Apple makes the case that even its most banal features require a proficiency in machine learning

 A detailed blog posting in the company’s machine learning journal makes public the technical effort that went into its “Hey Siri” feature — a capability so banal that I’d almost believe Apple was trying to make a point with highbrow mockery. Even so, it’s worth taking the opportunity to explore exactly how much effort goes into the features that do, for… Read More

Apple’s enterprise strategy begins to take shape

 When Apple announced its partnership with GE this week, it would have been easy to dismiss it as another random collaboration from a company people don’t generally associate with the enterprise. After all, Apple killed off their enterprise server product years ago. You might rightly ask, what exactly do they have to do with the enterprise these days? But if you consider the notion of… Read More

Crunch Report | Snapchat Halloween Costume

Duo Security raises $70 million, a close look at Apple’s self-driving car, Snapchat’s Halloween costume and Abu Dhabi’s state fund is doing business in San Francisco. All this on Crunch Report! Read More

Women in Venture Report, Apple Abandons Touch ID & More Highlights

5 hand-picked articles from across the Startup Digest Reading Lists. Sign up to receive great weekly content on various topics from our expert curators.


1. All 2018 iPhones to adopt Face ID as Apple abandons Touch ID

By 9to5mac

Digest: Mobile

Curator: Edith Yeung

3D sensing will be a “key selling point” of all new 2018 iPhone models. While Apple currently faces manufacturing difficulties with 3D sensing, TrueDepth cameras and Face ID will help Apple “capitalize on its clear lead in 3D sensing design and production for smartphones.” Read More

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2. Learning Resource: Deep Learning Specialization at Coursera

By Coursera

Digest: Artificial Intelligence

Curators: Aashay Mody, Sergio A. Escobar

As a follow up to last week’s Machine Learning course, here’s a deep learning specialization designed by Andrew Ng (formerly Baidu AI, Google Brain) to help you break into AI. The five courses go through the foundations of Deep Learning, how to build neural networks, and learn how to create machine learning projects. Note that the courses require some prior programming experience. Read More

More from this reading list:


3. No startup is an island: entrepreneurship relies on collaboration

By Steven Drost – The Guardian

Digest: Startup Communities

Curators: Julian Miller, Brad Feld, Shane Reiser

Incubator? Accelerator?…or just cluster? Read More

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4. It’s Not Just Amazon: Chinese Tech Giants are Selling Groceries Too

By Sherisse Pham – CNN tech

Digest: Food Tech

Curators: David Nagy, Winnie Leung

Alibaba the country’s biggest online shopping company, has introduced a grocery store that has both a virtual and physical presence. It quietly started rolling out the stores two years ago “because no one was watching and we wanted to try it out,” Vice Chairman Joe Tsai said at a conference in Hong Kong last week. Read More

More from this reading list:


5. Announcing the 2017 Update to the Crunchbase Women in Venture Report

By Gené Teare – TechCrunch

Digest: Women Entrepreneurship

Curators: Clare Bennett, Lorel Sim

The percentage of women partners increased of 17 percent in top 100 venture firms, and eight of those firms each added a female partner for the first time ever. There’s more where that came from… Read More

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Sign up for these or other Startup Digest reading lists, here.

The post Women in Venture Report, Apple Abandons Touch ID & More Highlights appeared first on Startup Digest Blog.

Judge: FBI Doesn’t Have to Reveal How It Unlocked iPhone Used by San Bernardino Terrorist

Remember the infamous encryption fight between the FBI and Apple for unlocking an iPhone belonging to terrorist Syed Farook behind the San Bernardino 2015 mass shooting that killed 14 people?

The same Apple vs. FBI case where Apple refused to help feds access data on the locked iPhone and, later the Federal Bureau of Investigation reportedly paid over a million dollars to a vendor for

foster + partners sets world’s largest carbon-fiber roof on glass cylinder for apple’s theater

the lobby’s glass cylinder construction is made up of forty-four radial panels that support the lens-shaped roof.

The post foster + partners sets world’s largest carbon-fiber roof on glass cylinder for apple’s theater appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

Apple open-sourced the kernel of iOS and macOS for ARM processors

 Apple has always shared the kernel of macOS after each major release. This kernel also runs on iOS devices as both macOS and iOS are built on the same foundation. This year, Apple also shared the most recent version of the kernel on GitHub. And you can also find ARM versions of the kernel for the first time.
But first, it’s time for some computer history. The first version of macOS… Read More

The Microsoft Hustle

Despite their cringeworthy hardware, software, cloud services, and acquisitions, Microsoft is still a brilliant company in this day and age and you would be foolish to underestimate them in this regard. Sure, their last three operating systems have been complete turds and they have been reduced from being able to charge hundreds per license to having to place ads on Windows 10, invasive telemetry that can’t be disabled, and malware-esque distribution tactics; Windows 7 still has almost twice the market share of Windows 10 and it is almost a decade old. Their Surface line of laptops are even hated by internal employees and their quality is so poor that Consumer Reports had to pull their recommendation. Even worse, they spend more on marketing than R&D, $14.7 billion vs. 12 billion in 2016, which essentially means that they’re a marketing company with a software problem. So what makes them so brilliant? Their partner network.

To those unaware, Microsoft’s partner network consists of consulting firms, software resellers, and the like and is responsible for 95% of Microsofts commercial revenue. Most partners offer a wide range of services surrounding the Microsoft stack, including but not limited their implementation, management, and support (IMSs). But, they don’t do this because Microsoft happens to provide the least defective or most efficient solutions. Instead and on top of having 19% higher profit margins than their nearest competitor, for every $1 of revenue that a partner firm steers towards Microsoft, the firm stands to earn an additional $9.01 through their IMSs at the expense of their clients.

Unfortunately, what is profitable for a typical consulting firm comes at the expense of their clients and there are few situations where Microsoft offers the most economical or productive solution than their competition. In a blog post to their partners, Microsoft suggested that they “create stickiness” with their solutions, which is slang for “creating profitibility” and I have been all but forced to accept that their own products are created with this same mindset. Because of this, even companies like IBM, the inventor of the PC, have migrated to Apple products after realizing that their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) was 1/3 that of a Windows PC, which is significant.

“Creating stickiness is all about looking for opportunities to entrench your (our?) solutions and increase switching costs.” -Jen Sieger, Sr. Business Strategy Analyst @ Microsoft

It shouldn’t be difficult to see that how defective or “sticky” an IT solution is relative to how costly it is to implement, manage, and support. As IT solutions become less defective over time, the cost and frequency of their IMSs also decreases. Conversely, as IT solutions become more defective over time, the cost and frequency of their IMSs increases, becoming more profitable for partner firms. For software companies, and just as software becomes more defective over time, it also becomes more expensive to market just the same; re: marketing company with a software problem. I digress, but it is easy to see how partner firms can profit immensely off of defective software solutions while minimizing less profitable and less defective solutions that generate less necessity for their services. However, it is also easy to see how a massive conflict of interest can emerge on both sides.

Rather than putting their clients first and aligning their business model with their best interests, Microsoft partners are in complete alignment with Microsoft for obvious reasons; hence the designation of “partner”. Seemingly, in exchange for Microsoft “creating stickiness” or shipping turds if you’re into that whole brevity thing, their partner firms generate the majority of their revenue through their IMSs and continue to sell Microsoft solutions while also fending off or flat out ignoring competing solutions, regardless of the potential impact to their clients.

Meanwhile, the businesses trusting Microsoft partners are paying more than the cost of their IMSs; IMSs are less often than half of the story with regard to IT finance. Even in a well-managed environment, more defects lead to more downtime, more downtime leads to more productivity loss, and productivity loss is almost always the largest IT expense for businesses of any size; whether they realize it or not. After productivity loss, IMSs come in as the second most costly with hardware/software costs coming in third.

Believe it or not, Microsoft actually seems to have more of an incentive to maintain an ideal amount of “stickiness” or “profitibility” for their partners at the expense of their clients. Even though they don’t directly go into their code and intentionally create bugs, they can absolutely impact how defective their code is via the volume of work, quality of employees, and how much pressure is placed on said employees. Microsoft also recently laid off a significant amount of QAs and SDETs, which will have an obvious effect on how defective or profitable their software will be.

In a way, Microsoft has found a way to profit off of defective software, which is brilliant in itself and you have to give them credit where it is due. Even though such a relationship dynamic between Microsoft and their partners may actually be a violation of the Sherman Act if it’s intentional, it would still be a brilliant crime if that were the case. They may be the Buick of software companies and their logo may look like painted Borg cubes doing their best Voltron impersonation, but they are anything but stupid you would be wise to remember that they do not generate almost $100 billion dollars per year by accident, nor are they shy about discussing where the majority of that comes from.

The Microsoft Hustle was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Crunch Report | Using SpaceX Spaceships to Travel on Earth

Elon Musk plans to use SpaceX spaceships for travel on Earth, Apple has quietly acquired Regaind and South Korea decides to ban ICOs. All this on Crunch Report. Read More