It has been a rollercoaster this past week in terms of what tech giants have been up to and Clicked is here to break it down and make sense of it all. Alphabet is now the latest tech giant to join the four comma club. Other tech giants that have hit the $1 trillion market cap include Apple, Microsoft($1.27 trillion) and Amazon(current valuation – $931 billion). Investors like Sundar Pichai who was the CEO of Google and now heads them both.
According to a recent SEC filing, Pichai will receive $2 million in salary per year, but he’s poised to earn much more — at least $150 million — if the company hits certain performance targets this year, next year and in 2022. It is interesting that Alphabet took nearly two years to rise from a company with an $800 billion market cap to a $900 billion market cap and then took several months to jump to $1 trillion.
This week in tech giants
Microsoft made new commitments to address climate change. The initiative is to not only be carbon neutral but also carbon negative with commitments to continue driving the creation and advancement of technology solutions that minimize the company’s environmental and social impact. Microsoft plans to become carbon negative by 2030, remove their historical carbon emissions by 2050 and launch a $1B climate innovation fund.
Congrats to @Microsoft for setting a bold & ambitious goal, not just to eliminate its global carbon footprint—but to get to carbon negative by 2030 & invest $1B in getting others to do the same.#ClimateChange is an existential threat. It requires all-hands-on-deck. https://t.co/l2TUXMd9sf
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) January 16, 2020
The world’s third largest company goes carbon negative. Kudos to Microsoft. https://t.co/k8WjCfnApu
— Patrick Collison (@patrickc) January 16, 2020
Other tech companies doing the same include Stripe and Shopify.
.@Microsoft's new commitment to 100% renewable electricity for its own operations by 2025 with an additional goal to halve supply chain emissions by the end of this decade demonstrates that it understands climate science & the shrinking window for action. https://t.co/QQwfnwj8H0
— Greenpeace USA (@greenpeaceusa) January 16, 2020
great recruiting tactic to hire Amazon employees concerned about the environment https://t.co/aqUZFVlnEJ
— kif (@kifleswing) January 16, 2020
This announcement though welcome had critics share their opinions too.
Microsoft employees fought to stop the company's incoherent and harmful political giving last summer, and got Microsoft to fire the head of their PAC and suspend political giving, but Microsoft resumed making political donations in October.
— Pinboard (@Pinboard) January 16, 2020
Yet Microsoft forces quite content Windows 7 users to switch to no better Windows 10 and, in the process, render perfectly good working printers and scanners to landfill. What price environment @Microsoft ?https://t.co/TQpPewhf9u
— Nick at EOR (@EarlyOakR) January 16, 2020
While @BillGates is usually an honest broker on the costs of lowering CO2 emissions, @Microsoft’s pledge to be “100% renewable” is energy accounting fraud. Here’s an explanation of how this kind of fraud works. https://t.co/KKE6JU29lC https://t.co/8nTqdT4QJR
— Alex Epstein (@AlexEpstein) January 18, 2020
Interesting Read: The Truth About Apple’s ‘100% Renewable’ Energy Usage
On Monday this week, the United States attorney general went in front of reporters on Monday and pushed Apple to break open two locked iPhones that belonged to a dead terrorist – remember in 2016, the FBI had a high profile clash with Apple over a different dead gunman’s phone.
The fact that Barr aggressively restarted this fight apparently without a real awareness of the battles over encryption in 2015-2016 … does not inspire confidence https://t.co/FZAE08gUAo
— Quinta "Pro Quo" Jurecic (@qjurecic) January 17, 2020
On Tuesday, Donald Trump criticized Apple for refusing to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements. The tweet was in reference to a locked iPhone that belonged to a Saudi airman who killed three U.S sailors in an attack on a Florida base in December.
The question for FBI officials is always whether a public spat with a major technology company is "worth the cost in terms of time, effort and damage to the FBI’s relationship with the tech sector," said former FBI general counsel Jim Baker https://t.co/9AFPtodmHr
— Dustin Volz (@dnvolz) January 17, 2020
The Justice Dept. is back on its usual anti-encryption bullshit again, one that if the DoJ wants to push would be extremely dangerous for every American, and one that would only give criminals and terrorists the advantage.
For subscribers🔒: https://t.co/L9xx8QctMt
— Zack Whittaker (@zackwhittaker) January 16, 2020
This week in streaming
Spotify is in early talks to acquire The Ringer which founded by former ESPN commentator Bill Simmons and has a podcast network that made over $15 million in 2018. Spotify thinks podcasting could be really big. Bill Simmons built a podcast empire, and now he could cash in.
can’t wait until everyone’s 2020 spotify wrapped is just dear baby yoda https://t.co/Tua0e68qAx
— katherine fitzgerald 🌵 (@kfitz134) January 17, 2020
Every Spotify playlist will soon begin with Pearl Jam https://t.co/ClW7qmnXEg
— Portugal. The Mandalorian (@killakow) January 17, 2020
Episode #1094938423 of Spotify slowly peeling off its Halloween costume of "music company" and revealing itself as "traditional media company" https://t.co/hmKArTY77F
— Cherie Hu (@cheriehu42) January 17, 2020
Wise, if you think about it
Spotify looking to buy @BillSimmons @ringer, good scoop from @AnneMarieSteele @BenMullin https://t.co/Vlp0FzHNSn Here's the why: The more podcasts Spotify has, the more total listen time is eaten up by something that isn't owned by a music label so more $$ stays with Spotify.
— Edmund Lee (@edmundlee) January 17, 2020
*talking since last fall
*Ringer talked to WarnerMedia about a deal a year ago, talks ended before Spotify started buying podcast cos
*Spotify spent $400mm on podcasts next year, looks like it may do more
*Apple is unlikely to compete with Spotify for podcasts.
— Peter Kafka (@pkafka) January 18, 2020
Woah, if this happens, talk about Spotify making a splash in sports podcasting pretty quickly. https://t.co/Mnrvzix7yg
— Ian Thomas (@byIanThomas) January 17, 2020
the ringer is great. one of the few places today that always seems to be doing experimental stuff that's feels born of the internet. spotify would be lucky to get it https://t.co/UZyUn3w3a9
— Charlie Warzel (@cwarzel) January 18, 2020
1. Spotify and Bill Simmons intentionally leak this story on a Friday night of a long wknd to let it simmer and see how the media reacts 👀
2. Joe Budden might lose his spot as the #1 podcast on Spotifyhttps://t.co/DG8U5qXlUn
— Dan Runcie (@RuncieDan) January 18, 2020
In other Spotify news, the streaming giant announced playlists for your pet – well, except for rabbits. They also signed a global licensing agreement with Warner Music’s publishing firm, making its music available in India, ending a year-long dispute.
- NBC Peacock is launching on July 15th with three different price tiers plus have a ton of ads.
The amount of stupid ceos are at a all time high. Another company that will lose billions for yrs. They can’t compete. Lots of Eastman Kodak company in 5-7 yrs coming https://t.co/8WmvxlmWPp
— sam (@smartertrader) January 16, 2020
- Disney+ was downloaded more than 30 million times in Q4 2019 — according to a new report from SensorTower, that’s more than double the downloads for the runner-up, TikTok.
This week in Social media
- Pelosi slams Facebook’s ‘shameful’ behaviour and says execs ‘schmooze’ the Trump administration
I'm just saying that if I'm Facebook, I'm glad Nancy has some other priorities ahead of me right now. Because damn. https://t.co/DrJ1299QD5
— Molly Wood (@mollywood) January 16, 2020
“The Facebook business model is strictly to make money. They don’t care about the impact on children, they don’t care about truth, they don’t care about where this is all coming from, and they have said, even if they know it’s not true, they will print it." https://t.co/i5hscnTxdu
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) January 16, 2020
Facebook workers, this is meant for you… https://t.co/Hxry0Jt2ZM
— Mike Monteiro🌹 (@monteiro) January 16, 2020
- This Is the Guy Who’s Taking Away the Likes: Adam Mosseri, chieftain of Instagram, wants to keep the platform a safe, special space. That means learning from the mistakes of its parent company: Facebook.
Top Facebook exec makes antitrust argument why public would benefit if Instagram and Facebook had to compete with each other. “We should have started to more proactively think about how Instagram and Facebook could be abused and mitigate those risks. We’re playing catch-up.” https://t.co/SuCgtfzmp7
— Jason Kint (@jason_kint) January 17, 2020
Cute: The effort to get rid of public "likes" on Instagram is referred to internally as "Project Daisy" – as in "Does she love me? Or love me not." https://t.co/EWFThmzzge
— Elana Zak (@elanazak) January 17, 2020
Mosseri has prioritized efforts to stop bullying, removed photos of self-harm and other safety and integrity measures that Facebook may have been late to, which has won him respect. But it hasn’t quieted the larger concerns about the mother ship. https://t.co/fzlUkrfpEg
— NYT Business (@nytimesbusiness) January 17, 2020
A bit too late for that…
“what happens when a technology puts the idea of cool in the palm of our hand, tantalizing and taunting us at all hours?”
Good read about IG, FB, and the complicated technology tapping into our personalized (and often co-opted) views of self. https://t.co/EUchZhgEui
— Bradley Leimer (@leimer) January 17, 2020
— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) January 17, 2020
— Kaitlyn Tiffany (@kait_tiffany) January 17, 2020
“…if Instagram were a Model T Ford, Mr. @Mosseri is overseeing a period when he will have to start installing seatbelts and airbags and other safety features.”
Very well put. https://t.co/6Ggk7lrNch
— Soleio 👨🏽🦲 (@soleio) January 17, 2020
- In a Q&A, Joe Biden says Section 230 should be immediately revoked for Facebook and other platforms and that Zuckerberg should be submitted to civil liability
The weakness of his logic here is staggering, and disqualifying https://t.co/BawOxSOwid
— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) January 17, 2020
That AND floating the possibility that Zuckerberg colluded with the Russians? "The idea that he cooperates with knowing that Russia was engaged in dealing with using the internet, I mean using their platform, to try to undermine American elections. That’s close to criminal." https://t.co/u7vsbak8WQ
— issie lapowsky (@issielapowsky) January 17, 2020
Joe Biden wants to revoke Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, he says in his NYT editorial board interview. The law provides that tech companies should not be liable for 3rd-party content on their platforms. More context here from @lauren_feiner https://t.co/pfaKy7tp1E
— Meg Graham (@megancgraham) January 17, 2020
GP This is a bad position which will cripple America's tech (social media) industry. https://t.co/iKrQI95YtN
— The Gormogons (@Gormogons) January 17, 2020
— Max Chafkin (@chafkin) January 17, 2020
what worries me is that he’s just mad at Facebook and has decided to destroy the internet because of it
— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) January 17, 2020
- Study finds the worlds’ biggest brands, including Samsung and L’Oreal, are unknowingly running ads inside climate misinformation videos on YouTube.
— PEN America (@PENamerica) January 16, 2020
“… putting restrictions on these videos would mean wading into a political battle that YouTube would rather avoid…” ¯_(ツ)_/¯ https://t.co/Hd5Ugmu4ub
— One Ring (doorbell) to surveil them all… (@hypervisible) January 16, 2020
- Following a BBC investigation, Twitter apologized for letting ads be micro-targeted using keywords like “transphobic”, “white supremacists”, and “anti-gay”
Thankfully, journalists keep poking these systems. Imagine if these platforms and their data systems were more transparent to researchers, or everyone, and we could all help scrape out these problems? https://t.co/RBJFHVYTwg
— Tarleton Gillespie (@TarletonG) January 16, 2020
This week in gaming
- New report finds Twitch viewership dropped 9.8% in Q4 compared with Q3 after its top streamers left; YouTube Gaming Live hours watched increased 46% over 2019
ok, report time
Needs to be understood, Twitch is still on top. By far.
Both in watch time (viewership) and stream time (content creators) pic.twitter.com/xgX32UfZvh
— TravisShreffler on TikTok (@TravisShreffler) January 16, 2020
One thing I haven't seen mentioned in reference to the 2019 report is the coorelation of Spark usage on Mixer to the viewership. While not sustainable, the changes to the program caused a major culture shift that affected the platform negatively. https://t.co/mraHZO5oNn
— Kevin [kmagic101] (@kevinxvision) January 16, 2020
- Kan Liu, the Director of Product Management for Chrome OS, says Google is working to bring Steam support to Chrome OS
Chrome + Steam = everyone now needs a RAM upgrade https://t.co/tvgQ4sz7sD
— Joe (@JoeFromSeattle1) January 17, 2020
Heard today that Chrome OS is gonna get steam support.
Meh. Remember when Linux got steam support and it was gonna "destroy windows once and for all?"
Yeah, me too. Steam is just a game store. Wake me up when something cool happens.
— Joe Hindy (@ThatJoeHindy) January 17, 2020
With Steam on Chrome OS, I guess it's only a matter of time before Chromebooks start looking like this. pic.twitter.com/Dnf4pFwOMh
— Ron Amadeo (@RonAmadeo) January 17, 2020
- BT, the biggest ISP in the UK, partners with Google to offer a free Stadia Premiere Edition with some of its broadband plans
We're the first European network to partner with Google on the groundbreaking new Google Stadia cloud gaming platform.
Stadia takes full advantage of our superfast broadband, which is perfect for cloud-based gaming and powering high-quality, fast gameplay. pic.twitter.com/rldA6VLJGA
— BT (@bt_uk) January 17, 2020
This week in smartphones
- The latest panic that the EU may force Apple to abandon Lightning is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of both the EC’s intent and how charging works
I’m sorry, did you get your hopes up?
You live in Dongletown forever, whether you’re in the US or the EU.
Dongletown! Population: you. https://t.co/qtz8I72vTK
— Dieter Bohn (@backlon) January 17, 2020
- Renders of Huawei’s P40 Pro show a camera bump with Leica branding that has five lenses at the back and two selfie cameras at the front, but no headphone jack
- Sources: Samsung Galaxy S20 5G, S20+ 5G, S20 Ultra 5G will have 6.2″, 6.7″, 6.9″ displays respectively; S20 Ultra gets 108MP camera and 10X optical zoom camera
- POCO, a sub-smartphone brand that Xiaomi created in 2018, is spinning off a standalone company
Don’t close that Tab
A collection of interesting tech articles including long reads:
- CES is slowly, but steadily, starting to take robotics more seriously.
- A look at tech catering to the needs of the elderly showcased at CES
- CES 2020 show notes: a look at 12 technologies/categories, the raw materials of the primordial soup of innovation that the show has become over the years
— Robert Scoble (@Scobleizer) January 12, 2020
- A look at Islamic fintechs, which adhere to halal finance rules, but still face challenges, like convincing people to switch from traditional to digital banks
- Tile accused Apple of acting anti-competitively at a House antitrust hearing on Friday, while Sonos testified against Google, and PopSockets against Amazon
NEWS: PopSockets, Tile, Sonos and Basecamp will ask Congress to help stop Big Tech bullying at a hearing today in Boulder. I spoke with the execs — and the cmte's chairman — ahead of the hearing to learn more about their calls to rein in tech giantshttps://t.co/tgCbPOpG7w
— Tony Romm (@TonyRomm) January 17, 2020
- Leaked white paper: European Commission is considering a 3-5 year ban on the use of facial recognition technology by private or public actors in public spaces
— Samuel Stolton (@SamuelStolton) January 17, 2020
- The Silicon Valley Economy Is Here. And It’s a Nightmare.
- Your online activity is now effectively a social ‘credit score’
Airbnb has a patent for AI that crawls and scrapes everything it can find on you, then judges whether you are conscientious & open or show signs of "neuroticism, involvement in crimes, narcissism, Machiavellianism, or psychopathy." Good luck challenging these judgments, too! https://t.co/b0wZgz85DL
— Frank Pasquale (@FrankPasquale) January 17, 2020
This is love pic.twitter.com/usWeoCFuLx
— Alex Kantrowitz (@Kantrowitz) January 18, 2020