This is the lil tech news you need to know for the week commencing Feb 8, 2021.
🪙 Billion with a B
Tesla confirmed a $1.5 billion investment in Bitcoin, and its intentions to start accepting it as a form of payment for its products.
This is the largest such investment and vote of confidence from a publicly traded company, though there are others with significant Bitcoin holdings on their balance sheets.
Tesla founder Elon Musk’s Twitter account may yet land him in hot water with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (again), over his tweets in support of Bitcoin–which may have driven up the value of Tesla’s investment before they had disclosed their investment publicly.
Our Take: We like the idea of a decentralized currency going truly mainstream, and hopefully gaining some price stability along with its new street cred. You know, so you could actually reliably use it as a currency and not have to worry about the opportunity cost of rapid swings in the exchange rate (as have been common with Bitcoin and other cryptos thus far).
As an aside, what would you bet that Tesla scooped up all of that Bitcoin at a price that would make their holdings 42,069 whole Bitcoins?
🤳 Endless Loops
Like the eponymous videos on TikTok’s looping video app, the hold on TikTok’s order to sell its U.S. operations to a U.S. company has become indefinite.
It seems like eons ago that TikTok was facing a tight deadline to find a U.S. corporate suitor to break off a piece of its social media app or face bans by the administrative branch of the U.S. government.
Well, that was under a previous administration. And while a tentative deal with Oracle and Walmart was announced, it was held up in legal challenges. And the current administration may not become “proactive” about the issue anytime soon.
Our take: We don’t love the general idea of “ban hammers,” as they have a tendency to be overused. There’s often a better and less restrictive solution to whatever the bannable offense was in the first place. While there may be some national security implications to the app’s popularity, we’re glad not to see the app get disapparated.
📦 Bezos Ships Off
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced he would step down as Amazon CEO later this year, making way for Andy Jassy–the current head of Amazon Web Services–to take the helm.
In an email to Amazon employees made public, Bezos announced that he would become Executive Chair of the Amazon Board, focusing on new products and early initiatives.
With Bezos’ transition, Amazon will join the group of giant tech companies no longer employing their founder as CEO. Of the big tech “FAANG” group (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google), only Facebook and Netflix will still have CEO founders.
Our Take: It had to happen sometime. And it’s not at all surprising that the top executive of AWS will be the one to take the helm.
Most of the world knows Amazon as the place you can buy almost anything online and have it show up in a smiling box on your doorstep almost tooquickly.
Many fewer know that, while Amazon’s technology infrastructure services only account for 12% of the company’s total revenue, this segment of Amazon’s business contributes almost 60% of its profit.
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