December 3, 2021
Good morning! This Friday, a company rebrand is rarely just a name change, the FTC wants to stop Nvidia’s Arm deal, and the most popular emoji this year is a real tearjerker (sorry!).
Everyone’s changing names! Google became Alphabet, Facebook turned into Meta and Square will soon be Block. The question is why. Changing a company’s name is hard and annoying. Alphabet happened six years ago, and people still don’t like it!
But if anyone’s earned a new name, it’s Square. The company just outgrew its old name.
Block represents Square’s new reality. The company has grown far from its roots as a white plastic card reader.
But didn’t another big tech company just announce a new name? It’s easy to read Square’s move as a response to, or ripoff of, Facebook’s very recent Meta rebrand. The company even acknowledged as much: “Not to get all meta on you … “ (A bit defensively, it followed up by saying the change had been in the works for a year.)
Forget everything you’ve read about why companies rebrand, though. As with so much in Silicon Valley, the real audience for Block is Square’s current and future employees.
Names don’t fix businesses. Glomming together AOL Time Warner didn’t create synergies; we’ll see if Warner Bros. Discovery is any different. After running through a couple of different owners and names, Yahoo is now Yahoo again, which is something of a relief. And then there was HNG/InterNorth. In 1986, it changed its name to signal its ambitions to be more than an energy company. The result: Enron.
The year in enterprise tech
Protocol's Tom Krazit will hold a panel discussion at 10 a.m. PT on Wednesday with enterprise tech executives and experts to recap the biggest developments at AWS re:Invent 2021 and preview the trends and events that will shape 2022.
Comcast’s powerful networkkeeps people connected. Since 2017, Comcast has invested more than $15 billion to continue to grow its smart, reliable network. As the technology advances, this network will become even more resilient, faster and more secure.
HPE’s Antonio Neri said facing the chip crisis will be hard, but there’s an end in sight:
Timnit Gebru wants to bring AI “back down to earth” with a new AI research center:
Elizabeth Holmes showed up with friends in court, but attorney Alan Tuerkheimer said to be careful with that move:
Elon Musk had some thoughts about what age you should be to run for political office:
Amy Ard and Martin Tracey joined Tonal as CFO and chief people officer, respectively. Ard last worked at Proterra, and Tracey most recently worked in HR at Google.
DiDi is de-listing from the New York Stock Exchange. The company plans to move its shares to Hong Kong after a long battle with Chinese regulators.
Elaine Paul is Lyft’s new CFO. Paul most recently worked as CFO and VP of finance for Amazon Studios.
Sarah Acton is the new CMO at Bill.com. She’s held roles at Athos, LinkedIn and Yahoo.
Leon Panetta is joining the Center for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue as an adviser. The former secretary of defense and CIA director also serves on the boards of directors for Oracle and Blue Shield of California.
Google delayed its return to the office. Instead of heading back on Jan. 10, the company is waiting until the new year to figure out when it’s best to go back.
A few advocacy groups launched “Designed with Kids in Mind,” a campaign that pushes for a U.S. design code that protects kids from online harm.
Grab began trading yesterday. The SoftBank-backed ride company is the biggest firm yet to go public via a SPAC.
Meta’s cross-check system is open for public comment. The company’s Oversight Board is asking the public to weigh in on its process for reviewing posts by well-known users until mid-January.
The FTC is suing to stop Nvidia’s Arm deal. The commission says the acquisition would give the company too much control and limit competition in areas like data networking and advanced driver assistance systems.
Companies are scrambling to work around new ad-tracking rules. They’re using newsletters, sweepstakes, quizzes and other strategies to continue collecting user data as tech giants like Apple change privacy rules, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Apple’s frontline workers don’t feel like they’re being heard, The Verge reported. Employees said they struggle to relay concerns about work or pay, and algorithms or systems are often the only tools keeping tabs on them.
Don’t miss this investigation into “magic dirt,” the nickname for a product that got hugely popular online among those seeking alternative medicine. Subgroups like anti-vaxxers loved the product, but another side of the internet saw plenty of issues.
Some gig workers could be considered employees under a new EU proposal, Bloomberg reported. The plan would classify workers serving a digital platform as an employee, even if their contract says otherwise.
The tears of joy emoji (😂) was the most popular this year, according to the Unicode Consortium. It was the most popular emoji in 2019 (the last time data was released), too, which means that according to this measure, not much has changed since 2019. 🤔
No, it’s not Spotify Wrapped, but it’s almost as fun. Apple released its top apps and games of 2021 yesterday, highlighting everything from a longtime kid’s game to a popular weather app. Here are some highlights:
In the last 10 years, Comcast has invested $30 Billion – and $15 billion since 2017 alone – to grow and evolve America’s largest gig-speed broadband network, building more route miles and running fiber deeper to customers’ homes to help millions of people stay connected when they need it most.
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