EU TAKES MORE BITES OUT OF US TECH TITANS
In this week’s What’s Appening, we cover how EU rules are forcing change upon Meta, Apple, et al. It seems that after years of spending time in court, Meta is becoming proactive by anticipating changes to EU laws, not just reacting to them. This might mean European users can pay to browse Facebook and Instagram without ads. We also have news from China this week, where Huawei is celebrating a big breakthrough in smartphone chips, in defiance of the US. Our Stat of the Week is a Caribbean Island doozy, and What’s dAppening looks at the decline in the number of US blockchain developers.
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⚖️🎯 Regulation – EU Rules Will Force Meta & Others to Change Course
The EU tends to act slowly. Getting 28 (sorry, Britain) 27 nations to agree to stuff can be difficult. But it is relentless in its ideas for reining in Big Tech, and some of those companies are starting to respond to the threat of regulation. Meta, for example, is reportedly considering bringing in paid subscriptions for EU Facebook and Instagram users who wish to avoid seeing ads. New rules linked to the Digital Markets Act (coming into force in April) mean Meta will have to get serious about tweaking its ads monetization model across the Atlantic. Meta isn’t the only Big Tech firm eyeing Brussels this week. Tomorrow, the EU will publish its “Gatekeeper” list, essentially a set of rules for the world’s largest tech companies and individual services to abide by. For example, it will compel Apple to allow third-party apps and side-loading on the App Store. Big Tech lawyers aren’t going down without a fight, however, and Apple and Microsoft are both pushing hard to keep iMessage and Bing off the list, arguing they aren’t big enough to warrant being Gatekeepers. Tomorrow’s list should make for interesting reading. #EURules Read more here.
🍟📱Chips – Huawei (and China) Make Smartphone Processor Breakthrough
Huawei’s attempts to become the biggest player in the global smartphone market hit a United-States-shaped roadblock a few years back, with the US effectively restricting international chip-makers from giving Huawei the advanced integrated circuits needed for 5G smartphones. But in a surprise notable for its political timing (it coincided with a trip by US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to China), Huawei announced its new smartphone, the Mate 60, had an ultra-powerful 7nm processor and Kirin 9000s chip developed in partnership with Chinese firm SMIC, effectively putting it back in the 5G premium smartphone game. While sales of the Mate 60 are predicted to go through the roof, this is more important in a broader sense. The breakthrough suggests China is capable of maintaining its domestic chip ecosystem, something that will give US policymakers sleepless nights. #ChinaChips Read more here.
Other News: A Brief Roundup of Interesting Stories this Week
💰 Amazon is becoming an advertising powerhouse. Amazon’s ad revenue has gone from $1 billion in 2015 to over $40 billion in 2023. It may soon rival Google in that respect. Find out how and why here.
👀 X wants to collect users’ biometrics. In the latest Evil Supervillain news, the latest from Musk HQ is that X/Twitter plans to collect your biometric data and other details you likely won’t want to hand over. Read about it here.
👻 More than one-third of desks sit empty globally. A report from XY Sense claimed that 36% of all workpoints sit empty around the world every week. Partially, it’s down to the remote work and hybrid culture post-pandemic. But there’s a little more to it than that. Check it out here.
🏝️💳 AI – Anguilla Holds Key to Popular Domain Extension
As AI is the flavor of the month, everyone wants to get their hands on a “.ai” domain name extension. The only issue is that the country code of .ai refers to Anguilla, a tiny British overseas territory in the Caribbean. Estimates suggest that the sale of .ai domains could be worth up to $30 million this year, more than 10% of its annual GDP. #AiIsland Read more here
🌎↘️ Blockchains – Share of US Developers Drops by Almost One-Third
A theme we have returned to regularly on What’s dAppening is the fact that the US web3 sector is hamstrung by unclear regulations. As the UK, Japan, China, UAE, and many others clarify rules around web3 products and cryptocurrencies, the US lags behind. As was forewarned, that has had led to a decline in developers participation. In 2018, the US Was home to 42% of the world’s blockchain developers, but that fell to 29% last year. Blockchain is inevitable, even if you think crypto and NFTs are faddish. It’s going to be an essential tool for services as diverse as buying a car to getting a new puppy for your kid. The US may have to play catch up by the time a regulatory framework is finally agreed. #USLagging Read more here.
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