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Facebook has no plans to lift Trump ban, says Sheryl Sandberg – video | Technology



Facebook is cracking down on content using the ‘stop the steal’ phrase behind false election claims as firm’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, says she’s ‘glad’ president was blocked.

Content supporting the movement will be removed from the platform, while posts containing the phrase to either condemn it or discuss the topic neutrally will be allowed to remain.

The policy change is the latest effort to target misinformation and the incitement of violence on Facebook, after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday

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Apple records most profitable quarter ever as sales soar amid pandemic | Apple




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Apple finished 2020 with its most profitable quarter ever as sales of its high end iPhones, tablets and laptops soared amid the pandemic.

The company announced that sales for the three months ending on 26 December 2020 totalled $111.4bn and it had made a profit of $28.7bn, 29% higher than the same period last year.

The holiday period is a crucial time for Apple, accounting for 30% of its sales, and 2020’s bumper quarter was boosted by strong sales of its latest iPhone.

The blowout results, stronger than Wall Street had expected, were fueled in large part by sales of the company’s latest iPhones. iPhone revenues were $65.6bn for the quarter, up 17% year-over-year.

“We’re gratified by the enthusiastic customer response to the unmatched line of cutting-edge products that we delivered across a historic holiday season,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in a statement.

The quarterly report was Apple’s first following the launch of its iPhone 12 mini, the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

But the company performed strongly across the board with its services division, which includes its App Store and licensing deals, delivering revenues of $15.76bn, up 24% year-over-year. Other products’ revenues, including the Apple Watch and home products, were up 29% at $12.97bn and Mac sales were up 21% at $8.68bn.

Cook said that the results could have been even better if not for the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced Apple to temporarily close some of its stores around the world.

“Taking the stores out of the equation, particularly for iPhones and wearables, there’s a drag on sales,” Cook told CNBC.

Apple’s record results followed record results from Microsoft on Monday, which recorded $40bn in sales for the last quarter. Facebook, too, announced better than expected results on Tuesday, with revenues of $28bn for the last quarter.

“Our December quarter business performance was fueled by double-digit growth in each product category, which drove all-time revenue records in each of our geographic segments and an all-time high for our installed base of active devices,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s chief financial officer.

Apple’s shares fell 2% in after-hours trading but have risen 84% over the past 12 months.

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Huawei Q4 smartphone shipments plunge 41% as U.S. sanctions bite




Customers at a Huawei licensed experience store shop for devices on October 30, 2020 in Suzhou, China.

Fred Lee | Getty Images News | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China — Huawei’s smartphone shipments have continued to plunge as a result of U.S. sanctions, sending the once No. 1 vendor in the world tumbling below rivals like Apple.

The Chinese technology giant shipped 33 million smartphones globally in the fourth quarter of 2020, a 41% year-on-year decline, putting its market share at 8%, according to data released by Counterpoint Research on Thursday.

That made Huawei the sixth biggest smartphone maker in the December quarter, behind Chinese rivals like Oppo and Vivo and far behind Apple and Samsung.

Data released Thursday by Canalys showed Huawei shipped 32 million smartphones in the fourth quarter, down nearly 43% from last year. It’s the first time Huawei has slipped out of the top five in six years, Canalys said.

“Huawei dramatically receded in most markets as the result of the US sanctions,” Amber Liu, analyst at Canalys Research, said in a report.

The latest figures mark a sharp fall for Huawei versus the second quarter of 2020 when it was No. 1 in the world by shipments.

For the entire 2020 year, Huawei was the third-largest by smartphone shipments, according to the research firms. Huawei responded to the latest numbers noting its third place position.

“Huawei has always been committed to innovation and devoted to creating more value for consumers with better products. Over the last year, our smartphone business has developed robustly, and tablet, PC and wearable have seen a significant growth. We remain confident about the future,” the company said in a statement.

Huawei’s woes come as Apple shipped 90.1 million phones during the fourth quarter, the largest number ever shipped by any vendor in the history of the smartphones, according to IDC. Apple also posted a record quarter of revenues in China.

Indeed, U.S. sanctions are taking their toll on Huawei’s smartphone business. In 2019, Huawei was put on a U.S. blacklist called the Entity List which restricted American firms from exporting key components and software to the company.

The biggest effect of that was cutting Huawei off from Google’s Android operating system. That’s not a big deal in China where Google services such a Gmail and search are blocked. But in international markets, it has been key to Huawei’s growth as consumers are used to these services.

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Apple (AAPL) had record quarter in China thanks to iPhone upgrades




Customers try out iPhone 12 smartphones at an Apple store on October 23, 2020 in Shanghai, China.

Wang Gang | Visual China Group | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China — Apple raked in its highest ever revenue in the greater China region in the December quarter as a record number of iPhone upgrades helped the U.S. tech giant in one of its most important markets.

Greater China revenue came in at $21.31 billion in the three months ended December 26, up 57% from last year. That was the highest revenue figure for a single quarter in greater China in Apple’s history. Apple also recorded its highest ever quarter for total revenue as it reported fiscal first-quarter earnings on Wednesday.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the performance in China was “more than an iPhone story,” with other products contributing, but noted the company’s flagship smartphone was crucial.

“China also had a record number of upgraders during the quarter, the most we’ve ever seen in a quarter. I think probably some portion of this was that people probably delayed purchasing in the previous quarter as rumors started appearing about an iPhone,” Cook said on the earnings call.

“Keep in mind that 5G in China is, the network is well established. And the overwhelming majority of phones being sold are 5G phones. And so I think there was some level of anticipation for us delivering an iPhone with 5G.”

What was behind iPhone success?

The iPhone 12 range can connect to next-generation 5G mobile networks which are rolling out fast in China. Apple’s competitors already had 5G phones on the market.

The momentum seen in pre-orders appears to have stuck through the December quarter. In October and November, Apple shipped 11.2 million iPhones in China, according to data provided to CNBC by IDC. The final figures for December have not yet been calculated. IDC tracks so-called sell-in numbers which are iPhones Apple ships to distributors in China.

Separate figures from Shanghai-based CINNO Research estimate Apple actually sold 13.57 million iPhones in the October to December period, which would mark the highest single quarter of iPhone sales in China in history.

Apple shipped 90.1 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2020 globally, the largest number ever shipped by any vendor in the history of the smartphones in a single quarter, IDC said. Apple no longer provides iPhone unit sales data.

Will Wong, an analyst at IDC, said two key factors were behind Apple’s success in China — attractive iPhone 12 models and the weakness of Chinese smartphone giant Huawei.

The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro were the most-bought models due to good pricing and features such as screen size, according to Wong.

Meanwhile, Huawei has been hurt by a number of U.S. sanctions that have effectively cut it off from key components like cutting-edge chips, which has opened the door for Apple to take some of its market share.

In China, Huawei and Apple are seen as high-end smartphone players, according to Wong. Huawei has been slowing down supplies of its smartphones to distributors and retailers to make them last longer, Wong said. As a result, these distributors see reduced competition from Huawei.

“The channel partners see the competition to Apple is lesser now and consumers are also likely to shift from Huawei to Apple in China,” Wong said. That has helped Apple increase shipments of its iPhone in China.

Other products ‘above the company average’

Cook also said that Apple’s other products sold well in China.

“We could not have turned in a performance like we did with only iPhone,” the CEO said.

“iPad did extremely well, far beyond the Company average. Mac was about the Company average. Wearables, Home and Accessories was above the Company average. And so if you really look at it, we did really well across the board there.”

Services revenue, which includes money made from the App Store and other products like cloud storage, has become an important part of the Apple story for investors.

In the first few months of each year, Apple usually gets a boost from China because of increased spending by users around Lunar New Year. But in 2020, China went into lockdown in response to the coronavirus outbreak for much of February and March. Now, China generally has the virus under control and in many parts of the country, life is back to normal.

On the earnings call, one analyst asked if the “seasonal bump” may not happen in 2021 due to the prolonged amount of time people spent at home in the previous year.

Luca Maestri, chief financial officer at Apple, said that during the lockdown in China the “propensity for playing games continued for several weeks, more than a typical cycle.”

He said that Apple expects “to have a great (March) quarter in China” but warned the comparison “is going to be particularly challenging because of what happened a year ago.”

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