Subpoenas Fly with Tech Elite Drawn into Musk-Twitter Battle

More than 100 subpoenas have reportedly been issued in the legal battle between Elon Musk and Twitter, creating a full employment act for lawyers recruited to represent Silicon Valley’s elite. In addition to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, those summoned to speak include investor Marc Andreessen, Oracle executive chair Larry Ellison, tech investors David O. Sacks and Joe Lonsdale, and former Twitter security head Peiter Zatko. The matter is set to be heard in Delaware Chancery Court starting October 17. “Every firm in the Valley is salivating like dogs trying to get in on that action,” said University of San Francisco professor of legal ethics Carol Langford. Continue reading Subpoenas Fly with Tech Elite Drawn into Musk-Twitter Battle

Walmart+ Subscribers Get Basic Tier of Paramount+ for Free

Walmart is taking a page from Amazon’s playbook and providing its Walmart+ customers streaming video content thanks to a deal with Paramount Global. Walmart+ subscribers will receive an ad-supported Paramount+ subscription as a perk. In addition to helping Walmart keep customers happy, the deal will further Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish’s stated goal of having 100 million Paramount+ subscribers by 2024. Walmart launched Walmart+ about two years ago charging $98 a year, or $12.95 a month, in exchange for free shipping with online purchases, free grocery deliveries for orders above $35 and discounted prescriptions and gas. Continue reading Walmart+ Subscribers Get Basic Tier of Paramount+ for Free

FCC’s Carr Says TikTok Should Be Banned from App Stores

TikTok is facing blowback from the Federal Communications Commission, with one member asking Apple and Google to remove the social video platform from their app stores. FCC commissioner Brendan Carr warned in a joint letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai that “TikTok is not what it appears on the surface. It’s not just an app for sharing funny videos and memes,” but a sophisticated surveillance tool “that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.” As a division of China’s ByteDance, TikTok is “required by Chinese law” to share data with the PRC government. Continue reading FCC’s Carr Says TikTok Should Be Banned from App Stores

Dire Snap Forecast Dampens Social Media, Digital Ad Sectors

Snap’s investor warning of slow growth ahead has sent shivers through the social media sector, the digital advertising industry, and Wall Street. Though the general messaging that supply chain issues coupled with the war in Ukraine is bad for business is not exactly news, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel’s message that “the macro environment has deteriorated further and faster than we anticipated when we issued our quarterly guidance last month” hit a nerve. Snap lost 43 percent of its market cap on Tuesday, with the social media sector showing signs of drag and analysts forecasting trouble ahead for ad-supported media. Continue reading Dire Snap Forecast Dampens Social Media, Digital Ad Sectors

Musk, Twitter Board Sued in Wake of $7 Billion Commitment

Elon Musk revealed on Thursday he has brought in investors willing to supply $7 billion toward his Twitter buyout. On Friday, he and Twitter were sued by a Florida pension fund seeking to prevent the Tesla CEO’s proposed $44 billion takeover. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia has reportedly agreed to roll his existing $1.9 billion stake into a Musk-controlled Twitter. The fresh endorsement reverses the Saudi’s stance last month, when he tweeted “I don’t believe that the proposed offer by @ElonMusk ($54.20) comes close to the intrinsic value of @Twitter given its growth prospects.” Continue reading Musk, Twitter Board Sued in Wake of $7 Billion Commitment

Twitter Board Attempts to Block Musk as Equity Firms Circle

Twitter is fending-off Elon Musk’s takeover intentions with a poison-pill strategy that will make it much more costly for him to buy the company once his holdings exceed 15 percent. Although the Twitter board has yet to formally respond to Musk’s $43 billion offer of $54.20 per share, it is expected to reject it based on the defensive posture  adopted Friday. The poison-pill plan would be in effect for nearly a year, giving Twitter time to find another buyer. While Musk has not detailed how he would fund his offer, word surfaced Monday that Apollo Global Management is evaluating participation. Continue reading Twitter Board Attempts to Block Musk as Equity Firms Circle

Hot Topics at SXSW: NFTs and a Possibility of Ads on Netflix

Having risen to the position of world’s largest television network largely on the strength of its ad-free programming, there are now predictions that Netflix will over the next few years begin streaming advertisements. Fueled by a perceived softening in tone toward commercials by Netflix CFO Spencer Neumann at a recent investor conference, an analyst at the Variety Intelligence Platform’s “Future of Content” event at SXSW told festival attendees the change would come due to competition from so-called FAST channels — “free ad-supported streaming television.” Continue reading Hot Topics at SXSW: NFTs and a Possibility of Ads on Netflix

Amazon Prime Day 2021 Breaks Prior Record for Digital Sales

Amazon’s Prime Day sales this year reached $5.6 billion on the first day (Monday) and $5.4 billion on day two (Tuesday). According to Adobe Analytics, these numbers made Monday the biggest day for digital sales this year and Tuesday the second biggest, with total U.S. online retail sales 6.1 percent higher than Prime Day’s $10.4 billion worth of sales in 2020. Last year’s Cyber Monday previously held the record of busiest digital sales day at $10.9 billion, although that was a 24-hour event versus Prime Day’s 48 hours. Continue reading Amazon Prime Day 2021 Breaks Prior Record for Digital Sales

Zuckerberg Anticipates Broader Competition with Rival Apple

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has identified Apple as one of the company’s biggest rivals, even as it posted record-breaking revenue and profit in Q4. The two companies have clashed over data collection, app-store fees and, most recently, Apple’s plan to enable users to opt-out of data collection by third-party apps. That disadvantages Facebook, which has become an online advertising giant. Zuckerberg noted that Apple’s move will interfere with Facebook’s ability to target ads to its 1.85 billion daily users. Continue reading Zuckerberg Anticipates Broader Competition with Rival Apple

Major Surge in Online Sales for Black Friday, Cyber Monday

This year’s Black Friday was a marked contrast to those of previous years, due to the rise in COVID-19 cases and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid crowds. Brick-and-mortar stores were the losers, with Morgan Stanley analysts estimating a 20 percent drop in sales compared to last year. Instead, according to Adobe Analytics, shoppers spent $9 billion online on Friday, capturing a 21.6 percent increase from the previous year, and the second biggest number ever for online sellers. Meanwhile, consumers shelled out $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday for a new single-day sales record. Continue reading Major Surge in Online Sales for Black Friday, Cyber Monday

Kuaishou, Rival to ByteDance’s Douyin, Plans Hong Kong IPO

Although the Ant Group suspended its high-profile IPO last week, Kuaishou Technology, a popular short-video and streaming media platform founded in 2011, is moving ahead. According to sources, the company, whose platform competes with ByteDance’s Douyin (TikTok in China), aims to raise about $5 billion and reach a valuation of about $50 billion by filing for an initial public offering in Hong Kong as soon as January 2021. The company was founded by engineers Su Hua, formerly at Google China, and Cheng Yixiao, a Hewlett Packard veteran. Continue reading Kuaishou, Rival to ByteDance’s Douyin, Plans Hong Kong IPO

Apple Touts iPhone 12 Pro as an All-in-One Filmmaking Tool

At the company’s second virtual tech product reveal, Apple chief executive Tim Cook debuted four iPhone 12 models that are capable of connecting with 5G networks. Prices for the new phones begin at $699 for the least expensive 5.4-inch iPhone 12 Mini up to the $999 iPhone 12 Pro and $1,099 12 Pro Max. Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki made a short movie with the iPhone 12 Pro, which Apple touts is “the first and only device that enables you to capture, edit, watch, and share Dolby Vision video.” Continue reading Apple Touts iPhone 12 Pro as an All-in-One Filmmaking Tool

Walmart to Roll Out Subscription Service with Free Shipping

On September 15, Walmart will debut its anticipated Walmart+ subscription service. At $98 per year, the new offering is intended to compete with Amazon Prime, priced at $119 per year. Walmart+ requires an order of at least $35 for free shipping directly from stores to customers’ homes. It offers 160,000 items, including produce and groceries, and subscribers will also get a 5-cent-per-gallon discount at its affiliated gas stations. Walmart hopes its many stores’ proximity to customers will mean delivery of fresher food than its rivals.

Continue reading Walmart to Roll Out Subscription Service with Free Shipping

China to Invest $1.4 Trillion in Domestic Technology by 2025

To gain global leadership, Chinese president Xi Jinping plans to invest $1.4 trillion dollars by 2025 in key technology areas, including 5G wireless networks, cameras and sensors, and AI for autonomous vehicles, automated factories and mass surveillance among other sectors. Chinese companies such as Alibaba, Huawei Technologies and SenseTime Group will likely benefit, as China reduces its reliance on U.S. companies. The Trump administration is leveraging its relationship with Taiwan as one way to fight back. Continue reading China to Invest $1.4 Trillion in Domestic Technology by 2025

Alternative Data Company Thasos to Offer Info to Bloomberg

Your smartphone creates data constantly, and now a few companies are leveraging it to give Wall Street traders a leg up on market movements. So-called alternative data includes a range of information, from credit-card charges to construction permits. Thasos is one of the leading companies reaping such data from about 1,000 apps, which share the user’s location. Beginning this month, AI-based data analytics firm Thasos Group will offer its data through Bloomberg terminals. Company founder/chief executive Greg Skibiski calls the smartphone a “beacon.” Continue reading Alternative Data Company Thasos to Offer Info to Bloomberg