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Alphabet makes budget cuts, Twitter bans third-party customers, and Netflix’s Reed Hastings steps down • TechCrunch

Hooray, people! Happy Friday. While our intrepid Week in Review leader Greg enjoys parental leave, I’m filling in and compiling the latest technology news. It was another week-long roller coaster as economic headwinds took a brutal, demoralizing toll and chaos reigned on Elon Musk’s Twitter. Somewhere in the middle of it all, Boston Dynamics demonstrated an improved bipedal robot, Wikipedia launched a redesign, and major universities banned TikTok from their campus networks. Yes – a lot has happened.

Before we get started, a friendly reminder that TechCrunch Early Stage 2023 is April 20 in Boston. It’s a one-day summit for founders who are in the early stages of their company’s growth, who have built a product but don’t know how to make money, and who have an idea but aren’t sure where to find the resources to turn it into a viable business. In Early Stage, experts will provide advice on protecting intellectual property, structuring cap tables, developing audience personas, and more. You won’t want to miss it.

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Alphabet makes deep cuts: Alphabet, Google’s parent holding company, announced Friday that it would cut about 6% of its global workforce, or about 12,000 positions. Paul reports. In a open letter published by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, the story followed a similar trajectory to that of other companies that have scaled down in recent months, noting that the company had “adopted for a different economic reality” than the one it faces today. has to do.

Twitter prohibits external customers: After cutting off prominent app makers like Tweetbot and Twitterific, Twitter has quietly updated its developer terms to ban third-party Twitter clients altogether. The “restrictions” section of Twitter’s 5,000-some-word developer agreement has been updated with a clause stating “use or access [to] the licensed materials to create or attempt to create a substitute or similar service or product for the Twitter Applications,” a decision that is unlikely to generate much goodwill at a time when Twitter faces challenges on a number fronts.

Beating a Hastings Retreat: Netflix founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings announced Thursday that he would step down after more than two decades with the company. Taylor writes. While the news of his departure comes as a shock, Hastings noted in the Announcement that Netflix has been planning its next era of leadership “for many years.” Netflix maintains its co-CEO structure during Hastings’ absence and promotes COO Greg Peters to the tandem role with Ted Sarandos.

Students, no TikTok for you: Public universities in an increasing number of US states have banned TikTok in recent months, and two of the country’s largest colleges followed suit earlier this week. As Taylor reports, the University of Texas and Texas A&M University have taken action against the social app, which is owned by Beijing-based parent company ByteDance – preventing campus network and device users from accessing TikTok. The flurry of recent bans was inspired by executive orders issued by a number of state governors.

Wikipedia gets a makeover: This week, Wikipedia, a resource used by billions every month, got a desktop makeover for the first time in more than a decade. Sara writes. The Wikimedia Foundation, which manages the Wikipedia project, has launched an updated interface to make the site more accessible and easier to use, with additions including an improved search function, a more prominently placed language switching tool, an updated header that provides access to commonly used links and more.

Pour one out for AmazonSmile: Just a few days after announcing a significant round of layoffs, Amazon said so it would put an end to AmazonSmile, the donation program that diverts 0.5% of the cost of all eligible products to charity. Amazon claimed the program “hadn’t grown to create the impact that that has [it] originally hoped”, but if Roman notes, since 2013, Amazon donated $400 million via Amazon Smile. Ending it seems more likely a cost-cutting move.

Payday for data breach victims: If you were one of the nearly 77 million people affected by the T-Mobile breach last year, you could have a few bucks thrown your way. Devin reports that the company will pay $350 million to be split by clients and attorneys, plus $150 million “for data security and related technology.” The leak is said to have occurred sometime early last year, after which collections of T-Mobile customer data were offered for sale on various criminal forums.

Robots that both grab and throw: TechCrunch is fearless Matt Burns writes this week about a demo video showing Hyundai-backed Boston Dynamics’ humanoid robot, Atlas, equipped with grasping hands that can pick up and drop anything the robot can grasp on its own. The claw-like gripper consists of one fixed finger and one moving finger; Boston Dynamics says the grabs are designed for heavy-duty tasks, like Atlas holding a barrel over his head during a Super Bowl commercial. Useful.

Dungeons and Dragons: After weeks of fan backlash and protests, Wizards of the Coast – the Hasbro publisher of Dungeons & Dragons – announced it will now license the core Dungeons & Dragons mechanics under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International permit. This gives the community “a worldwide, royalty-free, non-sublicensable, non-exclusive, irrevocable license” to publish and sell works based on Dungeons & Dragons – a huge change of heart for the gaming giant, which was considering a new license that would require certain creators of Dungeons & Dragons content to pay a 25% royalty.

audio summary

Whether it’s to kill time on the commute to work or go for a jog in the morning, TechCrunch probably has a podcast that’s right for you. Startup oriented Equity this week, Natasha, Mary Ann and Rebekah jumped on the mic to talk through a varied week of news, including deals from Sophia Amoruso’s new fund, Welcome Homes, and a look at compliment-focused social media apps. Found itMir Hwang, the co-founder and CEO of GigFinesse, who shared how his struggles to book music gigs as a teenager led him to create the company that connects artists with live show venues.

TechCrunch+

TC+, TechCrunch’s premium channel for deep dives, surveys, guest posts, and general analysis, was packed with content this week (as always). Here are some of the most popular posts:

On Twitter’s response to the data breach: Carly writes about Twitter’s alleged data breach that exposed millions of users’ contact information. In a unattributed blog post, Twitter said it had conducted a “thorough investigation” and found “no evidence” that recent Twitter user data sold online was obtained by exploiting a vulnerability in Twitter’s systems. But as she points out, it’s unclear whether Twitter has the technical means, such as logs, to determine whether user data has been exfiltrated.

The Last Unicorns: VCs think a majority of unicorns are not worth $1 billion anymore. Rebekah looks at the current investment landscape and finds that many of the companies that achieved unicorn status last year are at risk of losing this status as economic conditions worsen.

Sexism in the workplace: Women-founded startups raised 1.9% of all venture capital funds in 2022, down from 2021, Dominic Madori writes. That percentage is a notable drop from the 2.4% all-female teams raised in 2021. The drop was expected, but nevertheless significant. Aside from 2016, the last time all-female-led startups raised such a low percentage of funds was in 2012, another period of funding decline caused by economic uncertainty and elections.

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