennium.

    Apple, Amazon, and the others survived that scenario and never received a government bailout either. Yet now the government wants to penalize Big Tech for being the backbone of how everyone survived and weathered this pandemic when the government leaders were unable to get out of their own way. A perfect example of the age old adage: “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished!”

    The government is more like a leech on Big Tech than an Allie. That holds true everywhere in the world with this “Antitrust” card they’re playing under the guise of “stifling innovation.” The Epic decision will go a long way toward setting the narrative of: “The Consumer Preference of Privacy and Protection from Malware overrides Developers insistence of a Free Ride.”

    These ludicrous “Antitrust” claims are nothing more than the greedy CEO’s of Epic, Spotify, and other jealous companies wanting to become the carpetbaggers of the new millennium by inserting themselves for free into the highly protected iOS ecosystem as nothing more than a leech.

    I see this “Antitrust” campaign ending the same way as the “New Coke” did back in the day when consumers called B*#* S*#* on that idiotic marketing decision.

    4
    July 24, 2021
  10. Is it loot when the oil companies profit selling pollution? Cigarette firms profit off cancer, surely those earnings are loot? Is it loot when hedge fund managers pay less in taxes than WalMart managers? Are the earnings of casino owners considered loot? Why are consumer product maker’s profits considered loot but not weapons manufacturer’s profits?
    BTW: Loot is defined as something taken from an enemy during war.

    5
    July 24, 2021
    • Mark Visnic said:
      @ TW

      Yes. The NYT boundary is extraordinary monetary success regardless of how it was achieved.

      Knowingly producing and pushing cancer causing products, taking asymmetrical financial risk of the heads I win, tails you lose variety, enabling a platform for deceit and conspiracy theories to be seeded and grow? No. The NYT chose to categorize a privacy focused, purveyor of life enhancing products as the “looter” , apparently all because its products and services reached such extraordinary heights of desirability, it sold so much that it achieved unprecedented levels of free cash flow.

      4
      July 24, 2021
  11. David Emery said:
    Here’s a question for the NYT to answer: How many newspapers would each household of the US get with their cash holdings/income?

    2
    July 24, 2021

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