Spotify is the cream of the crop when it comes to music streaming services, while it might not be first in music quality it certainly is first when it comes to user counts.
Spotify has released the their quarterly earnings for the second quarter of 2019, revealing that the company now has a solid paying userbase of 108 million users compared to the same time last year of 83 million users. While this might sound like a staggering amount of users, Spotify's estimation for the by the end of June was to add 8.5 million more users, which unfortunately fell short. One year-over-year scale, Spotify is actually up 31% growth wise.
The quarterly report also reveals an accurate amount of monthly active users the music streaming platform has. According to the report, Spotify now has 232 million monthly active users, in comparison to the same time last year where they had 180 million. To shine a light on some competing music streaming platforms, Apple has a userbase of about 60 million users and Amazon is currently trying to squeeze into the market with Amazon Music which is getting a straight upwards trend of users. could certainly disrupt things.
Apple has confirmed it is releasing its own credit card in August, after first revealing it at its services event earlier this year. Yeah, a credit card, from Apple.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said during Apple's recent 2019 third fiscal quarter earnings call: "Thousands of Apple employees are using the Apple Card every day in a beta test and we will begin to roll out the Apple Card in August". The new Apple Card will arrive in both a digital form, as well as a physical titanium card.
Where the new 'Apple Card' will do things differently is that it won't have a normal 16-digit number, CVV code, expiration date, or personal ID on it like a traditional credit card. Apple Card will generate these numbers on-device, with Apple teaming with Goldman Sachs, randomly each time at the time of transactions to keep purchases secure.
We knew it was coming but now it is official: Apple has acquired Intel's modem division including 17,000 patents and most of its staff, for $1 billion.
Intel will see around 2200 of its employees joining Apple, with physical equipment and facilities to be transferred from Intel to Apple now that the deal is done. Intel is abandoning the modem market, but it's not getting rid of everything in the division. The company explains it will "retain the ability to develop modems for non-smartphone applications, such as PCs, internet-of-things devices and autonomous vehicles".
Apple's SVP of Hardware Technologies Johny Srouji adds: "Apple is excited to have so many excellent engineers join our growing cellular technologies group, and know they'll thrive in Apple's creative and dynamic environment. They, together with our significant acquisition of innovative IP, will help expedite our development on future products and allow Apple to further differentiate moving forward".
If you didn't know already, Amazon is currently hosting their own holiday called 'Prime Day'. Prime Day ushers in a range of new sales for consumers to enjoy, but not everyone has taken a liking - as many strikes have formed by Amazon employee's.
This is the second year in a row that Amazon employee's have decided to strike on Prime Day. Many workers located in Germany are refusing to work over what has been called unfair pay, and Minnesota workers are striking over unsafe working conditions. These are the only Amazon workers striking though, due to Amazon owning Twitch.tv some video game streamers have also decided to strike.
Adam "Yoman5" Hernandez, a competitive Magic: The Gathering streamer has decided not to stream for the next two days to show solidarity to the Amazon employee's who have it hard. "I think it's really simple to show solidarity to people who have it hard. A two-day strike did wonders already over at Polygon, and while that's a much smaller affair, a strike is really disruptive to the company's production and can force the company to actually address concerns. A boycott in solidarity with the strike can hit Amazon in the only place they care: sales numbers."
YouTube continues its march right into censorship heaven with a new addition underneath its ban hammer, with the Google-owned video sharing site now banning content posted as "instructional hacking and phishing" that show users "how to bypass secure computer systems or steal user credentials and personal data".
We made a video about launching fireworks over Wi-Fi for the 4th of July only to find out @YouTube gave us a strike because we teach about hacking, so we can't upload it.— Kody (@KodyKinzie) July 2, 2019
YouTube now bans: "Instructional hacking and phishing: Showing users how to bypass secure computer systems"
The problem is that YouTube algorithms will be the 1984 control system behind this move once again, and some users are already getting caught up in the mess. Creator of Cyber Weapons Lab YouTube series Kody Kinzie posted to Twitter saying that his team "made a video about launching fireworks over Wi-Fi for the 4th of July to find out YouTube gave us a strike because we teach about hacking, so we can't upload it". What a mess.
Now sure, I get that YouTube should be censoring or removing harmful material -- but it should be mostly done by actual human staff. The issue here is that so many other videos are going to get caught up in this algorithm-happy ban on their instructional videos that don't necessarily instruct you on how to hack someones PC, but rather do some tweaks or trouble shooting to it. I guess we'll see how bad this gets in the coming weeks and months.
In a story that hasn't been covered much at all, you might not have read that an Ars Technica staffer was recently arrested by the FBI after an attempted enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual ctivity.
Peter Bright was a respected member of the tech press, openly claiming he was in a relationship with an 11-year-old. His own personal Twitter even states he's "pervy", so it seems ht wasn't trying to hide this at all. An undercover FBI special agent reached out to Bright through KinkD, something I'd never heard of until today, a social media platform for sexual fetish connections.
Where it gets worse is that the undercover FBI agent reached out to "randomanon", or Bright, saying that she was a mother that wanted to talk to people who would teach her kids about the "birds and the bees". Bright bit the bait, being allured with the purported 7- and 9-year old children used as bait.
HBO has always had to fight off pirates of its hit Game of Thrones and with its recent season 8 premiere, analytics company MUSO says the premiere was pirated close to 55 million times in its first day.
MUSO adds that around 76% of these viewers used bootleg streams while 12% downloaded it, 10.8% used public torrents while 0.5% used private torrents. The most popular place for pirate versions of the S8 premiere of Game of Thrones was India with MUSO reporting 10 million views were in India, while China chimed in with 5 million.
Remember that HBO isn't available everywhere so there are those that will look to pirating the show, or for people who aren't subscribed and paying for a TV package of some kind in their country. In saying that, MUSO said that around 4 million people pirated the S8 premiere of Game of Thrones in the US, and that's the home of HBO's main audience.
In something that is totally new tech-related, Carl's Jr. has announced it will be selling a CBD-infused burger at one of its locations in Denver, on 4/20.
CBD is all over the place in the US now as more states legalize it, and the industry is quickly growing as a whole including a now major fast food chain in the US with Carl's Jr. and the first CBD-infused burger. The burger in question is the Rocky Mountain High: CheeseBurger Delight features two beef patties, pickled jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, waffle fries and then around 5mg of hemp-derived CBD extract in the burger chain's Santa Fe Sauce.
The burger will of course sell for $4.20, while Carl's Jr. will have at least 1000 of them to sell. Denver, Colorado was the first US state to legalize marijuana, so it's fitting that Carl's Jr. uses the state to sell the first CBD-infused burger. Carl's Jr. senior vice president of marketing, Patty Trevino, explains: "We are a West Coast brand. The states out in the West Coast have been the ones to really adopt and appreciate and be open to cannabis".
Huawei has had one helluva year, with the Chinese giant posting a huge $107 billion in revenue for 2018, the first time the company has broken the $100 billion mark. Revenues were up 19.5% from 2017, while pulling in a net profit of $8.8 billion, an increase of 25% over 2017's numbers.
The consumer business slice of Huawei made the most revenue in 2018 hauling a large $52 billion, which is the first time in Huawei's history that the consumer business made the majority of the revenue for the year. 2018 was good to Huawei with a huge 45.1% increase year-over-year in its consumer business division.
Huawei sold over 200 million smartphones in 2018, and just days ago now revealed its new flagship P30 series smartphone with what appears to be the best camera in a smartphone by a long shot. As for this year, Huawei is expected to do well with January and February 2019 doing extremely well with year-over-year increases of 30%.
GoFundMe inception is happening in San Francisco, with the company donating $5000 towards a GoFundMe campaign that is acting as both a counter, and troll against a separate GoFundMe campaign.
The legal battle ensuing is over the construction of a Navigation Center, which will act as a higher-end homeless shelter that doesn't just provide a safe place to lay your head at night, but it will offer other services and counselling in San Francisco. Some residents took to GoFundMe in a campaign called "Safe Embarcadero for All" attempting to raise $100,000 that would be used "exclusively for legal and related costs to oppose the proposed Navigation Center at Seawall Lot 330".
This particular GoFundMe has an interesting person at its center with lawyer Andrew Zacks involved in the fundraising through the Safe Embarcadero for All which retains the lawfirm he's a partner at; Zacks, Freedman & Patterson that call themselves "the voice of Bay Area property owners". SF Weekly reports that "very wealthy residents of the eastern edge of the city has raised more than $44,000 in 11 days. The recipient: a lawyer, Andrew Zacks, who is representing the residents in their fight against a homeless shelter that's been proposed for a parking lot on Embarcadero between Beale and Bryant streets".