The upside-down delivery app world
Image: Alex Muravev
Good morning! This Thursday, Grubhub finds a buyer that isn't Uber, a TikTok clone flies too close to the sun, and Amazon takes a (small) stand on facial recognition.
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Too many people tweet before they read, Twitter's Kayvon Beykpour said, so the company's testing a way to fix it:
Marc Benioff would like to dampen your hopes for office life going forward:
In the post-COVID world, consumers will care more about sustainability than ever, Forerunner Ventures' Kirsten Green said:
$7.3 billion. That's how much Grubhub was valued at by Just Eat Takeaway.com (which we'll just call JET because, honestly, that name) when it announced its plan to acquire the company yesterday. That means Uber's attempt at the acquisition was officially nixed, reportedly over antitrust concerns — and squabbling over said antitrust concerns. Grubhub skirts a regulatory headache by instead merging with JET, which doesn't yet have a foothold stateside.
The deal makes sense for another reason too, as Protocol's Shakeel Hashim writes:
Even in saner times, the restaurant business is tough – and the delivery-app business model may be even tougher. And these are definitely not sane times. Let's just run a few numbers:
And let's not forget that delivery has been a money pit for … everyone so far:
Best-case scenario? Delivery services are making life harder for restaurants. Worst-case, they're driving the restaurants – and themselves – straight out of business. But at least customers get to pay delivery and service fees that turn a $19 pizza into a $42 pizza!
OK, it's officially a trend. First it was IBM, the Democrats and Boston. And now AWS has put a one-year moratorium on providing its Rekognition facial-recognition software to law enforcement.
Amazon's a huge player in the facial-recognition business. (Unlike, say, IBM.) Rekognition is popular with police forces across the country, Protocol's Emily Birnbaum and Issie Lapowsky write — even Amazon doesn't know how many PDs use it.
I don't think Amazon will be the last company to make a move like this. But in case you're wondering if facial recognition's days are over? Clearview AI would like a word:
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.
TikTok is officially establishing its place on the Mount Olympus of social media — but you knew that already. (Personally, I've gotten really into Gardening TikTok, which is both oddly calming and the only reason any of my plants are still alive.) Anyway, with such power comes … copycats.
Zynn looked like it had a chance. It's another big video platform, funded by another deep-pocketed Chinese company, Kuaishou. And it had one clever trick: paying users to watch videos. It rode that idea all the way to the top of the App Store … and then crashed out of it.
Josh Hawley, the Senate's unofficial Guy With Thoughts About Apps, wrote a letter to the FTC calling Zynn's business model "a textbook predatory-pricing scheme, one calculated to attain immediate market dominance for Zynn by driving competitors out of the market."
That's how much a group of U.S. lawmakers want to spend on bringing semiconductor manufacturing to the United States. The CHIPS for America Act (the backronym is strong with this one) includes grant programs for new facilities, tax credits for equipment purchases, increased funding for R&D and more. The number is big but not surprising: The Trump administration has made clear that it thinks the U.S. chip industry must catch up with China, Taiwan, Korea and elsewhere, and sees the situation as a national security issue.
True crime is the genre of the moment. The Netflix docs! The podcasts! The … cartoon games from the maker of Angry Birds? Sure. Rovio's new game, Small Town Murders, takes place in a town called Thornton Grove, and kicks off with a dead body and a plucky protagonist out to solve the crime. To solve the grisly mystery, you have to … do a bunch of Candy Crush-style puzzles. Look, it sounds dumb, but I downloaded the game an hour ago and had to tear myself away to come write this. Rovio might be onto something.
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