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By Michelai Graham
Boardroom's Tech Reporter
February 11, 2024
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Tech Talk is a weekly digest by Boardroom’s Michelai Graham that breaks down the latest news from the world’s biggest tech companies and the future of industry-shaping trends like AI.

Meta hit two major milestones in recent weeks: Facebook turned 20 years old, and Meta’s stock surged as much as 20% following its recent earnings report, adding $197 billion to its market cap in one day. This is the biggest single-session surge in stock market history.

A peek into today’s edition: 

  • Big Tech is doing it big at Super Bowl LVIII
  • Bluesky opens to the public
  • Disney invests $1.5 billion in Epic Games

How Big Tech is Taking Over Super Bowl LVIII

Technology is showing up in big ways at Super Bowl LVIII, with brands such as Microsoft, Verizon, Apple, and Google snagging multi-million-dollar advertising spots during the year’s biggest sporting event. But commercials aren’t all you’ll see from the tech world, with brands like Snapchat integrating with the NFL to bring its augmented reality tech to Allegiant Stadium, Verizon working overtime to hook up 5G connectivity for the thousands of fans who will be at the game, and the NFL is even partnering with creators to attract new viewers.

Moments like this remind me that tech touches everything. That’s kind of the slogan I say when people ask me what type of work I do and why. This is it, connecting the dots to how all of these tech brands ended up in the same room.

Check out my story, All Things Tech at Super Bowl LVIII, for a full download on what each tech brand has planned for the big game.


Jack Dorsey's Bluesky Enters the Market Full-time

Bluesky, a decentralized social media network launched by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, is now open for anyone to join. Dorsey officially incorporated Bluesky in 2021 after spinning the project out from Twitter. Since opening the platform’s waitlist in October 2022, the only way to get on Bluesky was through an invite code from a user already on the platform. Bluesky had roughly 3 million sign-ups before it opened to the public earlier this week, and within a few days, it amassed more than 850,000 new users.

The surge in interest for Bluesky might mean it’ll genuinely become a competitor for X and Instagram‘s Threads. Bluesky’s public launch also comes a month and a half after it launched a new logo with a butterfly to symbolize change and transformation. The logo models the sky blue and white colors the Twitter logo used to have.

Google Says Goodbye to Bard & Hello to Gemini

Last weekend, leaked documents detailed Google’s plans to rebrand its generative AI tech, Bard, and launch an app dedicated to it. It turns out the rumors were true since Google confirmed on Thursday that Bard will now be known as Gemini, the Big Tech company’s most powerful and flexible AI model that can run on everything from mobile devices to data centers. Gemini is the name of Google’s flagship AI model and the name of its conversational AI chatbot, which it also confirmed can be accessed via the Gemini App on Pixel and Android devices and through the Google App on iOS devices. Users can communicate with Gemini in over 40 languages.

With this rebrand and app launch, Google also announced Gemini Advanced, the AI model’s premium tier that costs $19.99 a month via a Google One subscription. The new offering comes with 2TB of storage, and interested users can try it out with a two-month free trial.

  • Disney announced that it’s investing $1.5 billion in Epic Games, which comes with an equity stake and an expansive collaboration with the game developer’s Fortnite universe. Disney CEO Bob Iger shared the news during the company’s earnings call earlier this week, marking it as the brand’s biggest entry into the gaming industry.
  • Gaming investments aren’t all that Disney is getting into right now. The entertainment leader is partnering with Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery to launch a new streaming app focused on sports programming, a venture that will pull content from ESPN, TNT, and Fox Sports.
  • Apple is reportedly developing two foldable iPhone prototypes, according to The Information, though they aren’t slated to be released anytime soon. The Big Tech giant hasn’t confirmed the new products, but after announcing the Vision Pro from stealth last year, it’s safe to say Apple is always up to something.
  • YouTube TV has hit 8 million subscribers, YouTube CEO Neal Mohan detailed in his annual letter to the community, where he also shared that YouTube has paid over $70 billion in the last three years to creators and media partners. Mohan also said YouTube is making big bets on AI innovations this year and investing more in creators on the platform.
  • Meta is adding AI-generated labels to images created with third-party tools from OpenAI, Microsoft, Adobe, Midjourney, and more. OpenAI will also be adding visible symbols and invisible watermarks to image metadata for content created on its image generator, DALL-E 3, and via ChatGPT.
  • Snapchat is laying off 10% of its global workforce, which is about 550 employees. Snapchat’s parent company is cutting its headcount in an effort “to reduce hierarchy and promote in-person collaboration,” which also means letting go of some senior-level staff members.

Reddit generated $800 million in revenue last year, a 20% increase year-over-year. This comes as the social news aggregator and forum prepares for an IPO, but I’m going to bet that Reddit won’t go public at the reported valuation of $5 billion; it’ll be under that, especially since it’s not profitable yet.