Being scratch and water resistant to 50 meters, Apple's latest Watch Series 6 is already popular with swimmers, hikers and other athletes. However, Apple is reportedly planning to make a more rugged version designed for extreme sports and weather, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.
Known internally as the "Explorer Edition," the rugged Watch would reportedly be offered as an additional model, possibly like the Watch SE or special edition models co-branded with Nike and Hermes. It would have the same features as a regular Watch but could be extra resistant to impact like Casio's G-Shock lineup, with a rubberized case in place of the current steel, aluminum and titanium shells.
A rugged Watch seems like a feasible and even sensible addition to the lineup, given the immense popularity of Apple's smartwatches. According to a recent IDC report, Apple owns 36 percent of the wearable market and generated $30 billion in wearables and home accessories — its most successful segment next to the iPhone.
Apple is also working on a swim tracking Watch feature, according to the report. The new rugged model could come as early as September, when Apple normally rolls out its latest Watch models. However, it could also be delayed or canceled altogether, as frequently happens with rumored Apple products.
The Wall Street Journal reported Microsoft and Discord have now entered exclusive talks that might lead to the communication platform being purchased for “$10 billion or more.”
After initial reports placed Microsoft in early talks to acquire Discord, it appears those talks have advanced to the point where a deal could be closed by the end of April.
Previous reports from GamesBeat and Bloomberg said Discord had no immediate plans to sell, but it appears talks with Microsoft have potentially shifted that decision. The Bloomberg report said the early conversations with the Discord team were being led by Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox. Bloomberg also reported Discord held discussions with Epic Games and Amazon.
Microsoft has made its willingness to try and acquire additional assets, specifically well-known online brands very clear over the last several months. With the successful purchase of ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda, and making an offer to purchase TikTok last year, the company is aggressively trying to increase its presence in consumer media.
Discord recorded over 140 million monthly active users late in 2020 and is a community hub for multiple different demographics, which has only continued to grow over time. WSJ notes that the platform not only grew its userbase but also nearly tripled its revenue to around $130 million last year.
Should a deal be reached, Microsoft would be able to integrate Discord into its gaming and communication ecosystem, which could potentially allow the players to use the app on Xbox consoles to communicate with PC players natively as an alternative to basic party chats. The company has also previously partnered with Discord to offer perks as part of the Xbox Game Pass subscription service, including three months of Discord Nitro to its subscribers.
No deal has been officially confirmed, but WSJ reports that something could get done within the next month.
Google and Microsoft are at knives drawn.
Driven in part by pressure from lawmakers and regulators over the extraordinary power the two technology companies wield over American life, the California-based search engine giant and Washington-based software firm are wrestling to throw each other under the bus.
Tensions between Microsoft Corp and Alphabet-owned Google have been simmering for a while but the rivalry has become unusually public in recent days as executives from both firms have been put on the defensive over competing crises.
Google faces bipartisan complaints - and journalistic ire - over its role in gutting the media industry’s advertisement revenue, the subject of a Congressional antitrust hearing on Friday.
Microsoft, meanwhile, faces scrutiny for its role in back-to-back cybersecurity breaches.
In the first, the same allegedly Russian hackers who compromised the Texas software firm SolarWinds Corp also took advantage of Microsoft’s cloud software to break into some of the company’s clients. The second, disclosed on March 2, saw allegedly Chinese hackers abuse previously unknown vulnerabilities to vacuum up emails from Microsoft customers around the world.
Addressing lawmakers on Friday at a House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee on news, Microsoft President Brad Smith was due to fire a shot at Google, telling representatives that media organizations are being forced to “use Google’s tools, operate on Google’s ad exchanges, contribute data to Google’s operations, and pay Google money,” according to excerpts of his testimony published by Axios.
Google fired back, saying that Microsoft’s “newfound interest in attacking us comes on the heels of the SolarWinds attack and at a moment when they’ve allowed tens of thousands of their customers — including government agencies in the U.S., NATO allies, banks, nonprofits, telecommunications providers, public utilities, police, fire and rescue units, hospitals and, presumably, news organizations — to be actively hacked via major Microsoft vulnerabilities.”