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Benedict's
Newsletter

This is a weekly newsletter of what I've seen in tech and thought was interesting. I work at Andreessen Horowitz. See more or subscribe at www.ben-evans.com.
My blog posts

Mobile 2.0. Link

News

Snap (née Snapchat) filed for IPO. $404m revenue and growing fast, 158m DAUs with some suggestions of a possible slowdown (especially outside the USA, following Facebook/Instagram's copying of its features). Lots to dig into in the S1: Spectacles are going to be sold more broadly (so not just about marketing as suspected); infrastructure is outsourced to Google Cloud (deal signed 30 January, $400m/year - videos is expensive, and since it's outsourced it's included in 'cost of revenue' rather than below the EBIDTA line as capex, which makes comparisons with Facebook tricky); multi-class stock issue with public market investors getting zero voting rights, and plenty to chew on in the ad dynamics. And no mention of MAU, only DAU - monthly is meaningless here. Impressionistically, the key message is 'we build new products all the time really fast, and they're all about fun' - notable contrast to Facebook. Link

Earnings season: Apple results came out more or less in line with estimates: 'record' quarter (just, helped by an extra week in the quarter). iPhone stable, iPad still slowly trending down, ASPs really high, reflecting very strong demand for the iPhone 7+. In the short term we're waiting for the redesigned iPhone 8 (presuming a major redesign is the reason they stretched the design of the 6 over 3 years) to spike sales again. In the longer term, high-end smartphones are approaching saturation, iPads are selling into a declining PC market, watches, Apple TVs and AirPods are accessories that support iPhone repurchase but aren't transformative, and both AR glasses and car need tech that just isn't ready yet (for any company). So, expect at least a year tor two more without major product launches. Link

Facebook's results also came out: defying the law of large numbers, everything is still growing. Boredom is lucrative. Link

Amazon is spending $1.5bn on an air hub to support a fleet of 40 cargo planes shuffling inventory around the USA. Insert Bond villain reference here. Link

Tensorflow and machine learning on smartphones. Key point: you train your model in the cloud but you can run it on a phone, or even something much smaller. Link

Club Penguin is shutting down. Pre-iPhone, preschool social games network bought by Disney for $700m back in 2007, and now faded away. Kids are hard, apps are hard, social is hard... Link 

Facebook is adjusting the newsfeed to try to remove 'fake' news. Horse, stable door, bolted, closing the... Link

Apple may be planning to make iPhones in India, encouraged by import tariffs. Link

Mercedes plans to run a network of on-demand autonomous cars booked through Uber (what, you thought all those AVs would be on Uber's balance sheet?) Link

Taxi medallion prices are plummeting. Link

Blog posts

A tour of tech trends in China. Link

Amazons anti-trust paradox. Link

The bad product fallacy. Link

What happens to the police when everyone has a video camera? Link

How fashion brands are using WhatsApp. Link

Autonomous cars and the end of privacy. Link

Smartphones are ending the in-flight entertainment screen. Link

Statistics

400m people use FB Messenger audio and video calls each month. Link

 
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