Hi from (redacted), where I am in town for a big interview. You'll have to tune in to HBO in November to find out.
Situational awareness: Apple is acquiring part of Dialog Semiconductor for $600 million, including $300 million as a pre-payment for chips, as it moves towards designing its own chips. Axios' Dan Primack says it will also be Apple's largest-ever acqui-hire, with over 300 Dialog engineers moving over.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has completed the company's embrace of open source. Photo: Microsoft
Here's a headline many thought they would never see: "Microsoft joins Open Invention Network to help protect Linux and open source."
What's more — it's from a Microsoft blog post.
Driving the news: The company announced on Wednesday it's joining the Open Invention Network, making its 60,000 patents available to the group's 2,600+ members to help those companies defend against infringement lawsuits.
Background: The OIN, for the uninitiated, is a coalition of companies formed in 2005 to help the budding open source movement protect itself from an onslaught of patent attacks.
Microsoft's position has changed over the years. Before its warm embrace of open source, Microsoft led the charge against Linux, and later Android.
We know Microsoft’s decision to join OIN may be viewed as surprising to some; it is no secret that there has been friction in the past between Microsoft and the open source community over the issue of patents.— Microsoft statement
Our thought bubble: Yes, Microsoft has been moving in this direction for a while. Still, it’s the fullest possible turn from when then-CEO Steve Ballmer was calling Linux a "cancer" and threatening that any company using it or Linux was infringing on Microsoft patents.
Fine point: Microsoft VP and soon-to-be GitHub CEO Nat Friedman notes that Microsoft didn't seek any special treatment, committing all its patents and clicking "accept" on the license agreement just like any other member.
What they're saying:
Meanwhile, in another headline that would have seemed unlikely a decade ago, Microsoft passed Acer to become the No. 5 PC vendor in the U.S. thanks to its Surface line, per research company Gartner.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Image: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Amazon discovered that an algorithmic recruiter meant to help the company find top talent was systematically biased against women, Reuters reports.
Why it matters: This is a textbook example of algorithmic bias, notes Axios' Kaveh Waddell. By learning from and emulating human behavior, a machine ended up as prejudiced as the people it replaced.
Details: Amazon's experiment, which dates back to 2014, was trained on 10 years of job applications, most of which came from men, Reuters' Jeffrey Dastin reports.
Accenture's Rumman Chowdhury tells Axios that Amazon's results aren't that surprising, pointing to an issue Google had a couple years back.
"Algorithms are simply reflecting the patterns they see in the (biased) real world without understanding causal relationships — we’ve all heard 'correlation does not mean causation.' We are running into those issues today with the implicit assumptions being made by algorithms. Data is not an objective truth, it reflects our cultural and social biases."— Rumman Chowdhury
What’s next: Many large companies — including Goldman Sachs and Hilton — already use AI in their recruiting process, and the list will only grow.
Go deeper: Kaveh has more here.
Andy Rubin. Photo: Essential
Essential, the smartphone startup run by Android co-founder Andy Rubin, is said to be shaking up its product plans once again.
What's new: Bloomberg reports that the struggling electronics company has put its planned second product, a home hub, on the back burner. Instead, it's focusing on a small-screen AI-based phone capable of taking dictation or taking action on its own.
Why it matters: Essential has raised a ton of money with a goal of building a broad-based consumer electronics brand. Its plan was predicated on at least moderate success with its first product, a smartphone. Instead, the phone debuted to weak sales, jeopardizing all its other plans.
Our thought bubble: As I cautioned when the first device launched, the smartphone business is a brutally competitive market where ad dollars and manufacturing prowess tend to matter most.
Starting with a smartphone, Rubin says, lets Essential kickstart the business by starting with a well understood and huge category. But, in starting there, Essential is diving into a brutally competitive and demanding market, meaning that a lot of energy is going to be going in that direction.— Me, last August
Photo: Blue Origin
Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin beat out Elon Musk's SpaceX for part of a key Defense Department rocket contract.
SpaceX has already launched many rockets for the U.S. military, but the win is a first for Blue Origin.
Why it matters: It's a coup for Bezos and could serve as a red flag that DOD interest may not be as high in SpaceX's next-generation Big Falcon Rocket, per Axios' Andrew Freedman.
Twitter's Twitter account has been on fire of late, but this tweet was next level.