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Recode Daily: Why Amazon’s rivals should be terrified

Plus, five hidden trends in U.S. business travel and expense habits; America’s oldest candy factory shuts down; and “restaurant playlister” is now a job.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
Albert L. Ortega / Getty Images

Amazon’s $52.9 billion of second-quarter revenue came in a tad below what Wall Street analysts expected — and that doesn’t matter whatsoever. That’s because the massive online retailer once again posted its largest quarterly profit in history — $2.5 billion for the quarter — on the back of two businesses that were afterthoughts just a few years ago: Amazon Web Services, its cloud computing unit, as well as its fast-growing advertising business. An Amazon that is posting growing profits from its non-core business should be a very scary realization for rivals. [Jason Del Rey / Recode]

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Twitter reports its second-quarter earnings today. And as we learned from Facebook’s disastrous earnings report, spending to clean up a mess can be expensive. Twitter hasn’t talked much about the financial cost of its own cleanup efforts — it’s banning more “fake” accounts than ever before, almost 10 million per week — and that is probably coming at the cost of user growth. (It’s also in a defensive crouch this week, having to explain that it isn’t “shadow banning” Republicans.) Facebook has been vocal that its efforts around abuse and security will cut into profits. Will the same happen at Twitter? [Kurt Wagner / Recode]

In its second-ever earnings report, Spotify said it now has 83 million paid subscribers, up eight million over its first earnings quarter as a public company. A lot of that growth has come via its Family Plan program, and Spotify notes that people signing up for it tend to stick around longer than individual subscribers. It’s still not actually making a profit, however; operating and net losses can be chalked up, in part, to biannual marketing campaigns that increased revenue, but lowered profits. And Spotify is still burdened with heavy royalty payment to artists and labels. [Steve Dent / Engadget]

Here are five hidden trends in corporate America’s travel and expense habits, discovered in data from online travel and expense software companies. More companies are letting employees choose their preferred airlines and hotels, includes lodging and travel disruptors like Airbnb and Uber. Employees are spending more on food — at Starbucks, the most-expensed food vendor; on average, employees spent $13.21 per visit to Starbucks in 2017, up nearly 40 percent since 2013. [Rani Molla / Recode]

Slack is buying rival workplace chat services as it faces increasing competition from Microsoft. The company will pay a “nominal” amount to Atlassian for the assets of Hipchat and Stride; Atlassian will also become a Slack shareholder. [Dina Bass and Ellen Huet / Bloomberg]

The Necco wafer factory abruptly shut down after America’s oldest candy company was sold to an unknown buyer. The company also made Sky Bars and Sweethearts, and the brands were sold to another national confection manufacturer by Round Hill Investments, owned by billionaire C. Dean Metropolous, who bought Necco out of bankruptcy in May for $17.3 million. The sale is not a surprise: “Necco wafers have been around since before the Civil War — and plenty of detractors would argue they taste like it, too,” the Wall Street Journal wrote in April. [Eli Rosenberg / The Washington Post]

Top stories from Recode

Facebook has acquired Redkix to build better messaging features into its Slack competitor.

The email startup is joining Workplace, the social network’s enterprise offering.

WeWork has closed a $500 million funding round for its China subsidiary.

The co-working company widens its already gigantic funding lead in the domestic and foreign market.

If you can quit social media, but don’t, then you’re part of the problem, Jaron Lanier says.

On this week’s episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, Kara Swisher talks with Lanier, a VR pioneer and longtime technology critic about his new book, “10 Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now.”

This is cool

Annoyed by restaurant playlists, a master musician made one of his own.

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