SpaceX’s Starlink Set To Begin Public Beta. Will It Deliver?

[10/13/2020] Starlink Preps Public Beta For Parts Of U.S & Canada

Last week, Elon Musk indicated that SpaceX’s satellite-based Internet business, Starlink, had launched enough satellites to start public beta services in parts of the northern U.S. and southern Canada. With the launch of about 60 Starlink satellites last Tuesday, SpaceX will have a total of over 770 satellites in orbit. While the company should be able to offer speeds of about 100 Mbps, it plans to launch thousands of more satellites, enabling Starlink to provide Internet at speeds of as much as 1 Gbps to much of the populated world. The success of Starlink will be crucial to SpaceX, which has thus far focused on the relatively niche space launch services business. If Starlink Internet service is able to provide a compelling value proposition compared to traditional broadband in terms of both pricing and performance, SpaceX could have a winner on its hands. Below, we provide a scenario of how Starlink could be worth about $30 billion by 2025.

[2/12/2020] Starlink Valuation: What Could SpaceX’s Starlink Service Be Worth?

SpaceX recently indicated that it could spin off and pursue an IPO for its satellite-based Internet business, Starlink. The Starlink service, which is likely to see operations begin later this year, aims to provide high-speed Internet globally in a cost-effective manner by leveraging a constellation of several thousand satellites. While SpaceX has not given a definitive timeline for an

The chip advance set to make smartphones smarter

iPhone user
Apple’s new iPhones are set to be the first consumer gadget powered by 5nm chip technology

When Apple unveils its new iPhones, expect it to make a big deal of the fact they’re the first in the world to be powered by a new type of chip.

This, we’ll likely be told, will let owners do things like edit 4K video, enhance high-resolution photos and play graphically-intensive video games more smoothly than was possible before while using less battery power.

The “five nanometre process” involved refers to the fact that the chip’s transistors have been shrunk down – the tiny on-off switches are now only about 25 atoms wide – allowing billions more to be packed in.

Effectively it means more brain power.

Travel back just four years, and many industry insiders doubted the advance could be delivered so soon.

That it has been, is in large part down to the ingenuity of a relatively obscure Dutch company – ASML.

It pioneered a way to carve circuitry patterns into silicon via a process called extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography.

Its machines cost a cool $123m (£92m) each, which is high even in relation to other semiconductor industry tools.

But it’s currently the only company making them. And they are still more cost-effective than alternative options, in part because of a low defect rate.

“At such small scales precision is key,” said Dr Ian Cutress, who reports on the sector for Anandtech.

“What they’re doing is akin to hitting a stamp on the surface of Mars with a paper aeroplane.”

ASML likens its technology to making the leap from using a marker pen to a fine-liner.

But rather than ink it uses what it terms “feeble light” generated via a mind-boggling process.

Light wavelengths graphic
ASML’s process uses light at a 13.5nm wavelength, sitting in

Fortnite: Epic Games vs. Apple Trial Date Set, Won’t Use Jury

A trial date has been set for Epic Games vs. Apple following an extended and public disagreement over the latter company’s alleged monopolization of iOS digital marketplaces. Epic Games initially filed suit immediately after Fortnite was removed from the App Store for violating its payment rules.

The case will be held as a bench trial, meaning there will be no jury, and begins on May 3, 2021. Because of the ongoing pandemic, the court has not yet decided whether the trial will be held in-person or virtually. The decision to use a bench trial was also influenced by the pandemic, as a backlog of jury trial cases would have pushed it into next summer.

Epic Games has argued that by not allowing outside companies to run their own digital stores on iOS devices, Apple has effectively created a monopoly. It takes a sizeable portion of every digital profit on the App Store, including in-app purchases. Fortnite was banned after Epic Games attempted to circumvent this by offering a direct-purchase option for V-Bucks in the game, but it very clearly knew it was going to get the game banned–a lawsuit that was dozens of pages long was filed almost immediately afterward. Videos mocking Apple’s classic ads, similar to the classic film and book 1984, were also played. It wasn’t exactly subtle.

Apple may have a difficult time arguing it doesn’t hold a monopoly, as the House Judiciary committee on antitrust just released a report claiming it, along with Google, Amazon, and Facebook, hold monopoly power within the tech industry. For Apple, it cited its “software distribution” system on iOS, meaning the App Store.

Fortnite has been inaccessible for new downloads on iOS since August, and it can no longer be updated. This means players can’t receive the latest seasonal content. It

Twilio Set To Acquire Cloud Customer Data Startup Segment For $3.2 Billion

With cloud companies booming during the pandemic, one of the category’s recent public-company success stories is set to make a splash by spending billions to acquire one of its up-and-comers.

Cloud communications business Twilio has agreed to acquire customer data infrastructure company Segment for $3.2 billion, two sources tells Forbes. The deal which was not yet finalized as of Friday afternoon, is expected to be at least partially based on Twilio stock.

Segment and its CEO Peter Reinhardt didn’t respond to requests for comment. A Twilio spokesperson said the company couldn’t comment “on any rumors or speculation.”

Twilio, which trades at a market capitalization of more than $45 billion, went public in June 2016 on the strength of communications infrastructure that allows businesses to reach their customers through text messages, voice and video calls. The company counts the likes of the American Red Cross, delivery unicorn Deliveroo and bank ING as customers.

A fellow San Francisco-based company, Segment was founded in 2012 and appeared at No. 26 on this year’s Cloud 100 list of the world’s leading private cloud companies. The company had most recently raised $175 million in a Series D round led by Accel and GV announced in April 2019 at a reported $1.5 billion valuation. Accel did not respond to requests for comment. A GV spokesperson said the firm wouldn’t comment on “rumors or speculation.”

Segment had been known to be open to acquisition offers recently, a third source told Forbes. The company, which appears to have been one of Covid-19’s technology winners, has obvious overlap with Twilio through its

Global Standard Setters Set The Scene For Comprehensive Corporate Reporting

In March of this year I wrote about how to establish a global set of standards for companies to report on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance—or so-called “nonfinancial information.”

I’m pleased to report that significant progress has been made in the past five months.

Key to this achievement is the foundational work of five NGOs (The Five) whose missions are aligned with this goal: CDP, the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), guide the overwhelming majority of ESG disclosure and the International integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) provides the framework for how to connect ESG disclosure to reporting on financial and other capitals.

Their work is particularly critical now, as governments and major accounting bodies are acting on standards. The IFRS and IFAC have recognized the need for mandated standards for nonfinancial information. The EU, in reviewing its Non-financial Reporting Directive (NFRD), has instructed EFRAG to establish a European Lab Project Task Force to make recommendations on standards for nonfinancial information, as a prelude to their stated intention to regulate. And a variety of business groups, including the IBC/WEF and the Big Four have voiced the need for global ESG reporting standards for companies and markets.

All of these groups should build on the work of “The Five.”

Not only are they field leaders, they also recognize that they are stronger as a group than individually. And while each of “The Five” has its own particular approach to ESG standards and reporting, much of their technical content is complementary rather than overlapping. This is clear in their recent “Statement of Intent to Work Together Towards Comprehensive Corporate Reporting (The Statement)” authored by The Five and facilitated by the Impact Management Project, the World Economic Forum, and Deloitte. I