😶🌫️ Without this company, there are no chips
An inside look at ASML, the only company making the $200m machines needed to print every advanced microchip.
👋 Welcome to FWIW by David Tvrdon, your weekly tech, media & audio digest.
In this edition
An inside look at ASML, a company you don’t know but should
Financial Times light news app
YouTube has huge plans with podcasting
Why is Dutch company ASML so important for chip making?
Once a little-known name, Dutch chipmaking equipment manufacturer ASML is now seen as a critical power player in the massive semiconductor market.
This week’s essay is really a promo for this CNBC short documentary on how ASML built itself into the world's most essential company for chipmakers.
The main factory is located in Veldhoven, near the border with Belgium but it has more than 60 locations all over the world where different parts of their machines are built.
In order to understand why these machines are so expensive, consider this:
EUV machines are made up of several modules with hundreds of thousands of components, from nearly 800 global suppliers. Each module is built at one of ASML’s 60 locations around the world and then shipped to Veldhoven for assembly. After each assembled machine is tested, it’s disassembled for shipment to a chipmaker. The shipping requires 20 trucks and three fully loaded Boeing 747s.
*EUV stands for extreme ultraviolet, an incredibly short wavelength of light that ASML generates in large quantities to print small, complex designs on microchips.
There is only one country to which ASML isn’t shipping its EUV technology and it is, you guessed it, China. Forty-two countries where ASML has subsidiaries have control measures blocking exports to China, which in turns prevents ASML from shipping the whole machine to China.
Also, ASML’s technology is one of the reasons why Intel felt behind in the chip race and TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) emerged as a leader.
OK, I guess this is enough of a teaser, take a short break and watch the video.
📲 Apple is working on a hardware subscription service for iPhones. It could help Apple generate more revenue and make it easier for consumers to stomach spending thousands of dollars on new devices. Already, the iPhone is Apple’s biggest source of sales, generating nearly $192bn last year, more than half the company’s revenue. It’s expected to launch at the end of 2022. [Bloomberg]
RELATED: Apple is developing its own payment processing technology and infrastructure for future financial products, part of an ambitious effort that would reduce its reliance on outside partners over time. [Bloomberg]
PLUS: Apple's new reader app rules are in effect. That means apps like Netflix and Spotify add a link to their websites in their app so users can manage and create accounts outside the App Store. [Apple]
👏 The US and the European Union reached a preliminary deal to allow data about Europeans to be stored on US soil. Specifics are still emerging. The deal seeks to give Europeans confidence that US intelligence authorities aren't accessing their personal data via technology and information companies. [Axios]
🤨 Some backlash on EU’s DMA: Forcing WhatsApp and iMessage to work together is doomed to fail, some experts thinks. The main issue is have end-to-end encryption and interoperability at the same time. There are ways to solve this but it could take years to implement. [Wired]
🤖 A cheetah robot taught itself how to sprint in a weird way. Researchers got the machine to run nearly 13 feet per second (or 9 mph). They used a technique called reinforcement learning which means digital versions of the machine took several running trials in a simulated world. The researchers were then able to port what the virtual robot learned into this physical machine. And the robot learned from there in the physical world by falling and running. Its movement isn’t graceful, but this powerful technique is preparing robots for the chaos of the world. [Wired]
🤯 Facebook paid a PR firm to push anti-TikTok messaging that it harms children. The campaign includes placing op-eds and letters to the editor in major regional news outlets, promoting dubious stories about alleged TikTok trends that actually originated on Facebook, and pushing to draw political reporters and local politicians into helping take down its biggest competitor. In an internal report last year leaked by the whistleblower Frances Haugen, Facebook researchers said teens were spending “2-3X more time” on TikTok than Instagram, and that Facebook’s popularity among young people had plummeted. [The Washington Post]
ALSO FB: Mark Zuckerberg and Meta’s leadership take remote work to the extreme as executives are scattering to locations far from Silicon Valley headquarters, working from Hawaii, Cape Cod, Europe. [WSJ]
NOT GREAT: A Facebook bug led to increased views of harmful content. Misinformation, nudity, violence, even Russian state media posts. [The Verge]
ALSO NOT GREAT (and actually pretty terrible): TikTok being used by 16% of British toddlers, Ofcom finds. [The Guardian]
👁 Mojo Vision unveils latest augmented reality contact lens prototype. [VentureBeat]
😳 That smiling LinkedIn profile face might be a computer-generated fake. An investigation revealed how some companies are using fake LinkedIn profile to sell you stuff. [NPR]
🖥 Samsung’s M8 monitor comes with a webcam, speakers, and smart TV features for $700. It’s still expensive and lacks some of the features you would want to have within a monitor in this price range. Though I appreciate the nod towards Apple. [The Verge]
🥰 Google Docs are getting expanded Markdown support and auto-detection on the web. This is very big news for anyone who knows what Markdown is. And if you don’t, go here and thank me later. [9to5Google]
🚗 Waymo says fully driverless rides are coming to San Francisco. Its driverless vehicles are now only available to employees but will soon grow to include members of the company’s “Trusted Tester” program. [The Verge, Waymo]
📲 The Financial Times launched a new app, with introductory subscriptions 99p per month for 6 months, aimed at its 26m social media followers. [Press Gazzette]
🙌 News Product Alliance launched the Product Kit, a series of practical guides to help you get started with product thinking for newsrooms. [NPA]
🗣 Reuters prepared an online training certificate for young journalists: Introduction to Digital Journalism. It was paid for by Meta. [Reuters]
👉 This is really good advice: Read the comments to find misinformation you need to debunk. [DCN]
🤔 The New York Times is the fastest growing news brand in UK. Overall, BBC leads in total reach in UK with 39.3 million, followed by The Sun, Mirror, Mail Online, The Independent and The Guardian at No.6. NYT is at No.17 reaching 11.7 million. [Press Gazzette]
🤦♂️ Elon Musk giving 'serious thought' to building a new social media platform. [Reuters]
🎥🏆 Apple TV+ is the first streaming service to win a Best Picture Oscar. Apple bought CODA at the Sundance Film Festival for $25m. [New York Times]
ALSO: The New York Times won its first Oscar for The Queen of Basketball, in the Documentary Short Subject category. [NYT Co.]
🕵️♂️ News Impact Summit: The Future of Editorial - a free event in Prague will kick-off the renewed in-person NIS summits from the European Journalism Centre. You can register for free here. [EJC NIS]
💪 How The Local built its successful membership model across nine countries. [FIPP]
📬 Brian Morrissey on newsletters, podcasts, and the many ways to build a sustainable media business. [FIPP]
🤨 Nielsen agreed to sell itself to a group of private-equity firms in a deal that values the media-measurement company at around $10bn. [Wall Street Journal]
FROM THE FIX
[ 📬 Get The Fix newsletter delivered to your inbox every week with the latest insights, news, and analysis about the European media market. Sign up here > ]
😲 YouTube's plans for podcasting. YouTube is looking at ingesting podcast RSS feeds directly, the slides suggest, with a new podcasts homepage to be at youtube.com/podcasts (a URL that doesn’t work, yet). YouTube is to feature audio ads and we might see a revenue share with publishers. And expect better analytics for podcast publishers. [Podnews]
ALSO: Another reason why all of your newsroom’s podcasts should be on YouTube [The Fix]
😎 Apple Podcasts adds follower counts. [Pacific Content]
👏 Podnews published its report card 2022 survey results, Pocket Casts was voted the best app for listening by publishers and listeners. And no surprise, Google Podcasts got overall the worst evaluation. [Podnews]
📊 The Infinite Dial 2022 report was published, it tracks online audio consumption in the US. 62% of the 12+ category have ever listened to a podcast. In-car podcast listening is growing. 38% of the 12+ category are monthly podcast listeners (down form 41% last year). 50% of 12-34-year-olds are monthly podcast listeners. On average, US listeners listen weekly to 8 podcast episodes. [Edison Research]
RELATED: Podcasting’s key statistics for 2022. [Edison Research]
👀 Spotify tests a new podcast discovery feature. The streamer is using Podz, which it acquired last year, to offer a TikTok-like feed with vertical scrolling that gives users a taste of podcasts they are not yet listening to. [TechCrunch]
🎧 Rode’s first pair of headphones offer a comfortable and balanced way to monitor audio. The NTH-100 offers a great option for audio mixing. [The Verge]
🎮 Sony announced its new PlayStation Plus subscription tiers. They will be available later this year, and with the new “Extra” and “Premium” levels, offering access to back catalogs of many PlayStation games. [The Verge]
RELATED: Interview with PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan on Sony's new PS Plus subscription tiers, why new first-party games won't immediately launch on the service, and more. [Games Industry]
🕹 Netflix acquires its third gaming company - Boss Fight Entertainment. I guess the streamer is serious about gaming. [Games Radar]
❓ Poll: Do you listen to podcasts on YouTube?
Last poll results: Do you think DMA will help the EU’s tech sector to compete better with Big Tech? 32% are not sure. 25% think yes. 19% like the way things are. 16% don’t think so. 8% are not fans of regulation.
🙏 And big thanks to Celine Bijleveld who helped me edit this newsletter. You can follow her on Substack here.