The future of TV is really expensive
Image: 1516 / Protocol
Good morning! This Thursday, the future of TV keeps getting more expensive, tech's favorite email app is getting an update, and the Elon-Kanye photo you'll see everywhere.
Some housekeeping: We'll be off tomorrow, but back on Sunday with our weekend edition.
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At the end of Zoom's 90-day security sprint, CEO Eric Yuan said there's still work to do:
Google was planning to reopen its offices next week, but security chief Chris Rackow explained why that's not happening until September:
As Q2 comes to a close, Elon Musk sent a very proud (and very short) note to Tesla staff:
Here, in one very long sentence, is how the last several years of the TV industry has gone. Everyone thought their cable was too expensive and they were paying for channels they didn't use, some tech companies realized they could offer fewer channels for less money, lots of people signed up, then those people realized they actually missed a few of their old channels and that DVR is a cool invention, and so to accommodate those needs tech companies began offering cable-company features … at cable-company prices. Whew!
Let's just call this what it is: cable! Sure, the apps are better and it's easier to cancel than by calling Comcast and waiting on hold for six and a half months, but this is just cable TV. Because it turns out, for all the tech companies' wherewithal and leverage, they couldn't break the way the TV business works.
I don't think it'll be like this forever. But with a glut of new streaming services changing the way things are made, bought and sold, anything that feels familiar to a studio or network takes on extra appeal. And with fewer customers paying for live TV across the board, companies are looking to squeeze more out of every last consumer that remains.
People keep asking Rahul Vohra when he's going to change his business. His company, the ultra-powerful email tool Superhuman, still manually onboards every customer, still costs $30 a month, and still has a waiting list hundreds of thousands of people long. And with Hey, Apple and others bringing email back to the front of the tech conversation, you could imagine Vohra deciding to open the gates a little more. But he's not doing it.
The business has changed in one way over the last few months, though: Vohra said one of Superhuman's key growth drivers has always been "people seeing it over someone's shoulders," and that's just not happening right now.
As for the product itself, Vohra said he's thinking about lots of things. Superhuman's working on Office 365 support, for one: "It's the biggest drop-off reason in our signup funnel," he said. "Someone comes to us, and all their friends are talking about Superhuman, and then they can't use it because they're on Office 365. So that time's finally come." That's coming soon, along with an Android app and an improved iPad app.
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The antitrust hits just keep coming. This time, Reuters reported that the U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority is particularly interested in the billions of dollars that Google pays Apple every year to be the default search engine in Safari.
The CMA's report is long, thorough, and totally unsparing. But it kind of boils down to this: "Google and Facebook have such entrenched market power as a result of these self-reinforcing entry barriers, that we have concluded that the CMA's current tools, which allow us to enforce against individual practices and concerns, are not sufficient to protect competition."
The report's recommendations go beyond fines and slaps on the wrist. The CMA wants to require Google to open up its search data to competitors, and to force Facebook to work with other social platforms. (Maybe we'll get Instagram embeds back on Twitter!)
Chris Parnell is taking a "senior programming role" at Apple TV, after being co-president of Sony Pictures Television. He's rejoining old colleagues Jamie Ehrlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who used to run Sony Pictures Television and now run Apple TV.
Match Group added four directors to its board: Melissa Brenner, an exec at the NBA; Stephen Bailey, the CEO of ExecOnline; Wendi Murdoch; and Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool himself.
John Swieringa is the new head of Boost Mobile, which is now officially part of Dish. He'll try and build out a new major carrier, which was part of the plan when Sprint and T-Mobile were allowed to merge.
Pinduoduo founder Colin Zheng Huang is stepping back: He's no longer CEO of the ecommerce giant, and has sold around $14 billion worth of his shares. Former CTO Chen Lei is the new CEO.
Two senior Zoox engineers have left for Waymo, The Information reports. James Philbin and Marc Wimmershoff left Zoox a few days after it was acquired by Amazon.
Every once in a while, you see a photo on the internet and you're like, "Oh, I'm going to see 400,000 memes made out of this photo." Yesterday Kanye West tweeted precisely one of those photos: West with Elon Musk, two rad dads with cool sneakers, captured by Grimes. And then came the memes. And the investigations into the statue in the background. And the body-switching. Someday, when our great-grandchildren ask about when Twitter was actually good, I hope we show them this thread.
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Today's Source Code was written by David Pierce, with help from Shakeel Hashim. Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to email@example.com, or our tips line, firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy your holiday, see you Sunday!