👫 Apple + Google = COVID-19 Tracking Team

Monday, April 13, 2020 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

Android and iOS teaming up for a common win

Last Week’s Market Moves
Dow Jones
23,719 (+12.66%)
S&P 500
2,790 (+12.09%)
8,154 (+10.59%)
$6,907 (+3.07%)
10-Yr US Treasury

Hey Snackers,

In case you were worried that sports networks would run out of exciting competitions, fear not: ESPN will present a 7-hour marathon National Spelling Bee Finals, starting with a real nail-biter from '97 (spoiler: "EUONYM").

Over 16M Americans (or about 1 in 10 working-age citizens) have lost their jobs in just 3 weeks — for context, the US economy added 25M jobs from 2010-2020. But the S&P 500 enjoyed its best week since 1974 on the Fed's new $2.3T stimulus and signs that the virus is peaking. Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed "cautious optimism" that the outbreak is slowing, saying parts of the economy may reopen as soon as May.

1. Historic rivals Apple and Google join their phone-controlling powers

There's no "we" in iOS... But there is an "and" in Android. Google and Apple are teaming up to launch a COVID-19 tracking tool. The new system, which will be intro'd in mid-May, allows iOS and Android users (aka 99% of smartphones) to voluntarily share data through Bluetooth transmissions and health org-approved apps. There's no use of location data — it's based on proximity to other phones (and therefore your close contact with other people):

  • You download an app from a public health authority. The app exchanges anonymous identifier data with other participating phones you've come in contact with. If you report that you tested positive for COVID-19...
  • The app then alerts those phones' owners that they may have been exposed. Then the testing and contact-tracing cycle (ideally) repeats.
  • Eventually Google and Apple will build a functionality where iOS and Android users don't have to download an app, and can just opt in easily.

Red Sox vs Yankees, Pepsi vs Coke, Marvel vs DC... Apple's iOS and Google's Android are historic smartphone operating system rivals — and fans get very heated on their preference. This unlikely partnership speaks to the importance of the tool:

  • Tracking is key to testing and (if necessary) self-quarantining yourself to avoid infecting others. But we don't have a widely-used tracking tool.
  • Apple and Google are the only ones who can launch this on a large-scale in the US (and the world). South Korea and Singapore have used similar (though way more privacy-invading) COVID-19 tracking apps, which has been key to their success in containing the disease.

Setting a precendent... It's rare to see 2 supremely competitive companies unifying brains and biz resources. But Big Tech must come together to fill gaps Big Government can't. To be successful, the system will need to be widely adopted (the whole thing is voluntary). Plus, tests will need to be available for all potentially infected people (but there's still a shortage).

  • It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... toilet paper, Tylenol, and a croissant. Alphabet's Wing is the drone delivery startup created out of Google's X Lab for "save-the-world" projects. As part of an FAA-approved test project, Wing's drones are flying groceries, medicines, and even pastries to early adopters in Christanburg, VA. Now demand for its drone-delivery service has surged dramatically (delivery via sky is very anti-germy), which could accelerate mainstream-ification of this futuristic service.

  • A light at the end of the breadstick basket... Olive Garden's parent Darden Restaurants' sales are down over 60% as 100% of its dining rooms shut. Buuut, Olive Garden's take-out sales have jumped a saucy 142%, while LongHorn Steakhouse's 3X'd. Darden also served up news that it has $1B in doughy cash on hand, and that it's slashing exec pay in half to help it survive this pasta drought. The stock jumped 45% over the week.

  • No such thing as a free lunch... Especially not for Airbnb, whose untimely pad-rental biz got it exiled to Wall Street's (unpopular) "risky" lunch table. No one's booking travel rentals right now, so Airbnb needs cash — sales could fall 54% this year. So it's rasing $1B in debt, but will pay that back at a 10% interest rate. That's a hefty risk premium compared to Airbnb's less corona-challenged tech peers — Slack also raised $$$ via debt, but with a tinier 0.5% interest.

  • Last week, on the Real Housewives of OPEC… Oil prices have been tanking on near-zero travel demand. A month ago, oil took its biggest plunge since 1991 on a reality-show worthy spat between Saudi Arabia and Russia (they both jacked up production and flooded the market with oil). Last week, OPEC (13 countries led by Saudi Arabia) and OPEC+ (not a streaming service — a group of 10 other countries led by Russia) agreed to a big production cut of about 23% to bring prices back up. This all goes to show that companies like Exxon and Chevron, whose oil profits depend on oil prices, have little control over their performance — the OPEC+ gang is in charge.

What else we’re Snackin’
  • Reflect: Lessons in constructive solitude from Thoreau, who retreated to the woods of Walden Pond "to front only the essential facts of life" and find truth in nature.
  • Lead: 3 lessons about leading when people are afraid — real leaders emerge during times of crisis, and may not be ones you expected.
  • Cook: 33 comfortingly delicious recipes to whip up while stuck at home (dreaming of Bolognese pasta).
  • Learn: What's the point of having a diversified portfolio? It's kind of like a balanced diet.
  • Read: The Stoicism starter pack — 3 must-read books on how to maintain mental strength and self-control (especially during times of crisis).

Snacks Daily Podcast

Almost 2 years of hype and $1.75B later, mobile-only streamer Quibi has finally graced the App Store with its "quick bite" episodes.

Quibi snagged 300K downloads on Day 1, and 830K by Day 3. Then, Disney's quarantined PR team — not to be overshadowed — announced that Disney+ has reached a whopping 50M subscribers. Oh, and Disney+ had 10M sign-ups on its launch day in November.

But we can't really compare Quibi with Disney+ — they are completely different streaming species. Tune into our 15-minute pod to learn why.

This Week

Disclosure: Authors of this Snacks own shares of JPMorgan Chase

ID: 1148832

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