All Episodes

May 10, 2024 20 mins

This week, Microsoft announced that game studios like Austin Arkane and Tango Gameworks are closing their doors. Google and Tesla are both dealing with consequences following layoffs. And OpenAI may have plans in the works to rain on Google's I/O conference parade next week.

See for privacy information.

Mark as Played

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:04):
Welcome to tech Stuff, a production from iHeartRadio. Hey there,
and welcome to tech Stuff. I'm your host, Jonathan Strickland.
I'm an executive producer with iHeart Podcasts and how the
tech are you. It's time for the tech news for
the week ending on May tenth, twenty twenty four, and

first up is a potential retraction. So not long ago,
I talked about how an Apple analyst named Ming chi
Quo said that Apple had significantly scaled back its production
plans for the Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset. So
if you'll recall this, analyst said that Apple initially planned
to produce seven hundred and fifty thousand to eight hundred

thousand units, but subsequently cut back to around four hundred
and fifty thousand units in the wake of less demand
than anticipated. But other analysts have argued that Apple's play
and from the get go, was to ship around half
a million units this year, so that four hundred and
fifty thousand number isn't really that far off from that estimate.

So I guess this is what I get for talking
about analysts who make their living scrutinizing a company that's
famously very quiet. It only communicates stuff when it darn
well feels like it. So either the Vision Pro isn't
selling as quickly as Apple once or it's on the
right track. I don't know the right answer. And we

have a couple of other Apple stories for this week,
so we might as well stick with Apple. So Apple
held an event at which it unveiled a new iPad
pro model this week, which the company says is the
thinnest one yet also fun side note, Apple also subsequently
apologized for an ad that talks about it being the
thinnest iPad pro because the ad showed an enormous hydraulic

press crushing stuff like musical instruments and stereo equipment and
paint containers and more, and that really upsets some artists
who traditionally have been among the most enthusiastic customers of
the iPad, and so Apple said, whoops, sorry about that. Anyway.
The iPad pro comes in thirteen and eleven inch sizes.
It's got an M four processor and an ultra retina

XDR display. It's supposed to be real pretty. Apple says
it is quote an outrageously powerful device for artificial intelligence
end quote. So you know, buzzwords of the day it
is available starting May fifteenth. You can pre order it now,
and the base model for the eleven inch version that's

Wi Fi only starts at nine hundred and ninety nine dollars,
and obviously the price goes up from there depending upon
the size and the features you want, how how much
storage you want in it, et cetera. Also, if you
want the new Apple Pencil Pro to go with it,
that'll set you back an extra one hundred and twenty
nine bucks, So yay. Speaking of Apple and AI, the

Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has a new project
code named ACDC, which is not a reference to the
Australian rock band. Instead, ACDC stands for Apple Chips in
Data Center and that part of this project involves Apple
developing its own chips for data centers that are running
AI applications. So, according to The Wall Street Journal, Apple's

plan is to hone in on data centers that run
actual AI implementations as opposed to data centers that are
used to train AI models. So why is Apple not
getting into the training area. That's largely because Nvidia has
a huge head start as far as developing chips for
AI training purposes, and Apple would rather aim for a

different spot on the AI food chain. Whether Apple's ACDC
plan will shake me all night long remains to be seen.
Microsoft's top brass made some big and somewhat controversial decisions
this week. One of those decisions affects executive compensation and
it links it to cybersecurity. So essentially the new Secure

Future Initiative or SFI, which is a kind of an
umbrella plan at Microsoft, the new version is tying security
milestones to part of executives pay. Now which part of
executives pay, I don't know how much of executives pay
will be tied to this, I don't know, but the
message is pretty clear. Microsoft wants to reverse the trend

of recent security intrusions, which is not a surprise for
multiple reasons. I mean, among the things that Microsoft does
is it hosts services that are used by other companies,
and if Microsoft can't demonstrate that it is secure, then
it loses all that business. You know, having bad security
is a bad business plan. Plus, the US government, in

the form of Homeland Security, has been very very much
concerned about Microsoft's failure to detect and stop some high
profile hacker attacks. So not a big surprise that Microsoft
is telling executives, hey, we need to get on this
or else you're not gonna get all your bonuses. But
I said, Todd Brass made some big decisions, which is plural, right,
not just tying executive pay to security. So among those

big decisions were some pretty sad ones, like closing multiple
video game developer studios. Microsoft is one of the few
really big companies that have scooped up a bunch of
smaller companies in the video game space in recent years,
and now some notable studios are getting shut down. Among
those are Austin Arcane, which recently produced the vampire shooter

game Redfall. Notably, Redfall got a very lukewarm reception, but
from one I understand, the team behind Redfall was put
in a pretty impossible situation. It's sounded to me like
there were a lot of shifting priorities during development that
we're coming from leadership, and when that happens, it's pretty
much impossible to deliver upon expectations because the expectations themselves

keep changing. But in addition to Austin Arcane, Microsoft is
also shutting down Tango Game Works, which recently produced the
acclaimed game Hi Fi Rush Alpha Dog Games is also
on the chopping block. That company makes mobile games, and
Zenemax Online Studios is to absorb another company called Roundhouse Studios,

which will be no more. The closures are going to
affect previous promises that were you know about unreleased content
for titles like Redfall. So if gamers actually shelled out
money for stuff that was supposed to include DLC, that's
you know, supposed to be coming down the pipeline. Well,
now that DLC is gone, it's been scrapped. But Microsoft

says it will make good on those various deals. No
word yet on how many staff are going to be
laid off. Some people are going to be show to
new teams, but other people will be let go. And
it's a really tough time in the video game industry
in particular, but tech in general right now. And just
as a matter of contrast, I feel I should also

point out Microsoft currently has a market capitalization of more
than three trillion dollars. It is a three trillion dollar company,
you know, I think that's something that should be kept
in mind as we hear about how many people are
getting laid off from this three trillion dollar company. Also,

the day after the announcement talk about tone death. The
head of Xbox Game Studio said in a town hall
call that quote, we need smaller games that give us
prestige and awards end quote. But literally that was Hi
Fi Rush. High Fi Rush was a smaller game. It
was released in a surprise release. No one had even

heard about the darn thing when it came out, and
it actually won some awards, so it meets those criteria.
And the day when this guy says we need games
that are going to be small and prestigious was the
day after they had shut down a studio that had
made a game like that. So yeah, very much mixed
messages and very upsetting. All right, up next, we'll talk

about some more trouble in big tech. Google reportedly had
a bit of a tense all hands meeting this week.
The company recently posted an extremely positive earnings report for
the company, like they did gangbusters business this past quarter.
But this comes at a time when Google's also been
making some pretty drastic cuts across its businesses, including significant layoffs.

So employees had left comments wanting to know what the
company was going to do to address issues with morale,
which is a good question because it sucks to work
for a company where you or your coworkers are worried
about getting laid off every day while the company itself
seems to be flourishing. That kind of disconnect is really upsetting.

Staffers argued that Google has done very well, but in
the meantime quote many Googlers have not received meaningful compensation
increases into quote. That's according to one staff member who
left a comment on this town hall Zoom meeting or
call meeting. I guess I don't know if it was
over Zoom probably wasn't with it being Google anyway. Others
pointed out that Google was investing billions of dollars in

AI and spent like tens of billions of dollars in
stock buybacks, and instead maybe Google should have been spending
that money on the people who work at the company.
It sounds like it was a really uncomfortable meeting, and
you know, to their credit, the executives actually had responses
to these. They didn't just sit there silently waiting for

the clock to run out so that they could leave
the meeting. They actually did say, you know, and tried
to express what the strategy was. But I think it
was such a hard time at Google that those answers
probably weren't met with a lot of satisfaction. But here's
hoping that everything gets sorted out fairly. Okay, we've got
a lot more news to talk about, but before we

get to that, let's take a quick break. So we're back.
So over at Tesla, we saw even more job cuts
this week. That's been going on for a while now.
According to the Register, this latest round of cutbacks impacted

engineers and developers. This appears to be part of the
larger move for Tesla to downsize by around fourteen thousand
jobs total compared to where it started out the year.
The company also appears to have put a hiring freeze
in place, at least in North America. So according to Gizmoto,
Tesla went from having three four hundred job listings across
North America down to just three job postings across the

entire continent, which is a big old wolf. And then
Tesla's head of product a guy named rich Otto, which
to me is hilarious. His name is rich Auto and
he worked for Tesla anyway, He's left. He has resigned
and said he is donezo with Tesla. He had worked
there for nearly seven years. Actually came from Faraday Future,

another electric vehicle startup. That one went belly up, but
Auto did not mince words about his decision for leaving.
He posted on LinkedIn that the moves that Tesla had
absolutely disrupted employee morale and made it hard to create
a long term vision for the company, and he couldn't
really work there anymore, so said it was time for
a change and he resigned. Video games are going to

be popping up throughout this episode. We're back to it
right now. We had talked previously about Microsoft shutting down
some studios. This one's going to be a quick one.
Nintendo has announced that it is pulling x slash Twitter
integration from Switch platforms. So previously Switch owners could post
images from gaming sessions to their connected x formerly known
as Twitter accounts, but Nintendo is following the lead of

Sony and Microsoft, which have already ended similar support for
such integrations. Nintendo did not explain why it made this decision,
but the educated guess is that it's tied to x
slash Twitter hiking up the price of its API policies,
which means that if you build an app that taps
into x now you have to pay a pretty substantial

amount of money depending on how frequently your app does that.
So my guess is Nintendo said, we're not seeing benefit
from this particular feature, let's just cut it because it's
costing us money. Rumor has it that open ai will
announce an AI powered search product next week. Reuter's reports
that the plan is to unveil the search offering on Monday,

although this is not set in stone. We've been hearing
some scuttle butt that open ai has an AI backed
search engine in the works for a while now, and
it seems like this is pretty much a direct shot
at Google's dominance in the space. This also explains why
Google has invested billions in AI research and development, because
the company is terrified that AI is going to drink

its milkshake. If open ai does announce something on Monday,
then really it is a big slap in the face
of Google because Google is launching its annual Io Developer
conference on Tuesday, and undoubtedly that conference is going to
include a lot of talk about AI. So yeah, shots fired.
Some users over at stack overflow, which serves as a

question and answer site for software developers, are really getting
ready to do some digital vandalism. In fact, some folks
have been doing it already. Now the reason they're unhappy
has to do with open Ai. Stack Overflow recently announced
a partnership with open ai, and some users are really
steamed about this. So, to begin with, stack overflow was

upset at open ai because of the assumption that open
ai was scraping stack overflow for information to train up
AI models. But then this actual official partnership forms, and
now some of the folks who have been providing answers
in stack overflow are really upset because they don't want
their knowledge to be used as training data for AI.

And they were never consulted or asked about this, you know,
in advance. It just happened. Now some of them have
already started to go into their old answers and attempt
to delete or deface them to foil AI training. But
that doesn't really seem to have helped much because according
to Ours Technica, stack overflow employees have been suspending users

who are doing this. So if you have provided an
answer and you've gone in and changed it, you could
get suspended for a given amount of time, like a week,
and they also revert your changes back to what they
were before, so all that effort goes to nothing anyway.
But it does sound like users are expressing themselves and

making it known to stack overflow that they are not
happy with this particular arrangement, and I'll be curious to
see if stack overflow does anything to try and smooth
this all out, or if they just try and take
a weight and hope that it goes away approach. TikTok
announced this week that it will be including a digital

watermark on content posted to the platform that was generated
by AI. The company also said it would remove realistic
AI content that is not labeled as AI, and this
is all in an effort to curtail attempts to use
AI to spread misinformation. The digital watermark doesn't just magically
detect AI though, It's not like it has some killer
ability to know when something was AI generated. This is

actually an industry standard that some but not all, generative
AI tool makers will incorporate in their tools. So if
you were to use their tool to create something, there'd
be this digital watermark there, and that would be what
TikTok would detect and then apply its AI generated watermark

on top of whatever was being posted to TikTok. But
if the tool may doesn't incorporate the standard, well then
TikTok doesn't know magically that it was AI generated. So
it's not a perfect cure. It just works with the
companies that are all agreeing to play by this set
of rules. Streaming services continue to try and reinvent cable TV.

This week, Disney and Warner Brothers Discovery revealed that US
customers will be able to purchase bundled services this summer
that include Hulu, Disney Plus, and Max for an unannounced
amount of money. Like they don't say how much the
subscription is. Users will have a choice between ads supported
and ad free tiers of service. Hulu already has options

to add on access to Max as well as to
Paramount Plus. So yeah, we're edging closer to having bundles
of streaming services resemble what used to be cable television offerings,
or actually what still is cable tv. It's just that
cable tv is really starting to kind of die off.
But then everyone has been struggling to find a way
to make streaming a profitable business, so this isn't that surprising.

And now for some more video game news, Roadblocks announced
it was cutting back its annual bookings forecasts, so essentially,
this is an estimate of how much revenue the company
expects to earn in the upcoming quarters, and Roadblocks said
it estimated a lower amount than was previously you know, estimated,
And obviously that got investors in a tizzy because numbers

supposed to go up. No, like when number not go up,
grow grow grow. Sorry, the older I get, the grouchier
I am about late stage capitalism anyway. In other video
game financial news, EA confirmed that the company is looking
at introducing ads in Triple A video games in the future.
Advertisements in games is not a new thing. There's been

everything from brand integrations to full on commercials to those
annoying little ads that pop up in mobile games, and
so they've been part of the industry for a while.
But you don't typically see very many of those pop
up in a seventy dollars triple A title because you know,
customers get grouchy if they've spent seventy bucks on something
and then they have to watch ads in it. EA

CEO stressed that any ad integrations would be quote very
thoughtful end quote, which is good to hear from a
company that was voted as the worst in America two
years in a row and happier video game news. Nintendo
confirmed that the successor to the Switch is coming and
that the company will announce it this fiscal year. However,
Nintendo's fiscal year starts in April, so that means it

may not be until the end of March next year
that we hear anything. But it is coming. It just
is not going to be part of Nintendo Direct in June.
That is not going to be when the company announces it.
They've already confirmed there will be no information about it
at that event. However, you know, the Switch is seven
years old, it's not really a surprise that the company
is prepping a follow up. One last story for this week.

It was supposed to be a test launch for the
Boeing Starliner spacecraft with an actual crew abord it this week,
but engineers detected a malfunction in a pressure regulation valve
on a liquid oxygen tank aboard the Atlas five launch
vehicle that ended up necessitating scrubbing the mission. It was
another frustrating setback for Boeing, which is obviously dealing with

some really serious problems unrelated to the star Liner at
the moment, so the earliest date for another attempt is
May seventeenth, at six sixteen pm if everything is ready
to go by then. At that point, the star Liner
will be lifted by rocket up into orbit and then
head off to the International Space Station. So we'll have
to see if that actually happens next week. All right,

that's it for this week's tech News. I hope you're
all well, and I'll talk to you again really soon.
Tech Stuff is an iHeartRadio production. For more podcasts from iHeartRadio,
visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen

to your favorite shows.

TechStuff News

Advertise With Us

Follow Us On


Jonathan Strickland

Jonathan Strickland

Show Links


Popular Podcasts

2. Amy and T.J. Podcast

2. Amy and T.J. Podcast

"Amy and T.J." is hosted by renowned television news anchors Amy Robach and T. J. Holmes. Hosts and executive producers Robach and Holmes are a formidable broadcasting team with decades of experience delivering headline news and captivating viewers nationwide. Now, the duo will get behind the microphone to explore meaningful conversations about current events, pop culture and everything in between. Nothing is off limits. “Amy & T.J.” is guaranteed to be informative, entertaining and above all, authentic. It marks the first time Robach and Holmes speak publicly since their own names became a part of the headlines. Follow @ajrobach, and @officialtjholmes on Instagram for updates.

3. The Dan Bongino Show

3. The Dan Bongino Show

He’s a former Secret Service Agent, former NYPD officer, and New York Times best-selling author. Join Dan Bongino each weekday as he tackles the hottest political issues, debunking both liberal and Republican establishment rhetoric.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.