This Pandemic Gives More Power to Big Tech

· Andrew Orr · Link

App icons to signify big tech: Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple.

Kara Swisher wrote for The New York Times about how this pandemic will put even more power into the collective hands of Big Tech companies.

Now, as we turn to the healthy companies to help us revive the economy, it could be that the only ones with real immunity are the tech giants. In this way, Covid-19 has accelerated their rise and tightened their grip on our lives. And this consolidation of power, combined with Big Tech’s control of data, automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, media, advertising, retail and even autonomous tech, is daunting.

This has been my fear as well. What happens to all the small businesses unable to loans from the government and money from customers? They get swallowed by delivery apps, whether it’s for groceries, alcohol, or other goods.

The ORG Domain Won’t Be Sold to a Private Entity After All

· Andrew Orr · Link

Icon to represent the internet

The board of the Internet Association for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICAAN) has rejected the sale of the Public Interest Registry to private equity firm Ethos.

Since 2003, PIR has operated the .ORG generic top-level domain (gTLD) as a not-for-profit organization, as well as six other gTLDs. Per the gTLD Registry Agreements, ICANN must either approve or withhold consent of a proposed change of control, the deadline for which is 4 May 2020.

After completing its evaluation, the ICANN Board finds that the public interest is better served in withholding consent as a result of various factors that create unacceptable uncertainty over the future of the third largest gTLD registry.

Good news for public organizations with .ORG websites. We don’t need another private company jacking up prices.

Apple is More Complex But Tim Cook is Doing Okay

· Andrew Orr · Link

Tim Cook on stage

Over at Wired UK, John Arlidge asks “Has Apple finally bitten off way more than it can chew?” It doesn’t seem as if that question is answered. It’s the typical roundup of everything Apple is doing today, across hardware, software, and services, and wondering if the company is doing okay under Tim Cook as opposed to Steve Jobs. I thought this quote was interesting however, claiming to come from an Apple veteran.

What Cook is trying to do is come up with a new set of iTunes-like services to mate with more varied hardware to create an ecosystem that is simple and compelling. Imagine secure communications, iCloud storage, TV, quality news, banking, health, insurance and more, all from the same, trusted supplier on iPhone, iPad, Mac, the Watch and, in future, AR glasses. That would be pretty revolutionary.

Indeed.

CBS and Viacom Merge to Become ViacomCBS

· Andrew Orr · Link

ViacomCBS is the name of a merged corporation between CBS and Viacom. It will create a joint media library including over 140,000 TV episodes and 3,600 movies.

In their announcement, the companies note that the merger creates a joint content library that includes more than 140,000 TV episodes and 3,600 films, and “reunites fan-favorite franchises such as Star Trek and Mission: Impossible” (which were previously split between Paramount on the film side and CBS on the TV side). They also say that this will allow them to “accelerate” their direct-to-consumer strategy, which includes offerings like CBS All Access, Showtime and Pluto TV. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2019.

Private Social Network MeWe Reaches Over 5 Million Members

· Andrew Orr · Link

MeWe is a social network with privacy in mind, and it recently surpassed 5 million members. Additionally it closed a US$4.5 million offering, bringing the company’s total funds raised to US$15 million.

MeWe is on track to have 30 million members by yearend, and projects 150 million by the end of 2020. MeWe achieved 405% growth in 2018 and is already growing twice as fast on a daily basis in 2019. MeWe’s growth is organic—it runs no paid marketing campaigns.

It’s good to see MeWe doing well. I don’t use it anymore, but I still recommend it to people looking for a private social network.

Apple Indoor Survey App Redesigned and Improved

· Andrew Orr · News

Apple’s Indoor Survey app helps businesses add Apple’s Indoor Positioning in their stores. It’s been recently updated and redesigned.

Kickstarter Claps Back Against Unionization Attempts

· Andrew Orr · Link

On Tuesday, a bunch of Kickstarter employees went public with their efforts to unionize under the name Kickstarter United. But senior employees are fighting.

We believe this effort to unionize is the result of consistent issues with internal communications. We hope well-intentioned, good faith dialogue with executives and a specific list of issues from unsatisfied coworkers can get us to a better place. We want to give this a try before resorting to something as extreme as a union.

The statement is from an internal memo circulated among the company, and lists various reasons against the union.

5 Ways to Improve Apple Services

· Andrew Orr · Link

Michael Grothaus writes about five ways to improve Apple services, a drum that Tim Cook has been beating for the past couple years.

The problem for Apple is that the iPhone is such a large part of its business. If the company is going to continue to grow, what product could step up to take the place of lagging smartphone sales?

I’ll paraphrase Kelly Guimont’s comment on a recent episode of Daily Observations. If Apple truly wanted to be a services company, it should have been improving services all along. Don’t wait until the last minute when the iPhone puts you into panic mode.

Protonmail Launches GDPR Site to Help Businesses

· Andrew Orr · News

Protonmail is launching a GDPR site to help businesses achieve GDPR compliance. It’s at GDPR.eu and features practical, easy-to-understand information.

How Did Tim Cook Fix the Apple Supply Chain?

· Andrew Orr · News

Apple CEO Tim Cook during Mac

The entire Quora article is worth reading, and it compiles information from other articles to paint a picture of Tim Cook’s genius.