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By Michelai Graham
Boardroom's Tech Reporter
November 5, 2023

Scarlett Johansson is suing AI yearbook app Lisa AI for using her likeness in a 22-second advertisement without her permission. The complaint will likely be resolved with a cease and desist order, but the damage is already done — the app has created a brand association it can’t retract.

A peek into today’s edition: 

  • SBF found guilty in FTX fraud trial
  • Apple reports $86B in revenue
  • Meta and X are offering ad-free tiers

Disgraced FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Found Guilty on All Counts

After five weeks of testimony and less than five hours of deliberation,  a jury found Sam Bankman-Fried guilty of multiple charges of fraud and conspiracy. SBF has been convicted of stealing billions of dollars from FTX customers. Prosecutors called this one of the biggest financial frauds in US history. SBF’s conviction comes after the disgraced CEO testified across multiple days, telling a jury his inner circle and top executives are the ones to blame for mishandled customer funds. He claimed he didn’t commit fraud and instead thought that some of FTX’s big purchases, like naming rights at a Miami sports arena, were paid for with company profits. When he was cross-examined, the prosecution pointed out SBF’s stance on cryptocurrency regulations and some of his profane opinions published on X.

The conviction comes only 11 months after the once-famous crypto enthusiast was arrested in the Bahamas and extradited to the US. SBF didn’t visibly react to the jury’s verdict, even though he now faces a maximum of 115 years in prison.


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Apple Generates $89B in Quarterly Revenue and Announces New iMacs and MacBooks

Apple narrowly beat analysts’ expectations after it posted $89.5 billion in revenue in its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report. The big tech giant saw another drop in overall sales for the fourth quarter in a row, and outside of the iPhone, revenue for all of Apple’s hardware devices declined year-over-year. The company’s iPhone unit reported $43.8 billion in revenue, which only includes about a week of iPhone 15 sales. Apple did post some gains across its services business, which includes iCloud storage, Apple Music, App Store sales, advertising, and AppleCare. The company’s services sector brought in $22.3 billion in revenue, which is a 16% increase compared to this time last year.

Apple’s earnings come after it swiftly announced a new iMac, Macbook Pro laptops, and the third generation of its computer processing chips in an unusually late product event on Monday night. The tech firm’s new 24-inch iMac will run on its new M3 chips and is the first upgrade to the product since April 2021. The new MacBook Pro starts at $1,599, while the iMac starts at $1,299.

Be sure to check out my full Apple Q4 report breakdown.

White House Inks First AI Executive Order Focused on Security and Innovation

President Joe Biden‘s first order of business this past week was issuing the White House’s first artificial intelligence-focused executive order. The first action of its kind attempts to establish standards for AI safety and security, consumers’ privacy, equity, civil rights, research, and the advanced tech’s effect on the labor market. The executive order has eight key components, including requiring AI developers to share internal testing data, promoting innovation and competition, supporting impacted workers, and developing guidance around content authentication and AI watermarking.

The new executive order comes as the Senate preps for its fifth AI Insight Forum next week, focusing on the advanced technology’s impact on elections.

A Threads API is on the Way

Instagram‘s chief, Adam Mosseri, confirmed that Threads is working on an API for developers, though he’s concerned it’ll benefit publishers more than content creators on the platform. A Threads API will not only allow publishers to schedule posts and drive engagement, but it could expose users to third-party apps and more features. Mosseri has consistently doubled down on his desire to make Threads a home for creators because they “drive more engagement and cultural relevance.” To this end, Threads won’t be doing any extra work to boost content from news publishers and will instead count on content creators to inform users.

  • Meta is offering ad-free access to Facebook and Instagram users in Europe for about $10.50 a month on the web or roughly $13.75 on mobile. X also introduced a new ad-free subscription, Premium+, that will cost $16 monthly.
  • Google will invest up to $2 billion in AI startup Anthropic, which comes with a $500 million upfront investment and $1.5 billion over time. This comes after Amazon announced a $4 billion investment into OpenAI‘s competitor last month.
  • Disney entered an agreement to purchase Comcast‘s 33% stake in Hulu for $8.61 billion in 2024, giving it full control over the streaming platform.
  • TikTok advertisers will be able to better manage and maximize their ad campaigns while easily transferring leads on the short-form video platform since TikTok announced a new integration with Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
  • Once a stomping ground for tech startups, WeWork is inching closer to a Chapter 11 bankruptcy after the Wall Street Journal reported that it could file as early as next week. WeWork was valued at $47 billion in January 2019, but its stock is down nearly 50% following bankruptcy reports.
  • Tinder, Hinge, and Match.com’s parent company, Match Group, settled a big antitrust claim against Google’s app store days before a federal trial was set to begin. The lawsuit was merged with Epic Games’ complaint against Google, which accuses the big tech giant of charging higher than normal app store fees.

The Information reported that TikTok users sent over $250 million to livestreamers on the platform by way of tips and digital gifts. With the potential to generate tipping revenue, I’m going to bet that TikTok Live will give other platforms like Twitch a run for their audiences pretty soon.