Spotify Bows Podcast Subscriptions; Lift Sells Self-Driving Division to Toyota; Apple’s M1 Chip Successor in Production; Microsoft on Cusp of $2 Trillion Market Cap

Spotify has rolled out podcast subscriptions. Theverge.com reports that Podcasters won’t have to pay Spotify anything for the first two years. Creators will, however, have to cover the cost of transaction fees through Spotify’s payment partner Stripe. In 2023, Spotify will begin taking a 5 percent cut of total subscription revenue. That’s significantly less than Apple will charge; its new subscription service will take 15 to 30 percent of revenue. Podcasters have three monthly pricing options to choose from: $2.99, $4.99, or $7.99. Within Spotify, paid content will be indicated by a padlock icon where you would normally find a play button. You can’t subscribe in-app, but will have to head to the program’s dedicated Anchor landing page. This is kludgy, but what it does is avoids Spotify having to pay Apple for subscriptions old under the App Store terms.

Lyft has sold off its self-driving division to Toyota’s Woven Planet for a tidy $550 million. According to techcrunch.com, around 300 people from the Lyft Level 5 division will go to the Toyota subsidiary. As of early 2020, there were 400 people around the world that worked in Level 5. Those staying will continue to work out of the office in Palo Alto, CA. Besides cash, Lyft expects to save some $100 million in operating expenses. Lyft is shooting to become profitable by the third quarter of this year. 

The successor generation to Apple’s M1 system on a chip is now in production. Asia.kikkei.com says the chip is presumed to be dubbed the M2, and could be shipping by July…and in Apple MacBooks in the second half of the year. The chipset is made by TSMC, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. one of Apple’s prime suppliers. Apple is now the world’s #4 PC maker, behind Lenovo, HP, and Dell. Mac shipments were up 111% last year, mainly due to working from home because of the pandemic.

Microsoft is knocking on the door of the very exclusive $2 trillion dollar valuation club for companies. Right now, geekwire.com reports that MS is at $1.97 trillion market capitalization. Companies that already exceed the $2 trillion benchmark are Apple and Saudi Aramco. A lot of Microsoft’s gain is being powered by the Azure cloud division. Microsoft shares have increased by 20% this year. 



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