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Day: July 1, 2023

Day: July 1, 2023

Bird founder Travis VanderZanden officially leaves the nest

Travis VanderZanden’s slow-motion departure from Bird is now complete. The scooter rental company announced in a late-Friday news dump that the executive has stepped down from his role as chairperson of Bird’s board, “effective immediately.” Replacing VanderZanden is John Bitove, who played a role in saving Bird’s bacon this past December via its merger with Bird Canada. VanderZanden had led the micromobility company from its inception as its president and founding CEO, but that all changed last year when Bird’s declining stock price culminated in a delisting warning from the New York Stock Exchange. Soon after, VanderZanden stepped down from

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Apple is now the first publicly traded company to close above a $3 trillion market value

Apple is the first publicly traded company to close a trading day with a $3 trillion market value. The company’s shares climbed about 2.31% on Friday to a new high. The tech giant first reached a $3 trillion market cap back in January 2022, but failed to close at that level. Apple’s stock has skyrocketed nearly 46% this year. The company’s stock market success this year is a stark contrast from 2022. Earlier this year, Apple’s market cap fell below $2 trillion in trading for the first time since early 2021. The milestone valuation for the tech giant comes on

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Are corporations too influential?

Welcome to Startups Weekly. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Friday. This week, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how some of the biggest companies in the world have as much — if not more — power than entire countries. Most countries, at least, have some level of democratic oversight, but that isn’t true in the same way for companies. My question, then: In a world where the policies of, say, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter become de facto standards all around the world, should we have a greater degree of say (TC+) in what

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FTC finally proposes ban on fake reviews

The FTC has proposed a new rule banning numerous forms of fake reviews online, from outright fabricated ones to those that are sketchily repurposed or secretly manipulated. It may not totally rehabilitate the notoriously unreliable online review ecosystem, but it could help make things a bit more bearable. This rule has been a long time in the making, which is par for the course at any federal regulator. The FTC’s first case of this type was in 2019, against a merchant that was making misleading claims and paying for fake reviews. Before that, it had taken on “influencer marketing” where

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Spotify reportedly wants to add full-length music videos to its app

Spotify might soon let you watch music, not just listen to it. Bloombergsources claim the streaming service is mulling the addition of full-length music videos to its app. The company is reportedly talking to potential partners, but it’s not clear who would support the feature or when it might arrive. Spotify has already declined to comment. Video on Spotify is currently limited to podcasts, 30-second storytelling clips (to help artists talk about their work) and 10-second GIFs that loop while you listen to a given song. The media giant launched a TikTok-like home feed in March, but it’s meant more

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An Overwatch anime miniseries will debut on July 6th

Blizzard has released a string of excellent Overwatch animated shorts over the years. While the shorts are sublimely rendered and help to sketch out the backstories of the cast, Blizzard hasn’t neatly pulled together the sprawling narrative of this universe so far. The developers have pledged to do a better job of that in-game starting with Overwatch 2‘s sixth season, which gets under way in August. Before we get there, though, Blizzard is releasing an Overwatch anime. The three-episode miniseries is called Genesis. The title and a trailer suggest that it will focus on the early days of the Overwatch

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Sony didn’t want ‘Roblox’ on PlayStation due to child safety concerns

Sony blocked Roblox from PlayStation consoles because it was worried about inappropriate content reaching children. The revelation comes from a 2022 document, first reported byAxios, uncovered in the FTC’s Microsoft trial. However, Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan said at the time that the company’s stance was softening, leaving the door open to an eventual PlayStation port for the viral user-generated platform. Ryan explained the decision to withhold Roblox to investors early last year. “Historically, because of the large number of children that play on the PlayStation, we have been very careful with regards to opening them up

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The FTC plans to slap companies with hefty fines for using fake reviews

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has proposed a formal ban on fake reviews and testimonials. Companies would also be prohibited from using phony followers and views to inflate their social media metrics if the rule takes effect as it stands. This isn’t the first time the agency has trained its sights on fake reviews. In its first such case in 2019, it fined a third-party Amazon seller for paying for fake reviews (Amazon itself has sued phony review providers). Earlier this year, the FTC levied a $600,000 penalty against the owner of a vitamin brand for “review hijacking” on Amazon.

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This nifty fan-made Game Boy camera is the size of a cartridge

The official Game Boy Camera is a treat for fans of lo-fi photography, but it’s also on the larger side, protruding from the retro console like a giant, creepy eyeball. That’s why modder and mega-fan Christopher Graves made his own version, the Game Boy Mini Camera, as originally reported via Gizmodo. This thing is tiny, as Graves managed to shrink everything down to the size of a Game Boy cartridge, with no protrusion necessary. Graves used a custom board, the original camera’s sensor, a memory map controller and some capacitors to complete the project. He also used a lens from

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The best passive bookshelf speakers for most people

Vinyl has been on a resurgence for some time, and the pandemic somehow only accelerated that. It’s got many out there looking to upgrade from a cheap Crosley turntable and build out their first HiFi system. Of course, there are multiple pieces that go into building a decent stereo, but perhaps the most important is the speakers. If your speakers don’t sound good, it basically doesn’t matter what you connect them to. Active vs. Passive Speakers This is understandably the part of their setup that people likely spend the most time researching. And you have to make a number of

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