Walmart Adding Robot Assisted Fulfillment Centers; Google Opens Pixel & Nest Hub in Taiwan; Microsoft Profit up 33%; Apple Logs Best Quarter Ever in IndiaPosted: January 27, 2021
Walmart has announced an increase in the number of robot-assisted fulfillment centers. According to theverge.com, the new centers will either be built within or adjacent to existing Walmart retail locations, and will employ wheeled robots they have dubbed Alphabots pick items from the shelves and prepare orders placed online. Walmart did a pilot with a warehouse in New Hampshire in 2019. If you are wondering about humans, they will still be the ones picking fresh meat and produce, in addition to larger items. Walmart is trialing new tech, though….including an automated curbside pickup feature, which will allow buyers or delivery drivers to drive up to a specific location, scan a code, grab their order, and go, all without leaving their vehicles.
Google has opened a new hardware engineering hub in Taiwan for Pixel, Chromecast, and Nest teams. 9to5google.com reports that Google’s workforce there has grown 10 times in the last 5 years, and is now operating out of 6 different locations. The new hub will be at New Taipei City. As more places go green, this hardware office joins a Taiwan data center that’s powered by a solar farm and Google Cloud region for third-party developers/services.
Microsoft got a 17% bump in revenue for the December quarter, with profits moving up 33%. Geekwire.com says a lot of the growth was powered by growing demand for their cloud service, as has been true of cloud services in general. Microsoft saw a 50% increase in revenue for its Azure cloud computing platform and related services. The largest division by revenue is what they now call More Personal Computing, which includes Windows and Xbox…Redmond saw a 14% gain there. LinkedIn was up 23%, while Surface revenue only increased by about 3%.
Apple had a 100% increase year over year in India, shipping 1.5 million iPhones there 4th quarter (as of the end of 2020.) According to techcrunch.com, they saw improved sales of older generation models like the iPhone 11 and XR. The 12 and new SE were also good sellers for Cupertino there. For the year, Apple moved 3.2 million iPhones in India, which was a 60% increase from the previous year. Apple just launched an online store in India in 2020, and saw a lot of the increase after that.