Twitter shareholders, OpenAI and European regulators top the list of tech’s biggest winners in 2022
Squint awfully hard at the giant black cloud hanging over the tech industry and you’ll find shards of silver linings.
Sure, global economic instability has battered Big Tech in 2022, but most companies remain fundamentally sound and well positioned to bounce back. Yes, widespread layoffs have resulted in cuts to ambitious projects, but there’s still whimsy and wonder emanating from Silicon Valley. And when a war-torn nation needed help, the tech industry rose to the occasion.
We delivered chunks of coal yesterday to five of the biggest tech losers of the past 12 months. Today, it’s time to get back into the holiday spirit, recognizing five winners who thrived, strove and even survived this terrible year.
Any time you can get the richest person in the world grossly overpay for your unprofitable and adrift business, it was a good year.
Time will tell if Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter will be seen as a colossal mistake or a shrewd pickup. For now, this is certain: Twitter currently reportedly has a market capitalization of between $10 billion and $20 billion, and yet the You’re here chef has invested $44 billion for the platform. Not too bad, investors.
Honorable mention to the members of the board of directors of Twitter, who glued to their weapons and didn’t let Musk off the hook.
While U.S. lawmakers and regulators largely sat idly by (rare exceptions: Federal Trade Commission lawsuits against Microsoft and Meta), policymakers across the pond have had a banner year in their quest to rein in the sprawling power of Big Tech.
The European Union finally landed two pieces of landmark legislation, the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act, designed to foster greater competition in the tech industry (we’ll see if they work as intended). Regulators have levied billions of dollars in privacy and competition violation fines against Amazon, Google, and Meta. And lawmakers in the UK a little closer to nail a major online safety bill, thankfully overriding a woefully vague mandate for tech companies to police legal but harmful content.
In a year marked by budget cuts, OpenAI reminded us that technology development remains an awesome business. The research lab and startup have brought generative AI to the masses, offering the awesome text to image generator DALL-E 2 and Remarkably advanced ChatGPT chatbot.
Both raise serious questions about security, accuracy and copyright ethics, issues that often follow the arrival of any new disruptive product. For now, though, the folks at OpenAI have allowed us to feel that rare sense of excitement about the technology’s limitless possibilities.
Apple and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
Neither tech titan had a banner year in the market, with Apple shares fell 21% and Taiwan-listed shares of TSMC fell 24%. But both companies have displayed their indestructibility, generating continued strong demand despite the industry woes plaguing their rivals.
Apple’s iPhone demand remained stable— even as critics complained about the latest line’s lack of new features and COVID wreaked havoc on the offering — while Mac enjoyed a resurgence and service sales continued to grow at a healthy pace. Meanwhile, Apple’s biggest chip supplier, TSMC, plowed through a brutal stretch for semiconductor companies, reporting a 35% year-over-year increase in revenue and a 52% increase in profits in the first nine months of 2022.
Closely related companies will continue to face challenges in maintaining stable relations with China, but 2022 should strengthen their resilience.
Defenders of Ukraine
When imperialist aggressor Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine this winter, the tech industry reacted quickly and decisively.
Social media companies have done their part by blocking propaganda from Putin, Kremlin to hell with retaliation. Microsoft, Amazon, Google and many smaller cybersecurity companies have lent their expertise to help Kyiv counter Russia’s digital offensive. SpaceX, Airbnb, Uberand countless other companies have made their services available to refugees and the Ukrainian resistance for free.
At its best, technology remains a tool for good, to connect and empower those who strive to make our world a little more perfect. Given the opportunity to put its professed values into action, technology delivered.
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New policies, no fines. Amazon and European Union regulators reached an agreement Following allegations that the e-commerce giant engages in anti-competitive practices that harm third-party vendors, the New York Times reported Thursday. As part of the deal, Amazon agreed to provide more visibility on its e-commerce platform to competing sellers and to prohibit its employees from using non-public sales data to guide its purchasing decisions. private label products. Both provisions only apply to Amazon’s operations in the European Union. Amazon has potentially faced billions of dollars in fines related to the case, but it won’t pay a fine as part of the deal.
What is 22 million additional shares? Elon Musk sold for another $3.6 billion of You’re here stock this week, its fourth major stock sale since announcing in April that it intended to buy Twitter for $44 billion, Bloomberg reported Thursday. Musk’s decision to offload Tesla shares was made public in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing released Wednesday evening. Musk paid off Twitter by mining his personal wealth, selling stakes in the company and taking out more than $10 billion in loans.
Sending of the Yangtze upstream of the river. The Biden administration on Thursday blacklist of 22 Chinese semiconductor companiesincluding Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp., part of a months-long effort by U.S. policymakers to stifle the republic’s tech industry, Reuters reported. Federal officials made the move amid concerns that YMTC, a rising power in China’s chip industry, was sharing US technology with Chinese companies blacklisted by the US government. Apple planned to start using YMTC chips in iPhones for Chinese customers, but the tech giant backtracked this fall.
The surveillance assault begins. Rep. Jim Jordanwho is expected to take over as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in January, issued a drastic demand On Wednesday, for big tech companies to file information about their communications with Biden administration officials, CNBC reported. The Ohio Republican’s request offered insight into GOP plans to examine Big Tech’s power once the party regains control of the House. Jordan’s order focused on conversations between federal bureaucrats and tech workers about content moderation since the start of 2020.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Put down their smartphones? The unbridled growth of the $100 billion+ mobile gaming market is finally coming to a halt. The FinancialTimes, citing two leading industry analysts, reported on Thursday that mobile game sales will fall this year for the first time since the arrival of smartphones. The decline reflects a broader downturn in the gaming industry, which has seen customers cut back on spending and shift to other activities. Some industry executives have also said the proliferation of freeware titles has reduced paid app sales and in-app purchases, prompting a reassessment of the industry’s future.
Mobile games have been around since Nokia Snake in the late 1990s, but the arrival of Apple’s App Store in 2008 launched more than a decade of extraordinary growth, turning them into a $100 billion market that now accounts for half of the gaming industry’s overall revenue.
Revenue is expected to fall 6.4% this year to $92.2 billion, according to gaming data firm Newzoo, a sharp reversal from the 7.3% growth mobile saw last year. and a 25.6% increase in 2020 when lockdowns led to increased consumers. appetite for virtual entertainment.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Twitter declares war on sharing location information about others after banning account that tracks Elon Musk’s private jetby Matt O’Brien and The Associated Press
Is San Francisco back? Venture capitalists explain how the hub of VC and tech startups has — and hasn’t — changedby Anne Sraders and Jessica Mathews
Audits could solve the crypto transparency problem. Why is it so difficult?by Jeff John Roberts
Hacker says he broke into InfraGard database of 80,000 FBI members posing as CEO of financial firmby Frank Bajak and The Associated Press
Amazon says it cut single-use plastic use last year, but an environmental group says it jumped nearly 20%by Haleluya Hadero and The Associated Press
FTC case against Meta pursues Facebook ghostby Adam Kovacevich
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
It’s still 2016. A few days late for this one, and I know the world doesn’t need more eyes on another Elon Musk reflection piece. But earlier this week, Wired‘s Gideon Lichfield offered one of sharpest comments to date on Twitter’s new owner’s messy reign, the left-wing elite’s obsession with his every move, and the political right’s embrace of yet another agent of chaos. It’s a frustratingly familiar pattern that dates back to the early days of the Trump administration, a time when nuance and substance too often succumbed to outrage and grievance. Lichfield wrote, “The desire so many have to see people like these fly away or burn produces a bias in their assessment – a sense that their actions are the only ones that really matter. It’s what produces this breathless obsession with their every move and blinds us to more complex information that might paint a clearer picture of the messier reality – and whatever future we’re headed towards. .