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Press Review - April 2024

Margaux Montagner
Published on
What's been happening in the brand tech world this month? The US Justice Department takes Apple to court for allegedly monopolizing the mobile market; Microsoft hires Deepmind’s cofounder, both pioneer and critic, to lead its new AI division; Reddit’s first day on the stock market sees its shares’ value jump; and Amazon introduces a GenAI tool that would auto-generate product listings.

The End of Apple’s Smartphone Dominance?

The US Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Apple, accusing the tech giant of monopolizing the mobile market and stifling competition. The lawsuit challenges Apple's business practices, which some say have been integral to the brand’s identity and success. Apple has long fostered a loyal fanbase, partly through its “walled garden” approach, which ensures a seamless ecosystem between its products and a strong focus on privacy and security. However, this closed system is potentially monopolistic, requiring developers to adhere to strict rules and pay fees to access its customer base. High-profile companies like Spotify and Epic Games have publicly opposed these policies. Apple's alleged anti-competitive practices also include manipulating app reviews, creating barriers for competing smartwatches, and fostering a social stigma against non-Apple devices. 

If successful, the lawsuit could significantly change Apple's business practices and potentially break its monopoly to create a more open and dynamic market, ultimately benefiting customers. The lawsuit’s outcome is uncertain, as the DOJ must convince a court without a strong precedent of ruling against big tech companies for monopolization since the Microsoft case in 2001. Still, Apple has already made major concessions in Europe, such as allowing alternative app stores and adapting to common charger rules. Apple has responded by stating it will "vigorously" defend against the lawsuit, maintaining that its market dominance is due to customer satisfaction rather than anti-competitive practices. 

More details from Tech Round and the BBC.

Deepmind Co-Founder to lead Microsoft’s AI Division 

Microsoft has recruited Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of the AI lab DeepMind, to lead a new AI division focused on consumer products and research. Suleyman, who left Google in 2022, will bring his expertise and team from his startup Inflection AI to Microsoft AI, aiming to accelerate the company's AI initiatives, including the Copilot chatbot and the new Bing browser powered by ChatGPT technology. Suleyman’s unique perspective on the technology might be crucial in shaping Microsoft's strategy in this rapidly evolving field, in which the company has been heavily investing. 

Indeed, while a prominent figure in AI development, Mustafa Suleyman hasn’t shied away from expressing his concerns about the technology's safety. At a global AI safety summit, Suleyman suggested that AI development might need to be paused in the next five years to address safety concerns. He also highlighted AI's potential for significant advancements in various fields as well as its risks, such as existential threats to nation-states and the possibility of automated wars and engineered pandemics. 

Read more at the Guardian.

Reddit’s shares soar in stock market debut

On March 21, 2024, Reddit's shares shot up by 48% on their stock market debut, closing at $50.44 and valuing the company at over $9 billion. The social media platform, which has more than 73 million users, offered 22 million shares at $34 each, with some shares made available to its users. Despite never turning a profit in its 20-year history and allegedly losing $90.8 million in 2023, Reddit's path to profitability is growing clearer. The platform’s value lies not in the ads it could show to its users but in its content itself: AI firms like OpenAI have paid for user-generated data to enhance AI models in lucrative licensing deals, and Google, for instance, paid $60 million for access to Reddit's discussions. However, Reddit faces regulatory scrutiny over data licensing and patent infringement accusations from Nokia. While bolstered by its lack of significant rivals, the company acknowledges that maintaining and engaging its user base is crucial for its success, especially considering users' usually negative reactions to changes on the platform.

Find more on the BBC.

Amazon integrates new GenAI tools for its sellers

Amazon is introducing a new generative AI tool to aid sellers in creating product listings by automatically generating listings from a seller's direct-to-consumer website URL. This new tool eliminates the need for manual product details entry, saving sellers time and resources. According to Amazon, the AI not only crafts detailed listings but also optimizes them for the platform's search engine, improving product visibility and sales potential. As proof of its success, Amazon has specified that over 100,000 selling partners have already embraced this innovation, with the majority accepting the AI's suggestions with little modification. This new tool underscores Amazon's commitment to integrating AI into its core seller services and the overall normalization of GenAI integration into popular platforms.

Read more at the Tech Portal and About Amazon.

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