Securing the future of chips

I keep saying chips, but what I really mean are the memory, NAND and other kinds right inside your phone. A last-second deal for Toshiba, at $18 billion, rescues the chip division at a time when the company is at risk of being delisted from public markets for losing so much cash.

Bain Capital, a group made up of computer makers such as Apple, Dell and others, acquired Toshiba's chip business to secure the future of those bits inside your phone and laptop.

Chip prices, particularly for NAND memory (which makes up phone storage) have fluctuated wildly as a shortage has extended from early 2016 to now. 

The sheer popularity of the iPhone and other mobile products mean NAND manufacturers can't keep up with peak demand and prices change with the wind — also explaining weird storage tiers like Apple only offering a 64 GB and 256 GB iPhone X. 

By securing this deal, the group guarantees a certain level of access to the chips and buys into the supply chain. 

The deal was primarily driven by Apple, who funded the majority of it, and likely doesn't want to end up in a similar situation to the iPhone X where it's unable to source key parts (like the OLED screen that's causing so many delays) because other device makers compete for already constrained supplies.

It's interesting to see key parts of the supply chain faltering as companies like Apple, Google and Dell produce so many end products that they simply can't keep up. It's a business that's extremely difficult and complex — and now everyone's fighting for a slice of the pie.

IKEA + TaskRabbit = ?

Recode says today that IKEA has acquired TaskRabbit, an unexpected move from a company that's very clearly trying to heavily invest in the technology space.

If you're not familiar with TaskRabbit, it was one of the first 'gig economy' companies that made it possible to get basically anything done by requesting it through an app. Need someone to pick up your laundry you forgot about it? That's possible now.

It's an interesting move, but an unsurprising one. IKEA seems well positioned to impact many industries, since it's already busy filling your home with stuff so why wouldn't it try to help you get your daily life done too?