Apple picks Austin for its next office

In sharp contrast to how Amazon has gone about choosing its next office, Apple quietly announced that it's going to open a 133-acre office in the city, with up to 15,000 new jobs in the area expected to be created as a result.

Apple didn't make cities publicly compete for the office, and chose Austin without demanding massive tax breaks or concessions in return (though it did receive a small $25 million incentive, regardless).

What's striking is that Apple will invest $1 billion to build the office, which is still less than one percent of its worldwide income. It's good to be the world's second-most valuable company, huh? 

Apple also announced an unrelated change, just after this news dropped, that it'll be discontinuing Apple Music's "connect" feature, which allowed artists to post updates to fans on the music service, effective immediately. It was heavily touted at launch, but like iTunes Ping, nobody really wanted one-way updates when Twitter, Facebook et al exist.

Facebook wants to be the next YouTube and HBO

Yesterday Facebook touted a bunch of big flashy numbers for a service called "Facebook Watch" which I thought never really went anywhere at all. The feature, which is essentially a video hub like YouTube embedded in the service, has a whopping 75 million people daily watching one minute of video. 

Yeah, a whole solid minute... as if autoplay wasn't responsible for that. But, apparently, the average time spent is more like 20 minutes, and people are coming back a bunch, with the numbers continuing to rise.

Now, it's rolling it out globally and Facebook has bigger plans: it wants you to pay for services like HBO through the platform, so you can watch it there too. This is a genius play, because it'll drag up time-spent metrics, which have been suffering of late, and it's irresistible for the studios.

I don't have a Facebook account, but I don't think I'd be wanting to watch content there either. HBO is a click away, so what's the benefit of doing it on someone else's platform on my side? Facebook gets tracking data out of it, but for the average user, it's not that hard to get to HBO's website.

Apparently the big sell to the studios is that the networks spend a ton on advertising on the service, so it's in their interest to strike a deal with Facebook, which could save significant cost if they were to keep the content within the walled garden. 

Video streaming feels like it's about to fragment into a million pieces, however. Disney plans to launch Disney-exclusive content on its own Disney+ service next year, and Apple bidding to create its own TV service as well. With Facebook in the mix along with basically every other media company, the dream of a single Netflix subscription seems to be long gone.

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