SpaceX’s Starlink wins $885M rural broadband FCC contract
Musk’s ventures are riding high. For the first time in history, two SpaceX rockets are docked to the International Space Station and the company’s Starlink satellite chain has its first win from the FCC. The contract is part of a $9.2 billion government initiative to provide rural citizens with access to broadband. TechCrunch
dis-rup-shun: A few months ago, rumors had it that Starlink had been shunned by the FCC, but it is no surprise that Musk’s company has found its way into this contract. Serving rural homes, those that have been left behind the online revolution, is a perfect application for Starlink, as orbiting infrastructure can eventually, with enough subscribers, be less costly than pulling copper through sparsely populated areas.
Uber jettisons its autonomous vehicle division
Uber is selling its Advanced Technologies Group, the team that is developing autonomous driving technologies, to Aurora Innovation, a competitor, for $4 billion. The move signals Uber’s focus on approaching profitability by trimming ventures not likely to be profitable in the near term. COVID-19 has placed unexpected financial strain on a company that, like Google, seemed willing to make investments on many emerging technologies. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: The safety concerns of autonomous vehicles make development of the technology a political hot potato, despite the fact that self-driving cars may already be safer than nearly a third of human drivers. The pandemic is causing Uber to focus on profitability — a reality that will benefit the public as the service has become an essential utility that our society would be hard pressed to do without.
Apple’s Fitness+ to debut next week
Apple is joining the home fitness revolution by providing online exercise classes starting on December 14th. The service, which synchs classes with Apple devices that have video screens, is available for $9.99 per month. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Apple is following blockbuster Covid-19 winners Peloton, Mirror and Tempo, and, like its competitors, is building its program around a device. In the case of Peloton, the core device is a bike, for Mirror, an Internet connected mirror, for Apple, its service is tightly integrated with the Apple Watch. Apple’s iTunes was the teacher that taught product makers that content sells the device, and the company continues to add increasing value to most all of its hardware (HomePod seems to be the exception) through content and accessories.
Even Musk is moving to Texas
Musk confirmed on Tuesday that he has, in fact, moved to the Lone Star state where the Boring Company and Space X have facilities. Musk has, of late, been clashing with regulators in California, adding to the allure of Texas. Earlier this year Musk announced that the Tesla Cybertruck manufacturing plant would be located near Austin’s airport. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Silicon Valley is loaded with engineering, marketing and venture capital talent, but it seems that the brain drain is gaining momentum and for those of us that live in Texas, it seems that the majority of Californians who are bailing out have Texas in their sights.