June 10, 2022
Good morning! The economic downturn is hurting most tech companies, and now Meta is rethinking its product strategy. Also: How the surge in mass shootings has raised the question of whether it's bad optics for Big Tech not to take a stand. Thanks for joining us this Friday; let’s get to it.
A series of new reports suggest that Meta is making some big decisions about its future. Is there trouble in the metaverse, or is the company simply sharpening its focus during turbulent times?
Meta is curtailing its ambitious AR plans in a bid to cut costs in its Reality Labs division, according to The Information. The company had a series of augmented reality glasses in the works, but is reportedly changing the release timeline.
Portal is going away — for consumers. Meta confirmed to Protocol that its video-calling smart display will be repositioned as a device for businesses in an effort to boost hybrid work efforts.
A long-rumored smartwatch has reportedly been canceled. Honestly, that might be a good thing?
It makes sense to sharpen strategy amid all this market turbulence. With slowing revenue growth at Meta, this looks like a company playing things a little safer. The metaverse is unproven, after all, and with devices like AR glasses Meta is going up against Apple, as well as potentially Google and Amazon. Meta is staking its future on some of this technology, and it will want to stick the landing.— Caitlin McGarry (email | twitter)
In the wake of a mass shooting, tech companies are scrutinized. Social platforms are criticized for their lack of action detecting or taking down a shooter’s content, before or after a massacre; companies that do business with the NRA face protests. We’re seeing that play out again now.
Salesforce employees have been pressing the company to end its relationship with the NRA, and execs finally gave an answer.
Other tech companies are also under fire. In addition to the pushback Salesforce has seen, Apple, Roku, Amazon and others have been called on to stop streaming the NRA on their respective platforms. Those companies haven’t publicly responded to those demands or the recent massacres in general.
Does tech have a responsibility to take a stand on every national issue? Companies have weighed in on political debates before, but it's often when issues directly affect their employees.
Right now, Congress is moving painfully slow on major gun control reform. In the absence of federal legislation, tech companies are left to police themselves — they just risk a trial in the court of public opinion if they do nothing.— Sarah Roach (email | twitter)
Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) is a team that investigates threat actors and combats cyber crime to help keep everyone safe online, including high-risk users, by increasing protections based on attacker techniques and through regular updates to the security community.
Janet Yellen doesn’t think a recession is imminent, but she does know who Cardi B is:
The Chamber of Commerce thinks a bipartisan privacy bill is "unworkable":
Notion bought Cron, a calendar app that uses keyboard shortcuts to schedule events, for an undisclosed amount.
Erin Zipes is 1Password’s first chief legal officer. Zipes was Shopify’s associate general counsel and corporate secretary.
Disney fired Peter Rice, sources told The New York Times. Rice was the company's top TV content exec who has widely been considered an heir apparent to Disney CEO Bob Chapek, but was ousted due to an “ill fit” with company culture.
Mark Hawkins joined Cloudflare’s board. Hawkins is a former president and CFO emeritus of Salesforce and has worked at HP, Dell and Autodesk.
Dennis Cinelli is leaving Uber for Scale AI. He was head of Uber’s U.S and Canada rides business.
Apple and Google run "an effective duopoly on mobile ecosystems," the CMA said in a new report. The U.K. antitrust regulator now plans to investigate Apple and Google’s market power in mobile browsers and Apple’s App Store constraints on cloud gaming.
Big tech advocacy groups dropped $36 million on ads opposing antitrust legislation that would prevent major tech companies from favoring their own products.
Grubhub is attracting interest from buyers, including Apollo Global Management, Bloomberg reported.
LinkedIn added a bunch of tools for creators, including the ability to host an audio event and automatically gain followers from a connection request.
The U.S. is expanding its investigation into Tesla following a dozen collisions involving first-responder vehicles. The probe has been widened to cover 830,000 Model Y, X, S and 3 vehicles.
Meta finally ditched its FB ticker symbol, but investors are still unsure about the prospects of the metaverse, with related stocks having tumbled recently.
The SEC is investigating Terraform Labs for its marketing of the TerraUSD stablecoin prior to the crash. The agency is also looking into whether the company broke any securities and investment products rules.
Microsoft is putting Xbox games on smart TVs. Subscribers to Xbox's cloud-gaming service will be able to play over 100 titles on some new Samsung sets.
The Biden Administration proposed charging network standards that states must follow to get some of the $7.5 billion allocated to EV charging in the infrastructure bill.
A stolen Bored Ape has been reunited with its owner. In a dramatic conclusion to an internet mystery, actor Seth Green paid nearly $300,000 to reclaim his NFT from a buyer known only as “Mr Cheese” after it was stolen by a hacker. The theft presented an interesting conundrum: Fred Simian, as the Bored Ape is called, was set to star in Green’s upcoming animated series “White Horse Tavern.” If Green had been unable to reclaim the NFT, the show may not have been able to proceed. Fortunately, Fred Simian’s talents will be coming soon to a TV near you. The intricacies of NFT IP law may have to wait.
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