Daily Crunch: Big tech responds to antitrust report

The major tech platforms push back against the House antitrust report, Google Assistant gets a “guest” mode and we interview a freshly minted Nobel laureate. This is your Daily Crunch for October 7, 2020.

The big story: Big tech responds to antitrust report

The House Judiciary Committee released its tech antitrust report late yesterday, concluding that the big tech platforms should face additional regulation. Recommendations include creating new separations to prevent dominant platforms from operating in adjacent lines of business, new requirements for interoperability and data portability and increased restrictions on mergers and acquisitions.

For now, these are just recommendations — and they weren’t endorsed by the committee’s Republican minority. But they have prompted forceful responses from four of the companies targeted by the report: Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

Amazon, for example, dismissed the committee’s views as “fringe notions” and “regulatory spitballing,” while Apple said it “vehemently” disagrees with the report’s conclusions.

The tech giants

Google Assistant gets an incognito-like guest mode — With Guest mode on, Google Assistant won’t offer personalized responses and your interactions won’t be saved to your account.

Slack introduces new features to ease messaging between business partners — One new feature: Slack Connect DMs, allowing users inside an organization to collaborate with anyone outside their company simply by sending an invite.

Instagram’s Threads app now lets you message everyone, like its Direct app once did — These changes are rolling out shortly after a major update to Instagram’s messaging platform.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Envisics nabs $50M for its in-car holographic display tech at a $250M+ valuation — The startup brings together computer vision, machine learning, big data analytics and navigation to build hardware that integrates into vehicles to project holographic, head-up displays.

Shogun raises $35M to help brands take on Amazon with faster and better sites of their own — Shogun lets companies build sites that sit on top of e-commerce back-ends like Shopify, Big Commerce or Magento.

DoorDash introduces a new corporate product, DoorDash for Work — DoorDash says it conducted a survey of 1,000 working Americans last month and found that 90% of them said they miss at least one food-related benefit from the office.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

Transportation VCs suggest frayed US-China ties will impact mobility markets — During TechCrunch’s annual Mobility event, we interviewed three investors who spend much of their time focused on shifts in the transportation industry.

Unqork’s $207M Series C underscores growing enterprise demand for no-code apps — The no-code/low-code world could be enjoying an even sharper tailwind than anticipated.

Media roundup: Google to cut big checks for news publishers, Substack continues to draw top creators, more — I do my best to highlight the latest trends, platform shifts and noteworthy funding rounds.

(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our subscription membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Nobel laureate Jennifer Doudna shares her perspective on COVID-19 and CRISPR — CRISPR co-discoverer Jennifer Doudna was named a Nobel laureate in Chemistry today, so it seemed like the perfect time to post video of our interview at Disrupt.

Tech-publisher coalition backs new push for browser-level privacy controls — A coalition of privacy-forward tech companies, publishers and advocacy groups has taken the wraps off of an initiative to develop a new standard that gives internet users a simple way to put digital guardrails around their data.

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