Tech News and Analysis from around the web
Kane Wu / Reuters:
In China, investors and bankers say SoftBank's involvement, once a sign of promising prospects, is now viewed as a red flag that a company was likely overvalued — HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) - For SoftBank Group Inc, financial technology firm OneConnect's IPO should have been a vindication of an aggressive China investing strategy.
Instagram's limit of allowing one web link for users as a “Link in Bio” is a slow knife - a subtle, pervasive attempt to kill the open web — We don't even notice it anymore — “link in bio”. It's a pithy phrase, usually found on Instagram, which directs an audience to be aware …
Jeff John Roberts / Fortune:
Researchers claim they used 3D masks and photos to deceive facial recognition systems used by Alipay, WeChat Pay, Schiphol Airport, and train stations in China — Masks and simple photographs are enough to fool some facial recognition technology, highlighting a major shortcoming in what is billed as a more effective security tool.
Manish Singh / TechCrunch:
Reliance Industries has acquired an 85% stake in NowFloats, an Indian startup that helps small businesses and individuals build an online presence, for ~$20M — Reliance Industries, one of India's largest industrial houses, has acquired a majority stake in NowFloats, an Indian startup …
Amanda Mull / The Atlantic:
How the concept of free shipping forces small e-commerce businesses to eat the cost of shipping, as large sellers like Amazon do so at scale — How retailers hide the costs of delivery—and why we're such suckers for their ploys — It was a pair of feather earrings that helped Ann Miceli get out from underneath strangers' cars.
Michael Sheetz / CNBC:
Morgan Stanley estimates Amazon is delivering half of its US packages, will soon pass UPS and FedEx in total volume, at a current rate of 2.5B packages a year — - Amazon Logistics is the e-commerce giant's in-house logistics operation. — “Our AlphaWise analysis shows …
Congressional panel chair asks Apple and Google if app devs are required to disclose any non-US ties, amid concerns of Chinese investment in apps like TikTok — WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chair of a U.S. congressional panel wrote to Alphabet's (GOOGL.O) Google and to Apple (AAPL.O) …
Michael Hytha / Bloomberg:
Ping An's financial technology arm OneConnect closes flat on its first day of trading after raising $312M in its US IPO, which valued the company at $3.66B — - Shares close first day of trading at its $10 offer price — Software company Bill.Com's performance tops week's U.S. IPOs
Brian Deagon / Investor's Business Daily:
Social media management startup Sprout Social closes down 2.4% on its first day of trading after raising $150M in its IPO, which valued the company at $814M — Sprout Social (SPT) climbed then fell on its first day of trading Friday with an initial public offering that raised $150 million …
Sam Danley / Food Business News:
Zippin raises $12M Series A led by Evolv Ventures, Kraft Heinz's VC arm, for Zippin Cube, a modular, prefabricated cashierless “store-in-a-box” — SAN FRANCISCO —Zippin, a start-up focused on cashierless checkout for brick and mortar retail, secured $12 million in a Series …
Li Yuan / New York Times:
Liu Jingyao, the college student who accused JD.com founder Richard Lui of rape, describes what it's like to be slut-shamed by the Chinese internet — Liu Jingyao, a college student, describes what it's like to be slut-shamed by 800 million people. — MINNEAPOLIS — When Liu Jingyao introduced herself …
Polina Marinova / Fortune:
WeWork sells SEO startup Conductor, which it bought for $113.6M, back to its management team, shuts down Spacious, which it acquired for $42.5M four months ago — As WeWork looks to sort out its future, the flashy startups it acquired are also seeking a new path forward.
Ashley Carman / The Verge:
Apple and Spotify podcasts are available through Alexa-enabled devices in the US, starting today — Sad for HomePod — Starting today, Apple Podcasts is available through Amazon Alexa-enabled devices like Echo speakers. People just have to say, “Alexa, play (insert show name here) on Apple Podcasts” to get a program.
Manish Singh / TechCrunch:
India shuts down internet in two states that are home to 32M people, after protests over a citizenship bill, as Kashmir shutdown continues into its fourth month — India maintained a shutdown of the internet in the states of Assam and Meghalaya on Friday, now into 36 hours …
Dean Takahashi / VentureBeat:
Game.tv raises $25M Series A led by Intel Capital for Tourney, its rapidly growing AI-powered esports platform focused on small gaming communities — Game.tv has raised $25 million in funding to build out Tourney, its AI-powered esports tournament platform for mobile games.
If you think of the United States as a company, we've had a strategic partnership with Russia for the last three years, kind of like the one Microsoft had with IBM. Russia is analogous to Microsoft. They're about to roll over us in the 2020 election. Our last gasp is the impeachment.
We should have had this confrontation sooner, we would have had a better chance of prevailing. Going back to the Electoral College vote in 2016. We could have briefed the electors on the misdeeds of the Trump campaign in collusion with Russia. We could have had nightly candlelight vigils in the state capitals where the electoral votes would be cast. We could have at least honored the passing of a political system that kind of worked and provided us with an incredible standard of living, and hosted the development of the Internet, won the space race, and Woodstock and the Mets! Saved my family. I wouldn't exist without the US and probably neither would you. We could have been serious about resisting right from that point, instead as with all the points at which we could have acted, we hoped somehow this would blow over without us having to disrupt our lives. We're a lazy, fat culture, Russia knows and is taking full advantage.
Anyway back to the tech analogy. Impeachment is like IBM shipping OS/2 and the Micro Channel Architecture. Both were designed to rid IBM of Microsoft once and for all. But it didn't work. It was too little too late. Microsoft came out with Windows 3.0, and IBM became a global consulting company. The company that dominated the computer business left the computer business. With the US and Russia analogy substitute "computer business" with "democracy business."
Impeachment is the last gasp bet that the rule of law still works, even though the Supreme Court has been stuffed with Russian puppets, as has the Senate. The only places that are still following the rule of law is the House and parts of the Department of Justice. Think of it as a two party system about to become one party. The one that prevails in impeachment will have the right to anihilate the other, and must do it. There may still be a few courageous defectors to the Rule-of-Law Party, but unless there's a great awakening in the Senate, the courts, DoJ, the military and other branches of service, Putin has the power to put down impeachment, and from there, will complete the replication of the political system of Russia in the US, where political opponents are jailed or assassinated, as with uncooperative journalists. This is about to happen in the US, but journalism and discourse on the net has yet to catch up.
Putin could really fuck with us (but probably won't), and instruct McConnell to have a change of heart and the Senate votes to remove Trump. What an opportunity to screw up the US for a few generations, if not longer. From this point we're never going to know what's actually going on, we don't really know now (btw), but it's going to get a lot worse.
So, what about Mastodon? It does everything, right? I'm sure, but Twitter is where the people are and that's what matters. This happens all the time in tech, people think the solution is to rebuild something from scratch with the feature we wish the default platform would have. It isn't about the feature as much as where the feature is. I have a blogging system that's way more fun that Twitter and has none of its limits. BFD, the people use Twitter.
This is the mistake people who created Atom made, they thought what if we had invented RSS instead of the messy process by which RSS was created, we'll do it the right way and it'll be wonderful. Then they finished and no one knew what to do next. I'm sure they were very proud but unless they can get everyone who already supported RSS to go back and reimplement their support, we all still have to support RSS. And it's one of those things that no matter how much better it is, people will ask "Is everyone doing this" and if the answer is no, they do something else they have to do, putting out fires etc.
Another example, if I have to go to NYC I take the George Washington Bridge or the Holland or Lincoln Tunnels. I'd much rather take the Golden Gate Bridge, it's so much nicer, but it doesn't go where I want to go!