The Microsoft logo in place of the Hollywood sign.
Photoillustration: Unsplash; Protocol

Microsoft goes to Hollywood

Source Code

Good morning! Netflix and Microsoft yesterday announced a new partnership. Was this what Microsoft needed to cement its place in the world of streaming?

Lights, camera, ad partnerships

Netflix and Microsoft announced yesterday that they are teaming up to launch the streamer’s ad-supported subscription plan. It’s the biggest entertainment deal that Microsoft has scored so far.

Microsoft will be Netflix's global ad tech and sales partner, the companies said.

  • Few details of the partnership and the ad-supported tier have been released, and Netflix COO Greg Peters said it’s in “very early days.” Netflix said it will utilize Microsoft’s “strong privacy protections” in the partnership.
  • “Microsoft has the proven ability to support all our advertising needs as we together build a new ad-supported offering,” Peters said in a statement.
  • Netflix also considered Google and Comcast for the deal. But unlike those companies, Microsoft doesn’t compete with Netflix in the streaming wars.

Microsoft has been bolstering its ad game. It struck a deal to buy TV ad tech specialist Xandr from AT&T in December, and its ad revenue broke $10 billion last year. Netflix partnering with a company with a strong ad business could give the streamer the edge it needs while building its ad-supported tier amid weakening subscribership.

Microsoft has long been trying to cement its place in entertainment, positioning itself as the cloud provider for media with partnerships like Universal and Warner Bros. But its partnership with Netflix is the most prestigious it’s made in the space so far. Linking up with Netflix could be the foot in the door it needs to push further into the world of Hollywood.

— Nat Rubio-Licht

Twitter's parallel battles with Elon

Twitter is about to wage a court battle against Elon Musk. But much of that battle is likely to play out on Twitter itself. In some ways, it already is.

Twitter has become the platform, the subject, the object and the evidence in its fight against Musk, Protocol Policy editor Kate Cox pointed out.

  • Musk has shitposted his way through the deal. In case you haven’t been paying attention to his Twitter account, he posted a photo of Chuck Norris playing chess and captioned it “Chuckmate.” He’s also responded to people commenting on the lawsuit.
  • So the company basically has two battles at hand: the lawsuit in the Delaware Court of Chancery and the back-and-forth between Musk and Twitter on its own platform.

This brawl would have stuck to the courtroom if Musk wasn’t so public. But his tweets are relevant to the lawsuit, and now they’re showing up in Twitter’s complaint.

  • Twitter cited Musk’s tweet saying “Love Me Tender” when explaining the board’s concern about Musk making a hostile tender offer without notice back in April. Twitter referenced Musk’s tweet of a poop emoji as evidence of a disparaging remark, among other tweets.
  • Musk’s not allowed to make tweets that disparage the company. That was part of the original deal, and Twitter pointed it out in its lawsuit.

Kate told me that nasty tweets don’t usually matter in a merger case. “But thanks to Musk’s history, all the shitposting isn’t just relevant to the case; it is the case,” she said.

— Sarah Roach

When the bubbles burst

As the old saying goes: If we don’t learn from our history, we are doomed to repeat it. In this Protocol Pipeline event, hosted by Biz Carson on July 19 at 10 a.m. PDT, we will be joined by a panel of VCs who expertly navigated the 2001 and 2008 crashes to talk about the downturn around the corner.

They will share lessons on how to shift strategies when the market changes, what emerging VCs should focus on in order to survive and when it is — and isn’t — time to make that next big bet. Joining Biz on the panel are Beezer Clarkson, partner at Sapphire Partners; Geoff Yang, founding partner and managing director at Redpoint Ventures; and Matt Murphy, partner at Menlo Ventures.

RSVP here.

Why a fertility app moved to Google Cloud post-Roe

Following the leaked SCOTUS opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, fertility app Proov knew that it had to do something to better protect the data of its users. “Things that were safe before aren’t safe anymore,” Amy Beckley, founder and CEO of Proov, told Protocol Enterprise reporter Kate Kaye.

Fearing law enforcement subpoenas for its fertility data, Proov switched to Google Cloud from AWS. Location was the biggest factor in this move.

  • Google provides one pivotal option for data storage that AWS does not: storage in Nevada, where the governor issued an executive order ensuring safe access to abortions, as well as Oregon and California. Meanwhile, AWS only offers cloud storage in Oregon and California.
  • “If a company houses data in an abortion-restricted state, that state could use the company's presence and in-state data storage facility to present an argument that the company should be compelled to turn over any data in response to a lawful subpoena or court order regarding suspected abortions,” Bethany Corbin, senior counsel at Nixon Gwilt Law, told Kate.

The move, however, doesn't provide absolute protection. Doing business in a state where abortion is banned, or serving people who’ve gotten an abortion in one of those states, can make a company vulnerable to subpoenas, Corbin said.

The best solution for companies is minimizing the data they collect overall, Corbin told Kate. But to protect the data they do collect, more companies handling reproductive health data, not just health apps, will likely begin to rethink how their data is stored.

Read the whole story here.

— Nat Rubio-Licht

A MESSAGE FROM GOOGLE PLAY

Google Play has helped developers earn over $120 billion. Google Play supports developers in over 190 markets around the world, helping them conduct transactions in a variety of payment methods, including gift cards, credit cards, direct carrier billing integrations and other digital payment services.

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People are talking

Bill Gates thinks the world can come back from the war in Ukraine and the pandemic:

  • “These setbacks are happening in the context of two decades’ worth of historic progress.”

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Congress needs to water down the CHIPS act and pass it:

  • "There's a real time urgency there, because these chip companies are making their decisions right now about where to expand."

Making moves

Unity merged with ironSource, an app monetization software maker, valuing ironSource at $4.4 billion.

Mark Simms is Twilio’s new CTO. Simms last worked for Microsoft Azure.

Sandy Hogan is SADA’s first CRO. Hogan most recently led VMware’s partner ecosystem and commercial business.

Lynn Girotto and Ashraf Alkarmi joined Vimeo as CMO and chief product officer, respectively. Girotto comes from Heap, and Alkarmi was the GM of Amazon's Freevee.

Simon Khalaf is Marqeta’s new CPO. And he has a message for Silicon Valley: "Get a grip."

Marcy Campbell joined Code Climate’s board. Campbell is Boomi’s CRO.

Michael Barr is the Federal Reserve's new vice chair for supervision. Barr was a Treasury Department official under Obama and served as an adviser to Ripple.

Jeff Schmidt is GoSecure’s new CTO. He was previously the company’s VP of cyber and trustworthiness.

Andrej Karpathy, director of Tesla’s Autopilot business, is leaving the company. The move follows the company scaling back its Autopilot team.

In other news

Boris Johnson's resignation is delaying the Online Safety Bill. It probably won't get air time in parliament until the next PM takes over, and its success will depend on who that is.

Celsius filed for bankruptcy last night. Six state regulators have also started investigating the crypto lender.

Uber is being sued by more than 500 female passengers over sexual misconduct allegations against drivers on the platform, with claims dating back to 2014.

LGBTQ+ users contend with unsafe policies on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Twitter, a GLAAD report found. None of the platforms scored higher than 50% against the organization's safety benchmarks.

Europe is the best place to work remotely, NordLayer found. The top three nations are Germany, Denmark and the U.S., in that order.

The FTC slid on the “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” list. It's now sitting at No. 22 — a potential stumbling block for Lina Khan's tech agenda.

A federal judge has ordered the SEC to release documents in its court battle with Ripple, calling the agency’s refusal to do so “hypocrisy.”

Your data point of the day: Union activity is skyrocketing, with filings for union elections up 56% this fiscal year compared to 2021.

How deep is your emoji love?

Slack would be a scarier place without emojis. According to a survey by Slack and Duolingo, more than half of employees think using emojis helps them communicate more effectively, and workers are more likely to use emojis when messaging with their co-workers compared to their bosses. That’s not necessarily surprising (how would we all thank our colleagues without 🙏?) but it shows how emojis are shaping workplace conversations.

A MESSAGE FROM GOOGLE PLAY

Google Play helps developers take payments safely and securely in over 170 countries around the world. Google Play makes it easy for users to choose the payment option most convenient for them, and gives them peace of mind that the transaction is secure.

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