Unannounced. It’s debut day for new Google hardware, but first the search giant is making headlines for other, less positive reasons. After quite the hullabaloo from its employees over AI, Google said on Monday it would withdraw its bid for a $10 billion cloud services contract for the military due to objectionable terms and potential conflicts with its AI ethics policy. Amazon is widely expected to win the deal for the project called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud, or JEDI. Google also announced it was shuttering its failed social network, Google+, while disclosing for the first time a security flaw at the service that could have allowed outside developers to view private profile data from hundreds of thousands of Google+ users. The company said there was no evidence of misuse of the data.
Double dealing. Dealmakers at Microsoft have been busy of late. The company says it is investing an undisclosed amount in Southeast Asian ride hailing service Grab in return for Grab using its Azure cloud platform. Separately, Microsoft’s LinkedIn unit said it bought employee survey startup Glint for an undisclosed amount that some reports put at over $400 million.
One giant leap for mankind. After private companies have sent many unmanned rockets into space, Virgin Galactic owner Richard Branson says he’s ready to send people up “within weeks, not months.” The company has successfully conducted three manned test flights within the Earth’s atmosphere this year.
Reintegration. Is the Hollywood studio system coming back together after splintering into a million pieces? Streaming video king Netflix has spent billions financing original productions. Now it’s buying a vast studio complex in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where movies such as Sicario and The Avengers were shot. Sign the top talent, produce the shows in-house, distribute the shows…sounds familiar.
Ahead of the curve. Venture capitalist Kirsten Green announced a new $360 million fund at her Forerunner Ventures, about triple the size of her prior fund. Green, who has focused on consumer businesses like Warby Parker and Birchbox, says she’ll look for startups that embody values consumers favor. “The consumer is leading the charge, and if the consumer is anchored around values and things that matter, that’s good for business,” she tells Fast Company in an interview.
Melting monster. Video gamers and videographers should be happy with Monday’s announcements out of Intel regarding new, ninth-generation desktop CPUs. Leading the class may be the i9-9900K, with eight cores and a top speed of 5 GHz at a price just under $500. Intel’s stock price was unchanged on the day but the slumping stock of rival AMD dropped another 3%, with its loss over the past week hitting 16%.