Facebook Name Game; Netflix Beats the Street; Apple Delays AR Headset; Backblaze IPO With Little Venture Cash

Years ago, a number of the tobacco companies diversified into food and changed the corporate name when the bad publicity started stacking up. Facebook has been getting plenty of heat lately, and appears to be taking a page out of Big Tobacco’s book…a rebranding is looming…maybe by the end of this week. Theverge.com reports that Facebook will position the renaming as a change of focus…with the company claiming to be building ‘the metaverse.’ The name change is expected to be covered in detail by CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the annual Connect conference coming up on October 28th. At this point, the name is a closely held secret…known only to a few top folks besides Zuck. It’s worth noting that the social networking giant does have some 10,000 people building hardware like AR glasses…which both Facebook and Apple see eventually replacing smartphones. Of course, in 2015, Google rebranded to Alphabet, but does anyone really ever call them that? Nope. They’re still Google! 

Netflix beat expected earnings yesterday. According to cnbc.com, they brought home $3.19 in earnings per share instead of the $2.56 expectation. Revenues hit expectations, at $7.48 billion. Even with more people going back to work, Netflix paid subscribers world wide grew to 4.4 million, while the forecasts are for 3.84 million. The latest greatest show, ’Squid Game,’ grabbed 142 million households watching in its first 4 weeks streaming! 

Apple has delayed its AR headset…now, to the end of 2022. This according to appleinsider.com, citing the often reliable Ming-Chi Kuo. Apparently, Cupertino is still working on design details, and wants to have the device ecosystem built up before rolling them out. Kuo noted that “The AR/MR HMD requires much more industrial design requirements than smartphones because the comfort of wearing them involves so many design details,” Kuo writes. “Therefore, we believe Apple continues to test the best industrial design solutions so far.” Apple intends to have a more multi-purpose headset, not one tied to gaming and entertainment exclusively. The initial headset is still expected to rely heavily on the iPhone for processing functions.

Backblaze has taken very little venture money over the years…in fact, less than $3 million since they started in 2007. Techcrunch.com reports they have done an IPO now, issuing $10 million in convertible notes. What the devil is Backblaze? Glad you asked. They are most simply a cloud backup and storage company. For companies and developers, it’s useful to be able to store your info, but for most reading this, its the computer backup product that makes them. For around $70 a year, you can back up your stuff effortlessly in the background…and should things go south, you can restore from the cloud, or get your data on a USB drive, a hard drive, or burned to a DVD. NOTE: I have used this service and actually knew the spouse of one of the renegades from Apple who started it. I’ve only desperately needed a file I accidentally deleted a couple times, but the service made it about as easy as Apple’s Time Machine to go back and grab them. A pretty remarkable company to have made it so far, and grown to a $60 million business after only borrowing $3 million in venture money, and NEVER losing money. 



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