With some of the biggest shopping days of the year now in the rearview mirror, here's a look back at the biggest headlines in tech during Thanksgiving week. Namely, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) unveiled some steep discounts on its website as it aims to keep up its breakneck growth, and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise's (NYSE:HPE) CEO is preparing to step down after a very successful tenure at the company's helm.
Here's what investors should know about each of these stories
Amazon's big deals
Throughout last week, Amazon steeply discounted some of its most popular Alexa-enabled smart speakers, Kindle e-readers, and Fire tablets. Some of the most notable sales included a $29.99 Echo Dot ($20 off), $79.99 for the newest version of its Echo ($20 off), and $99.99 for its Fire 10 tablet ($50 off).
On Friday, Amazon announced its Cyber Monday deals, which Amazon said would begin on Monday. But Amazon noted that select deals would be available early for customers shopping with its Alexa voice assistant. While Cyber Monday extends many of the deals seen throughout Thanksgiving week and on Black Friday weekend, it introduces some notable new deals, including a $179.99 Echo Show ($50 off) and a 40% discount on a Kindle Unlimited membership.
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of shopping holidays to Amazon's business. As Amazon said in its press release on Friday, last year Amazon had a record-breaking Cyber Monday, selling 740 items per second. Further, on Cyber Monday last year, Amazon Echo device sales were more than 7 times higher than sales on Cyber Monday in 2015.
Amazon guided for monstrous growth in its fourth-quarter sales, suggesting management expected a wildly successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping holidays. Management said it expected fourth-quarter revenue to rise between 28% and 38% year over year, to between $56 billion and $60.5 billion. In Amazon's fourth quarter of 2016, revenue didn't rise nearly this sharply; net sales during the period climbed 22% year over year to $43.7 billion. Also worth noting, the high end of this guidance range would mark a significant acceleration in Amazon's recent revenue growth; third-quarter revenue was up 34% year over year.
Hewlett-Packard Enterprise's CEO prepares to step down
Confirming The Wall Street Journal's report in September that HPE's accomplished CEO Meg Whitman began to make plans to step down from her leadership role from the company, Whitman announced last week that she is officially planning to step down early next year.
Whitman will be replaced by Antonio Neri, the current president of HPE, effective Feb. 1.
in a company SEC filing filed Tuesday, Whitman commented on her plans to hand over the reins:
I'm incredibly proud of all we've accomplished since I joined HP in 2011. Today, Hewlett-Packard moves forward as four industry-leading companies that are each well positioned to win in their respective markets. Now is the right time for Antonio and a new generation of leaders to take the reins of HPE. I have tremendous confidence that they will continue to build a great company that will thrive well into the future.
HPE has significantly outperformed popular market indices since it spun off from its personal computing and printer operations units on Nov. 2, 2015. At the time of HPE's press release last week, total shareholder return since the birth of HPE stock in 2015 was 89% -- over three times what the S&P 500 has appreciated in this same period.