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Alphabet shuts down Makani, its drone-power company.

The subsidiary company had spent more than a decade attempting to use tethered windmill drones to generate electricity.


Makani started in 2006 and was acquired in 2013. At Alphabet, it was developed within the X "moonshot lab" before being spun out as its own company in 2019. By last fall, the company had begun demonstrating its "energy kites" and said it was already planning its first commercial product. Now, Alphabet appears to be trimming some fat: its non-Google companies, lumped together as "Other Bets" in its earnings, lost a combined $4.8 billion in 2019, according to the FT.

Martin Cooper with his original DynaTAC cell phone.

Photo: Ted Soqui/Getty Images

Martin Cooper helped invent one of the most consequential and successful products in history: the cell phone. And almost five decades after he made the first public cell phone call, on a 2-pound brick of a device called the DynaTAC, he's written a book about his career called "Cutting the Cord: The Cell Phone Has Transformed Humanity." In it he tells the story of the cell phone's invention, and looks at how it has changed the world and will continue to do so.

Cooper came on the Source Code Podcast to talk about his time at Motorola, the process of designing the first-ever cell phone, whether today's tech giants are monopolies and why he's bullish on the future of AI.

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David Pierce

David Pierce ( @pierce) is Protocol's editor at large. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.

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