Weekly Roundup: MacBook Pro makes waves, AT&T acquiring Time Warner and RIP Vine

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Let your Vines live on forever with this Giphy conversion tool

Apple and Microsoft both held big hardware events this week, unveiling a few new devices like the new MacBook Pro and the Surface Studio. Twitter announced it is shutting down Vine and laying off 9% of the company. Oh, and AT&T is acquiring Time Warner for a whole lot of money. These are the top stories of the week.

1. Tim Cook took the stage at an Apple MacBook event at Apple HQ in Cupertino to announce the new MacBook Pro. Most notably, in the premiere models, Apple has done away with the Mac’s row of function keys and replaced it with a mini Retina display called the Touch Bar. Touch Bar lets you interact directly with whatever software you are using, adjusting its touch functionality to the task at hand. Apple seems to have pulled the 11-inch MacBook Air from all of its online stores, too. Here’s the full recap and full coverage of the MacBook event.

2. Apple wasn’t the only company to show off new devices this week. Microsoft also held a hardware event where it announced the Windows 10 Creator’s update, a new Surface Book and the new all-in-one $2,999 PC, the Surface Studio.

3. Are carriers still worried about being dumb pipes? After days of speculation, it was confirmed that AT&T is acquiring Time Warner for $85.4 billion in a mix of cash and shares. The deal will bring the carrier a huge trove of content producing properties, including HBO, CNN, and the Warner Bros. studio that will give it a leg up in its own video and content business.

4. It’s earnings season again – and here are this week’s highlights: In a surprising miss, Amazon disappointed investors after posting Q3 earnings and stock fell 6% in after hours trading. Twitter’s sales team took a big hit in its earnings report and may cut up to 9% of its staff, or around 300 people. Apple reported earnings ahead of its huge holiday retail season that were directly in line with Wall Street’s expectations.

5. Remember the DDoS attack last week that took out Twitter, Amazon, Shopify and other sites? Dyn said last week it identified “10s of millions” of unique IP addresses involved in the massive botnet attack. This week, Chinese company Hangzhou Xiongmai recalled web cameras that made up a good portion of the devices involved in the breach.

6. Nothing loops forever. Twitter announced that it’s shutting down Vine, its standalone short-form video app. Cue the Vine star heartbreak.  

7. Maybe not everyone is convinced they need a smartwatch. A new IDC report showed that smartwatch shipments experienced “significant” declines in the third quarter, as total shipments were down 51.6 percent from the same time last year. Just 2.7 million units were shipped in Q3 2016 versus 5.6 million in Q3 2015. These numbers indicate that smartwatches may be having a hard time finding traction among the majority of consumers.

8. Another city, another Airbnb lawsuit. Airbnb sued the city of New York, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Mayor Bill de Blasio over legislation that would make it illegal to advertise listings that can’t legally be rented out for less than 30 days. The bill was passed in June and signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo last week. Airbnb is claiming the law is a violation of the Communications Decency Act, which protects internet companies from liability for content posted by users.

9. The FCC voted to adopt new privacy rules that severely restrict what data ISPs can collect from you without your consent. The Association of National Advertisers called the rules “unprecedented, misguided and extremely harmful.” If that isn’t a strong endorsement, I don’t know what is.

10. Amazon continued its efforts to crack down on fake reviews across its site with new lawsuits aimed at two U.S. sellers and one from the E.U. The suits claim to have evidence of customer review abuse – meaning the defendants created fake reviews for their products which then influenced customer buying decisions.

11. Sometimes, “pivot” isn’t a strong enough word. One example is the story of the startup Famous, a company that had to fire 30 of 34 employees to survive, but is now somehow thriving again. Steve Newcomb’s $30 million-funded open source JavaScript startup was going down in flames, with a spiraling burn rate and no business model. Laying off 90 percent of the company and forging an entirely different direction was the only option.