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The Biggest Risks to Big Tech's Continued Dominance

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® and Jason Hall - Apr 19, 2021 at 8:11AM

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There are a few downsides to know about some of the largest tech stocks.

There are plenty of reasons to invest in big tech stocks like Facebook (META -0.76%)Apple (AAPL 1.62%) and the other mega-cap names. But it's also important to recognize that there are always valid reasons for and against making any investment. In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on April 8, contributors Matt Frankel, CFP, and Jason Hall, along with chief growth officer Anand Chokkavelu, discuss some of the bearish arguments against the big tech stocks. 

Anand Chokkavelu: Say something bad. [laughs] Let's say the worst thing we can say about each of these in a bear case or just competitively. Let's stipulate that each has potential issues with privacy concerns and also with monopoly, regulatory risk. I don't want to get into that discussion for half an hour. Let's start with Facebook. Either of you have the worst thing we could say about Facebook?

Matt Frankel: It's controversial.

Jason Hall: I can go a little worse than that. It's undermining the framework of cordial debate.

Chokkavelu: Right. To both of those points, I know we're all on Twitter and funny talking about Twitter on Facebook. But anytime say anything about Facebook, there's definitely a list of; I don't want to call them trolls because they bring up reasonable points about Facebook. That's fair. I'd also say that even though they are so entrenched in each of their different social medias, I mean where would Facebook be without the Instagram acquisition. The next social media things, things like, TikTok and stuff. There is risk there. How about Apple?

Frankel: I would say that Apple is out of the five the closest to saturating its market, as far as being the most mature of the five.

Hall: This ties into it. As much as this services growth, is really impressive and as much as we talked about this super-cycle for 5G phones, I still think too much of its revenue, even its service revenue is concentrated through the iPhone. I just think there's some limitations to that in terms of how long Apple can be a wonderful company.

Chokkavelu: Right on, and I remember thinking Apple was too big at $300 million and it's a seven bagger from there. That's it, next one is Amazon (AMZN 3.15%).

Frankel: I was the guy who called Amazon expensive at $200 a share a long time ago. Take this a grain of salt. But I think Amazon is going to have a ton of margin pressure in its core business over the next decade or so.

Hall: Yeah, they are anti-competitive. They decide they want to go after a certain business and they will burn everybody else down to get into that business.

Chokkavelu: They are definitely more or like the Netflix, not as shiny and happy in terms of competitiveness, how about Microsoft (MSFT 1.07%)?

Frankel: I don't have too much negative to say about Microsoft. Kind of like what I said about Apple, I feel like it's a very mature business. How much bigger could Windows get? How much bigger could Office get? How much more adoption could the Xbox get? I just think they're a very mature business and growth potential is somewhat limited.

Hall: I would say there's almost a zero-sum aspect to the growth. Because I think that there's massive growth potential on their cloud business, I think that as they shift more and more of their software users over to software as a service, I think there's great growth there. But a lot of that growth is at the cost of still some of their legacy business.

Chokkavelu: I'll also say, I'm not sure there's as much love for the Microsoft products and services as some of the others. Like an Apple, and though it's ubiquitous -- I love my iPhone. Things like Amazon; love having the package arrive the next day, and that kind of thing. Google for all of its -- we probably take the search for granted. But it's there and it works well, and few people complain about Google search, I think. At least normal folks. I guess the last one is Alphabet (GOOGL -0.21%) (GOOG -0.27%), speaking of Google.

Frankel: I think the advertising market is changing a lot more than people give it credit for. Their No. 1 revenue source is still advertising. A lot of new ways that are going to attract a lot of advertising dollars, say streaming video for example, are something that Alphabet is not benefiting from and that could steal some of their advertising dollars going forward.

Hall: It's becoming, less and less the only search ecosystem. I think maybe that's the worst thing I can say about it. That's not really a terrible thing.

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Stocks Mentioned

Meta Platforms, Inc. Stock Quote
Meta Platforms, Inc.
$160.03 (-0.76%) $-1.22
Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
$138.93 (1.62%) $2.21
Microsoft Corporation Stock Quote
Microsoft Corporation
$259.58 (1.07%) $2.75
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$2,174.75 (-0.21%) $-4.51, Inc. Stock Quote, Inc.
$109.56 (3.15%) $3.35
Netflix, Inc. Stock Quote
Netflix, Inc.
$179.95 (2.90%) $5.08
Twitter, Inc. Stock Quote
Twitter, Inc.
$38.23 (2.25%) $0.84
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$2,181.62 (-0.27%) $-5.83

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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