Tencent has made significant investments there over the past decade, including Riot Games (League of Legends) and Epic Games (Fortnite).
These are massive stakes — Tencent effectively owns Riot, and 40% of Epic.
Activision Blizzard has taken the most heat for its links to date, despite that stake only coming to 4.9%.
Hundreds of other gaming industry investments are part of that portfolio.
The open web has a problem. We've seen liberal democratic values themselves used as an attack vector by authoritarian rivals before, and it's one of the most evident weaknesses of our society's model in the connected age. And as the current versions of our culture and internet tend to do, we all feel under pressure to pick up our appropriately axial policies like wooden swords and fight with them — Chinese ownership, in or out, left or right? But it's not that simple.
I'm not a China expert, and I defer to Ben Thompson for background and strategic analysis. He explains more articulately in Exponent #187 that Chinese platforms don't approach our yard of the web until they emerge — the victorious ones, that is — from a high-stakes cage battle to the death. It's a fight for the engagement of China's 1 billion users, a market that's entirely mobile-first and has come to expect algorithmic engagement techniques that are nigh on unfailing. The Chinese tech market is an incubator for ruthless Western tech company killers. If you've seen TikTok's algorithm at work, you know that Facebook can't touch it, Twitter hasn't got a hope, and even YouTube's famous recommendation engine looks crude in comparison.
When companies like ByteDance unleash apps like TikTok in the West, our tech monopolies are akin to a rag-tag band of knife-wielding street thugs standing in the middle of the Somme. We already have our laundry list of issues with these companies, and we're rightfully keeping them preoccupied with attempts to begin a phase of accountability at home.
But even if we weren't, they'd be unprepared. There's no access given to the Chinese market in exchange for our openness, not without entering into an equally owned joint venture with one of the local entities. The only path to a level playing field virtually demands forfeit, whether in spirit or source code access.
Our best shot at a good outcome isn't a naive and unnuanced approach in which we ignore the problem in the name of said values. As Thompson says, China splinted the internet long ago. That ship has sailed. What remains to be seen is how motivated we are to ensure an open future for the rest of it, one that'll be a model of values-based custodianship. One that'll still be there for the Chinese people to join if they make their way to a more individualistic form of governance. Otherwise, we'll end up watching an ambitious outside entity snap up the commercial web's user-facing layer, consolidate power, and erode that openness to an extent we've not yet seen from our comparably cuddly industry. But we can solve this without morally compromising ourselves in a way that ultimately unravels the whole thing.
We need a principle of reciprocity — one where we mutually require nation-states that play on the open web's economic field to adopt (or at least abide by) those values and offer market openness to all other participants.
Whether that demands openness of other varieties — of speech, for example — is another discussion. The core of the matter here is that if you want to make money from our users, we've got to be able to compete in your country's digital markets and make money from your users, without lopsided barriers to entry.
In theory, this could be done using economic and diplomatic levers alone, without introducing new shiny toys for prospective fascists into the underlying infrastructure and creating new risks to internet freedom. It's most likely that the end result is the same, because China is not about to open its market. But the immediate outcome is only part of the story. The means and methods getting there are momentously consequential.
So what's the big issue here?
First, it's all too clear that the Western contingent, as represented by Trump, has no sincere overarching philosophy that defines the parameters of failure and success. In practice, this is a political exercise by a man whose obsessive self-interest defines every action he takes. As with most Trumpian blusters, the stakes looked high at the outset. By the end, we're looking at some weak, convoluted arrangement that doesn't change the underlying dynamic of the game in the real world. Further, the non-solution directly erodes web freedom by normalizing case-by-case intervention in the internet's shape, as opposed to a system that provides rules-based certainty such as a clearly-defined understanding of valid reciprocity. Perhaps more dangerously, it closes the issue while it remains unsolved. And even when the stakes looked consequential, Trump pitched the danger of TikTok's ownership as a security concern, not a defense of the spirit of the open web. That's not a position that has ever even crossed 45's mind. That Trump might find an open internet threatening himself seems congruent enough.
This is a spectacle of strength that disguises another shakedown deal engineered by a reality star. It makes a joke of the real issues and makes any solution with genuine fairness and teeth less likely ever to eventuate. The proposed resolution has even put the EFF in the position of indirectly defending an entity intertwined with one of Earth's most censorious surveillance regimes.
So far, we've just wasted time better spent differently, and with just as many news cycles as the Apple vs. Epic pay-per-view down the hatch. Suppose the gaming inquisition unfolds as the social one has. The proposed eviction of problematic foreign ownership results in mildly diluted holdings and Trump gets to lob a few more cloud contracts at political supporters. It will further entrench the power dynamic by informal precedent. Meanwhile, users have no fresh certainty about the web's future — just the wreckage of more embittered division over how to handle things in this vacuum of leadership.
An A-list of Apple's App Store opponents over the past few years have assembled a justice league of sorts against anti-competitive App Store policies, The Coalition for App Fairness.
The roster includes such iconic antiheroes of this soap opera as Epic Games and Spotify, and voices that lend a more reasoned air — like Basecamp and ProtonMail. I don't see Automattic on the list, but I hope that changes.
Apple's Tim Cook says he’s been impressed with remote work and says it will leave a mark on how Apple operates, even after the pandemic. Self-evident statements, but Apple's appreciation for at least some aspects of remote is a signal other leaders will take seriously.
Another time when Mark might happen to "accidentally" "just for a laugh" suspend your expressive, digital voice is if you are an environmental group. Double points on the Facebook Bingo scorecard for happening only a week after the company promised to do more about climate denial misinformation.
For less flippant commentary on the leaked audio of Zuck on these matters, see Casey Newton's Mark in the Middle published in The Verge earlier this week.
Vue 3.0 is here! It's been a wait. There's a lot to get up to speed with. Go check it out.
Chris Bongers has written a bit about his experiments with Webmentions, an open standard for gathering web reactions to content that is currently in W3C recommendation status. Pretty interesting — having a record of community interaction around an item is valuable, as is providing an easy entry point for newcomers to enter the conversation. Blog commenting systems are still terrible and nobody really wants anything to do with them. I'm looking forward to seeing how this shakes out.
Swift 5.3 is here with a bunch of new developer experience and quality-of-life features. It's also swifter, as in more performant.
Needless to say, you should support the companies that pioneered this space because pouring more cash into monopolies is self-sabotage and because we all know Google will abandon this once it has had a crack at killing the other entrants you currently love.
As the TechCrunch piece says following its brief Airtable mention, and as far as I can see anywhere else, Google Tables' only serious differentiator is its integration with G Suite. Translation: "lol we can do what we want, we already own you."
There are already plenty of apps available to help you customize your iOS widgets. Widgeridoo uses a block-based builder, while Widgetsmith starts with a preset collection that can be tweaked. Glimpse 2 allows you to use webpages as widgets, and Widgetly is another general widget customization option.
Progress is interesting in that it's an app that exists solely to deliver a specific widget.
Lest we forget that Apple Watch faces are shareable now, Watchfacely is a gallery for finding and downloading highly-rated submissions.
Di satu Januari, lupakanlah sengketa
Separuh nafas jiwaku... sirna
Di pagi Januari, yang kita harungi bersama
Bahagia selalu dimiliki, bertahun menjalani
Naluri berkata di setiap langkah-langkahmu
Dua langit tlah membaur di suatu cakrawala
Biarlah layar terkembang, menderu ombakmu menabuh pantai
Kuingin menyeberang, melintas pulau dan lautan
Sebelas Januari bertemu karena kita ini manusia
Kau basuh diriku dengan sejuta warna
Membiru lautmu memeluk pasir
Menanti setiap detik, ku hitung waktunya
Tak dapat ku kawal perasaan ini
Maafkan salahku saat-saat itu padamu
Biar diriku saja menjawab semua cinta
Biarkan kujawab semua dusta
Menguning bulanmu mengetuk malam
Mesra jemarimu belai sukmaku
Membias bintangmu menghias hidup
Belahan jiwa yang tertinggal
Kala tatap matamu sapa jiwaku
Januari lekas berganti
Kian hangat dalam ingatan
Sampai disini kisah kita
Kian hangat dalam ingatan
Hari ini tak harus ku sendiri yang menanti saat ini
Separuh nafas jiwaku... berakhir d…
Fast, automated image compression trusted by 1.3M WordPress usersView this email in your browserProfessional image compression made easy There's a reason Smush is trusted by over 1.3M WordPress users. Smush will optimize every image on your website for super-fast page speeds.
Backup all of your (or your clients') original images, automatically resize and scale images based on your visitor's device - all with the click of a button. Professional image compression made easy.
Just need a single Smush? Easy – use our free 7-day trial to get your job done. There are no lock-in contracts so you can cancel at any time and your images will stay compressed.