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Issue #9

U.S. sues apple over ‘monopoly power’, Saudi unveils futuristic bridge hotel, selfies can turn into talking vids, and more.

News from March 21 - March 28, 2024

U.S. Sues Apple Over ‘Monopoly Power’

The Department of Justice has sued Apple, alleging its iPhone ecosystem is a monopoly that harms consumers, developers, and competitors. The lawsuit claims Apple has been able to obtain an “astronomical valuation” because of anti-competitive practices in everything from the company’s advertising to texting.

For instance, the lawsuit claims that Apple has maintained a “walled garden” thanks to iOS restricting Android-to-iPhone texting and limiting third-party wallet and smartwatch compatibility.

Prosecutors highlighted one interaction between Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, and a consumer. 

User: “Not to make it personal but I can’t send my mom certain videos,”

Cook: “Buy your mom an iPhone.”

Apple’s shares fell more than 4% following the lawsuit’s announcement. Analysts warn that the company could be forced to make major operational changes.

Apple spokesperson: “This lawsuit threatens who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets. If successful, it would hinder our ability to create the kind of technology people expect from Apple—where hardware, software, and services intersect.”


Reddit Goes Public, Stock Surges

Reddit’s stock soared up to 60% in its first hour of trading, marking the first major social media IPO debut in five years. The surge pushed Reddit’s market value to nearly $8 billion, a significant increase from its initial $6.5 billion valuation.

The IPO’s success reflects investor confidence in Reddit's future despite its history of valuation concerns. The company aims to expand its revenue through advertising, user transactions, and selling data for AI research.

Steve Huffman, CEO: “It was time for Reddit to grow up and behave like an adult company.


Saudi Unveils Futuristic Bridge Hotel

Saudi Arabia has unveiled a hotel within a 450-meter-long bridge spanning a lagoon. It will feature 250 glass-bottomed rooms and an infinity pool across its top.

Named Treyam, the location is part of Saudi’s vision for a futuristic megacity 17 times the size of London. The project joins a lineup of other ambitious luxury resorts along the Gulf of Aqaba coast.

Mark Foster Gage, head of design: “You’re literally hovering over an entire underwater ecosystem and looking out over the vastness and beauty of the natural world. The rooms also have partially glass ceilings, which means you also have a direct connection to some of the most incredible views of the stars that I've seen in my entire life.”


Bulletin Board

  • Toyota Building Utopia Near Volcano. Toyota's $10 billion Woven City project near Mount Fuji is nearing its final stages, preparing to welcome 2,000 residents into a sustainable urban space. Embodying a global shift towards megacities, it focuses on autonomous transport and hydrogen-powered smart homes while merging cutting-edge tech with Japan's traditional wooden architecture using construction robots programmed for heavy labor. Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s president: "With people, buildings, and vehicles all connected and communicating with each other through data and sensors, we will be able to test connected AI technology in both virtual and physical realms, maximizing its potential.' Source
  • Supersonic Plane Takes First Flight. Boom Supersonic's XB-1 jet, a precursor to the Overture, reached 7,120 feet at 273 mph on its initial flight. The forthcoming Overture aims to double the speed of contemporary airliners. Boom, founded in 2014, anticipates fulfilling its 130 pre-orders later this decade. Initially planned tests in 2021 were delayed, but this crucial flight marks a significant step in validating the design. Source
  • Boeing CEO Leaving After Incidents. Boeing's CEO will depart after a tumultuous year, including a mid-air blowout of a plane door in January. The FBI has notified passengers they might be crime victims. CEO Dave Calhoun described the incident as a "watershed moment" and stressed "humility and complete transparency" in a recent employee message. Source
  • Selfies Can Turn Into Talking Vids. Google researchers have developed Vlogger, an AI tool that animates a single still photo into a talking avatar using just one picture and an audio clip. It's designed for realistic conversations, potentially enhancing online chats, education, and virtual assistants. Responses are mixed. Twitter user: "Not gonna lie this is really scary." Another user replied: "This is exactly something I been waiting for.” Source 
  • Restaurant Has Pay-As-You-Can Model. The Long Table in England adopts a "pay-as-you-can" model, emphasizing minimal waste with locally sourced, surplus, and seasonal ingredients. It employs 22 staff at a real living wage, highlighting its commitment to ethical practices. For instance, the restaurant's ethical approach includes serving meat from animals not raised for slaughter. The last cow used in the restaurant entered the food chain only after she had reached 11 years old and had arthritis. This innovative model offers a community-centric solution to food inflation and malnutrition. Source

Disclaimer: This blog offers insights into international business and global events for informational purposes only. It is not intended as investment or business advice. WeavePay is not liable for any decisions made based on the content provided.

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