This article is an onsite version of our #techFT newsletter. Register here to get the complete newsletter straight to your inbox on weekdays
The Great Hiring is becoming a bigger issue than the great resignation As we emerge from the pandemic, the leading tech companies are building up staff and talent to maintain their dominance.
Alphabet last night reported that it added 6,500 new employees in the fourth quarter, breaking a decade record for additions and 50 percent higher than analysts had expected. It now has 156,500 employees and said last month it would spend $1 billion on it Purchase of a central London office building to give it the capacity to accommodate 10,000 workers in the UK as this encourages a return to desk.
Apple has a new London campus at Battersea Power Station and we report today that Amazon hired 15,000 more UK workers than expected last year as demand for home delivery and digital services boomed during the pandemic. That brought the total number of employees in the UK to 70,000, and Amazon’s global workforce of 1.5 million is about 10 times larger than Alphabet’s.
The search company is increasing investments in cloud servers and data centers, as well as real estate and people. Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat told analysts the company expects a “significant increase in capital expenditure” in 2022.
That won’t bother investors when ad sales, with their core business of search, are booming a jump in sales of 36 percent to $43.3 billion year-on-year in the December quarter. The company’s street punch numbers, along with the Prospect of a 20:1 stock splithave pushed the stock up 8 percent today.
As big tech grows not only in market cap but in people as well, it puts renewed pressure on smaller competitors who are either being robbed of their talent or paying a lot more to acquire it. Apple and Alphabet have both roared this earnings season, and Meta could show its strength after the market close today. But companies like Snap and Pinterest could show margins under pressure on Thursday.
The Internet of (Five) Things
1. PayPal crashes when warned
PayPal shares plunged more than a quarter in early trade Wednesday after the company warned that inflation, supply chain pressures and weaker e-commerce numbers would match the expected growth rate this year.
2. Germany orders Facebook to provide personal data
The Federal Constitutional Court announced this to Facebook it must be revealed the personal data of users who have insulted a prominent Green Party politician, in a ruling that could have far-reaching consequences for social media platforms operating in the country. Politician Renate Künast identified 22 offensive comments on Facebook and asked the company to provide her with the authors’ details so she could sue them. In the meantime, the EU has outlined a more aggressive approach to setting global standards for innovative and green technologies.
#techFT brings you news, commentary and analysis on the big companies, technologies and issues shaping these fastest moving sectors from specialists from around the world. Click here to get #techFT in your inbox.
3. DeepMind does the programming
Google’s UK-based artificial intelligence unit DeepMind has invented an AI tool that can write computer code at a competitive level to solve open-ended problems that require critical thinking, logic and language comprehension. The system known as AlphaCode is a sign of the development of AI and would allow for the automation of computer programming. Elsewhere, Brooke Masters reports on how AI expertise is helping to revive dreams of a Silicon Glen in Edinburgh.
4. Noom’s Room for Big Improvements
Weight loss consultant Noom has 3,000 health coaches worldwide who are assigned to hundreds of clients at a time and are scheduled to respond to messages within 48 hours via the in-app service. Some trainers say they’re overworked, with goals of up to 100 interactions per day. And that’s not the only problem with the service, reports Cristina Criddle.
5. The cruise is open to the public in SanFran
Cruise, General Motors’ driverless car division, is Opening its Robotaxi service to the public in San Francisco, a development that led to an additional $1.35 billion investment from the SoftBank Vision Fund. There are some restrictions: it cannot be charged and it can only operate in one part of the city from 11pm to 5am.
Tech-Tools – the personalized shower from Aqualisa
It looks a lot like a Nest thermostat and there are functional similarities, but the Quartz Touch (£764) is a smart shower device from Aqualisa, a British manufacturer with an earlier history of developing market-leading innovations (they invented the digital shower in 2001). explains Jamie Waters You can change the water pressure with the touch of a button (activate “Eco” mode and it reduces consumption by 33 percent) and if you step away from the water a motion sensor interrupts the flow. Through an app, you can set up profiles for each household member, so every time someone gets in, their preferred shower temperature, pressure and duration are pre-programmed. As a final trick, when installed over a tub, it can bring your bath to a precise height and temperature.
Recommended newsletters for you
#techAsia — Your guide to the billions being made and lost in the world of Asia Tech. Register here
#fintechFT — The latest on the most pressing issues in the technology sector. Register here