The pandemic is spurring interest in robotics and other automation technologies. This is true even for some that previously have struggled to gain traction. The best example is Amazon’s cloud-based call center service, Connect.
Connect uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology behind the company’s Alexa digital assistant.
Companies whose call centers are in the Philippines have been shut down. The Philippines have implemented quarantines. As a result, the call centers have deluged Amazon with inquiries. Scott Phoenix, CEO of Vicarious, a maker of software for robots, put it this way, ‘The world was already heading to robotics but this is just accelerating it.’
Apple’s has Taiwan based contract manufacturers specifically, Wistron and Foxconn. They are suspending production in India. The step is necessary due to the sudden nationwide coronavirus lockdown according to Bloomberg.
Fortunately for Apple, India hasn’t become a major manufacturing hub for the iPhone maker. Most iPhone exports come from China. Most of the iPhones made in India are for the local market.
Delivery times on Amazon.com have extended as far as the end of June. Think about that… They are saying it is what they are doing, at least for items that aren’t deemed essential. This is a result of Amazon prioritizing “essential” items. Is this understandable? And what is essential? Essential to who?
Notably, the delays don’t appear to exist for Amazon’s own hardware. It is not true for the Echo line of voice-activated speakers. It is not true for its Kindle e-readers. Presumably, Amazon believes those items should be essential for its customers.
The Wall Street Journal reported seed-stage funding has shrunk 22% globally since January. Their report cites an analysis by CB Insights, a market intelligence company.
And on Wall Street, we saw some unusual trading activity on Wednesday. The direction of tech stocks parted company with the rest of the market. It may be because Wednesday’s action was influenced by the $2 trillion government stimulus. The stimulus package isn’t likely to directly affect most cash-rich tech companies. And according to the Wall Street Journal, venture-backed startups also won’t qualify.
Who’s Up: Tesla +6.8%, Workday +2.5%, Disney +2.66%, Zoom +2%,
Who’s Down: Facebook -3%, Alphabet -2.8%, Amazon -2.8%, Netflix -4%, Spotify -4%, Salesforce -4.3%, Pinterest -1.5%
So, what’s up and what’s not in this market is important. It tells us where the strength is perceived to be. This is increasingly important as unemployment ramps up. It seems unemployment claims this week are going to be up by about 3,000,000.