Switch Numbers Drive Nintendo; Facebook Earnings Beat; Seattle: Tax Amazon & Microsoft for Homeless; Apple- High End Headphones, Wireless Charger, Tag Trackers Coming

Nintendo is upping its profit forecast for the fiscal year that ends March 31st. Venturebeat.com reports that the company sees its operating profit hitting $2.75 billion, up from an earlier projection of $2.38 billion. The Switch continues to drive Nintendo…by December, they had sold 52.5 million to date. Software hit 310.6 million. For comparison, the Wii U only sold 13.56 million units, and 103 million copies of software. Nintendo says the Switch Lite thus far hasn’t cut in to sales of the Switch. By the end of the fiscal year, they expect to sell 19.5 million Switch systems, with 5.2 million of those being the Lite.

With all the bad PR over misinformation and poor protection of user privacy, Facebook has had a rough year. According to cnet.com, it has hit the bottom line. Facebook beat earnings expectations, but profit dipped due to rising expenses. The social network took in $21.08 billion in the last quarter of 2019, surpassing the $20.89 estimate analysts had expected. Revenue grew 25%, down from a 30% rate in the last quarter of 2018. Full year profit was down 16% to $18.49 billion, while expenses were up 51%. A bright spot for Facebook…active users grew to 2.5 billion in the 4th quarter, up 8% over 2018.

Homelessness has been a problem for decades, but the tech era has really caused it to explode…especially in tech heavy areas like the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle. Now, geekwire.com says Washington state lawmakers are considering a regional tax that would rake in $121 million a year from the Seattle area’s largest employers, including Microsoft and Amazon, aimed at easing homelessness. The bill would let King County tax payroll at large companies with employees earning more than $150,000 per year. The funds would be directed to affordable housing, homeless services, behavioral health treatment, and other programs to help the homeless population. It’s unclear after 2018’s head tax fight if the bill will pass, or how much pushback it will generate from Big Tech, but the problem certainly isn’t going away, and this is one possibility for easing it.

We are expecting the successor to the iPhone SE this Spring, as well as updated MacBook Pros and Airs, and iPad Pros. Even with all that in the pipeline, Apple is busy working on extras besides phones and computers to try to get you shouting ‘take my money’ and waving cash in the air. Theverge.com reports that after blowing up the expected AirPower wireless charger in the Fall, Apple will take another swing at a new ‘smaller’ wireless charger. It isn’t known if it will be aimed at charging multiple devices simultaneously like the AirPower, and there are plenty of these out already, but Apple can always count on a certain number of fanboys and girls to buy only stuff with their logo on it…for more money! Also apparently in the pipeline is a set of ‘high end Bluetooth headphones’. These will reportedly be Apple-branded, NOT Beats-branded. With all the success Apple has had with AirPods and the AirPods Pro, it isn’t surprising that Cupertino wants to cash in on over or on-ear headphones, too. Rumors are unclear if they will be noise cancelling models at this point. Also expected…Apple Tag or AirTags…Tile-like bits that use Bluetooth to track easily lost items. I knew a guy who could have really used these…he was constantly misplacing his glasses, wallet, and keys. OTOH, if you also misplace your iPhone, AirTags or Tile won’t do you a heck of a lot of good!

I’m Clark Reid


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