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Tech Stocks This Week: Apple's Acquisition, Twitter's Threads, and More

By Daniel Sparks - Dec 16, 2017 at 2:31PM

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Apple attempts to bolster its music ambitions, Twitter tries to simplify its service, and Fitbit stock gets a sell rating. Here's what investors should know.

Despite being in the middle of earnings seasons, several major headlines in tech surfaced this week. Some of the most interesting news was Apple's (AAPL -1.80%) acquisition of music-discovery service Shazam, Twitter's (TWTR -1.08%) launch of its new threads feature, and one analyst's bearish view for Fitbit (FIT).

Here's a look at each of these stories.

The word, Technology, hovering over computer codes

Image source: Getty Images.

Apple's small but important purchase

Apple kicked off the week on Monday, confirming rumors that it acquired music-discovery service Shazam. The deal was reportedly valued at about $400 million, a significant discount to the service's last funding round that valued the music service at $1 billion.

"We are thrilled that Shazam and its talented team will be joining Apple," the tech giant said in a statement to media on Monday.

Calling Shazam "a natural fit," Apple said Shazam is consistently ranked as one of the most popular iOS apps and has hundreds of millions of users around the world. It's likely the service will be integrated into Apple Music as the company competes with other music services such as Spotify and Pandora.

Twitter's next bet on more characters

Shortly after Twitter doubled the allowed character count in its tweets from 140 to 280, the social network is launching another feature to make it easier for users to express and read longer content.

A woman using a smartphone

Image source: Getty Images.

Limited by character counts, Twitter users sometimes stitch tweets together by replying to their own tweets when trying to express ideas or stories that extend beyond a tweet's character restrictions. But since this method was more of a workaround than an integrated feature for longer posts, Twitter has now created a dedicated product feature to make combining tweets easier. 

Twitter explained how the new product feature works:

We've made it easy to create a thread by adding a plus button in the composer, so you can connect your thoughts and publish your threaded Tweets all at the same time. You can continue adding more Tweets to your published thread at any time with the new "Add another Tweet" button. Additionally, it's now simpler to spot a thread -- we've added an obvious "Show this thread" label.

The announcement of another major new feature to help make Twitter simpler and easier to use bodes well for the company's reinvigorated efforts to appeal to a broader audience and accelerate user growth.

Fitbit's woes

Shares of wearables company Fitbit tanked on Friday, after Stifel Nicolaus analyst Jim Duffy changed his rating for the stock from "hold" to "sell."

"Exiting 2017, innovation has failed to both unlock any meaningful healthcare business opportunities and inspire meaningful new consumer interest in the category," Duffy said (via Tech Trader Daily).

Duffy said he has concerns about the company's ability to achieve profitability as consumer demand in wearables is increasingly moving toward full-featured smartwatches like the Apple Watch instead of more basic fitness trackers.

Fitbit lost $113 million in its most recent quarter, worse than its net profit of $26 million in the year-ago quarter. On an adjusted basis, Fitbit lost $2.8 million, below its adjusted net profit of about $46 million in the year-ago quarter.

Though Duffy changed his rating for the stock from hold to sell, he kept his price target for the stock at $6. After falling nearly 8% Friday, the stock is trading at $6.30.

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Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
$136.72 (-1.80%) $-2.51
Twitter, Inc. Stock Quote
Twitter, Inc.
$37.39 (-1.08%) $0.41
Fitbit, Inc. Stock Quote
Fitbit, Inc.
Pandora Media, Inc. Stock Quote
Pandora Media, Inc.

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