Trends in Product Management 2019 report, Agile vs Agility, WhatsApp growth, Takeaway.com-Just Eat merger, Salesforce buy Tableau, Facebook streaming, …
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🎰 The week in figures
$117B - Alphabet has overtaken Apple as the company with the biggest cash reserves. The Google parent company now has $117B, $15B more than Apple’s current hoard. Apple has been reducing its cash pile by returning money to investors, since it reached a peak of $163B in 2017.
$15.7B - Salesforce ($122B market cap) closes $15.7B acquisition of Seattle-based analytics and data visualization company Tableau, announced last month; the all-stock deal represents Salesforce’s largest acquisition to date
~$10B - Amsterdam-based Takeaway.com merges with UK-based Just Eat; the all-stock deal values the new company at ~$10B; Takeway.com CEO Jitse Groen will be CEO of the new firm, while current Just Eat chairman Mike Evans will serve as chair; the deal is subject to shareholder approval.
$6.7B - app performance management company Dynatrace prices its IPO at $16 per share; Dynatrace closes its first day of trading up 49% ; raised $570M with the sale of 35.6M shares and is now valued at $6.7B.
$410M - DoorDash to acquire food delivery and catering business Caviar from Square for $410M in cash and stock; Square acquired the startup in 2014 for $90M.
400M - userbase of WhatsApp in India, it’s biggest market.
📰 What’s going on
Facebook has spoken with Amazon, Netflix, Disney, HBO, and Hulu to offer their services on a coming streaming box; Facebook reportedly plans to launch the device, which also features a camera for video chat, this fall.
Microsoft announces it will shut down Skype for Business Online on July 31 2021; the company is encouraging users to transition over to its Teams platform; the consumer version of Skype remains unaffected.
Amazon will end support for physical Dash buttons from August 31; the buttons allowed users to order specific items with a single press; Amazon stopped selling them in March this year.
Amazon launches an AWS region for the Middle East; comprised of three Availability Zones (locations that contain at least one data center), they each have independent power, cooling, and security; AWS plans to launch additional Availability Zones in Italy, South Africa, and Indonesia over the coming years.
Apple lists job openings in AR/VR, including product manager and demo evangelist positions; the listings could indicate the company is entering a new phase in its VR initiative; Apple listed at least 11 relevant positions over the past three months.
Apple joins the Data Transfer Project, an initiative to simplify the exchange of data between services; could enable, for example, transferring Facebook images to Google Photos; Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter joined last summer; most of the open-source software targets back-end functions, but Google plans to launch consumer-facing features in coming months.
Apple will add 2 new iPad models this year; a Eurasian Economic Commission regulatory filing lists 2 version numbers, suggesting the devices will have similar specs; follows reports Apple is planning a 10.2-inch model.
Tim Cook announces the Apple Card will launch in August; the Apple Pay-compatible titanium card, created in partnership with Goldman Sachs, will have deep integrations with Apple Wallet and give consumers visualized and categorized insights into spending habits; will provide daily cashback rather than delayed rewards.
Amazon launches Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe, a Stitch Fix-like service that sends customers a curated box of women’s apparel each month; subscribers pay $5 per month for up to eight items; users can preview their package and they only pay for what they keep.
Lyft suspends its e-bike service in San Francisco after two bikes catch fire; reasons for the failures unknown but nobody was injured; Lyft says it will refine its tech before bringing the bikes back.
Uber lays off 400 of its 1.2k-person Global Marketing Team; affects 75 offices; the company reorganized its marketing team under SVP of Communications and Public Policy Jill Hazelbaker after last month’s departure of CMO Rebecca Messina; the company also eliminated the COO role at that time as part of an effort to streamline and address profitability concerns following Uber’s May IPO.
Vimeo launches Vimeo Enterprise, a service enabling companies to host and manage video content internally; provides live and on-demand hosting for training videos, marketing, etc; the product does not include conferencing features; last year, Vimeo launched consumer tools for creating and editing videos as part of a shift from content hosting to services.
Google is testing a monthly subscription for access to premium Android apps and games; known as Play Pass, the service offers a mix of puzzle games, music streaming, and more; currently set at $5 per month.
Google rolls out Chrome 76 for Windows and MacOS; the browser turns off Flash by default and also prevents websites from detecting when a user is in Incognito mode.
Google unveils its default device search option for Android users in the EU; starting in 2020, users will see a search provider screen, asking which one they want to use; search firms that want to appear on the screen will have to participate in a sealed-bid auction; the EU ordered Google to include the feature as part of a $5B antitrust settlement.
Google makes its $50 Titan USB security key available in Canada, UK, France, and Japan; previously available in the US, Titan offers a secondary layer of security when logging on to websites and apps.
Google will add a text-to-speech system for 911 calls made via Pixel and other select Android devices; the feature lets users request assistance from the fire service, police, or medical responders, and it then uses voice synthesis to tell the 911 operator that person’s location and the kind of help they need.
Google says Pixel 4 will feature face unlock and touch-free motion controls; both use Soli (previously known as Project Soli) to identify when a user is reaching for the device, which in turn activates the face unlock sensors, promising a faster unlock process; the Soli sensor will also let users dismiss alarms, skip songs, and more without touching the device; Google says Pixel 4 will launch in the fall.
Oil company BP partners with Didi Chuxing to establish an EV charging network in China; the companies will form a joint venture to oversee the operation and note its charging stations will be made available to all EVs, not just Didi vehicles.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) — backed by Facebook Reality Labs — publish details of its latest work on brain-computer interface tech; using implanted electrodes the team was able to interpret whole words and phrases from the brain.
Tink Labs shuts down Handy in most markets; the company provided smartphones for guest use in 600k hotel rooms across 80-plus countries.
Elon Musk says Teslas will soon see Netflix and YouTube streaming; initially usable only when parked; once regulators approve full autonomy, Teslas will allow streaming while on the road; Tesla’s Arcade enables a driver to play video games when parked, using the steering wheel as a controller.
Scientists from the University of California, San Diego develop a motion-controlled soft contact lens; lets the wearer adjust the focal length by as much as 32% by blinking twice; the research team suggests the lens could also be remotely controlled.
A research team from Stanford University develops a microphone system capable of detecting the smallest measures of sound; referred to as a quantum mic, it’s able to pick up phonons which have previously been undetectable; the mic uses tiny resonators to trap the phonons, thereby making them easier to measure; it’s believed the tech could be used in the development of quantum computers.
💰 Q2 financials
Apple ($960.6B market cap) Q2 beats: $53.8 revenue, up 1% YoY; $26B iPhone revenue, down 11.8% YoY; Apple’s Wearables, Home, and Accessories units generate $5.5B revenue, up almost 50% YoY; Tim Cook notes services and wearables business has reached the size of a Fortune 50 company.
Samsung ($255B market cap) Q2 meets: $47.4B revenue, down 4% YoY; $5.6B profit, down 55.6% YoY; $1.3B smartphone profit, down 42% YoY; Samsung cites weakness in the memory chip market and issues between South Korea and Japan as key factors in its declining growth.
Huawei reports first-half figures for 2019: $32.2B revenue, up 23% on Q1; $58.3B profit for H1, up 8.7% YoY; the company sold 118M smartphones for H1, up 24% YoY; Huawei chairman Liang Hua says the company has continued to see growth despite the US trade ban.
👩🏾💻 Good reads
Trends and Benchmarks in Product Management 2019 Report. Insights on Salaries & Experiences, Organization, Process & Product, Leadership in PM and People in Product Management by PMF.
Storyboards vs user personas. User personas are a great tool for sharing empathy, however, you can all too easily fall into the causation trap, assuming that the behavior of your users is caused by unrelated (but easy to track) attributes.
Why does every project have to be agile these days? Jeff Gothelf gives his perspective on agile vs agility. Where does your team/company stand?
6 decision-making frameworks that help startup leaders tackle tough calls, by First Round Review.
China’s AI talent base is growing, and then leaving. AI talent has grown x10 over the last decade. In 2009, only about 100 Chinese AI scientists (those who did their undergraduate studies in China) were accepted to the NeurIPS conference. A decade later, nearly 1,000 were accepted, making up about a quarter of the total amount of authors accepted to the conference.