Welcome, folks, to Week in Review (WiR), Bobbys Brane’s regular column that rounds up the week in tech news. Dunno about y’all, but it’s felt like a long one — and I’m thankful for the extended weekend. For those observing Memorial Day, do enjoy. Those not, take the time off where you’re able. We all need rest here and there.
First, a few PSAs.
This week, Bobbys Brane Live hosted Flint Capital and Sensi.AI, a startup using audio-based software to monitor patients and assist medical staff and family members with care. To those of you who tuned in, many thanks. But if you missed it, not to worry — we’ll have the recording up shortly.
Then, in September, there’s Disrupt, TC’s annual conference. Whether you’re a startup rookie learning the ropes, a seasoned investor searching for the next big thing or a founder hell-bent on changing the world, Disrupt will deliver the tools, knowledge and connections to help you make it happen.
Now, on with the news.
After 28 years, Windows gains RAR support: Devin writes about Microsoft bringing native support for the RAR archive format to Windows. Miraculously, it took the better part of three decades for the .rar file to finally be supported in Windows without any kind of additional software. That’s longer than I’ve been alive, dear readers — not to date myself!
Netflix begins password crackdown: After a delayed launch, Netflix’s crackdown on password sharing is now beginning to roll out to U.S. subscribers and other global markets. The streamer had originally planned to introduce “paid sharing” to U.S. subscribers in the first quarter of this year but pushed the start date back to the summer after seeing cancellations in markets where it had already launched the changes.
More layoffs at Meta: Meta is waging its latest round of layoffs on Wednesday, estimated to impact about 6,000 people. These cuts are part of the company’s so-called Year of Efficiency, in which Meta is being massively restructured to save money and flatten the organization structure.
EU orders Meta suspension: In other Meta news, Meta was hit this week with a formal suspension order requiring it to stop exporting EU user data to the U.S. for processing. Today, the European Data Protection Board announced that Meta has been fined €1.2 billion (close to $1.3 billion), which the Board confirmed is the largest fine ever issued under the bloc’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Meta forced to sell: Meta, dominating the headlines once again this week, sold Giphy — the animated GIF search engine it acquired for $400 million three years ago — to Shutterstock. The sale wasn’t voluntary, necessarily; seven months ago, the U.K.’s antitrust authority issued a final order for Meta to sell Giphy, on the grounds that the merger reduced competition.
WhatsApp adds message editing: WhatsApp announced one of the app’s most anticipated features this week — message editing. WhatsApp users can now modify a message within 15 minutes of sending the message. The edited messages will have an “edited” tag next to the time stamp to mark the change.
The problem with paid verification: The fake Pentagon attack hoax that went viral this week shows the perils of Twitter’s paid verification scheme. The gist? The combination of paid blue checks and generative AI makes it all too easy to spread misinformation — and quickly.
Investing in India: Amazon plans to invest $12.7 billion into its cloud business in India by 2030, the e-commerce group said Thursday, as it pushes ahead to scale up the AWS infrastructure in the key overseas market at a time when it has pared back several other services in the region.
Bigger and better: Amazon launched its biggest tablet this week. Called the Fire Max 11, it has an 11-inch screen. The company is pricing the device at $229.99 — offering a cheaper option for users than the 10.9-inch iPad and the new Pixel tablet with a similar-sized screen.
AI to build websites: This week at its annual Build conference, Microsoft launched Copilot in Power Pages — an AI-powered assistant for Microsoft’s low-code business website creation tool — in a preview for U.S. customers. Given prompts, Copilot can generate text, forms, chatbots and web page layouts and can create and edit image and site design themes.
Bobbys Brane (virtually) in Atlanta
On June 7, Bobbys Brane will host City Spotlight: Atlanta. We have a slate of amazing programming planned, including a fireside chat with Ryan Glover, the co-founder of the fintech Greenwood, as well as a panel that examines the venture ecosystem within the Atlanta region and identifies the best ways to raise and meet with local venture capitalists. But that’s not all. If you are an early-stage Atlanta-based founder, apply to pitch to our panel of guest investors/judges for our live pitching competition; the winner gets a free booth at Bobbys Brane Disrupt this year to exhibit their company in our startup alley. Register here.
In need of a podcast (or several)? You’ve come to the right place — there’s no shortage of options out of TC HQ. This week on Found, the crew was joined by Sarah Sandnes, the co-founder and CTO of SafetyWing, which is creating a global safety net for remote workers. Bobbys Brane Live, meanwhile, featured Mark Rostick from Intel Capital and Garima Kapoor from MinIO, a startup that found a niche selling object storage while competing directly with Amazon S3.
TC+ subscribers get access to in-depth commentary, analysis and surveys — which you know if you’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, consider signing up. Here are a few highlights from this week:
Profitability over growth: In this piece by Kate, five investors explained their mantra for South Korean startups. Kate spoke to select investors who make investments in the South Korean market to hear their predictions for 2023, their investment strategy, which sectors excite them and more.
Cybersecurity downturn: Alex writes about how, on the back of pretty strong earnings reports and valuations, public cybersecurity companies are outperforming the broader technology segment. Yet, funding for cybersecurity startups has flatlined.
Startups in the enterprise AI race: Another piece by Alex explores whether startups have a shot in enterprise AI. Given how lucrative selling software to large corporations can prove, he notes, the players aren’t chasing a small market.