Streaming services are about to get messy

You might already be planning to subscribe to Disney's upcoming streaming service, Disney+, but how many services are you really willing to pay for each money in order to watch TV? AT&T is betting at least one more.

A new service called "HBO Max" from the newly merged AT&T WarnerMedia giant is yet another play at grabbing streaming users from Netflix: it'll exclusively host classics like Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Pretty Little Liars, Friends and a bunch more starting in 2020.

That's bad news for us, and for Netflix, which is losing access to that content next year. Along with the news that a future NBC streaming service will exclusively stream The Office next year, it seems clear that the golden age of streaming is about to come to a close.

Think about it for a second: you're probably already paying a $10-15 per month subscription for Netflix. Would you be willing to add another $10 for Hulu, $5.99 for Disney+, $15 for HBO Max, $10 for Prime Video, $10 for NBC's streaming thing and $5.99 for Apple TV+? I'd hazard a guess that no, you won't. 

But, that's why these networks are holding content hostage: nostalgia bait is a great way to extract money from people who might not otherwise try a service, and lure subscribers away from Netflix. I'd argue, however, that as the industry fragments into a mess of monthly subscriptions, piracy is going to come back in a big way.

The real, bitter irony here is that piracy was beginning to slow in this space for the first time, but we'll revisit this in six months and see if there's a surge in torrenting interest again. 

These studios are underestimating one factor here: Netflix's originals, which are some of the best content on TV right now, from Stranger Things to Sex Education, and it already has the audience. Take the nostalgia away, sure, but Netflix has built an engine of its own, so it's likely to be just fine.

Perhaps one of these genius companies will take all of these messy, separate subscriptions, put them all together for a single fee, in one place, and call it a cable bundle, so we can come full circle. 


Zoom will fix shady server flaw after all

After initially blowing off privacy and security concerns about the secretly-installed web server on people's computers, Zoom has come full circle and it'll remove it entirely.

What's that I hear? It's the sound of thousands of enterprises cancelling their accounts... which is largely why Zoom is likely to have made an about-face change here, after outright ignoring the zero-day initially.

This is a lesson in company public relations 101: ignoring a problem does not make it go away, but it can make your most valuable clients concerned about how seriously you take security or privacy. 


Tab Dump

Facebook has a new team for "experimental apps"
Remember Facebook's weird and wonderful app, Paper, which pushed the boundaries of app design? It wants to revive that spirit, so it has a whole new team. Lots of fanfare about nothing specific yet, but I'm curious to see what they ship.

Apple updated the MacBook Air and Pro, but killed a bunch of machines as well
There are new models of the Mac, yet again, but Apple quietly buried news that the 12" 'MacBook' is dead, along with the non-touchbar model of the MacBook Pro. I adored the 12" MacBook, with its single USB-C port, despite its constraints... but there's an argument to be made that the new Air supersedes the need for it. 

The death of a final MacBook Pro model without a touchbar, however, makes me sad, especially given Apple still hasn't done much with it at all. It was a fine idea, sure, but I found it just too easy to accidentally press, and far too buggy....but, with the culling of these machines the line-up is much more simple again, and the decks are cleared for a potential ARM-based laptop at the low-end.  

If you'll pay more, Uber now offers quiet rides

YouTube is coming back to Amazon's Fire TV, and Amazon's apps are coming back to Chromecast

AT&T is finally dealing with robocalls in the next few months, for free

The Raspberry Pi 4 has a fatal flaw: poorly implemented USB-C power