🖥️ Will Microsoft kill Slack?

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The Hustle

In one of the most “normal” things to happen during the pandemic, a new Fast & Furious movie (F9) had a big summer box office opening in the US.

The plotless film has already pulled in $400m+ globally.

The big idea
Windows 11 killing Slack

Microsoft’s Windows 11 update is good for competition. But it’s still trying to kill Slack.

Last Thursday, Microsoft hit a new milestone.

It became only the 2nd American company after Apple to reach a $2T market cap.

Despite its weighty valuation, the software giant is largely avoiding the antitrust scrutiny facing its Big Tech frenemies (i.e., Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook).

However, things could change…

… with the release of its new operating system

Also last week, Microsoft unveiled the latest iteration of its PC operating system: Windows 11.

In a move that raised eyebrows, Windows 11 bundles Microsoft’s messaging service (Teams) right into the taskbar, making access to the app easier than ever.

Teams’ most visible competitor is Salesforce-owned Slack. Even as a late entrant to the game, Teams already has 145m daily active users, according to The Verge. (Slack’s last quoted number is 12.5m users, pre-pandemic.)

Does the move sound familiar?

It should. Microsoft’s bundling of Internet Explorer into Windows was made to snuff out the Netscape browser.

And, ultimately, it led to Microsoft’s antitrust case in the late 1990s.

Teams is already bundled into Microsoft’s wildly popular Office suite. The new Windows integration clearly puts more pressure on Slack.

Microsoft is presenting a different image, though

Despite its Teams move, Microsoft made 2 competition-friendly announcements during its Windows update. Per The Verge:

  • No app store fee: Non-gamemakers in the Windows 11 app store keep 100% of revenue (this is in contrast to Apple and Google, which have up to 30% take rates).
  • Other app stores welcome: Other companies — like Amazon or Google — can build entire app stores within the Windows app store (again, in contrast, Apple doesn’t allow this).

While these moves clearly signal an openness to competition, Slack may have a quibble or 2.

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SNIPPETS

Mashable rounds up the “most essential privacy tools” you can use right now. #privacy

The Biden administration is blocking 4 Chinese solar panel manufactures from entering the US. Why? Concerns over Uyghur forced labor in China’s Xinjiang province. #clean-energy

How did Google convince San Jose to let it build an 80-acre megacampus in the city’s downtown area? Half the campus is for public use and Google offered a $200m community benefits package. #big-tech

Activant Capital is the latest American VC firm to open up shop in Europe, as the continent’s startup ecosystem grows. #emerging-tech

China’s Uber (Didi Chuxing Technology) is seeking a $62-$67B valuation for its upcoming IPO. #emerging-tech

The world’s larges crypto exchange (Binance) has been ordered to cease operations in the UK. The country’s regulators are increasing scrutiny of the crypto economy. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Denim demand is rising…and consumers — many who have put on pounds during the pandemic — are looking for looser fits. #ecommerce-retail

Public Health
Excelsior vaccine passport app

The Excelsior vaccine passport (Source: Chris Delmas / Getty Images)

What’s the deal with digital vaccine passports?

When Americans get their COVID-19 vaccine, they get a paper card that, as John Oliver points out, doesn’t fit in any standard wallet.

A digital card might be easier, but it’s a little tricky due to political conflict and other concerns.

In a March press briefing, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeffrey Zients said any vaccine credentialing system must be…

… simple, free, open source, and protect privacy

It also needs to be accessible — meaning both digitally and on paper for those without smartphones.

California’s new digital vaccine cards could work, thanks to the open source Smart Health Cards Framework developed by The Commons Project (TCP), per TechCrunch.

How it works:

  • Smart Health Cards come from pharmacies, doctors, or state immunization registries.
  • You can save it on your phone or print it. It contains the same info as the CDC card, accessible via QR code (hard to lose and easily shareable).

But do we need them?

There’s a lot of debate about whether businesses, schools, and organizations can or should require proof of vaccination. A Kentucky bill might ban it. Pennsylvanian House Republicans want to. Florida has already banned mandatory vaccine passports.

New York’s voluntary Excelsior Pass — run by IBM — has been downloaded by ~2m people and grants quick entry to various venues. It may also cost taxpayers $17m — $14.5m more than the state initially claimed.

But most importantly, passes might become obsolete as vaccination rates rise. Until then, here’s a listicle of the best vaccine card protectors.

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Free Resource

WTF are NFTs?

Ah, yes. The great non-fungible token craze.

If you haven’t heard, these “digital collectibles” have sold for tens of millions of dollars. Creators of every kind are cashing in, from Snoop Dogg to Tony Hawk to The New York Times.

NFTs are immutable. As in, forever and ever. If that’s a bit difficult to wrap your head around, HubSpot can explain.

Watch this 4-minute rundown on NFTs

This video breaks down the latest buzzword, summarizes the hype, and tells you why NFTs matter (maybe even for your business).

Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe to HubSpot.

The craze uncoded →
By the Numbers
astronauts

Source: Inverse.com

Digits: China’s new space station, Olympic moms, and a pilot shortage

  • The US government announced a $3.2B plan to speed clinical trials for promising antiviral pills designed to treat COVID-19.
  • China sent its 1st 3 astronauts to its new Tiangong space station where they will spend 3 months — the longest mission ever for Chinese nationals.
  • 45% of Americans surveyed say they’re spending more on vacations this summer than the last 2 years combined.
  • American Airlines is proactively canceling ~1% of its flights through mid-July, possibly due to a pilot shortage after offering ~1k pilots early retirement buyouts.
  • The world got 5.4m new millionaires last year. If (like us) you weren’t one of them, don’t worry — the full list is expected to grow ~50% to 84m by 2025.
  • So far, 11 badass moms have qualified for the US Olympic team, 3 of whom are headed to their 5th Olympics.
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The most accurate meme of the day
Slack meme

We all know that Slack’s true purpose isn’t work (Source: Reddit)

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