Sony’s future of gaming looks like … a router
Good morning! This Friday, the EU prepares to file antitrust action against Amazon, Sony reveals the PlayStation 5, and OpenAI has a new chatbot to play with.
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YouTube launched a $100 million fund for Black creators, and Susan Wojcicki said she knows the platform has work to do:
On Protocol: Quarantine-related viewer numbers might go back down, Amazon's Marc Whitten said, but one trend will continue:
Sarah Friar tried to lay out a plan for making Nextdoor a more hospitable place:
Snap won't release its diversity numbers, and Evan Spiegel has a deeply weird reason:
Antitrust action is the greatest boogeyman in tech – always discussed, often threatened, rarely spotted, but permanently terrifying. Now the EU may be about to let the monster emerge from under the bed again.
The EU could file formal antitrust charges against Amazon as early as next week, The Wall Street Journal reported. The charges are said to be focused primarily on Amazon's treatment of third-party sellers, rather than AWS or its Whole Foods acquisition or any of the other potential antitrust angles that have been discussed.
Recent history would suggest that Amazon will pay a giant fine and move on with its life — even Google's $5 billion antitrust fine from the EU in 2018 over Android amounted to little more than a slightly painful slap on the wrist.
This should be particularly concerning to Apple and Google, both of which also have a checkered history with third-party sellers. If the EU's antitrust approach is to separate sellers from stores, Apple and Google could both be in for similar treatment.
Joe Biden's campaign is escalating its battle with Facebook, Protocol's Emily Birnbaum tells me:
The Biden campaign is asking Facebook to do three things:
Facebook already does the first two things, Emily points out, "just not to Biden's liking." More analysis from Emily:
Meanwhile, Facebook quickly responded to the letter. It's pretty saucy!
Protocol's Transformation of Work Summit
How can tech help identify and match in-demand skills with job opportunity? Speakers include Future of Work Caucus co-chairs Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Representative Bryan Steil (R-WI), CEO of Jobs for the Future Maria Flynn, and CEO of Colorado State University Global Dr. Becky Takeda-Tinker. Presented by Workday.
After much delay, Sony finally took the covers off the PlayStation 5. In a livestream I watched with several million of my closest friends (remind me why companies do live events again?), Sony's Jim Ryan called the PS5 "the biggest generational transition our industry has yet seen," before unveiling the gaming trailer to end all gaming trailers.
We also got good looks at the controller — with its speaker, microphone, and (thank goodness) a built-in mute button — and finally, finally at the console itself.
It turns out the console is sort of a Rorschach test: Everybody sees something else in its swoopy design. It could be a Shanghai skyscraper. A 2003 router. A plastic box (hard to argue with that one). Your favorite popped-collar prepster. The Wii's mean older brother. I could keep going, but personally, all I see is the Eye of Sauron.
Maxine Williams, Facebook's Chief Diversity Officer, will now report directly to COO Sheryl Sandberg. Sandberg said that the move is part of the company "putting Diversity & Inclusion at the heart of our management team discussions and processes — at the heart of all we do." (If you haven't read our Q&A with Williams from a few weeks ago, now's a good time to.)
Audrey Gelman resigned from her CEO role at The Wing, and will be replaced by a three-person group: Lauren Kassan, Celestine Maddy and Ashley Peterson.
Jim Keller, Intel's top chip designer, resigned "for personal reasons." He'll continue consulting for the company for six months. Intel also re-organized its engineering team as part of the change.
If there's one thing we know about chatbots, it's that they always turn out super well and not racist or rude or problematic. Wait. So it's kind of bold of OpenAI, the organization hoping to build super-smart machines that don't want to take over the world, to make a language product its first commercial system. It's just called API, and after being trained on trillions of words from Wikipedia, books, and the internet at large, it can write news, answer questions, finish your sentences, and more. Google's using it, Microsoft's using it, and I'm assuming in about three weeks it'll be writing this newsletter. Hopefully I have a PS5 by then.
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