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AI Plays a Starring Role in Big Tech Earnings Calls

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Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, and Meta all had quarterly earnings calls in January 2024—and all of those calls had significant AI components.

Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that generative AI features are coming to Apple software “later this year.”

Google talked a big game about AI agents, or autonomous AI systems that can take actions for you.

Microsoft showed solid earnings, and 6 percent of its Azure cloud business growth came from demand for AI services. CEO Satya Nadella also said it’s rolling out “small language models,” which are less costly AI models.

Last but not least, on Meta’s earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg talked about the company’s vision to build full general intelligence—and its commitment to embracing open source AI.

What mattered most from this latest round of AI-driven earnings calls?

On Episode 82 of The Marketing AI Show, I got the answer from Marketing AI Institute founder/CEO Paul Roetzer.

Apple's Mention of AI Is a Big Deal

Apple hasn’t historically used the term “AI” on earnings calls. Until now.

“Tim Cook mentioning AI, and specifically generative AI, is a very big deal for where Apple goes next,” says Roetzer.

The obvious thing here is that Siri has to become truly intelligent, says Roetzer.

We’ll likely have a much better idea what AI plans Apple has in the summer during its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and its fall launch event for new devices.

Google Is Clearly Moving Towards AI Agents

Google’s earnings call points towards the fact we’re moving toward a phase where AI can take actions on our behalf, says Roetzer.

It’s important to note that Google, Apple, Microsoft, and other big tech companies have an advantage here because you already trust them with your data.

AI agents need access to lots of your data, like continuous access to your browser. It can be difficult to trust a random startup. But you already trust Google and might already use Chrome for everything.

“I am far more likely to experiment with a tool or to adopt a tool that's coming from a major technology company that I already trust with my life.

Mentions of AI on Earnings Calls Have Spiked

Overall, mentions of AI on earnings calls have spiked in 2023 and into 2024. That’s a telling signal, says Roetzer.

“The technology companies that power businesses have bet everything on AI.” Sophisticated AI technology is going to be infused into every aspect of society and business.

This presents a huge opportunity for business professionals reading this.

“As a business leader or practitioner, the opportunity for you is to be the one to figure this out. It’s not going anywhere,” says Roetzer.

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