Daily Column – 28th April 2022

Mark Zuckerberg delivered a gaffe of historic proportions during Meta’s earnings call in February: The company’s stock experienced the greatest one-day wipeout on Wall Street after revealing its first ever fall in daily users.

Meta just had to clear a limbo stick seven feet in the air this time, and she passed. When the company announced that it had returned to user growth last quarter, shares jumped more than 18% after hours.

Even still, there are a lot of potholes on the way to the metaverse. Meta’s revenue climbed only 7% last quarter as it shifted its attention to virtual worlds, the weakest sales rise in its ten years as a public business. And, if its pessimistic forecast comes true, revenue might completely stagnate in the second quarter.

Given Meta’s plight and the general decline in tech equities, it’s worth pondering:

Is the FAANG era coming to an end?

For years, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google were grouped together as a collection of fast-growing Big Tech behemoths with boundless potential. Streaming, health, and fitness—they’d eventually take over everything. When the epidemic struck, their stock values skyrocketed, owing to the idea that we would spend even more time in front of screens.

However, tastes change, opponents emerge, and the band disbands after a world-beating run. Now, each member must confront the enormous task of establishing a solitary career in a world marked by growing inflation, the Ukraine conflict, and Covid’s ongoing disruptions.

Facebook is struggling, but it isn’t the only one:

Netflix’s stock has dropped over 70% this year after the company appears to have reached a saturation point in terms of user growth. It was once worth more than Disney, but now it isn’t even half as valuable.

“Ways to make more money” is a Google search term. YouTube’s parent company, Alphabet, acknowledged a slowdown in growth last quarter as a result of TikTok and Apple’s privacy restrictions, as well as Facebook’s: The video platform’s revenue fell short of estimates by more than $500 million.

But for every Louis Tomlinson, there’s a Harry Styles: because to its success in the B2B sector, Microsoft, which wasn’t even in FAANG to begin with (but should have been), is playing sold-out gigs. After a 4.8 percent rise yesterday, its stock is only down 15% for the year, which, although not great, is better than every other FAANG business save Apple.

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