Data Sheet: Apple Does Hollywood, Fiat Joins BMW on Self-Driving Tech, Trump Swipes at Amazon

August 16, 2017, 2:02 PM UTC

It’s a busy day for news and an even busier day at Fortune headquarters, where we just completed our Sept. 1 issue. More on the magazine tomorrow, but until then, let’s get right to it.


Apple does Hollywood. Apple will reportedly devote $1 billion to producing original video content over the next year, a sum equivalent to what Amazon laid out when it moved into the scene in 2013. The budget, which could produce as many as 10 new TV shows, will be in the hands of two execs recently poached from Sony. So far critics have knocked Apple's recent attempts at original programming (see "Plane of the Apps" and "Carpool Karaoke").

Fiat accelerates self-driving cars. Fiat Chrysler says it's joining a consortium spearheaded by BMW and Intel that aims to produce fully self-driving cars by 2021. The automaker previously partnered with Alphabet's Google on the tech. German rival Daimler formed a rival group earlier this year, while Ford and General Motors have their own autonomous vehicle programs.

Microsoft beefs up cloud. The software and cloud computing giant just purchased Cycle Computing, a 12-year-old startup that helps companies manage large computing workloads in the cloud. Some of the acquisition's notable customers include Novartis, Pacific Life, and MetLife. A Microsoft spokesperson tell Fortune that it will continue to support AWS and Google Cloud integrations, but that those rival service offerings will eventually be deemphasized in favor of its own Azure platform.

Tencent posts record profit. Tencent, Asia's highest valued tech company, posted its best quarterly profit yet: $2.7 billion—a 70% increase in profits compared to the same period last year. Mobile games, especially the blockbuster hit Honour of Kings, helped the company get there.

Maersk's cyber losses mount. The Danish shipping giant says it will take a $300 million hit in its profits thanks to a June cyberattack that fried its computers. Ouch.

Today in Uber. The ride-hailing service must submit to regular FTC audits as part of a settlement with the agency. An early Uber investor claims that Benchmark Capital, another Uber investor, wants Arianna Huffington off the board of Uber. And Uber's head of developer product is out.

Verizon pushes for privacy. Verizon filed a legal brief alongside Apple, Facebook, Google and others in support of surveillance regulations as part of a case that is set to go before the U.S. Supreme Court this year. The companies would like to require that government officials obtain warrants before requesting sensitive customer data, such as geographic whereabouts.

SoundCloud gets tossed a lifeline. The struggling audio service has raised a round of funding that will help prevent it from going broke in coming months. Although terms were not disclosed, one source said the raise amounted to $170 million from Raine Group in New York and Singapore's investment fund Temasek.

Trump swipes at Amazon. President Donald Trump came out swinging against Amazon in a post on Twitter, as is his wont. "Amazon is doing great damage to taxpayers," Trump wrote. "Many jobs being lost!" Amazon's stock fell 0.3% immediately following the unsubstantiated dig.

How do you like that? A Tweet posted by former President Barack Obama in the aftermath of last weekend's fatal protest in Charlottesville, Virginia became Twitter's most "liked" ever. The Tweet, which consisted of a Nelson Mandela quote and a photo, dethroned the previous topper, an emotional post by pop star Ariana Grande following a deadly attack at one of her concerts in Manchester, England.


Uber Backs Down in Philippines Regulator Row, by David Meyer

Here's Your Best Chance to Get a Nintendo Switch Soon, by Don Reisinger

Meg Whitman Makes a Thinly Veiled Jab at Donald Trump, by Valentina Zarya

NetApp CEO on Amazon, Donald Trump, and Silicon Valley Hubris, by Jonathan Vanian

Why Apple's iPhone Can't Be Used to Pay for Beijing Transport, by David Meyer

Hulu's Move into Live Television Makes Amazon a Surprise Winner, by John Patrick Pullen


"If you believe that a good idea can take over the world and if you conjecture that computers can or will have ideas, then you have to consider the possibility that computers may one day take over the world."

Michael L. Littman, computer science professor at Brown University and co-director of Brown's Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative, discusses the probability of robot apocalypse.


Ever wonder what's in that iPhone of yours? Metals, for one thing. A reporter at Vice Motherboard had scientists pulverize an iPhone 6 in order to quantify its contents. A smattering of the results, in percent by weight:

Aluminum 24.14%

Carbon 15.39%

Oxygen 14.50%

Iron 14.44%

Copper 6.08%

Cobalt 5.11%

"There's even a trace amount of arsenic in the phone, though not enough to be toxic," according to David Michaud, a mining consultant who works for 911 Metallurgy.

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Robert Hackett. Find past issues, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters.

Read More

Artificial IntelligenceCryptocurrencyMetaverseCybersecurityTech Forward