AR all the things
Image: My Name Is Yanick / Protocol
Good morning! This Wednesday, Microsoft goes even bigger on AR, a cautionary tale about life in Apple's ecosystem, and what tech can learn from Glitch's union.
This year's Microsoft Ignite conference has not been short on new stuff. End-to-end encryption for Teams! Authenticated news! Machine learning dev kits! New coding languages!
AR was the hottest topic, though. And the biggest announcement was Mesh, the company's new cross-platform developer toolkit that you might start to see popping up on headsets everywhere, Protocol's Janko Roettgers writes.
A new headset might also be coming soon with consumers in mind — though nobody at Microsoft would quite come out and say it. "We think [AR] is the future of computing," Microsoft's Greg Sullivan said. "And implicit in that statement is, yeah, a consumer thing."
Voice and text might be the bigger near-term deal for Microsoft, though, as Protocol | Enterprise's Tom Krazit writes. Azure Communication Services is being made available to everyone, which will make it easier to put all kinds of audio, video and text customer chat into apps. It's sort of built into Teams, and sort of not? Either way it gives Microsoft an answer to Twilio, which could be a big thing, and quickly.
This week's wildest story started with Dustin Curtis having a simple issue with his Apple Card, and ended with Apple basically shutting down his life.
The short version of this walled garden horror story: Curtis changed his bank account number, which caused his Apple Card autopay to fail. After only a few days past due on a payment, Apple effectively shut his accounts down everywhere.
The story is catnip for Apple critics, or anyone looking for a handy example of what happens when one company owns too much of our digital lives.
Apple's power is currently under scrutiny: The laws being debated in Arizona and elsewhere are ostensibly about App Store commissions but are ultimately about control. If you can't stop the iPhone from being popular, the more important question seems to be: How can you make sure Apple doesn't use that popularity to harm users?
Anna Kramer writes: Glitch software engineers have a union contract. A few years ago, if you'd asked anyone in the industry whether a tech union would be real and running in 2021, they would have laughed you out of the room.
This union fight was really more like a friendly conversation. It started about a year ago, when Glitch workers told the company they would be forming a union, and the company was happy to let it happen, according to Keith Hogarty, an organizer for CWA Local 1101, who was present at the bargaining table for the Glitch contract.
More CWA-affiliated tech unions are coming. Hogarty alone — and he just represents one CWA local — said he's working with workers at one tech company who are about to go public with their election process, and another tech union that's currently in the middle of collective bargaining negotiations.
In an interview with Tom Lantzsch, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Internet of Things Group (IoT) at Intel Corp., Lantzach shares his take on edge computing: There are more innovations to come — and technology leaders should think equally about data and the algorithms as critical differentiators.
In Protocol | Fintech: Klarna just raised another $1 billion, but U.S. head David Sykes said being a full-fledged bank isn't yet the plan:
New York Attorney General Letitia James called cryptocurrencies "high-risk, unstable investments":
Beware unfounded hype in the autonomous vehicle world, said Luminar's Austin Russell:
Infineon CEO Reinhard Ploss said the auto industry needs to rethink its inventory management practices:
The Facebook Oversight Board wants to make more than just individual content decisions, Alan Rusbridger told U.K. lawmakers:
Kathryn Guarini is IBM's new CIO, taking over the role from Fletcher Previn. She's been at IBM for more than two decades.
Ali Kashani is the new CEO of Serve Robotics, which is the new name for Uber's newly spun-out Postmates robot team.
Tim Willis is Aeva's new supply chain and manufacturing VP. He previously had the same job at Waymo, and worked at Apple before that.
Instacart is now a $39 billion company, after raising another $265 million. That's the company's fourth big raise in a year, and the valuation has just about tripled in 12 months.
Epic bought Mediatonic, the developer of last year's hit game Fall Guys. It should mean bigger ambitions for the game, and yet another place for Epic to explore the metaverse.
Jack Ma is now just the second-richest person in China. Zhong Shanshan, the CEO of bottled water company Nongfu Spring, has officially grabbed the top title.
Hands-down the most unintentionally depressing sentence I've read this week: "With the Fisher-Price My Home Office set, your preschooler is the boss of their own workstation at home, the local coffee shop, or the moon." It costs $24.99, comes with a laptop, a coffee cup, an iPhone-ish phone, a headset and a lifetime of guilt as you realize this is what your kids associate with being a grownup. The most helpful review on the site? Username: Readabookplayoutside. Stars: One. Review: "Our society is doomed."
In an interview with Tom Lantzsch, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Internet of Things Group (IoT) at Intel Corp., Lantzach shares his take on edge computing: There are more innovations to come – and technology leaders should think equally about data and the algorithms as critical differentiators.
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Today's Source Code was written by David Pierce, with help from Anna Kramer and Shakeel Hashim. Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or our tips line, email@example.com. Enjoy your day; see you tomorrow.