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Google Funds Initiatives for News Publishers in U.S., Europe

Google inked licensing deals with 600+ news outlets worldwide and continues to negotiate with more publishers. In the U.S., it plans to spend $1 billion to bring publishers onboard for its News Showcase, an effort that will be ongoing until 2023 to invest in news. But Google also made it clear it won’t hold publishers accountable for positive business results. Google is also contributing €25 million ($29 million) to the European Union’s European Media and Information Fund to tackle misinformation and fake news. Read more

Spotify, LinkedIn, Facebook to Compete in Live Audio Space

Spotify acquired Clubhouse rival Betty Labs, which produces live sports audio app Locker Room, for an undisclosed amount of money. Although Locker Room will stay live in the App Store, Spotify will rebrand it with a new name and broaden its focus to include music and culture as well as sports. In addition to the iOS version, Spotify will eventually add an Android version. LinkedIn and Facebook are also developing live audio features as the trend continues to gain traction. These apps would compete with existing platforms Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Discord. Read more

Arm Unveils Armv9, New Design Aimed to Enable AI, IoT, 5G

Prominent semiconductor designer Arm, which licenses its designs to others, debuted Armv9 architecture, which features its first major architectural advance in a decade and includes a 30 percent improvement in speed. Arm chief executive Simon Segars revealed that Armv9 will be “the base for the next 300 billion Arm-based chips.” Its customers have already shipped 180+ billion chips that impact 70+ percent of the global population. Nvidia is in the process of acquiring Arm, which is based in the United Kingdom, for $40 billion. Read more

Cameo Connects Celebs with Fans, Reaches $1B+ Valuation

Chicago-based Baron App Inc. launched Cameo four years ago to enable celebrities to sell messages and personalized videos to fans, for anywhere from $5 to $2,500+. The company recently tripled its 2019 valuation of about $300 million to $1+ billion, with a $100 million funding round led by e.ventures and participation by SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund 2, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, United Talent Agency and Alphabet’s venture-capital arm GV. Baron App previously raised $50 million for Cameo in 2019. Read more

Forecast: Global E-Commerce to Reach $1.4 Trillion by 2025

Euromonitor International conducted a study in October on the rise of e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic and found that 74 percent of worldwide retail and consumer brand experts believe the trend will become permanent. The study projected that between 2020 and 2025 half of the absolute value growth for the global retail sector will be digital, equating to $1.4 trillion. Of that, the United States and China will be responsible for 55 percent of the value growth. Latin America also experienced significant e-commerce growth in 2020. Read more

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