Big Business: 

  • Amazon and Google are feuding more openly than usual, with Google dropping YouTube streaming support for Amazon's products, leaving the e-commerce and web services giant with a significant hole in their offerings. As tech giants absorb smaller stars and form a new constellation of competitive monopoly powers, people are left with a choice between spotty service or costly but marginally more valuable redundancy, the same bad equation from older telecom and cable companies that tech firms were supposed to disrupt on behalf of customers. 
  • IKEA has acquired TaskRabbit, the sometimes controversial gig-economy labor on demand app company. While the article's headline claims it's some reflection of America's DIY spirit dying (really? do we consider IKEA furniture assembly as reflective of scrappy DIY ethic?) it's really just a classic business case study of finding an interesting and potentially undervalued organization that can add to vertical integration efforts. If many of TaskRabbit's customers were using the app for furniture assembly, why would IKEA not want to collect those extra dollars with some software engineering talent and troves of data to boot? 


Material Culture : 


More next week.