Spotify goes public today

The moment of truth has arrived for Spotify, which will finally execute its direct listing on the market today. The wider industry waits with bated breath to see if such an avenue will work for everyone else, as going public has become much more difficult in recent years.

As Alex Wilhelm writes on Crunchbase, however, there are a number of outstanding questions about the listing that are still unanswered. The price could be anywhere between $37.50 and $132, with even the registration itself shedding little light:

As you can see in the chart below, in 2017 Spotify shares were bought and sold privately for anywhere between $125.00 and $37.50, which is a pretty wide range. But in the last two months the value has become a little more defined, with shares trading anywhere between $132.50 and $90 in January and February 2018.

That's basically ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ territory, but Spotify is betting on its strong brand and history more than anything else to drive this listing forward.

What's important to know here is that even if you don't care about Wall Street, or public listings, this event matters. Instead of the technology industry relying on Wall Street for going public, startups might finally have their own power and not need the traditional underwriters to hit the market. 

Essentially, this is an end-run around bankers because Spotify doesn't need to create new shares to finance the company, and investors have been able to sell shares openly before it event went public. If it works, Spotify defines a new model — even if it's moderately successful:

Companies now know that there is room for restructuring in the IPO, and that’s already a setback for the incumbent, the banking industry.

Stay tuned tomorrow for an update on this, and where we end up. 

Apple reportedly plans to drop Intel in 2020

Surprise surprise, Apple wants to drop Intel entirely in the Mac by 2020. This is both a shock for Intel, and entirely predictable: Apple has been flirting with ditching Intel for years (as is Microsoft) and now it looks like the writing is on the wall.

Bloomberg reports (warning: autoplay video) that the company has kicked off a project to drop Intel processors entirely:

The initiative, code named Kalamata, is still in the early developmental stages, but comes as part of a larger strategy to make all of Apple’s devices -- including Macs, iPhones, and iPads -- work more similarly and seamlessly together, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The project, which executives have approved, will likely result in a multi-step transition.

In my mind this was never a question about whether it would happen, but when. The industry has been eager to find alternatives to Intel with longer battery life and better pricing for years with little success — but ARM is now entirely feasible even for desktop workloads and Apple can build the silicon itself.

The big question is why Apple wants to do this, which seems to come down to one thing: simplicity. Apple's iOS runs on ARM and is a derivative of macOS in the first place — but bringing the two together on a single architecture would make it easier to ship as well as reducing the need for several dedicated teams.

In 2016, reports emerged that Apple had essentially wound down many of the teams responsible for macOS and merged them into iOS instead which fits into this picture. Now, it's reported that the next major version of macOS will run iOS apps natively on the desktop — a great place to start when you're planning a major architecture shift. 

For Apple, the shift makes sense: by building its own chips, Apple is no longer held hostage to Intel's development cycle (or the company dragging its feet) and it could release on its own schedule when innovations are ready — potentially leapfrogging the competition.

If this is to happen, it's likely we'll hear about it at WWDC in 2019 — a year before the reported shift — because history feels like it's repeating itself.

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