Alphabet has spun off two of its “moonshot” projects

Alphabet’s experimental X lab has spun off two of its best-known “moonshot” projects into freestanding business units — a sign that their days as technology prototypes are over, even if they may be a long way from proving themselves as sustainable businesses. Loon, whose balloons deliver internet service from the stratosphere, and Wing, a drone delivery service, will take their place alongside three previous spinouts from X, none of which is producing significant revenues yet. The new Loon and Wing businesses take the number of what Alphabet calls its “other bets” — its operations beyond the core Google unit — to 10. These accounted for only $150 million of revenue in the latest quarter, or 0.5 per cent of Alphabet’s total. Almost all of that came from a US internet access and TV service that has been through severe retrenchment as Alphabet searches for a new technology and business approach. The tech holding company this year stopped disclosing losses from these businesses, which had been running at about $3.5 billion annually… Wing, which began in 2012, operates a test service delivering food and non-prescription medicines to homes in a suburban area outside Canberra in Australia. Its drones fly up to 80 miles an hour, then hover in place while packages are winched down to landing spots said to be the size of a doorstep. It is also developing a drone traffic management system.
 
Richard Waters

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