This is the lil tech news you need to know for the week commencing April 12, 2021.
🏛️ Coinbase’s Centibillion-Dollar Debut
Coinbase became the first cryptocurrency exchange to go public in the United States via a direct listing which valued the company north of $100 billion during its first day of trading.
Our Take: The company has come a long way since its 2012 founding in a San Francisco apartment. In just the first quarter of 2021, Coinbase notched around $800 million in profit on $1.8 billion in total revenue.
For some perspective, at the time Coinbase was founded, you could buy one Bitcoin for about the price of your favorite Starbucks drink. That same trade would cost you about $63,000 at the time of this writing.
If only we had the foresight (and the cheddar) to buy $8 million worth of Bitcoin at those 2012 prices, we could have been worth $100 billion on Coinbase’s first day of trading too!
🇨🇳 China’s Flex on Big Tech
Fresh off of issuing a record $2.8 billion fine to eCommerce giant Alibaba, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation ordered a number of other Chinese tech firms to conduct self-audits and fall in line with the agency’s new anti-monopoly rules, issued in February.
Another of Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s businesses got some bad news this week as well. His massively successful Ant financial services app–which had been previously suspended from a November IPO at an expected market value of more than $300 billion–would instead become a financial holding company under China’s central bank (a massive downgrade).
Our Take: This pattern of actions seems to indicate that the Chinese government is tightening its regulatory grip on its internet firms, and sending a clear shot across the bow to big tech businesses to play by the rules or risk getting made an example of.
🐉 Microsoft Buys Nuance
Microsoft is shelling out $16 billion to acquire Nuance, the creators of one of the earliest–and now most popular–dictation softwares ever released.
Nuance’s continuous dictation technology was even the foundation of Apple’s Siri voice recognition features.
Microsoft sees the acquisition as an opportunity to accelerate its cloud strategy for healthcare in particular, as Nuance’s product suite for healthcare settings is notably robust and popular. Nuance boasts that 2 out of 3 radiologists use its software, as well as 4 out of 5 facilities using Epic, Cerner, Allscripts, and MEDITECH.
Our Take: This is a smart addition to Microsoft’s already powerful B2B cloud-first software business. Nuance also brings with it substantial machine learning and AI capabilities which we think can be useful across much more than just dictation products in the new Microsoft portfolio. Forget Cortana–who else is here for a Nuance-powered return of Clippy? 📎
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