Does Pixel beat iPhone? Sort of. 

While Alphabet's (GOOGL - Get Report) Pixel phone may have seen very impressive activation numbers, the overall volume did not surpass Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) iPhone 7 volume over the Black Friday to Cyber Monday stretch. 

The Google Pixel saw activations climb a whopping 112% compared to the previous four weekends, according to Localytics. Meanwhile, the iPhone 7 saw activation growth of just 13%. 

There's a lot at play here, though. One could argue the iPhone was introduced earlier this year (September) while the Pixel came out in October. Since the iPhone has been out longer, consumers have had more time to purchase and activate their device. 

But that excuse seems somewhat thin given that the period between Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw such record spending amounts. We don't really know what caused the different activation rates. What we do know is that last year the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus saw activation rates of 36% and 29%, respectively, far more than what we're seeing this year. 

Does this bode poorly for Apple? Perhaps. Maybe the quarter will still be decent, but will consumers pass on the iPhone 7 in anticipation of the 10-year anniversary iPhone 8 next September? Investors hope that isn't the case, but the activation numbers don't look great.

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Further, analysts at Morgan Stanley earlier this week estimated that Google will sell 3 million Pixels in the fourth quarter, good for about $2 billion in sales. $2 billion would be big for Google, which is expected to generate about $25 billion in the quarter.

But for which company?

Shares of Alphabet closed at $775.88 Wednesday, down 1.7%


Running out of room for your data? I am on my MacBook Air, but I don't think Amazon's (AMZN - Get Report) solution is for me. 

Meet Amazon's AWS Snowmobile, a semi truck that pulls a container storing up to 100 petabytes of data. Whoa! I'm not sure which is more impressive, the truck-data concept or the overwhelmingly large amount of data it can hold. 

In any regard, Amazon is offering the service for companies that have an immense amount of data they want uploaded to the cloud. In a nutshell, here's how it works: The truck pulls up to the location, where it attaches directly to the data center as it transfers information at speeds of 1 terabyte per second. After about 10 days, the truck will be full and it will head back to Amazon where it will upload that content for the cloud. 

The vehicle  comes with escorts and security, because moving this much data can be a security risk. 

So next time you see a tractor-trailer humming down the highway, it might be carrying digital cargo. 

Shares of Amazon closed at $750.57 Wednesday, down 1.6%. 


Sticking with Amazon, the company has seen immense success with its Echo product. The device is powered by artificial intelligence and has led to booming sales, especially following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

The Echo is doing great but Amazon is not stopping there. The company is also taking AI, an emerging technology in itself, and merging it with the cloud. 

The company's Amazon Web Services division has kicked out far stronger growth than many investors expected in just a few years, with profits giving a boost to the company's overall bottom line. 

From Bloomberg:

"Amazon's new AI services will let customers create applications hosted on Amazon Web Services that understand what's displayed in photos and what users are saying."

AI is sort of a quiet technology, in that it's not making a whole lot of noise outside of the tech community. It's sort of like what the cloud was before it gained so much traction in both the corporate world along with individual users and consumers. 

Will AI end up being the same? Many think it will. 

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.