The Week's Top Stories: Netflix in NY and The Great Earbud Rush

April 19, 2019

From Wall Street to Silicon Valley, these are the top stories that moved markets and had investors, business leaders, and entrepreneurs talking this week on Cheddar.

  • IPO Frenzy: It was a shortened week on Wall Street thanks to the Good Friday holiday, but that didn't stop two tech unicorns from making the most of it. Both Pinterest ($PINS), the social discovery platform, and Zoom ($ZM), the cloud video conferencing service, saw high demand when their IPOs hit the public markets Thursday. Pinterest popped nearly 30 percent from its opening price, valuing the (still unprofitable) company at about $13 billion. Meanwhile Zoom did just that ー rocketing to close up 72 percent, valuing that under-the-radar but profitable firm at nearly $16 billion. See more

  • NETFLIX <3 NYC: Netflix ($NFLX) is coming to the Big Apple. The streaming giant says it will build a new production hub in Brooklyn and expand its Manhattan headcount with 127 new high-paying positions. Netflix, which already produces hit shows like "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and "Orange Is the New Black" in the five boroughs, will spend $100 million on the New York expansion. The announcement came after the company reported earnings that showed its highest quarterly subscriber growth in history. That was tempered by Netflix acknowledging a weaker outlook, as the competitive streaming landscape heats up later this year with entries from Disney ($DIS) and Apple ($AAPL). See more

  • AT&T Backs Out of Hulu: Speaking of streaming, Hulu is buying back AT&T's ($T) stake in its business, which AT&T had acquired through its purchase of Time Warner. Hulu was started in 2007 as a joint venture between some of the biggest media conglomerates and is now majority owned by Disney, leading to speculation that the House of Mouse will buy out Comcast ($CMCSA) and package the service with its other streaming products. Hulu is currently valued at $14 billion. AT&T said it will use the cash from the sale to reduce its debt load. See more

  • The Great Earbud Rush: Apple's hugely popular wireless AirPods are about to get a new competitor. Microsoft ($MSFT) is said to be developing its own earbuds ー codenamed "Morrison" ー to be released as early as this year. The report comes after news that Amazon ($AMZN) is also working on an Alexa-enabled set of wireless headphones and similar products from Samsung, Jabra and Bose. Apple is also prepping a competitor to the AirPods from its own Beats brand ー the PowerBeats Pro hit shelves next month and come with a snugger fit and longer battery life. The "bud rush" could be expected, given that Apple is expected to sell an astonishing 40 million pairs of AirPods this year. See more

  • Amazon Slows Role in China: Amazon seems to be growing just about everywhere, in every way, but there's at least one market where the e-commerce giant is pumping the brakes: China. Amazon says it will shutter its domestic marketplace in the country by the end of July. Chinese customers will still be able to use Amazon to order overseas goods but not for transactions with third-party Chinese merchants. Amazon has struggled to gain a foothold in that space, which is crowded with Chinese conglomerates like Alibaba ($BABA) and JD.com ($JD).

ーby Carlo Versano