Zoom Adds Ads; Sega & Microsoft Partner Up; Tesla Piloting Supercharger Access to Non-Teslas; Generac Buying Ecobee

Zoom Basic free account users will begin to see ads, starting this week in ‘certain countries. Zdne.com reports the ads will be shown on the browser page, and users will see them run after a meeting ends. Zoom says it is adding the advertising program in an effort to cover the cost of free Basic accounts. The company noted that as of ‘right now,’ they don’t plan to “use meeting, webinar, or messaging content (specifically, audio, video, files, and messages) for any marketing, promotions, or third-party advertising purposes.” I have already been getting an ad of sorts at the end of Zoom calls that invites me to use the non-free version or explore their other products, so this is really an extension of that, only with paid ads that can bring in further cash to the meeting platform.

Sega and Microsoft have announced a strategic alliance to develop what they are calling a ‘Super Game’ initiative on Azure. According to geekwire.com, Sega will build new games and overhaul its development process via Microsoft’s Azure platform. Sega will be able to customize to account for different styles of work and infrastructural changes by using Redmond’s Azure cloud services. Both companies see 5G as a supercharging force for cloud gaming in many parts of the world. Sega did not offer a statement as to whether its new Azure-powered titles would involve exclusivity to the Xbox platform or how much money, if any, changed hands as a result of the deal.

Tesla is piloting letting non-Teslas use its Supercharger network, starting out in the Netherlands. Engadget.com says 10 locations are involved in the test. To use them, you will have to have the Tesla app on your phone (v. 4.2.3 or newer). The pilot is only open to non-Tesla cars who’s owners live in the Netherlands, but any Tesla owner from any country can still use the stations when they are passing through. Asked about the future, Tesla said in a statement “Future sites will only be opened to Non-Tesla vehicles if there is available capacity.” 

Generac….the generator maker you have probably seen plenty of ads for…has announced it will buy Ecobee, the smart thermostat maker. Techcrunch.com reports that Generac will drop some $200 million in cash and $450 million in stock. If certain targets are made before the deal closes, they will toss in another $120 million in stock. Wisconsin based Generac has been around some 60 years, while Ecobee came on the scene in Toronto in 2007. Ecobee has expanded beyond thermostats in the smart home arena. Previously, it had been thought Amazon would snap up Ecobee, but Amazon developed their own smart thermostat with help from Honeywell. 


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