3 new things in tech: Facebook goes Meta, chip shortages cost Apple, and Nike takes on virtual goods

1. Breaking down Facebook’s Meta rebrand

Facebook announced last week that it is rebranding to Meta to better serve its future as a hardware and VR and AR platform—setting the foundation for its metaverse.

Why this matters: Facebook was built as a web-first social networking product and evolved into a source for news, messaging, ecommerce, and online advertising. It remains the most popular social media platform, with 2.8 billion active users, despite mounting criticism on how it operates its business. 

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2. Apple revenue up 29%, but chip shortages cost the company big money

Apple failed to beat earnings expectations for the first time since 2016, a result of a $6 billion loss attributed to the effects of the chip shortage. It also lost its standing as the most valuable company, as Microsoft took over the top spot.

By the numbers:

  • Apple’s revenue increased 29% YoY with $83.4 billion revenue for the July–September period, a new record high for the period.
  • Revenues fell behind Wall Street’s expectations of $84.85 billion for the quarter.
  • Net profit for the company reached $20.6 billion, up 47.5% YoY from the $12.6 billion in net profit tracked in Q4 2020.

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3. Nike preps to enter the metaverse with investments in digital goods

Nike filed four requests to the US Patent and Trademark Office last week to trademark “downloadable virtual goods” under the Nike and Jordan brands, including shoes and apparel, according to Bloomberg.

What this means: Brands are beginning to take virtual goods more seriously—not just as experimental marketing tools but also as potential revenue streams.

There are already signs of demand for digital goods:

  • In May, Gucci brought digital versions of its bags and shoes to Roblox, which users could purchase for their avatar to wear. It sold its bags for a nominal fee of 475 Robux (about $6).
  • The limited release made them highly desirable among Roblox players. On the resale market, one player paid 350,000 Robux (about $4,115) for a digital bag—more than $800 over what the real-life version sells for.

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