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By Alex Wilhelm

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Welcome to TechCrunch AM! Today we have even more good IPO news, lots of notes on the Apple-DoJ suit, a new venture capital fund worth talking about, and how one blockchain company wants to democratize data. Let’s go!


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TechCrunch Top 3

  1. Reddit shares soar 48% in first day of trading: One day after Astera Labs’ IPO took off like a rocket, Reddit’s shares had an ebullient first day of trading. That makes two winning tech IPOs in one week. Anyone else want to step up and take a shot? Bueller?
  2. Microsoft and the deal that wasn’t: You, too, can buy a competitor full of amazing talent without actually buying it. All you need to do, like Microsoft did recently with Inflection, is put up hundreds of millions of dollars worth of “non-exclusive licensing fees.” Boom! You’ll be all set to avoid regulatory oversight. In theory.
  3. The DoJ eyes Apple’s privacy policies: A lot of Apple’s marketing focuses on how its devices enable customers to have more “privacy.” But the U.S. Department of Justice is arguing that “Apple wraps itself in a cloak of privacy, security, and consumer preferences to justify its anticompetitive conduct.” Get some popcorn and find a comfy chair because this drama is going to take a while to pan out.
TechCrunch Top 3 image

Image Credits: Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket / Getty Images

Morning Must-Reads

Did the U.S. forget to read the EU’s homework? Back in 2022, the EU contended that Apple “abused a dominant position” around mobile wallets by preventing rival services from accessing the iPhone’s contactless NFC payment functionality. Apple wound up planning changes afterwards, and that effort seems to have made its way into the DoJ’s case against Apple’s smartphone business. Oddly enough, the DoJ’s case has few mentions of the EU’s other work to curtail allegedly anti-competitive practices by tech companies.

Speaking of the Apple case, don’t expect it to have massive impacts in the short term — despite the deluge of headlines.

World Fund closes €300M first fund: In some good news for European climate tech founders, a new firm in town has wrapped up its first fund. The less-good news is that World Fund fell short of its initial target for the fund by €50 million. Still, it’s a handsome chunk of change that will go towards tech that we needed, like, yesterday.

Edge & Node wants to use blockchain to fight big tech’s data dominance: If the blockchain can do this, then I will forever stop worrying that the only use case for crypto is speculative trading. Edge & Node’s project, The Graph, aims to organize and make available data on the blockchain in a manner that is both inexpensive and has rock-solid uptime. Organizing blockchain data is a good challenge. Perhaps the next one is getting more information onto the blockchain?

Intuitive Machines is heading back to the Moon: Intuitive Machines was the subject of much banter after its first lunar lander wound up upside down on the Moon. However, detractors are not slowing down the company: Its “second moon mission is still on track to launch before the end of this year,” TechCrunch’s Aria Alamalhodaei reports.

Wing Venture’s Sara Choi on how to pitch VCs at TechCrunch Early Stage 2024: Our early stage event is just weeks away, and the killer lineup of speakers just keeps growing. See you in Boston in April!

Nsave gets $4M to bring offshore banking to the world: When you think Swiss banking, you probably don’t think of startups. But nsave is a particularly interesting Swiss banking company: It wants to help people from around the world use offshore banking to get their capital out of markets where currency fluctuations are eating away at the value of their savings.

UK notches up probe of Three and Vodafone’s $19B merger: The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority is taking its investigation into a proposed merger between Three and Vodafone to the next stage. The country is concerned that the combination would result in higher prices for consumers, and less investment. Yeah, more revenue and fewer expenses is probably the corporate goal here, so maybe the CMA has a case.

Morning Must-Reads image

Image Credits: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto / Getty Images

Around the Web

  1. More Apple-DoJ coverage: MacRumors has a good look at Apple’s arguments against the government’s case, while SixColors digs into the stronger and weaker parts of the DoJ’s case. (Speaking of Apple, this security gap isn’t good.)
  2. Paul Graham has notes on Reddit’s IPO, and he goes over some of the service’s history as well. Graham is well-known for co-founding Y Combinator, which helped accelerate Reddit back in the day, so this is worth a read.
  3. X has changed its privacy policies to disallow people from revealing users’ personal details after an antisemitic cartoonist was doxxed, NBC reports. As it turns out, it’s hard to balance a desire for free discourse and run a platform that conforms to your specific views of “free speech.”

Before You Go

Incremental good news for WhatsApp users: You can now pin up to three messages in a chat to access them easily on WhatsApp. Yes, this isn’t the biggest update, but when your service has so many users, even minor changes to functionality can impact a simply mind-boggling number of people.

Before You Go image

Image Credits: WhatsApp

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