Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Friday, May 3, 2019!

1. Tumblr, or what’s left of it, is up for sale

Tumblr

Tumblr is back up for grabs, as current owner Verizon realizes it doesn’t really know what to do with a social media and internet-culture icon that has been slowly been going backwards.

  • The WSJ reports that Verizon is seeking a buyer, as the wireless carrier struggles to make something out of its purchases of both Yahoo!, which included Tumblr, and AOL in 2015, in a division it calls Verizon Media Group.
  • It seems the first Tumblr employees learned of the for sale sign going up came from the Journal’s report.
  • The report doesn’t indicate who is interested, if anyone, or what Verizon might be looking to get. A Verizon spokesperson didn’t offer any comment.
  • Of course, Verizon infamously removed p-rn from the site back in mid-December last year, as Vox explored in-depth, which looked related to Apple forcing its hand after the Tumblr iOS app was removed from the App Store.

Quick history:

  • Before this, Tumblr, was sold back on May 20, 2013 for a cool $1.1 billion in cash, to Yahoo!
  • Yahoo! made a sufficient mess of the sale that it wrote down Tumblr’s value twice, lopping off $712 million of value within three years.
  • Verizon later bought Yahoo’s core assets for $4.8b.
  • Tumblr’s founder, David Karp, stepped down from Tumblr a little over a year ago after 11 years at the helm.
  • Tumblr still has 550 million monthly users

What next?

  • Well, at least Verizon isn’t just shutting it down as so many other big companies do with their acquisitions.
  • Tumblr isn’t a hugely valuable asset: it doesn’t compete at the scale or Facebook or Twitter or even Snapchat for advertising revenue
  • But Tumblr is an icon of the internet, with diverse and unusual communities, including erotic spaces which were harmed.
  • That’s prompted many to hope that P-rnhub might buy up Tumblr and bring back the thriving NSFW community.
  • “There are obvious synergies between the two brands and value Pornhub could derive from Tumblr. We’re extremely interested in acquiring the platform and are very much looking forward to one day restoring it to its former glory with NSFW content,” said Pornhub VP Corey Price to Buzzfeed.
  • Mind you, TechCrunch explains, “Why you don’t want Tumblr sold to exploitative Pornhub,” revealing plenty about parent company MindGeek that I didn’t know.
  • Can Tumblr uses pitch in and buy it themselves via the largest GoFundMe ever? Probably not, but it’s a nice idea.

2. Peter Mayhew, better known as the actor behind Chewbacca in “Star Wars,” has passed away, aged 74 (starwars.com). Mayhew was a delightful character and thrilled Redditors for years with his comments, always signed off with a polite “Cheers, Peter Mayhew” (r/movies).


3. Oops, Best Buy put the Pixel 3a XL on display ahead of Google’s announcement (Android Authority).


4. What does the Apple H1 chip mean for audio? Do Android users have an alternative? (AA).


5. Instagram and Facebook ban far-right extremists: Alex Jones, Infowars, Milo Yiannopoulos were removed (The Atlantic). Awkwardly, Facebook announced the bans before the profiles were actually removed (Twitter).


6. Spotify spotted testing ‘Your Daily Drive,’ a personalized playlist that includes podcasts (TechCrunch).


7. With cash dwindling, Tesla seeks to raise $2 billion in debt and equity (Ars Technica). Also, 82% of vehicles sold this year came with a touch screen – Tesla’s deemed the best UI (Consumer Reports).


8. YouTube will make all of its original content free to watch later this year (Variety).


9. Project Libra: More details behind Facebook’s efforts to build a cryptocurrency-based payments system (WSJ).


10. Renewables generated more electricity than coal for the first time in US history (Quartz).


11. “Why do some birds hop while some of them walk?” (r/askscience)


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