👋 Welcome to FWIW by David Tvrdon, your weekly tech, media & audio digest.
In this edition
EU vs Big Tech
GPT-3 for everyone
Ikea launches a massive collection for gamers
Why is the world looking at EU’s Big Tech rules
EU is not shy in its opinion of Big Tech’s power in the world, especially among the bloc’s countries. It was just a while ago that WSJ’s Facebook Files revealed how algorithm changes have altered the the behaviour of political parties online.
Also, when Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen spoke to EU lawmakers in early November, she said the legislation Brussels is working on has the potential to be a global gold standard.
The long-discussed Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA, which Haugen mentioned directly in her speech to EU) are on the menu now and for the coming weeks.
The DMA draft law has already been passed by the lead committee in the European Parliament. DSA is up next (reportedly in early December).
Basically, as Bloomberg puts it, DMA lays out the rules of which company is considered a gatekeeper (the usual suspects - Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple but also Netherlands’ Booking and China’s Alibaba) and sets various rules and fines.
Most notably, DMA opens the doors to the interoperability of messaging or social media apps, bans behavioral targeting of ads to minors and paves the way to legal sideloading of apps, more precisely to open access to multiple app stores.
Euroactiv has a nice explainer of DMA’s various proposals for gatekeepers.
In essence, both DMA and DSA are aimed at banning anti-competitive behaviour and to boost the power of national competition authorities to scrutinise tech companies.
The DMA file is due to be voted on in the upcoming vote in the European Parliament's Plenary session. Find the final proposal here.
If approved it will then become Parliament’s mandate for negotiations with EU governments. Which means another few months until it becomes a law, so we are still talking 2022/2023 that it might come into effect.
Both DMA and DSA tackle big topics and are coming to the matter from the point of view where EU sees tech platforms as not enough self-regulating and not learning from their mistakes.
Almost all tech companies which are targeted by this legislation are opposing it in some way, each for various reasons, and it’s not hard to understand why.
Once it goes into effect in EU, US and the rest of the world will take these measures into account as well and it’s not hard to foresee lawmakers everywhere to step up regulation for Big Tech with an already laid out and proven approach from EU.
📺 Why does Netflix rarely have service issues? There are some questions you almost never think about yet the answer is surprisingly intriguing. [The Verge]
🤖 OpenAI makes its API for GPT-3 generally available. Developers from supported countries will be able to sign up to access GPT-3's API and begin experimenting immediately (yes, Slovakia is there). According to Axios, developers will still need OpenAI's approval for production-scale applications, and the company has created automated tools to identify problematic text generated by GPT-3. [Axios]
🤓 This is helpful: Curious Beginner's Guide to Cryptocurrencies. [Creator Economy]
😈 NSO Group is in trouble. As it was negotiating with France, the deal felt apart, as did other deals after this year’s scandals. Also, the US sanctions have had an huge effect on the company (not in a good way). Also, Apple has launched a lawsuit against NSO Group, seeking a permanent injunction to prevent the spyware maker from using any Apple product or service. [MIT Tech Review]
⌚️ Samsung is catching up to Apple Watches with the success of Galaxy Watch 4. Samsung’s smartwatch market share grew, meanwhile global smartwatch shipments in the third quarter of this year increased 16% compared to the same period last year. [Counterpoint Research]
🇨🇳 Five ways China is trying to unaddict kids from social media: Blackout hours, educational content, time limits, and interspersed pauses. [Big Technology]
😵💫 The supply chain struggle is real, especially for smaller hardware companies and startups. We might return to a world in which it takes a lot longer, and requires a lot more money, to produce new gadgets. [Protocol]
🚗 Apple accelerates work on its car project (2025) and now aims for fully autonomous vehicle. My take on this is that the timeline is very unrealistic. Building cars is tough, plain and simple. [Bloomberg]
🎁 Some good advice here: The best tech gifts that aren’t gadgets. [NYT]
🤔 BuzzFeed signed a deal to produce live, sponsored video series on TikTok. I mean, social platforms always turn to BuzzFeed and it never turns into something sustainable and longterm. But I guess BuzzFeed is happy to get paid to produce it. [Digiday]
Also: Facebook is paying creators to use live audiorooms. Not a good sign for any new product or feature
🇪🇺 Sifted, FT’s spin off media startup for covering EU tech, raises £4m to scale. I have been following Sifted from the beginning and they are doing a nice job of uncovering stories in Europe. More startup focused than I would want them to be, but I guess that’s working. [Sifted]
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🎧 Netflix and Spotify have launched a Netflix Hub on Spotify. It includes official soundtracks, playlists, and podcasts, along with exclusive Spotify content. Available in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland and India. [Spotify]
👀 Inside Spotify’s audio revolution. [FC]
👏 Apple Podcasts brought back the refresh button. [Podnews]
🎙 Danish audio startup Podimo has raised a $78m Series B round, one of the largest rounds for an audio tech company in Europe this year. According to Sifted, it is looking to fill the gap between podcast platforms like Acast and audiobook companies like Storytel with a mix of RSS-feed content, curated podcasts and audiobooks and its own productions. [Sifted]
📊 Germany will get a podcast ranker. More than 100 podcasts are participating. [agma]
😅 Not exactly gaming news, but I make the rules here: Ikea launches a massive collection for gamers, including the weirdest product it has ever made - LÅNESPELARE is ‘a cushion, blanket, and onesie, all in one’. Yep, it’s weird, but I want it. [FC]
📚 The year’s 100 notable books, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. [NYT]
❓ Poll: Are you buying tech gadgets for Christmas?
Last poll results: Would you pay for a subscription on social media? 39% yes, for the right features; 22% haven’t thought about; 20% no; 18% would pay for no ads.
🙏 And big thanks to Celine Bijleveld who helped me edit this newsletter. You can follow her on Substack here.