Apple may tap Google to fulfill its AI dreams

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By Alex Wilhelm

Monday, March 18, 2024

Welcome to TechCrunch AM! Today we have good news for the open-source AI community, a potential tie-up between Apple and Google, the future of Box and online content management, a startup turning algae into protein, and why gaming is coming to LinkedIn. Happy Monday!


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TechCrunch Top 3

  1. X mostly open-sources Grok: As promised, the source code for X’s AI model, Grok, was made available for free over the weekend, with a few caveats. TechCrunch notes a dearth of training code, and also a lack of the connections that Grok has to X itself. Still, this is another step forward for open-source AI development, which some consider critical for the speed at which we develop new, and better artificial intelligence models.
  2. India backtracks on AI regulation: After saying AI companies would need to get government approval before launching their AI models in the country, India's Ministry of Electronics and IT has backstepped. AI companies are now expected to "label under-tested and unreliable AI models to inform users of their potential fallibility or unreliability," TechCrunch reports. That's a far lighter approach to regulation, and likely to be good news for India's AI startups.
  3. Apple could tap Google's Gemini for iPhone AI: Despite some public flubs, Google's Gemini AI model could find purchase in Apple's kingdom, forging another link between the mega-cap tech giants. Bloomberg also notes that Apple has spoken to OpenAI, so don't consider this goose fully cooked. Instead, I wonder why Apple is considering licensing another company's AI models at all?
TechCrunch Top 3 image

Image Credits: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto / Getty Images

Morning must-reads

Zone raises $8.5M for blockchain-enabled payment infrastructure: Nigerian fintech company AppZone, known for its banking software, in 2022 split into two parts to focus separately on new blockchain tech and its traditional SaaS products. Now, its blockchain-focused arm, Zone, has landed fresh capital to build interoperable payment infrastructure. You could call this a more serious crypto round, though I think the fintech tag fits better than anything related to web3.

How GitHub is handling the AI era: Microsoft's code repository and developer tool GitHub is no stranger to legal tussles. After all, access to GitHub is not guaranteed around the world, something that it has to both advocate for and defend. But with the AI wave crashing onto tech's shores lately, how is GitHub handling the various thorny legal issues cropping up? We spoke with the company's chief legal officer, Shelley McKinley, to learn more.

Aaron Levie's Box fights for its third era: Box was once a startup darling, but ever since it went public, the ECM giant has had quite the tumultuous journey. But thanks to its endless perseverance, a willingness to shake up its product offering, and tactical acquisitions, Box is today clocking over $1 billion in annual recurring revenue. The company is now planning its third major iteration, which, of course, involves AI.

Starbucks bids adieu to its blockchain experiment: U.S.-based coffee giant Starbucks is dropping its NFT program. TechCrunch recently interviewed the team behind the effort, so we have excellent recent context. The decision is a blow to those hopeful that crypto would cross over to the mainstream, as Starbucks' validation of web3 was a big deal for the space. However, it seems that brew and blockchain aren't a match made in heaven.

Morning must-reads image

Image Credits: Zone

Don't miss these

  1. Gumroad pulls back on NSFW art, potentially forcing some of its creators to take their custom to a rival platform.
  2. Tribe Capital spin-out Termina wants to remake investing, and is making some big claims about the power of its data service.
  3. Poseidona, a Spanish startup, wants to yank irksome algae from the sea and turn it into consumable protein.

Before you go

LinkedIn is working to bring gaming to its platform: Because every online platform eventually grows to resemble every other platform, right? Best known for its job portal, recruiting tools, and people spouting endless advice, LinkedIn is now working on several gaming titles. Everyone wants to be the New York Times, it turns out. Remember when every online platform wanted to add "stories"? Gaming could be the next thing you cannot avoid online.

Before you go image

Image Credits: LinkedIn China via Weibo

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