Last week, we talked about how YouTube managed to skate, while Facebook was hit by the platform’s liability concerns. This week, we are looking at another slippery slope that Apple is dancing on.

If you’re reading this on the TechCrunch site, you can get it delivered to your inbox from the newsletter page and follow my tweets @lucasmtny

the big thing

After hitting that sweet one trillion dollar valuation and then surpassing two trillion, Apple is likely to realize that there is a long way to go to become the first trillion-dollar company and that they will have some decisions to make. controversial to get there. Joking aside, Apple’s business is actually changing quite a bit as it reaches scale and the company is flirting with growth tactics that could be seen as bold and aggressive or a bit over the top.

As Apple’s diversification business shifts from simply getting consumers to buy new iPhones to buying Apple devices while locking them into subscription software services on those devices, they are starting to get a bit more aggressive than they used to. be.

This week, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney criticized Apple for putting ads in its Settings app for its own services, launching a criticism that Apple was not following its own rules. Your complaint was probably intended to focus more on alleging anti-competitive competition from Apple, but my first conclusion after seeing an ad for a free trial of Apple Music within the Settings app, was “Damn, isn’t Apple? a little bit clumsy?”

For a $ 2 trillion company, pressuring consumers to buy something within the section of the app they usually go to when trying to fix something seems like a pretty embarrassing growth hack. Sure, it’s just ad space, a slip, but the lack of spam and crapware has long been a hallmark of Apple’s device ecosystem. Sure, over the years, maybe you didn’t like having your standard calculator or stock app pre-installed, but it wasn’t too much of a concern, but as Apple begins to push pay subscription after pay subscription with a variety of services including Music, News + tv +, Fitness +, Arcade, iCloud + and others, one begins to wonder where all this is leading.

Apple is also beginning to build products for more complex subscribers who live outside of a single application; its iCloud + service now combines backups with more sophisticated privacy features in Safari, only available to paying customers. The various levels of Apple One membership combine these services with discounts that can be shared with family members. And sure, for Sweeney’s point, all of this will be very frustrating for developers trying to compete with a product that has the advantage of playing at home in perpetuity, but also leads to a less welcoming platform for consumers who simply want devices that bring them to send them objectively to the network in general and to all its stakeholders and services.

For a general disclaimer, I’ll say that Apple gets a lot of criticism for seemingly insignificant things because, overall, they’ve done a pretty solid job of streamlining positive consumer experiences with their devices, and consumers have also gotten used to seeing that other companies let these little things snowball. in misplaced incentives that slowly erode a product. That’s why seeing a couple more promotional push notifications or a seemingly out of place ad or too many introductory offers when new devices are turned on raises some red flags.

Converting Apple into a service company is certainly not a crime, but it is important to realize that doing so will likely require a change in the fundamental way you deal with consumers. We are only beginning to savor some of those changes today, but they may become much more visible in the future.

Image credits: NurPhoto / Getty Images

other things

I’m going to play around with this section a bit over the next few weeks so there are fewer cold summaries and more context … let me know on Twitter if this is your issue or if you prefer more headlines and less bloviating 🙂

Twitch Hack Heralds Future Troubles For King Of Game Streaming
Amazon’s game-focused streaming service had a pretty bad week as hackers released a trove of source code and creator payment data. It’s a pretty big competitive loss for Twitch and it leaves Facebook Gaming and YouTube Gaming with a data spreadsheet to attract exclusive streamers to their platform. It’s probably demoralizing for the streamer base as well, as streamers can now gauge how much more some of their competitors are getting than the streaming giant is paying for.

Twitch’s huge lead in the game streaming wars has been slowly shrinking largely as a result of YouTube and Facebook’s efforts to attract viewers. However, Twitch is still the default method that many early career streamers choose and YouTube and Facebook are far behind in this department, their success is largely due to investing money in paid partner programs to attract content creators. popular onboard, which means that the data that was just leaked is quite invaluable to them.

Facebook / Instagram / The terrible week of WhatsApp
Facebook is having a pretty rough few weeks, but this last one was just brutal. While the company was waging a public relations war against a whistleblower, the service suffered the most brutal disruption in the last decade, causing all of the company’s global services to collapse and, in the meantime, breaking its internal tools. Everything was idle for several hours, which means a lot of confusion and frustration, especially for users who depend so much on WhatsApp for their business or social life.

As I wrote last week, Facebook probably doesn’t deserve to be the only internet media platform to be universally dumped, but even with so much public anger, I have a feeling that company executives can’t see beyond the fact that they feel that they are being treated unfairly and that they are not even trying to reflect on themselves. Facebook’s brand is in a fairly sustained state of decline at the moment, but the idea that it might be spreading to its subsidiaries like Instagram should be a cause that leadership and shareholders realize is too critical to ignore. in a significative way.

Pay real money for fake shares of real startups
I can’t say that this is as shocking as the previous two points, but I would be remiss not to repeat a saga I covered this week that really seems to show where we are in this bull market. Visionrare, an NFT platform for “fancy startup investments” was born earlier this week and I covered its launch with a fair amount of skepticism. It was basically a launch to treat venture capital investing like fantasy sports and have people compete to build their own portfolio full of synthetic NFT stocks from startups.

Many investors and entrepreneurs chimed in after my launch post and detailed all the ways I would likely be sued, and it seems the founders listened. Less than a day after going into public beta, they closed the market, promising an eventual return with a free version. As full of fun money as the NFT market seems (and often is), many of the top NFT project founders spend a lot of time discussing mechanics with attorneys ahead of time so that they are not burdened with these difficult decisions after launch. Speaking of funny money, this generative artwork sold for $ 6.9 million this week and this toad It was for 420 ETH ($ 1.5 million), enjoy your weekend!

Image credits: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

things added

Some of my favorite reads from our recently rebranded TechCrunch + subscription service this week:

Global startups raised $ 158 billion in the third quarter
“… Since the second half of 2020 began and the venture capital and startup worlds found that COVID and its related economic impacts were destined to largely lose the market for new technologies, investors have been busy pumping in amounts growing cash in startups. the world. The acceleration of capital deployment has generated more unicorns, more mega-rounds, and simply more dollars available than ever before in startup history … “

Get the details right in your presentation
“… Each interruption, we organize a session, we call the launchpad teardown. It’s a nice workshop where the founders in the audience send me their decks, and I walk through a curated set of them live in front of an exceptional VC panel, critiquing the deck slide by slide. This year at TechCrunch Disrupt 2021, we were joined by Maren Bannon, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of January companies; Vanessa Larco, partner of NEA; and Ben Ling, founder and general partner of Bling Capital…“

Top venture capitalists weigh in on how to raise your first bucks
“… Index Ventures partner Nina Achadijan began by urging the founders to first consider whether they really need to raise venture capital. ‘It’s a great time to be an early-stage entrepreneur. There is more capital than ever and there is a willingness to accept technology from consumers and businesses, ”he said. And frankly, there are a lot of platform changes that are very exciting for early-stage entrepreneurs. But the first thing to do is ask yourself: do you really need to raise venture capital? There are so many amazing companies that you can build that you don’t really need venture capital financing. ‘

Thanks for reading, and again, if you’re reading this on the TechCrunch site, you can get it delivered to your inbox from the newsletter page and follow my tweets @lucasmtny

Lucas Matney

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