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Tales of Woe, Wit and Whiplash
Thursday, June 15th, 2023
1. Birdsong Turns Sour as Twitter Faces Eviction
Twitter is facing eviction from its Boulder office due to unpaid rent. Ever since Elon Musk took over, it seems like Twitter's ability to handle its own affairs has plummeted. While it's not uncommon for a contractor to go unpaid during a tumultuous transition, completely neglecting rent for months suggests that Twitter's operations are in even worse shape than we thought. Court documents reveal that the Chicago-based landlord, Lot 2 SBO LLC, had received a generous letter of credit worth $968,000 back in 2020, which they used to cover the rent temporarily. However, that money ran out in March, and Twitter hasn't paid a dime since then. The judge has now signed an order for eviction, meaning that Twitter has less than 49 days to pack its bags and find a new home. With layoffs and resignations plaguing the company, the once bustling Boulder office, which employed around 300 people, is now a ghost town. It seems that Twitter's financial troubles don't end with just unpaid rent. Another case has emerged, with a cleaning company claiming that Twitter owes them close to 100 grand in unpaid fees. Good luck with that, Twitter. Good luck.
2. Uber vs. Taxi Prince
In a battle of taxi titans, the mighty Uber is being mercilessly crushed by Japan's "Taxi Prince." Ichiro Kawanabe, the mastermind behind Japan's biggest taxi company, has kept Uber at bay in the $17 billion market. First, he cleverly campaigned to make ride-hailing apps exclusive to licensed Japanese taxis then, he went a step further and created his own app called Go. With Goldman Sachs backing him up, Kawanabe now controls 75% of the Japanese ride-hailing market, while Uber and a couple of other companies fight over the scraps like desperate seagulls picking at leftover sandy French fries. While Uber claims to be growing in Japan with its Uber Eats business, it's clear that Kawanabe's Go reigns supreme. It seems the Taxi Prince has truly earned his title, and Uber is left in the dust, wondering what went wrong.
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3. Lawmakers Courageously Fight to Protect Nation's Most Valuable Asset: TikTok Dance Videos
Displaying concern for Americans' data, a group of lawmakers has decided to save the day by introducing legislation to protect TikTok user information from falling into the hands of U.S. adversaries. We can all agree how important it is to safeguard our lip-syncing masterpieces from China's clutches. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden wants to "turn off the tap of data to unfriendly nations" and stop TikTok from sending Americans' personal information to China. TikTok, of course, denies any wrongdoing and assures us that they've spent a staggering $1.5 billion on data security measures. In the meantime, the bill would direct the Commerce Department to come up with a list of high-risk countries and block sensitive data exports. The fate of national security rests on the Commerce Department's ability to identify which countries might actually want to steal our 15-second dance videos. A true burden indeed.
4. BrightDrop's Electric Vans Making Tiny Splash in Canada
GM's BrightDrop, the adorable little electric van subsidiary of General Motors, has ventured beyond the borders of the United States for the first time, and boy, oh boy, what a milestone! They proudly announced that they delivered 50 BrightDrop Zevo 600 electric vans to FedEx Express Canada who is planning to rollout these cutting-edge vehicles on the streets of Toronto, Montreal, and Surrey. The plan is for these electrified vans to deliver parcels while simultaneously blowing the minds of Canadians. Oh, and did we mention that GM invested a measly $750 million to produce 50,000 Zevo vans annually by 2025? That's right, folks, it's raining electric vans, and the world couldn't be more electrified. Watch out, Rivian, there are 50 new electric delivery vans in town and thanks to BrightDrop!
5. EU Declares War on Google and Demands an Adtech Sacrifice
The EU has bravely threatened to break up Google, demanding the tech giant to sacrifice a slice of its precious adtech business. After a two-year investigation, the European Commission issued a statement of objections, accompanied by the possibility of a fine worth 10% of Google's annual global turnover. Clearly, the EU means serious business, especially since advertising accounted for 79% of Google's revenue last year. While Google can respond and request a closed hearing, it's safe to assume it won't make much of a difference, because nothing says "efficient process" like prolonging the agony for a year or more. So, as the EU flexes its regulatory muscles, we eagerly await the outcome of this thrilling battle for justice and the fate of online advertising dominance.