Hey, folks, welcome to Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s regular newsletter covering the past week in happenings around the tech sphere. Winter’s finally arrived, judging by the NYC weather outside my window — and a winter of a sort might be descending on the tech industry, too, as it unfortunately turns out.
This edition of WiR covers tech layoffs coming back with a vengeance, internet access in Gaza collapsing, everything announced during Apple’s Halloween event and CCleaner’s customer database getting hacked. Also on the roster is WeWork filing for bankruptcy, Anthropic raising $2 billion from Google, Costco selling surveillance equipment and X’s (i.e., Twitter’s) valuation plummeting by 56%.
It’s a lot to get through, so let’s jump to it. But first, a reminder to sign up here to receive WiR in your inbox every Saturday if you haven’t already done so.
Layoffs are back: For his column this week, Haje writes that, despite signs of economic recovery and predictions of avoiding a recession, tech companies continue to lay off employees. Experts suggest that while the macroeconomics are improving, the recovery process remains slow — leading many companies to brace for what they anticipate will be a long period of sluggishness.
Gaza internet collapses: As the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, infrastructure is crumbling in Gaza. Last Friday, internet monitoring firm NetBlocks wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that the Palestinian internet service and telecommunications providers NetStream and Paltel had collapsed, resulting in a “total or near-total” internet blackout in the region.
Apple event recap: In lighter news, Apple announced a slew of new products during its Halloween event this week, including an updated MacBook Pro, iMac and the M3, its latest in-house chip family. Among other items of note, Apple did away with the Touch Bar on the new 14-inch MacBook Pro and upgraded the iMac’s screen with a 4.5K retina display and a six-speaker system supporting both Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio.
CCleaner hacked: The maker of the popular desktop optimization app CCleaner has confirmed that hackers stole a trove of personal information, including names and contact information, about its paying customers following a data breach in May. In an email sent to customers, Gen Digital, the multinational software company that owns CCleaner, said that the hackers exploited a vulnerability in the widely used MOVEit file transfer tool.
WeWork bankruptcy imminent: WeWork is on the verge of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New Jersey, according to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal. If WeWork does indeed file, it shouldn’t come as a shock to close followers of the flexible workspace provider, Mary Ann writes — WeWork warned in August in its second-quarter earnings that “substantial doubt exists about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”
Anthropic raises billions more: Google has reportedly invested $2 billion in Anthropic, the AI startup founded by ex-OpenAI execs, according to The Wall Street Journal. The deal comes shortly after Amazon committed to as much as $4 billion in Anthropic. As Devin reports, this is just the latest in a developing proxy war between rival tech giants with a limited number of AI champions to back.
Costco keeps selling spy cameras: Two U.S. lawmakers this week asked retail giant Costco why it continues to sell surveillance equipment made by Lorex — despite warnings of cybersecurity risks and links to human rights abuses. The bipartisan letter dated October 31, sent by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ, 4th) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), said Costco’s continued sale of Lorex products is “all the more puzzling” given several of its retail rivals have long discontinued selling the technology.
X’s valuation nosedives: X, the company formerly known as Twitter, is valuing itself at $19 billion, per internal documents obtained by Fortune. When Elon Musk bought the company one year ago this week, he paid about $44 billion — or $54.20 per share — for the microblogging platform. Amanda notes that the internal valuation marks about a 56% decrease in X’s value over the last 12 months, which needless to say doesn’t look too good.
There’s few better companions as the cold weather encroaches than a podcast — preferably one accompanied by a hot beverage. To round out your playlist, consider TechCrunch’s stable of quality programming.
Equity this week featured Marisa Warren, the co-founder and managing partner at Aliavia Ventures, which invests in startups based in the U.S. and Australia that have at least one female founder and helps their portfolio companies tackle new markets.
On Found, the crew spoke with Abhi Ramesh, the CEO and founder of Misfits Market, a grocery startup that sells surplus and unwanted produce directly to consumers who don’t mind funny-looking foods. They talked about how Ramesh started the company in his apartment, handling every aspect from personally buying the unwanted produce from the farms to storing the food to packaging and shipping — all while running the website and trying to fundraise.
And Chain Reaction recapped the end of the trial for Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of FTX, who’s facing seven charges related to fraud and money laundering.
TC+ subscribers get access to in-depth commentary, analysis and surveys — which you know if you’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, consider signing up. Here are a few highlights from this week:
“Unicorns” come full circle: Alex writes about how, roughly ten years ago, Cowboy Ventures’ Aileen Lee penned a column for TechCrunch that brought the term “unicorn” into the world. Lee’s column helped the world categorize startups in a new way — but it was also a sign of the times to come.
Making wind power cheaper: Tim reports on AirLoom, a startup that aims to halve the cost of wind power with a novel turbine design that’s vertically oriented as opposed to horizontal.
A sports accelerator: Ron covers Comcast’s relatively new sports-startup-focused accelerator, the Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech Accelerator, which finds startups that might bring innovation to Comcast’s sports league partners while giving the young firms access to Comcast’s media resources — and the sports leagues themselves.