Alphabet makes cuts, Twitter bans third-party clients, and Netflix’s Reed Hastings steps down – TechCrunch
Hi friends ! Happy Friday. While Greg, our intrepid leader of Week in Review, enjoys parental leave, I fill in for him, curating the latest news on the tech front. It was once again a week-long rollercoaster as economic headwinds wreaked brutal and demoralizing havoc and chaos reigned on Elon Musk’s Twitter. Somewhere in the middle of it all, Boston Dynamics demonstrated an improved bipedal robot, Wikipedia launched a redesign, and major universities banned TikTok from their campus networks. Yeah – a lot happened.
Before we get down to business, a friendly reminder that TechCrunch Early Stage 2023 will take place on April 20 in Boston. This is a one-day summit for founders who are in the early stages of growing their business, who have built a product but don’t know how to monetize it, and who have an idea but don’t know where to find the resources to turn into a viable business. At Early Stage, experts will share tips on protecting intellectual property, structuring cap tables, developing target customer personas and more. You won’t want to miss it.
Alphabet makes deep cuts: Alphabet, Google’s parent holding company, announced on Friday that it was cutting around 6% of its global workforce, or about 12,000 positions, Paul reports. In an open letter published by Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, the story followed a similar trajectory to other companies that have downsized in recent months, noting that the company had “hired for an economic reality different” from the one it faces today. .
Twitter prohibits third-party clients: After shutting down major app makers like Tweetbot and Twitterific, Twitter quietly updated its Developer Terms to ban third-party Twitter clients altogether. The “restrictions” section of Twitter’s roughly 5,000 words developer agreement has been updated with a clause prohibiting the “use or access [to] Licensed Materials to create or attempt to create a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Applications,” a move that seems unlikely to garner much goodwill at a time when Twitter is facing challenges on multiple fronts.
Defeat a retreat from Hastings: Netflix founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings announced Thursday that he will step down after more than two decades with the company, taylor writing. While the news of his departure comes as a shock, Hastings noted in the announcement that Netflix has been planning its next era of leadership “for many years.” Netflix will maintain its co-CEO structure in Hastings’ absence, promoting COO Greg Peters to the tandem role with Ted Sarandos.
College students, no TikTok for you: Public universities in a growing number of US states have banned TikTok in recent months, and two of the nation’s largest colleges followed suit earlier this week. As taylor reports, the University of Texas and Texas A&M University have taken action against the social app, which is owned by Beijing-based parent company ByteDance – banning campus network and device users from accessing TikTok. The wave of recent bans was inspired by executive orders issued by a number of state governors.
Wikipedia gets a makeover: This week, Wikipedia, a resource used by billions every month, got a desktop makeover for more than a decade, Sarah writing. The Wikimedia Foundation, which manages the Wikipedia project, has launched an updated interface aimed at making the site more accessible and easier to use, with additions such as improved search, a better tool for switching between languages another, an updated header providing access to links, and more.
Pour one for AmazonSmile:Just days after announcing a major round of layoffs, Amazon said it would end AmazonSmile, its donation program that redirects 0.5% of the cost of all eligible products to charities. Amazon claimed the program had “not grown to create the impact that [it] had originally hoped”, but as Roman notes that since 2013, Amazon has donated $400 million through AmazonSmile. Ending it seems more likely to reduce costs.
Payday for data breach victims: If you were one of the nearly 77 million people affected by T-Mobile’s breach last year, you might have a few bucks up for grabs. Devin reports that the company will pay $350 million to be split between clients and attorneys, plus $150 million “for data security and related technology.” The breach apparently happened early last year, after which collections of T-Mobile customer data were put up for sale on various criminal forums.
Robots that catch and throw: The intrepid of TechCrunch Matt Burns writes about a demo video this week showing Boston Dynamics’ Hyundai-backed humanoid robot, Atlas, equipped with grasping hands that can pick up and drop anything the robot can independently grab. The claw-shaped gripper consists of a fixed finger and a movable finger; Boston Dynamics says the clamps were designed for heavy lifting tasks, like Atlas holding a keg above his head during a Super Bowl commercial. Clever.
Dungeons & Dragons: After weeks of backlash and outcry from fans, Wizards of the Coast – the Hasbro-owned publisher of Dungeons & Dragons – has announced that it will now be licensing the core mechanics of Dungeons & Dragons under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This gives the community “a worldwide, royalty-free, non-sublicensable, non-exclusive, irrevocable license” to publish and sell works based on Dungeons & Dragons – a massive change of heart for the gaming giant, which was considering to implement a new license that would force some Dungeons & Dragons content creators to start paying a 25% royalty.
Whether it’s to pass the time during commutes or to brighten up a morning run, TechCrunch likely has a podcast for you. On startup-focused equity this week, Natasha, Mary Ann and Rebecca jumped on the mic to talk about a diverse week of news, including deals from Sophia Amoruso’s new fund, Welcome Homes, and a look at compliment-focused social media apps. Found, meanwhile, featured Mir Hwang, the co-founder and CEO of GigFinesse, who explained how his struggles with booking music gigs as a teenager prompted him to launch the company that connects artists to venues. of shows.
TC+, TechCrunch’s premium channel for deep dives, investigations, guest posts, and general analysis, was jam-packed with content this week (as always). Here are some of the most popular posts:
On Twitter’s data leak response: Carly writes about Twitter’s alleged data breach that exposed contact details for millions of users. In a unattributed blog post, Twitter said it conducted a “thorough investigation” and found “no evidence” that recent Twitter user data sold online was obtained by exploiting a vulnerability in Twitter’s systems. But as she notes, it’s unclear whether Twitter has the technical means, such as logs, to determine whether user data has been exfiltrated.
The last unicorns: VCs think the majority of unicorns aren’t worth $1 billion anymore. Rebecca looks at the current investment landscape, finding that many companies that achieved unicorn status last year are at risk of losing it as economic conditions deteriorate.
Sexism at work: Startups founded by women raised 1.9% of all VC funds in 2022, down from 2021, Dominique-Madori writing. This percentage is a notable drop from the 2.4% all-female teams lifted in 2021. The drop was expected, but steep nonetheless. Other than 2016, the last time all-female-led startups raised such a low percentage of funds was in 2012, another period of declining funding caused by economic uncertainty and an election.