Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for July 2019

Apple’s Service, Vietnam’s Boon

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Apple made plenty of moolah in its fiscal Q3, some $53.3B, nearly half of that ($26B) from iPhones. The story: Its services was up 1% YOY to $10.2B. Wearables, Home, and Accessories generated $5.5B, a 50% YOY increase. Diversification for Apple, good, dependency on iPhone moolah, bad.

Contrast those numbers with Samsung’s, which posted an operating profit of $5.6B on revenue of $47.4B, down 4% YOY. Hurry up and make that Fold fold faster!

Some crypto news that caught my eye: Coindesk is reporting that Chinese importers in Russia are buying up to $30M a day of tether from Moscow’s OTC trading desks. They apparently use the cryptocurrency to send large sums back to China, and they use tether instead of bitcoin because tether is designed to maintain U.S. dollar parity.

Speaking of China, who’s now benefiting from Chimerica? Good morning, Vietnam!, where Samsung already assembles half its handsets. Vietnam has greatly benefited from the U.S. tariffs on China, and even Apple and Nintendo are also said to be shifting certain workloads from China to Vietnam. 

Written by turbotodd

July 31, 2019 at 1:55 pm

Posted in 2019, china, smartphone

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What’s In Your Wallet?

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“What’s in your wallet?”

Too soon?

The Capital One hack, a breach of 106M U.S. and Canadian customers, gave me flashbacks of the Equifax hack…you know, the one that led so many of us to freeze our credit reports.

What we know so far: A female software engineer in Seattle hacked into a server holding customer information for Capital One and obtained over 100M credit applications, as well as 1M+ Canadian social insurance numbers.

The New York Times is reporting that the bank expected the breach to cost up to $150M, including credit monitoring costs for affected customers.

The Capital One hacker, one Paige Thompson, was a former employee of Amazon Web Services and dropped signals in online fora and Slack that she might be the person behind the hack.

Back to Equifax: Just last week that company settled claims from the 2017 data breach for roughly $650M.

What’s in Capital One’s wallet? Ask again once the regulators are through with them.

Written by turbotodd

July 30, 2019 at 9:35 am

The GitHub Sanctions

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TechCrunch is reporting that GitHub (owned by Microsoft) has officially confirmed it is blocking developers in Iran, Syria, N. Korea, Cuba, and the Crimea from accessing private repos and paid accounts due to sanctions.

Hello, world.

Over the weekend, GitHub CEO Nat Friedman wrote on Twitter that like any other “company that does business in the US,” GitHub is required to comply with the U.S. export law. The confirmation comes months after work collaboration service Slack, too, enforced similar restrictions on its platform.

Public repos will apparently remain available to everyone.

On the funding front…Sales enablement platform MindTickle gets a $40M Series C led by Norwest Venture partners…On demand transport app Grab will invest $2B in Indonesia over the next five years…and the U.K.’s Just Eat is merging with Dutch rival Takeaway.com in a £9B deal that will see the creation of one of the world’s biggest online food delivery companies.

And finally…on the Chimerica front, Chinese social media ByteDance said today that it is developing a smartphone, as part of its deal with device maker Smartisan Technology.

Who needs an Android when ya gotta ByteDance?

Written by turbotodd

July 29, 2019 at 11:27 am

Posted in 2019, china, developers

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T-Mobile Doesn’t Fold

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Apple’s deal for obtaining the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business is a done deal. Estimated transaction value: $1B

To help pay for the deal, Bloomberg is reporting that Apple and Goldman Sachs are issuing a credit card targeted to launch as early as the first half of August.

When Apple starts issuing credit cards, it could be time to start looking for a new phone.

Alphabet (Google) announced earnings yesterday PM, reporting Q2 revenue of $38.9B, up 19% YOY. On its earnings call, the company said its sound business now has an $8B annual revenue rate, double that reported last year.

And Amazon reported Q2 revenue of $63.4B, up 20% YOY, with AWS up 37% YOY – the first sub-40% growth rate since Amazon began sharing AWS figures.

Following up on the revitalized Samsung Galaxy Fold, don’t look for it at T-Mobile, a spokesperson for which indicated that “T-Mobile will not carry the Galaxy Fold because we already offer customers a wide range of the largest smartphones.

Yes, but do any of them fold when they fold?

Written by turbotodd

July 26, 2019 at 10:18 am

The Fold Unfolds Again

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Psych!

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is unfolding once again.

According to a report from The Verge, Samsung says it has made improvements to protect the Fold’s screen and will release it in September (after having first delayed its April launch).

That sounds like a lot to unfold in just a few short months.

What’s new?

The top protective layer of the Infinity Flex Display has been extended beyond the bezel, making it apparent that it is an integral part of the display structure and not meant to be removed.

Galaxy Fold features additional reinforcements to better protect the device from external particles while maintaining its signature foldable experience.

The top and bottom of the hinge area have been strengthened with newly added protection caps. Additional metal layers underneath the Infinity Flex Display have been included to reinforce the protection of the display. The space between the hinge and body of Galaxy Fold has been reduced.

We’ll see how the emerging Fold unfolds.

Meanwhile, Facebook earnings came out for Q2, reporting $16.9B, up 28 percent YOY, and average DAus up 8 percent YOY (to 1.59B). 

So if you thought everyone (including all your teens and tweens) were leaving Facebook, think again.

Some venture deals: Cashierless retail store solution provider Standard Cognition has raised a $35 Series B by EQT ventures, and Toyota has invested $600M in Didi Chuxing (China’s Uber equivalent).

Written by turbotodd

July 25, 2019 at 10:00 am

Don’t Send in the Telegram!

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On the subject of Puerto Rico and the Telegram chat hacks: Am I the only person out there wondering how this happened if Telegram is supposed to be so secure?

I’ve looked on Telegram’s Twitter feed and blog, and it’s a major no comment, bury your head in the sand.

Rumors have abounded today that PR Gov. Rickardo Rossello will be resigning, but I’ve received no telegrams to that effect just yet.

Did nobody everywhere learn anything from Iran Contra??!  If you don’t want it to become a scandal, don’t write it down. ANYWHERE!  The Nation magazine went long on this story a few years ago now.

On to the much bigger story of the day: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has hit Facebook with a $5 billion fine and new privacy checks, reports a lot of outlets, including The Verge.

In the agreement filed today, the FTC alleges that Facebook violated the law by failing to protect data from third parties, serving ads through the use of phone numbers provided for security, and lying to users that its facial recognition software was turned off by default. In order to settle those charges, Facebook will pay $5 billion — the second-largest fine ever levied by the FTC — and agree to a series of new restrictions on its business.

Aside from the multibillion-dollar fine, Facebook will be required to conduct a privacy review of every new product or service that it develops, and these reviews must be submitted to the CEO and a third-party assessor every quarter. As it directly relates to Cambridge Analytica, Facebook will now be required to obtain purpose and use certifications from apps and third-party developers that want to use Facebook user data. However, there are no limits on what data access the company can authorize to those groups once the disclosure is made.

NOTE: I own a few Facebook shares, but I still have four words…fox (still)…guarding…henhouse.

On the streaming wars front: Netflix is launching a $2.80 per month mobile-only subscription plan in India, although it’s restricted to one mobile device at 480p def.

Will Netflix expand this option to the U.S. and other markets to gain more share? Stay tuned!

And on the funding front: Payroll and HR software maker Gusto raised a $200M Series D co-led by Fidelity and Generation Investment Management, and camping listing/booking platform Hipcamp raised a $25M Series B led byy Andreessen Horowitz, bringing its total take to $41.8M. 

Don’t forget to bring the marshmallows!

Written by turbotodd

July 24, 2019 at 3:01 pm

Apple Pie and Salsa Verde

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Greetings. I’m just back from a week’s vacation in Mexico City, where I slurped tequila like it was beer and where I (largely) ignored the tech industry.

I DID manage to get a TelCel SIM card while I was at the Mexico City airport, and I have to say, I’m not sure how I would have managed my trip if I hadn’t had a smartphone with Internet connectivity.

From the dating apps like Bumble and Tinder which I used to meet all those nice women from Mexico, to Google and Apple Maps to find my way around, to Uber to get my way around, to Yelp to find good restaurants (HINT: I didn’t find any BAD restaurants in all of CDMX!)

I want to thank the good people of Mexico, and mi amigos who I was traveling with (you know who you are) for a great week of downtime. I don’t think we left many stones unturned, and we capped it all off by seeing the inaugural game of this season’s La Liga season with a match between America and Monterrey.

So now that I’m back to reality, what IS going on in the world of technology? I haven’t even tried to backtrack as to what I missed, but what I see going on at the moment caught my eye was that Apple is in advanced talks to buy Intel’s smartphone modem chip business (in a deal valued at worth $1B).

From the WSJ: “[The deal] would give Apple access to engineering work and talent behind Intel’s year’s long push to develop modem chips for the crucial next generation of wireless technology known as 5G, potentially saving years of development work.”

So there you go, it’s all about (and will increasingly be about) 5G.

Also on the Apple front, Apple app developers beware: Apple’s own mobile apps routinely appear first in search results ahead of competitors in its App Store. Like that’s a surprise.

On the Chinamerica front: Huawei has laid off more than 600 workers from its US-based Futurewei research arm, as a result of being put on a trade blacklist by the U.S. government. That’s more than 2/3s of the workforce.

They must be picking up the slack in Mexico City, because every other billboard I saw had “Huawei” on it.

A VC round to note: Autonomous Industrial robotics firm Fetch Robotics raised $46M in a Series C round led by Fort Ross Ventures. Fetch’s robots are powered by cloud-based software systems, which means their ‘bots are likely ready to scale.

The question I have is, is the world ready? Ready or not, here they come!

And speaking of robots, despite Tesla having a giant new machine that helps the company more quickly produce the Model Y, the company’s higher-end sales are being eroded by Model 3 gains.

What was it Clayton Christensen or someone said about chewing your own leg off?

Just so long as I can have some of that infamous CDMX salsa verde with it!

Written by turbotodd

July 23, 2019 at 2:18 pm

Posted in huawei, venture capital

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