🥊 The Apple vs. Microsoft beef


May 17, 2021

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The Hustle

Good news: tax season is over.

Less good news: there’s still another one next year.

The big idea
Microsoft vs Apple

Apple and Microsoft are beefing (again)

Apple and Microsoft embody the PC era.

Both founded in the 1970s by iconic visionaries (Jobs and Gates), the 2 tech giants regularly fluctuate between cordial cooperation and hip-hop level beef.

In recent years, the relationship’s been pretty peachy

As reported by Bloomberg:

  • Microsoft Office apps appeared on the iPad and iPhone
  • Apple made the Xbox game controller easier to use on its devices
  • Microsoft made its products compatible with the Apple Pencil
  • Apple put Apple TV on the Xbox

But now, the good times are over.

Apple’s control over its App Store is a huge problem

Epic Games — the maker of Fortnite — is currently in an antitrust battle against Apple. Microsoft has joined the game maker in decrying Apple’s 30% take from its App Store.

Apple also irked Microsoft by forcing it to alter its cloud gaming service (xCloud) and abide by App Store policies.

For its part, the iPhone maker says Microsoft’s own Xbox store also takes a 30% cut and doesn’t allow 3rd party distribution.

However the App Store case shakes out…

… the 2 Big Tech behemoths will likely stay at odds. Per Bloomberg:

  • Apple’s Mac sales are growing 2x the pace of regular PCs (which mostly run on Microsoft’s Windows OS)
  • Apple is working on an augmented reality (AR) headset that could compete with Microsoft’s HoloLens
  • Microsoft is aggressively positioning its Surface devices as alternatives to the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro

Steve Jobs once said, “The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste.” Clearly, there is more than just that one problem.

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  • Payments startup Stripe acquired Bouncer to boost its fraud detection capabilities.
  • Twitter may roll out a subscription option dubbed Twitter Blue. It would cost $2.99 a month to let users: 1) undo Tweets and 2) collect their favorite tweets in one place.
Food Tech
salad machine

In case you were wondering, this is what a salad-making robot looks like (Source: Chowbotics)

A wave of robots are hitting the kitchen

They can’t instantly whip up an Earl Grey or pasta al fiorella like the “Star Trek” replicator, but robot chefs are having a moment.

Chef Robotics — a startup creating a robot to handle commercial kitchen tasks —  just raised $7.7m, per TechCrunch.

Though the actual bot has yet to be revealed, Chef Robotics promises it will increase production and consistency, waste less food, and save restaurants money.

The news comes as restaurants across the US…

… are struggling to find workers. Demand for robot chefs also increased during the pandemic as businesses looked to decrease human contact.

Notable food names are testing out nonhuman labor:

  • DoorDash recently purchased Chowbotics whose “Sally” robot preps on-demand salads and bowls
  • White Castle expanded a partnership with Miso Robotics whose “Flippy” bot makes fries

What else can robots do?

A lot:

  • The in-home Moley Robotic Kitchen can whip up 5k+ recipes and clean up, too (if you can afford the $335k price tag).
  • Blendid kiosks can make 45 smoothies in an hour, which customers order touch-free through their phones.
  • F&P Robotics’ “Barney” is a robot bartender that can mix cocktails and serve beer in hotels and bars. For good measure, it also tells jokes.

So, yeah, not quite “Star Trek,” but it’s progress nonetheless.

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Free Resource

3m people used Zoom in 2013. In 2021, more than 200m.

No one can deny that WFH and “yes, you still need actual pants for the company’s virtual happy hour” helped boost Zoom’s bottom line.

What’s not talked about is all the crazy growth they had leading up to the pandemic.

Besides investing in customer service and creating a product that can sell itself, Zoom capitalized on the one basic skill any company needs to grow.

Organization.

Without it, you could have the best product on the market and still fail due to all those nitty-gritty details.

Outline your company’s growth plan with this free master template from HubSpot

Maybe you need to track employee headcount, or you’re adding in a new product or service. Whatever it is, you’ll need a corporate growth plan to keep organized.

HubSpot lays it all out in this template:

  • Sales and revenue growth. Heck yeah.
  • Expanding into new regions
  • Growth in customer acquisition rates. Don’t want it — need it.
  • Employee headcount growth
  • Expanding your physical space

Save yourself the headaches. Try out the template.

Free access →
By The Numbers
Construction

Work in progress (Source: Construction Photography / Getty Images)

Digits: Pets, Disney+ subscribers, housing permits, and more

Note: In this new section, we’ll break down the week’s headlines by-the-numbers.

  • McDonald’s is planning to raise hourly wages for 36,500+ workers by 10% to $11-$17 for nonmanagers and $15-$20 for managers. In mid-2020, a US fast-food worker made a median hourly wage of $11.47.
  • Clubhouse is no longer a packed club. The live audio app was downloaded 922k times in April, an 89% cliff dive from its February peak.
  • There’s a pet boom: 12.6m US households got a new pet last year, and veterinary positions are expected to jump 16% by 2029.
  • Bird is learning to fly. The electric scooter company is looking to go public via SPAC at a $2.3B valuation, with revenue forecasted to hit $815m in 2023.
  • Canadian lumber poachers have illegally chopped down at least 100 trees as lumber prices soar across North America. They left their mark by carving a menacing face in 1 stump.
  • Disney stock dropped after the company reported 103.6m Disney+ subscribers, lower than expected. The company now has ~159m total streaming customers, including 41.6m for Hulu and 13.8m for ESPN+.
  • Numbers are down by the Bay. San Francisco saw a 26% decline in residential permits issued to build new homes last year. Statewide, new housing in California fell 10% in 2020.
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Big Tech beef of the day
Time Magazine cover

Source: Time Magazine

The Bill Gates and Steve Jobs frenemy relationship spanned decades. One of the most memorable moments between the 2 tech titans happened in August 1997.

The venue was the Macworld Expo in Boston.

A year earlier, Apple had brought back Steve Jobs after acquiring his company, NeXT. Apple was on the edge of bankruptcy, and Jobs convinced Gates — long hated by Apple fanatics because of Microsoft’s PC dominance — to invest $150m in Apple.

Gates was beamed into the Macworld event amid boos to announce the deal. For Jobs, the move stabilized Apple and paved the way for incredible innovation (e.g., iMac, iPod, iPhone) over the following decade.

Time magazine famously captured the moment in the iconic cover pictured above.

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