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In this week’s What’s Appening, we delve into Microsoft’s AI plans. A $10 billion investment in OpenAI might seem like a lot of moolah, but it looks like the surest bet in tech as Microsoft starts to incorporate AI into its core products. We look at the latest developments, including breaking news of an AI-assisted Bing search engine. In other news, we go back to Twitter for reports on how Elon Musk is upsetting developers using Twitter API, but there is some good news about revenue sharing for Twitter creators. We also cover Netflix’s plans to stop people from sharing accounts – is the streaming platform being fair to users? Our Stat of the Week looks at Apple’s booming services business. And What’s dAppening has a triangular-shaped tale from the metaverse, as Doritos makes its entry into web3.

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Takes 🎬️

🔎 🤖 Microsoft – AI Product Revolution Begins with Teams and Bing

With each passing day, it’s becoming abundantly clear that Microsoft has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reap the benefits of its investment in OpenAI. Microsoft has already started to integrate OpenAI tools into its own products, which includes an integration of GPT-3.5 into Teams Premium, providing “intelligent recap” (notes, tasks, highlights) of meetings. But above all, there is the much-anticipated integration between OpenAI and Bing, Microsoft’s often-maligned search engine. Just before this newsletter went out this afternoon, Microsoft dropped new info on, well, the “new Bing” in a blog post. First, the post threw a lot of shade at Google, suggesting search in its current form is broken, a view shared by our CEO Paul. But then Microsoft got down to business, telling us how the new AI-powered Bing would work. Perhaps the biggest bombshell was that – contrary to speculation – Microsoft won’t be using ChatGPT for Bing. Instead, it claims it will use a next-generation OpenAI model that is “more powerful” than ChatGPT. In Microsoft’s own words, it is “even faster, more accurate and more capable” than ChatGPT. Search will be reinvented, it claims, providing more direct answers to specific questions, while also adding a new sidebar that gives more comprehensive detail if you want it. There will also be a chat experience for more complex searches like planning a trip, with the AI tool helping you refine and narrow the details. And, there is what Microsoft terms a “creative spark”, where Bing will help you do everything from writing a friendly email to prepping for a job interview. Finally, Microsoft was keen to stress that this is about Edge as well as Bing, claiming that its browser experience would be transformed, with an AI-powered Edge even capable of writing a LinkedIn post if you give it a few prompts. You can see Microsoft’s blog post here. There is also a limited preview available now at (desktop only), where you will also find the waitlist. Perhaps sensing the danger to its search engine and web browser hegemony, Google has made its own move into AI by casually throwing $300 million into AI startup Anthropic and then suddenly announcing a ChatGPT rival called Bard on Monday afternoon. Bard should be available to the public in a matter of weeks, but this feels like Google desperately trying to play catch up. While there are many other AI tools and projects out there, there is huge momentum behind OpenAI, in which Microsoft will have a 49% stake once the terms of its $10 billion investment are realized. It seems like Microsoft is winning the AI Wars before they’ve even started. #BingWhenYourWinnning Read more here.

💰 🐥 Twitter – More Changes Afoot with APIs and Creator Revenue Sharing

It’s been a few weeks, so we thought we’d update you with the latest on Twitter as Elon Musk strives to make the platform better or worse (depending on who you listen to). Anyway, two big updates have been mooted recently. The first concerns Twitter API, i.e., the tool that allows third-party developers to connect to the main platform. In practice, that means the creation of bot accounts that might pump out literary quotes or pictures of cute cats, but it can also be used for stuff like researchers collecting data from the site. Anyway, Musk claimed the system was being abused and signaled that developers would have to pay to use the API. He may have a point. However, critics were quick to say that many of the bot accounts were non-commercial and useful. So, Musk being a tweet-first-think-later kind of guy has now done a small U-turn, claiming free access to Twitter API would remain for write-only bots that provide “good” content. How that will be judged, we have yet to learn. In slightly better Twitter news, Lord Commander Elon has pronounced that creators (who have paid subscriptions to Twitter Blue) will be eligible to get a share of revenue generated by ads appearing in the replies of their posts. Again, we must wait for clarification on the rules, as well as the inevitable U-turn by Elon Musk, but this seems like a great idea on the face of it. #TwitterNews Read more here.

📺 🚫 Netflix – New Account Sharing Rules Cause Uproar and Confusion

“Love is sharing a password.”. Not our words, but those of Netflix in a tweet sent in March 2017, back when Netflix was, you know, cool. Those days are gone, however, after Netflix finally released details of how it was going to stop password sharing. Or has it? There has been some confusion over the precise details, primarily because the news coverage focused on user updates in South and Central America, believing they would act as a blueprint for elsewhere. Regardless, the crux of it is that Netflix seems to be saying that you must define a primary location for your account, say your home television set, and all users of that account must have been connected to the same Wi-Fi as that television set before. That seems logical, allowing, for instance, a family member to use the account on an iPad when they head off to college. However, some have taken exception to the mooted rules, including those who travel extensively for work. We expect to see more clarity for US users soon, particularly around the use of temporary codes that account holders can use to verify that the person using the account is a real family member and not some random dude you gave your credentials to ten years ago. #NetflixAndKillPasswordSharing Read more here.

🧐 Stat of the Week: 935M Subscriptions

🍏 ⤴️ Apple – Almost 1 Billion Paid Subscribers for iPhone Maker’s Services

Apple had something of a mixed bag when reporting its earnings figures this month, with money coming in from iPhone sales dropping by 8%. However, it was buoyed by its growth in services, highlighted by the fact that it has reached 935 million paid subscriptions across services like iCloud, Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Fitness. Apple also had double-digit growth in App Store subscriptions, although optimism there has been tempered by the growing clouds of regulatory pressure in the US and EU. #AppleUpsAndDowns Read more here.

🕸️ What’s dAppening?

A dApp is a decentralized app. Here’s the latest in web3, NFTs and blockchain apps.

🍟 🎮 Doritos – Chips Company Dips Into the Blockchain and Metaverse

We were somewhat non-plussed when we heard potato chip company Doritos was launching an NFT collection. “Yeah, it’s just another company joining the digital collectible bandwagon”, or so we thought. In fact, Doritos is doing something that’s nacho typical (yeah, we went there) NFT drop, fusing together a metaverse experience with some bespoke NFT mints. The former is part of a gaming experience in Decentraland at Doritos Triangle Studios, whereas the NFT drops – some of which come from well-known NFT artists – will be offered on a Polygon blockchain mint. But what we love here is that Doritos’ campaign is “targeted”. To explain: We have seen several NFT digital collectible campaigns from brands – Coca-Cola springs to mind – that were forgettable and ultimately pointless. Doritos, though, knows its target audience – gamers. So, it is able to entice them into the metaverse with gaming-related experiences and prizes like souped-up PCs and gaming rigs. It’s a perfect example of using web3 for brand-building and customer rapport by having clear, targeted goals in mind. If you are a fan of triangular potato chips or you are a gamer, you can find the details of the campaign (runs Feb 8th – 10th in Decentraland) here. #TangyCheeseNFTs Read more here.

Meanwhile at 3Advance…

Our newly renovated 3Advance conference room hosted the first client workshop of 2023. Jason Bilotti, founder of Istruzi flew up from Charleston, SC to talk shop with Paul, our CEO, and Mark, who is Director of Engineering and team lead for the Istruzi project. We covered some of the challenges and opportunities on the horizon for this sports-tech startup. Istruzi is an app to help golf-coaches run their business, with client management, scheduling, messaging and some awesome video capabilities in the works. After a great day of collaboration, Istruzi’s team (3Advance!) got to work immediately on the new features set to go live early Spring. We’re excited about the next steps in Istruzi’s master plan. Check out the Instagram Reel below to get a taste of what went down.

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