Interesting tech news this week, Friday 28 April

Leonard Sengere Avatar

It’s been yet another week and the news just keeps on coming. Let us look at some of the interesting news from this week.


Meta shuts down Facebook Watch Originals

Facebook launched Facebook Watch back in 2017. It is a video-on-demand service, Meta’s answer to YouTube. Like YouTube, the content on Watch is created by independent creators who then share the advertising revenue made from flighting ads on those videos with Meta.

In addition to that content, Facebook executive produced some content themselves – Facebook Watch Originals. This was meant to produce more high-quality content, you know, the kind that can rival broadcast TV shows.

In English, they funded some shows, to the tune of $10,000-$40,000 (later $50-70,000) per episode for short-form content and between $250,000 to over $1 million for long-form TV-length series.

One of the most known Facebook Watch Originals shows is Red Table Talk which is hosted by Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith. If I’m not mistaken it was on this show that we got the famous ‘entanglement’ episode.

Other popular shows include Sorry for Your Loss, Steve (Steve Harvey’s interview program) and JoJo Goes.

Meta will no longer be funding any original content. The creators of the above shows are free to find new homes for their content if they so desire.

Facebook Watch will remain. There just won’t be any Facebook Originals.

Read more on this story here.

WhatsApp to auto-share Status updates to Facebook

WhatsApp is working on allowing you to toggle a button and have them auto-share your status updates to Facebook. Handy for the serious influencer who frequents those two platforms.

Right now you have to manually click on ‘Share to Facebook Story’ after you post a Status update on WhatsApp like a peasant. WhatsApp is going to do that automatically for you if you so desire.

We already have a similar feature on Instagram and it should be identical on WhatsApp.

Microsoft to unbundle Teams from Office

Microsoft’s Office Suite is popular and that’s quite the understatement. Microsoft knows this and was using that fact to try and build up their new services.

After purchasing and more or less killing Skype and then watching Zoom take over the world, Microsoft had to start over with Teams in the video teleconferencing space. Teams also competes with work collaboration services like Slack and Basecamp.

Now, to give it a leg up in these fights, Microsoft started bundling in Teams with Office. A similar move to when they bundled Internet Explorer with Windows for free and dominated the browser game for years because of it. A classic antitrust case.

So, naturally Zoom and other competitors were not happy with Microsoft trying to use Office to push Teams. Slack’s counsel said, “We’re asking the EU to be a neutral referee, examine the facts and enforce the law.”

The EU launched an official investigation into the antitrust matter.

In order to avoid being taken to court as happened in the Internet Explorer days, Microsoft decided to unbundle Teams from Office before official moves were taken to force them to do that.

More on this story here.


Apple wins Epic Games appeal

Epic Games, creators of the popular Fortnite game took Apple to court for violating antitrust law. Apple does not allow competing app marketplaces on iPhones like Android does. So, Apple controls the only way to sell apps and services to iPhone users.

With this control over the App Store, Apple then takes as much as 30% of all digital sales inside iPhone apps. Epic Games had to pay this 30% tax to Apple and decided to introduce its own payment system to get around that.

Apple banned them from the App Store for this and Epic sued, claiming antitrust. Apple mostly won that court case and Epic appealed.

So, now an appeals court has heard the case. On nine of the ten claims made by Epic, the appeals court sided with Apple. Largely upholding the decision of the lower court.

It looks like Apple will get to keep ruling the App Store with an iron fist. The courts do not seem to see any antitrust problems with their setup. The judges have said Apple does not monopolise any market, which I don’t agree with but it is what it is.

Apple has declared this a resounding victory.

More on this story here.

Microsoft’s Activision takeover blocked in the UK

Microsoft reached an agreement to buy Activision Blizzard for US$68.7 billion. The video game company, which has King Studios under it is most known for franchises like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch and your mom’s favourites, Candy Crush and Farm Heroes Saga.

Read more about that deal here:

That deal will not happen if the Competition and Markets authority in the UK has anything to say about it. I imagine Sony will be celebrating at this news. They don’t want Call of Duty to become their chief competition’s property, it’s too popular a game to have that.

The Competitions and Markets Authority says it is concerned that the deal would offer reduced innovation and less choice for gamers.

Now, the authority is not worried about Sony and the console wars. They don’t imagine Sony would struggle to compete.

The authority is worried about cloud gaming. Microsoft has Game Pass, a cloud gaming service where gamers pay about $10 a month and can play all the games on that library. It is a Netflix for games kind of service.

Microsoft intends to add Call of Duty and those other Activision titles to Game Pass and that would make it even more compelling than it already is. Microsoft says they won’t make the games Game Pass exclusives but who knows what will happen in the long term.

That is where the UK authority has concerns. They believe as cloud gaming continues to improve, gamers could have the option of not buying consoles at all.

If you are able to stream CoD relatively lag-free just as if you had a gaming rig, why would you buy an Xbox?

However, Microsoft could jeopardize this future if they control all the titles under Activision’s umbrella.

Microsoft says it will appeal this ruling. These tech firms keep our appeals courts busy.

More on this story here.

Chip makers

Samsung records 95% drop in profit

A global downturn in semiconductor purchases led to chip prices falling in Q1 2023. The global economic slowdown and weak consumer spending led to smartphone, PC and devices manufacturers not needing to stock up on chips, instead running down their inventories.

This low demand for new chips has led to prices falling by about 70% over the the last 9 months.

Samsung’s chip business has been its cash cow for years, even if the mobile division grabs most of the headlines. Samsung is the world’s biggest memory chipmaker. So, any under performance by the chip business will lead to the company posting disappointing results.

The chip division posted a 4.58 trillion won ($3.4bn) loss compared to an 8.45 trillion won ($6.32 bn) profit a year ago, a $10 billion swing. This led to the whole company posting an operating profit of 640 billion won ($478 million) in Q1 2023, down from 14.12 trillion won ($10.6 bn) in Q1 2022. That is a massive 95% drop drop in operating profits.

Samsung expects demand to pick up in the second half of the year although they think Q2 2023 will be just as poor as Q1. Samsung says customers will have run out of inventories by the second half and will start buying chips again.

There was a positive from Samsung’s Q1 results though. The mobile division reported profits of 3.94 trillion won ($2.95 bn), up from 3.82 trillion won ($2.86 bn) a year earlier. This was despite depressed smartphone demand in the last few quarters thanks to the economic downturn we talked about.

Samsung expects smartphone demand to increase in the second half, and this should lead to increases in shipments and revenues.

More on that story here.

Intel records $2.8 billion loss, largest quarterly loss in company history

You know Intel as the company that produces the processor that your computer uses, if it’s a Windows laptop or desktop and until a few years ago, even Macbooks. In recent years, AMD has brought the fight to Intel but Intel remains boss with their Core i-series of chips.

This Client Computing group reported $5.8 billion in revenue, a 38% drop on an annual basis. This was to be expected as global PC shipments are estimated to have fallen by nearly 30% in Q1 2023.

Intel also has a Data Centre and AI division under which the server chip division is. The server chip division posted $3.7 billion in revenue, a 39% drop from last year’s revenue.

Even Intel’s Network and Edge division posted a 30% decline in sales to $1.5 billion. However, Mobileye, their separately listed subsidiary and maker of systems and software for self driving cars reported a 16% revenue growth to $458 million.

In total, Intel’s revenues dropped by 36% from $18.4 billion last year to $11.7 billion this year. Resulting in a net loss of $2.8 billion. This was Intel’s second consecutive quarter posting losses and the fifth quarter of falling revenues.

The PC market is expected to firm up in H2 2023 and Intel may reverse this trend. Like Samsung, Intel is confident there will be inventory corrections in the second half of the year.

Intel however does not expect the server chip division to rebound much this year, they say server and network markets have not bottomed out yet.

The future

It’s all going to be fun to watch. See, Intel is looking to go back to its roots, so to speak. Intel will be opening up its factories to make chips for other companies. This is what Samsung does, it makes its own chips and opens up its foundries to make chips for other companies.

TSMC exclusively makes chips for other companies and is considered to have the most advanced foundries in the world. Intel hopes to be able to make chips as advanced as those made by TSMC by 2026 and believes it is on course to meet that target.

Intel is also following the trend in Silicon Valley and laying off a significant portion of its employees. These layoffs and other cost cutting measures have Intel expecting to save $3 billion in 2023 and as much as $25 billion by 2025.

More on this story here.

AI Stuff

ChatGPT costs over $700,000 per day to run

Experts estimate that it costs over $700,000 a day to run ChatGPT. A semiconductor research firm called SemiAnalysis made the estimate based on OpenAI’s GPT-3 model.

OpenAI has since moved to GPT-4 and the experts say it’s likely even more than $700,000 per day now with that move.

What is costly are the servers that the AI runs on. OpenAI runs its language models on Nvidia’s chips and if you have ever tried to purchase an Nvidia GPU you know that Nvidia prices their products like madmen.

The GPUs used for AI business are specialised and not the same we use in our gaming computers. And as you would expect, they are significantly more expensive than the $2000 RTX 4090 Ti ones you baulk at. Nvidia H100 graphic cards, the AI-specific ones, are selling for more than $40,000 each on eBay.

Apparently, it costs tens of millions to train language models but operational expenses (inference costs) far exceed them when deploying at scale. One expert says ChatGPT inference costs exceed training costs on a weekly basis.

Who knew it cost this much to ask ChatGPT about carrot cake recipes?

More on this story here.

Microsoft throwing Bing ad at users visiting Bard from Edge

You know how Google will casually tell you that your experience would be better on Chrome when you use Google search on Microsoft’s Edge browser? Well, it’s Microsoft’s turn to try and poach users from Google.

Right now, Microsoft is leading the generative AI race with OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google is trying to play catch up with Bard. Bard is still invite-only for now but that is not stopping Microsoft from trying to poach those trying to test out Bard.

Microsoft is placing a persistent ‘Compare answers with the AI-powered new Bing’ in the address bar when a user tries out Bard.

I’m not mad at this. You get to compare results side by side and I’m all for it. I just hope for Microsoft’s sake Bard does not improve in leaps and bounds and overtake Bing. It would be embarrassing having to remove that banner in admission that Bard is better.

Read more on this story here.

Also read last week’s summary:

Tech news summary for week ending 21 April


  1. Boomer Vibes

    …🙊 Yo, what is this Facebook watch thing! I think I looked at it once, saw trash staged dramatic stuff and thirst traps (is that what y’all were watching?), noped out and never went back! Still wouldn’t have watched Jada if I knew that stuff was there, but I guess I need a sosho refresher to catch up on this stuff instead of hearing about it when it’s over

  2. Isaac

    🤣 Compare with ai powered Bing, and reminds me of the message they show when you Bing Google Chrome and for sure.

  3. Tembo

    Whoever is messing with the front page, may God be wit you 😪

  4. Czar

    Also GTA 6 is coming soon, Rockstar Games to announce on May 27

  5. Kim Jong Un The Emperor of North Korea

    Horri shitti !!! Can’t fakin wait for GTA 6 🤯🤯😱