Alphabet Makes Cuts, Twitter Bans Third-Party Clients, and Netflix’s Reed Hastings Resigns • TechCrunch

Hi guys! Good Friday. While our fearless Week in Review leader Greg enjoys paternity leave, I fill in and curate the latest on the tech news front. It was a rollercoaster of a week again as economic headwinds took a brutal, demoralizing toll and chaos reigned on Elon Musk’s Twitter. Somewhere in the middle of all this, Boston Dynamics demonstrated an improved bipedal robot, Wikipedia launched a redesign, and major universities banned TikTok from their campus networks. Yes – a lot happened.

Before we get started, a friendly reminder that TechCrunch Early Stage 2023 is April 20th in Boston. It’s a one-day summit for entrepreneurs who are in the early stages of growing their businesses, who have built a product but don’t know how to monetize it, and who have an idea but aren’t sure where to go must find the resources to turn to. it into a viable business. Early stage experts will share advice on protecting intellectual property, structuring boundary tables, developing target customer personas and more. You won’t want to miss it.

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Alphabet makes deep cuts: Alphabet, the parent company of Google, announced Friday that it is cutting about 6% of its global workforce, or about 12,000 roles, Paul reports. In an open letter published by Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, the narrative followed a similar trajectory to that of other companies that have downsized in recent months, noting that the company had “hired for a different financial reality” than the one it’s up against day.

Twitter prohibits third-party clients: After cutting off prominent app makers like Tweetbot and Twitterific, Twitter quietly updated its developer terms to ban third-party Twitter clients entirely. The “restrictions” section of Twitter’s 5,000-something words developer agreement was updated with a clause prohibiting “use or access [to] the licensed material to create or attempt to create a substitute or similar service or product for the Twitter applications,” a decision that seems unlikely to foster much goodwill at a time when Twitter is facing challenges on a number of fronts.

Beat a Hastings retreat: Netflix founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings announced Thursday that he would step down after more than two decades at the company, tailor write. 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 will maintain its co-CEO structure in Hastings’ absence, promoting COO Greg Peters to the tandem role with Ted Sarandos.

Students, no TikTok for you: Public universities across a large number of US states have banned TikTok in recent months, and two of the nation’s largest colleges followed suit earlier this week. As tailor reports, the University of Texas and Texas A&M University took action against the social app, which is owned by Beijing-based parent company ByteDance – banning users of campus networks and devices 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 its first desktop makeover in over a decade, Sarah write. The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs the Wikipedia project, launched an updated interface aimed at making the site more accessible and easier to use, with additions such as improved search, a more prominent tool for switching between languages, an updated header that provides access to frequently used links and more.

Pour one out for AmazonSmile: Just days after announcing a significant round of layoffs, Amazon said it would end AmazonSmile, the donation program that redirects 0.5% of the cost of all eligible products to charities. Amazon argued that the program “had not grown to create the effect that [it] had originally hoped,” but which Roman notes that since 2013, Amazon has donated $400 million through AmazonSmile. 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 last year’s T-Mobile breach, you may have a few bucks coming your way. Devin reports that the company will pay $350 million to be split by clients and lawyers, plus $150 million “for computer security and related technology.” The breach apparently occurred sometime early last year, after which collections of T-Mobile customer data were put up for sale on various criminal forums.

Robots that both grab and throw: TechCrunch is undeterred Matt Burns writes about a demo video this week showing Hyundai-backed Boston Dynamics’ humanoid robot, Atlas, equipped with grasping hands that can pick up and drop anything the robot can grab independently. The claw-like gripper consists of one fixed finger and one movable finger; Boston Dynamics says the grippers were designed for heavy lifting tasks, like Atlas holding a barrel overhead during a Super Bowl commercial. Handsome.

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

audio summary

Whether it’s to pass the time on your commute or to freshen up your morning jog, TechCrunch probably has a podcast for you. On startup-focused Equity this week, Natasha, Mary Ann and Rebecca hopped on the mic to talk through a diverse week of news, including offerings from Sophia Amoruso’s new fund, Welcome Homes, and a look at compliment-focused social media apps. Found, meanwhile, featured Mir Hwang, co-founder and CEO of GigFinesse, who talked about how his struggle to book music acts as a teenager pushed him to launch the company that connects artists with venues for live shows.


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

On Twitter’s response to the data leak: Carly writes about Twitter’s alleged data breach that exposed the contact information of millions of users. 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 notes, it’s unclear whether Twitter has the technical means, such as logs, to determine whether any user data was exfiltrated.

The Last Unicorns: VCs believe that the majority of unicorns are not worth $1 billion anymore. Rebecca takes a look at the current investment landscape and finds that many of the companies that reached unicorn status last year are in danger of losing it as economic conditions worsen.

Sexism in the workplace: Women-owned startups raised 1.9% of all VC funds in 2022, down from 2021, Dominic Madori write. This percentage is a notable decrease from the 2.4% female teams overall in 2021. The decrease was expected, but strong nonetheless. Aside from 2016, the last time all women-led startups raised such a low percentage of funding was in 2012, another period of funding decline caused by economic uncertainty and an election.

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