Tech News and Analysis from around the web
As it pursues TikTok, a look at how Microsoft laid roots in China in the 1990s and nurtured China's future tech leaders, including ByteDance's Zhang Yiming — The US tech company hopes its connections will help it navigate storm safely — More than two decades of efforts by Microsoft …
Tom Warren / The Verge:
Facebook slams Apple's App Store policies, launches Facebook Gaming on iOS without the app's mini games feature to pass the App Store's strict approval policies — Facebook is not happy with the months of rejections it has faced — Facebook is joining Microsoft in condemning Apple's App Store policies today.
Isobel Asher Hamilton / Business Insider:
TikTok threatens to sue the Trump administration over the EO barring US firms from doing business with ByteDance, saying it was issued without due process — Foto: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images; Clancy Morgan/Business Insider — TikTok has threatened to sue the Trump administration …
Manish Singh / TechCrunch:
Google has partnered with India's state of Maharashtra to offer its education offerings to 23M students and teachers for free — Google has partnered with one of the largest states in India to provide its digital classroom services to tens of millions of students and teachers …
Jon Brodkin / Ars Technica:
DOJ asks court to block California net neutrality law despite FCC's attempt to preempt state laws being overturned in October 2019 — DOJ and ISPs sue Calif. despite court vacating FCC's bid to preempt state laws. — The Trump administration and broadband industry are resuming their fight …
Should Trump's EO ban WeChat from the Chinese App Store, the ramifications would be huge as the app is a communication and transaction cornerstone — - U.S. companies from Apple to Walmart rely on Tencent's WeChat — Banning WeChat, the world's most-used messaging app …
James Vincent / The Verge:
Over the past year, scientists have renamed 27 human genes because Microsoft's Excel misread their names as dates and changed the formatting — Sometimes it's easier to rewrite genetics than update Excel — There are tens of thousands of genes in the human genome: minuscule twists of DNA …
Intercontinental Exchange has agreed to buy mortgage software company Ellie Mae for $11B from Thoma Bravo, which acquired it last year at a $3.7B valuation — Acquisition of Ellie Mae for $11bn moves NYSE-owner deeper into home loan technology — New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange …
Russell Brandom / The Verge:
Trump signs an executive order to block all transactions with ByteDance and Tencent starting Sept. 20, just 5 days after Microsoft's deadline to acquire TikTok — Microsoft is currently in talks to acquire the company — President Trump has signed a new executive order …
Maggie Miller / The Hill:
The Senate passed legislation to ban TikTok on federal devices, two weeks after the House passed a similar measure and following bans by the Army and TSA — The Senate on Thursday unanimously passed legislation to ban the use of social media app TikTok on federal devices, weeks after the House approved a similar measure.
Stephanie Condon / ZDNet:
T-Mobile reports total Q2 revenue of $17.7B, up 30.5% YoY, adding 1.25M customers to reach 98.3M total, claims to be the second largest US wireless provider — After finalizing its merger with Sprint in the second quarter and posting solid customer growth, T-Mobile says it has officially surpassed AT&T in the wireless market.
Dan Goodin / Ars Technica:
Researcher says security vulnerabilities in satellite-based Internet services, some known for over ten years, are threatening the safety of ships and planes — Attacks that worked 10 years ago have only gotten worse despite growing use. — More than a decade has passed since researchers …
Lauren Feiner / CNBC:
Analysis of hundreds of pages of documents from Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google released by the House antitrust committee and what they reveal — - Following last week's grilling of the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google parent company Alphabet, the House Judiciary Committee released …
Michael Tobin / Bloomberg:
Dropbox reports Q2 revenue of $467.4M, up 16% YoY, paying users up 1.4M YoY to 15M, as CFO Ajay Vashee plans to step down in September — Dropbox Inc. reported revenue that beat analysts' estimates, benefiting from increased demand for cloud software amid a shift to working from home due to the coronavirus.
Nick Statt / The Verge:
Apple confirms cloud gaming services like xCloud and Stadia violate App Store guidelines and will not work on iOS, as Apple cannot review each game offered — New cloud gaming services from Google and Microsoft won't work on iOS — Cloud gaming is shaping up to have a big moment …
I started a thread on Twitter yesterday, one more time practically begging news orgs to support what I call an EZ-Pass for News. Not much response, but a handful of people did give the usual response, the one The Atlantic and other pubs want to hear -- that they bought a subscription to show support for journalism. I don't think this helps journalism, it just gives them false hope that there is a future for viewing journalism as a cause rather than as a product.
If journalism is to thrive, the paywalls have to go away. It's the wrong user experience. It forces a question at a time when it's virtually impossible that the user is going to buy your pitch. Much better to get the money incrementally, then when someone is spending too much per month, upsell them a subscription as a way of saving money.
The TV world is about to discover this. All of a sudden there are a dozen different Netflix-alikes. There isn't room for that many, yet more are coming. They're going to have to find a way of doing an EZ-Pass.
I don't want to repeat all I've written here before. It's really very simple. If I use a freeway here in the eastern US, I don't have to stop to pay a toll. I just drive through what used to be a toll plaza, and an electronic device reads the chip behind my rear-view mirror, and deducts the money from my account, which it replenishes from credit card as-needed. Not that there was ever a whole lot of pain associated with this, but it's nice that the transaction is smoother now.
News needs that much more than freeways do. The world has changed, it isn't the 80s, the last time it made sense to buy news via subscription, and even then you could buy a single issue without entering into a long-term relationship with the pub. It's all been unbundled, and like it or not news orgs are competing on a somewhat level playing field. The Atlantic is doing well, I observed, at making me want to read their articles. But not enough to get me to subscribe. As I've said before, I don't even like subscribing to the pubs I subscribe to now, and I consider them essential, but I consider the deal they offer a ripoff, that some of that money should go to almost-equally deserving pubs. The Atlantic is good enough to serve as an example for why the paywall doesn't work for readers. And they were visionary enough and entrepreneurial enough to join up with Scroll. So in some part they buy into the paywall-less version of news.
They aren't correctly analyzing the opening school situation on CNN. A couple of points.
- We understand very little about the virus. Can't be sure it doesn't affect young kids. It might just manifest itself in different not obvious ways, and it might not manifest immediately.
- Opening schools is like opening a gas station in the middle of a wild fire. Adding more virus-infected people, regardless of their age, in an out of control virus fire is as stupid as it gets.
We have to think in terms of the big picture and not just short-term, and with humility. The president is an idiot, but that doesn't mean we have to be too.
Heard Jim Clyburn on the BBC Newshour on WNYC this morning. He correctly said we're desperately trying to get rid of Mussolini right now. That really is the only thing. Anything that takes us off the path to getting rid of Trump decreases the odds that it'll happen.
We need the biggest landslide win this time. It needs to include every possible voter of either party. A black man decided that. And he was right.
You always have to think about what you're trying to accomplish in the big picture before going into the weeds. Do I really care, right now, whether X is the VP choice. Not if you want to live in a relatively free America, one that responds to the challenges we face, instead of trying to paper them over with lies and bluster.
It's Mussolini or a second chance for America. That's what's on the ballot in November.
Clubhouse is a new social network that seems to be gaining traction. I just got an invite a couple of days ago from Francine Hardaway. I had been aware of it before, but wasn't very interested, but I should have been.
These are just some first-day newbie impressions.
I'm @davew on Clubhouse.
First, what it is.
- It's audio only. No text, no images, no video.
- There are users. You can follow them, they can follow you. As far as I can tell it's very close to Twitter's model.
- Any user can start a room. Other people can join the room. There's a stage. At least one person is on stage, the person who started the room by default is that person. Other people can be added by the founder, by dragging their icon onto the stage.
- People on stage can speak without permission. People in the audience can raise their hand, and must be granted permission to speak. I imagine that if someone becomes abusive, or veers off-topic, they can be silenced by the moderator.
- When you're a newbie you have a special icon so people can see that you're new. It's a little emoji party hat. I've been told people are nice to newbies, that's part of the developing culture.
- The rooms have a Leave Quietly button at the bottom. I like that. It suggests you don't have to give a big speech before you leave.
What it's good at.
- It may evolve into a celebrity performance platform as Instagram has.
- It's a kind of podcast. I like it. I hope they support open feed formats, but I suspect this is a silo, not a publishing platform. Something to beware of.
- I was also bummed to realize I couldn't incorporate this into my apps. Again, VC-backed means this probably won't change.
- I tuned into a chat about cancel culture at first. Does it exist or doesn't it. Heh. As a meta-thing, it clearly does exist. You're talking about it right now. I didn't say this of course, though I was tempted to. I was pretty sure if I did I would get grief.
- I saw a comment by longtime friend Michael Gartenberg. He has a good speaking voice. I love radio btw. It's my second favorite medium. I wanted to chime in, to expand on what he said, but I also saw he wasn't the founder of the channel, so I opted not to. He was talking about how these platforms might involve if rich individuals started them as pet projects. Thinking of Benioff and Time, or Omidyar and the Intercept, Bezos and the Washington Post. Also the cautionary tale of Thiel and Gawker. He basically bought Gawker with a lawsuit, then destroyed it. I wanted to add it could be even worse, there are a fair number of super-rich individuals who could buy Twitter. Its stock is cheap. How that would rock our world.
- I had a one-to-one chat with Gartenberg, and it quickly started to feel private, even though it was public. It was liking riding in a chair lift with a friend while skiing.
- I could see it being used for running commentary on a sports event. Hosting a roundtable discussion about a popular TV show, as they do on Salon and Slate. Anywhere a podcast might include more than one person. Election returns on November 3.
- Also why not use it in place of Zoom. I don't need to see your face while you talk. :-)
- I noted that Tiffany Haddish is already there. I followed her. There's a schedule of upcoming events. Think of it as a radio station or a venue like an arena or stadium. I'm sure that's what their business plan calls for. And also probably proprietary rights for all of it, i.e. no competition allowed unless you have good lawyers.
- Back in the 90s my friend Sylvia had a series of Cybersalons, open discussions for random Silicon Valley people. It was funny how every discussion very quickly became How Do Artists Get Paid? It was the only issue that ever got discussed. At BloggerCon, a few years later, the question was How Do Bloggers Make Money? I'm guessing something similar will happen here. But what will the subject be. It'll have something to do with people getting paid, probably.
- I started a thread where you can correct any mistakes I've made, or important insights you'd like to share.
- Event calendar.
- A room I can join.
- Inside a big room.