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Good morning, and welcome to the sprint of a week that marks the end of a marathon year. Like companies everywhere, tech concerns are wrapping up 2017’s projects and thinking about what comes next.
CES, formerly the Consumer Electronics Show, will be the subject of many a meeting this week. I’m particularly excited for CES this year, a show that will dominated by themes connected to artificial intelligence, voice-directed computing, and sensor-connected devices. The keynote speaker at Fortune’s annual CES dinner in Las Vegas will be Jensen Huang of Nvidia (NVDA), arguably the most important executive on these topics as his chips power the impactful devices springing up around us.
The marriage of entertainment and technology may have its biggest year yet. Disney (DIS) is throwing down in the streaming game, both with its own sports- and children’s-programming services and its move to control back-bencher Hulu. (The new services are slated to launch in 2019; Hulu awaits regulatory approval of Disney’s purchase of assets from 21st Century Fox.) I continue to be intrigued by Apple’s (AAPL) role in this arena. The new Hollywood team of the consumer-electronics giant picked up another high-profile TV show last week even though it hasn’t shown its hand as to how it will distribute the expensive content it is commissioning.
I’m guessing net neutrality will be far less interesting than everyone besides me seems to think. SoftBank, Google, Facebook, and even Elon Musk all are funding massive efforts at building Internet service offerings. Comcast (CMCSA), Verizon (VZ) and the like would be fools to turn off Internet startups—driving them into the hands of competitors.
Meantime, Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOGL) are on the defensive. The former has acknowledged that mindless social media surfing is as emotionally harmful as the channel surfing of couch potatoes. The latter is mired in the oddly named “brand safety” scandal on its YouTube platform. Both have businesses that are on fire even as their existential challenges are heating up.
The new year hasn’t even begun, and already it’s an exciting one.