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Amazon, Nike eye Peloton acquisition as pandemic gains are wiped out
While not necessarily down and out just yet, it’s safe to say that Peloton is on a downturn. After enjoying increased demand for its exercise machines and, as a result of that demand, a soaring stock price earlier in the pandemic, 2023 was a rough year for the company and 2023 hasn’t gotten off to a much better start. Now, it sounds like Peloton’s struggles may have attracted potential buyers, with some big names reportedly interested in acquiring the chúng tôi Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is one possible buyer, citing unnamed people familiar with Amazon’s plans. WSJ says that there are other “potential suitors” as well but doesn’t name who they are. However, the Financial Times reports that another interested party is none other than Nike, which considered buying Peloton in 2023 before it went public but ultimately never pulled the trigger on such a deal.
Those are two big names, but any potential deal is still a long way off, as both reports say that any buyout bids are still in their preliminary stages. The Financial Times reports that neither Amazon nor Nike has spoken to Peloton about a possible buyout, so there’s no guarantee that either company will even make a formal offer at this stage. We could see even more suitors come out of the woodwork, though, so talks of a Peloton acquisition don’t necessarily begin and end with Amazon and Nike.
It’s easy to see the appeal, though. Amazon has been trying to break into the fitness space with its subscription-based line of Halo fitness trackers, so it’s already trying something similar to what Peloton offers (just on a less expensive scale). According to these reports, one possible outcome of an Amazon buyout could see Amazon bundling a Peloton subscription in with Amazon Prime. While that makes sense, we’d hate to see what the addition of Peloton exercises would do to the ever-growing price tag of Amazon Prime.
The big question is not whether interested buyers will make an offer, but rather whether or not Peloton would be open to the acquisition. Peloton CEO John Foley will have to accept the deal, as WSJ says that “he and other insiders” have 80% of Peloton’s voting power.
The FT also reports that one shareholder, Blackwells Capital LLC, has been attempting to get the board to fire Foley and arrange a buyout deal with another company, but with ownership that only totals around 5%, Blackwells apparently has a lot of convincing to do if it wants to see such a plan come to fruition.
Still, with enough internal pressure to sell, Foley and his allies on the board may accept a deal. For now, there’s little to no movement actually happening – just the whispers of potential purchases. With Peloton’s stock price significantly diminished from its highs during the pandemic, and the specter of possible layoffs looming according to CNBC, this is could be a good time for potential buyers to strike, but it seems that depends on whether or not Foley wants to play ball.
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Companies have changed the way they do business since the pandemic. In a new report, Google forecasts which of those changes are here to stay.
Citing search data to back up some of its predictions, Google says these pivots will become permanent:
Using real-time tracking insights to rapidly respond to consumers.
Holding virtual events.
Working from home.
Offering more convenient ways for consumers to buy online.
Google acknowledges all sectors had to rethink their approach to marketing during the pandemic. Business is likely to resume a degree of normalcy when the pandemic is over, but these consumer-friendly shifts won’t be forgotten.Rapid Response to Changes in Consumer Habits
Consumer habits are evolving at a frantic pace throughout the pandemic, which is forcing businesses to get better at tracking real-time insights and responding to the data.
Habit Change: Searching Before Shopping
Consumers are increasingly turning to Google Search to find which businesses have items in stock before venturing out to a store.
Google points to data from the early months of the pandemic. Searches for “who has” and “in stock” were up over 8,000% year over year in the U.S.
Habit Change: Fewer Trips For Groceries
Consumers are limiting their trips out for food, as Google cites a growing search interest in queries like “can you freeze” in the U.K. and “home delivery” in France.
Habit Change: Saving More, Spending Less
As the pandemic continues to take a toll on personal income, many consumers are saving more and spending less on nonessential items.
Google cites data from a Kantar study showing 71% of people in G-7 countries say their personal income had or would be impacted by the pandemic.
The impact to personal income is highest in Italy (85%), the U.S. (75%), and Canada (75%).
A BCG report finds, of the people who expect to change their spending habits, 29% say they’ll save more and 27% say they’ll spend less on nonessential items.
Habit Change: Consumers Will Find Alternatives
Consumer behavior throughout the pandemic shows they’re keen to find alternatives when something they depend on gets taken away.
When schools were shut down, Google says searches for “online learning” went up 400% year over year.
When gyms were forced to close, searches for fitness apps jumped 200% year over year.
When the world became too isolating, people sought to cultivate connections online. Searches that included the phrase “with friends online” went up 300% year over year.
Searches for “watch party” (for example, “youtube watch party” or “private watch party”) grew 400% year over year.
Takeaway From Google
“To better respond to rapid shifts in consumer behavior, brands created real-time insights tracking, elevated insights within their organizations, and established new processes to quickly act on their discoveries. This new reality will ensure brands are positioned to lead with insights.”Virtual Events Will Continue
The pandemic forced all in-person events to cancel, which lead to marketing teams pivoting toward virtual events.
Live events will eventually return, but Google predicts they’ll look different.
Now that consumers have experienced the convenience of attending events from their living room, live events will need to deliver an outstanding experience to draw them back in.Working From Home Will Continue
Google predicts the changes businesses were forced to make to the traditional in-office work model are here to say.
Search and shopping data suggests the pivot to working from home started before the pandemic. People have been exhibiting a growing desire to spend more time doing what brings them joy and less time doing things like commuting.
For businesses, Google says this means continuing to find ways to meet people’s basic needs:
“The in-office work model has likely changed forever, shifting consumer habits and workplace cultures. For businesses, this means finding ways to meet people’s most basic needs and taking steps to foster a more resilient workforce.”Online Shopping is Now The Norm
Ecommerce took off during the pandemic, with some people turning to online shopping for the first time in their lives out of necessity.
Googles notes there was an increase in shopping activity for items people wouldn’t ordinarily buy online.
“There was a meaningful increase in the number of people willing to buy groceries, clothing, and even cars online. In the first six months of 2023, for example, nearly 10% of cars were sold online, compared with just 1% of cars sold online during all of 2023.”
Brick-and-mortar businesses had to pivot toward offering options such as local delivery and curbside pickup.
These new and more convenient shopping habits likely won’t go away after the pandemic.
Source: Think with Google
Here we will take a look at the 10 best stocks for chatbots as ChatGPT gains market share
The introduction of ChatGPT appears to have sparked a wave of innovation in the field of AI. All of a sudden, every tech business is using buzzwords like conversational AI, generative AI, LLM (linguistic learning model), and artificial intelligence. Nearly every mega-cap tech firm has disclosed in recent weeks how it intends to use AI to revolutionize its business and stocks for chatbots. Snapchat, Meta, Baidu, Google, as well as Microsoft, which started this AI craze in 2023, are among the companies that have disclosed their AI chatbot intentions. In this article, we’ll look at the 10 best stocks for chatbots as ChatGPT gains market share.
Microsoft Corporation, which has ambitious aspirations to enter the AI market and disrupt several sectors, is undoubtedly one of the most prominent AI and chatbot stocks to purchase right now. When it comes to AI, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been tenacious. Bing search will now be powered by ChatGPT-based language learning models from Microsoft. Updates are being released to make it simple for Windows 11 users to use the taskbar to access the Bing chatbot. Azure Operator Nexus is a new cloud platform powered by AI that Microsoft is introducing for telecom firms.
AI is nothing new to Amazon. Amazon employs AI across all areas of its business, including AWS, smart home systems, and warehouses. One of the most intelligent AI-based assistants is Amazon’s Alexa, which is utilized by millions of people worldwide. As a massive player in the cloud computing and e-commerce industries, Amazon might use its clout to enter the AI wars and compete against Microsoft and Google.
Alarmed by Microsoft’s alliance with OpenAI, Alphabet Inc. Google was known to have top-notch AI capabilities for years, but for a variety of reasons, it was unable to take the lead in developing and releasing a usable AI product. After ChatGPT, Google moved quickly to release Bard, their own AI chatbot, which experienced some initial difficulties and resulted in significant losses for the firm and public humiliation. Yet, because of its many years of business expertise and DeepMind technology, Alphabet’s AI is quite mature and developed. BofA has said that because of its DeepMind Sparrow LLM and most recent Bard chatbot, Google expects to prosper in the AI industry.
Salesforce, a CRM firm, is renowned for its Einstein AI technology, which is largely utilized by businesses to enhance their customer experience. Salesforce Einstein Bot is fundamentally a chatbot that uses natural language processing (NLP) and natural language understanding (NLU).
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has experience with chatbots and AI. Alibaba has already demonstrated its mettle in the chatbot arena. Customers using its platforms are assisted in their shopping and product searches by an AI-based chatbot, known as AliMe, which was introduced in 2023. Alibaba has saved millions, if not billions, of dollars in expenditures because of its chatbot.
Baidu, a major player in Chinese internet search, stated in February that it will introduce its own AI chatbot, joining the competition. The chatbot will go by the name of Ernie and will be built on ChatGPT-style language models. According to The Register, Baidu stated that Ernie’s capacity to “integrate substantial knowledge with huge data, resulting in superior comprehension and generating skills,” is what sets him apart from other chatbots.
LivePerson, an enterprise that was founded in 1995, has long been a leader in conversational AI technology. Major businesses and brands utilize LivePerson’s AI conversational technology to interact with their consumers. LivePerson has disclosed intentions to improve its conversational Cloud platform. In the upcoming weeks, OpenAI’s generative capabilities will be added to LivePerson’s Knowledge AI. Also, LivePerson will work to connect its Conversation Assist technology with generative AI.
With the news that it would be releasing a chatbot for its Snapchat app dubbed My AI, Snapchat has leaped into the AI space. The ChatGPT platform will power the My AI chatbot service, which will initially only be available to Snapchat Plus members. Snapchat users will be able to communicate with the bot through the service and get content suggestions. According to reports, Snap taught the My AI service to follow certain guidelines to ensure that the chatbot doesn’t promote hatred or produce pornographic content. In the future, Snap intends to make the service available to all users of Snapchat.
NIKE Teases Separate 2023 Re-Release of 2011 Back to the Future Shoe, Power Laces intact [Video]
If there’s one oddity that’s been taking the tech world by storm over these past 72 hours or so, it’s been the 2011 NIKE MAG shoe, straight out of the classic science fiction comedy film Back to the Future II. In this movie it’s Michael J. Fox in his most recognizable role of his career, Marty McFly, sporting the “NIKE MAG” sneakers in all their futuristic glory. We’ve got full details now on a 2011 release of the shoe, including the awesome fact that proceeds will be going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation in the end – but today a whole new bombshell may well have nearly slipped right under our noses: a “lost scene” from the Back to the Future movies that portends another release of this legendary sneaker set in the future: September 8th, 2023 to be exact, where they’ll include the most excellent “Power Laces” feature missing from the 2011 limited edition drop!
In this ad spot you’ll be glad to know that a whole slew of your best Back to the Future / NIKE / NBA personalities make their faces known including Christopher Lloyd (Dr. Emmett Brown in BTTF), basketball player Kevin Durant, Donald Fullilove (Mayor Goldie Wilson from BTTF) and NIKE design genius Tinker Hatfield behind the sales counter. Also the shoe salesman is Bill Hader (one of everyone’s favorite hero comedians currently starring on Saturday Night Live). It’s in this video that we expected to be seeing some extra awesome promotion of the 2011 NIKE MAG and not a whole heck of a lot else, but what we’ve gotten here is NIKE’s full understanding that no matter what they do to release the “greatest shoe never made”, if it isn’t exactly the same as it is in BTTF, it’s not perfect!
What we’re talking about here, of course, is Power Laces! Look at this video, will you? The entire essence of the NIKE MAG is in the power laces, McFly says so!
2023 NIKE MAG teaser — Full Cut!
The video here shows Durant at the NIKE shoe shop being helped by Hader who introduces the 2011 MAG, showing off the lights and the lightness of the sneakers (as opposed to “Heavy” as Durant says, this harkening back to Marty McFly’s famous catchphrase). The Doc blasts into the room, eyeballs ablaze with classic Christopher Lloyd character acting intensity, demanding to see the MAG sneakers — but wait, where are the power laces? Behind the sales counter, Fullilove and Hatfield stand – Hatfield letting the Doc know that he’s traveled back to the wrong future date – he’d have to go forward a bit to 2023 to get the Power Laces version of the NIKE MAG.
Of course the Doc needs those MAGs and he needs them to be equipped with Power Laces, so what do you know? He hops into that Flux Capacitor-equipped time machine capable DeLorean car of his and tears off into the future, but not before giving us a glimpse of the fact that he’s traveling exactly 4 years into the future to September 8th, 2011. Set the coordinates!
UPDATE: essentially CONFIRMED for a future Power Lace release in 2023, MTV’s interview with Back to the Future writer Bob Gale spells it out in nearly perfect plain English:
Gale: Nike wanted to do this in tiers. This is the beginning.MTV: So if this year’s shoes don’t have the auto laces, future years’ might?Gale: Yes! It’s not 2023 yet. It’s only 2011!MTV: I can’t wait that long! I can’t be patient.Gale: No one ever can.
Once again the facts on the 2011 NIKE MAG are as follows:
The original NIKE MAG was worn by the Back to the Future character Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, in the year 2023. It came alive, lit up and formed to Marty’s foot. The 2011 NIKE MAG shoe was designed to be a precise replica of the original from Back to the Future II. The aesthetic is an exact match, down to the contours of the upper, the glowing LED panel and the electroluminescent NIKE in the strap. The 2011 NIKE MAG illuminates with the pinch of the “ear” of the high top, glowing for five hours per charge.
The 2011 NIKE MAG – It’s About Time.
Check out the rest of our coverage of the 2011 NIKE MAG in two gigantic posts: NIKE MAG Official Details Released in Full [Updated with Max Detail] and NIKE teases legendary Marty McFly Sneakers with epic 1985 invite
Dubbed the Philips Hue Lightguide bulbs, the new collection boasts a modern look unlike that of any other smart bulb on the market in 2023.
Available in ellipse, large globe and triangular form factors, the latest bulbs look to be as much a fashion statement and centrepiece in your room as they are a source of light. The inner tubes found within the bulbs are the primary source of light, though Philips claims the premium reflective glass helps them shine even brighter than the maximum 500 lumens on offer.
Like with most Philips Hue smart bulbs, you can customise the colour of the light via a mobile app, with options ranging from cool to warm white and a full RGB spectrum, and they are dimmable all the way down to 0.2% of their peak brightness.
To further enhance the fashion-focused design on offer, Philips has also revealed matching pendant light fittings that help hide the stem of the bulb for a cleaner look.
The Philips Hue Lightguide bulbs will be available in Q4 2023 in the UK and will range between £74.99 – £89.99 depending on the variant you go for, while the pendant cords will set you back £49.99. US pricing and availability are yet to be confirmed.
That’s not all that Philips announced at IFA though; the company also took the opportunity to reveal the Philips Hue White Ambience Filament Candle. While the company already produces a range of smart decorative filament bulbs, the latest in the collection provides the ability to shift the light from cool to warm in a small form factor, and it’ll be compatible with existing E12/E14 fittings.
The new filament candle bulbs are set to be released on 13 September in the UK, at £39.99 for a single bulb or a two-pack for £59.99. As with the Lightguide bulbs, US pricing and availability are yet to be confirmed.
US Hue fans can also look forward to the Slim Down Light, a three-quarter-inch-thick slimline downward-firing light designed to be fitted into rooms with low ceilings. Don’t assume the thin form factor means a dim output though, with Philips claiming a maximum of 1200 lumens. Like other smart bulbs, it can change from warm to cool white as well as a range of other colours to help suit your mood.
Gamers haven’t been neglected either, with the reveal of the new Philips Hue Play Gradient Light Strip for PC.
Designed to be mounted on the rear of your monitor, the RGB strip is compatible with the Hue Sync desktop app and can mimic the colours on the screen for a more immersive experience, and it’ll play nice with existing Hue accessories too. It’ll be available in three options – for 24in to 27in monitors, for 32in to 34in monitors, and a special set for three-display setups – at release in the UK on 13 September.
The 24-27in strip will cost £169.99, going up to £189.99 for the 32-34in strip and £249.99 for the three-screen pack.
The company also announced a new partnership with Corsair that not only allows you to sync up Hue lights with Corsair peripherals, but also the ability to control your entire light setup via the company’s iCue app. Using Corsair’s integration, it can also perform unique tricks like syncing the lighting to the temperature of your CPU or flashing whenever a specific key is pressed.
Existing Philips Hue users can also look forward to a few new features and functions coming to the Philips Hue app in the coming months.
The big new feature is the introduction of Mimic Presence, a new automation that’ll automatically turn your lights on and off throughout the day and evening based on how you use the lights, making it seem like somebody’s home and hopefully keeping it safe when you’re away. It’ll be available within the Automation tab in the Hue app, and it’s set to roll out later in September.
Philips Hue Play Sync Box owners will also be happy to know that the company is planning to merge the dedicated Hue Sync app with the main Philips Hue app, allowing you to control everything in a single app for the first time. The merger is currently scheduled for release sometime in Q4 2023.
Finally, Philips revealed a partnership with Samsung SmartThings that allows you to sync the Hue lights in your home to whatever music streaming services you have installed on your smartphone. The catch? It’s only compatible with Samsung smartphones, unlike the Spotify-specific integration available across all devices.
If you can’t wait for the new Philips Hue bulbs to be released, take a look at our selection of the best smart bulbs for your smart bulb inspiration.
The Greater Sac-winged bat, known for clinging to the sides of buildings and feasting on insects, couldn’t seem more different from a human. However, it turns out we have more in common with these three-inch-long flying mammals than meets the eye.
According to a study published today in Science, Greater Sac-winged pups babble just like human babies. Not only do the black-furred infants burble like us, but they possibly do so for the same reason: to learn how to talk.
In fact, these tiny critters spend about 70 percent of their infancy prattling off nonsense as a way to practice syllable formation, says lead author Ahana Aurora Fernandez, a postdoc at the Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Research in Berlin. By the time their three-month infancy was up, the Central American natives learned an average of 12 to 20 unique syllables—half or most of the 25 syllables adults use to form their squeaks and squeals.Babysitting babbling bats
To determine if the pups’ warbling was similar to those of human tots, Fernandez spent every day for four months observing the newborns from sunrise to sunset. She watched 20 itty-bitty bats grow up across two colonies: one in Panama the other in Costa Rica.
Fernandez and her team collected audio recordings of the squealers in addition to their observations. The researchers then analyzed the baby bat songs to see if they met eight universal characteristics of human babbles including early onset, repetition, rhythmicity, universality, and occurrence in non-social settings.
[Related: Female vampire bats regurgitate bloody dinners for their starving girlfriends.]
“We came up with this list of eight features after digging into the literature of human infant language acquisition,” says Fernandez. “We read a lot of papers and books, and also talked to many leading researchers in the field to really understand what is going on when human babies go ‘bababa’ or ‘dadada’.”
Turns out baby bats’ burbles met all of Fernandez’s characteristics of human toddler jabbering. The pups’ babbling bouts were repetitive with 77 percent of the syllables uttered were succeeded by the same syllable type. According to Fernandez, bat baby phrases also took on a rhythmic beat just like the endearing ‘papas’ and ‘mamas’ of human infants.
Just like human infants, the chatter of the growing bats did not require a social context. They yammered whether they were hanging alone, cuddling with their mom, or nursing. In fact, they spent 30 percent of their days testing out their vocal cords. The average prattle bout lasted about 7 minutes, with the longest being 43. In comparison, adult bats only speak for a few seconds to a few minutes at a time.
While no individual infant managed to accrue all 25 syllables used by adults, each of the 20 pups learned the 10 syllables from adult males’ territorial and mating songs. This shows that bats don’t babble for no reason—they’re actually learning a language.
But unlike a human baby’s cries or coos, a pup’s warbling rarely elicited a caretaker’s response. When a human toddler utters ‘mama,’ their mother probably will react. However, during the course of the study, it seemed no amount of yakking induced a similar response in adult bats.Why we should tune into bat chit chat
Very few mammals are known to chatter throughout their childhood. In fact, only humans and songbirds have been observed warming up their vocal cords during early development, says Fernandez. Therefore, this babbling bat discovery means scientists can now compare how two very different species learn to communicate.
[Related: Vampire bats socially distance when they feel sick.]
“I was always interested in vocal communication because we as humans are so communicative, right? I mean human language defines human nature. We use language daily to share ideas,” says Fernandez. “So, I really wanted to understand the communicating systems of other animals because I think by learning how they communicate and perceive the world, we can learn about ourselves.”
Fernandez hopes that future studies will conduct neurological work to watch the bats’ brains during toddler twaddle and look for similarities to brain development in human children. In the meantime, she hopes we can all appreciate bats a bit more.
“It was just amazing to have this experience to work with wild animals,” says Fernandez. “When I’m sitting in the middle of the jungle, I feel privileged that [these bats] allow me as a human to just observe their natural behavior. That they’re so accepting of me. It’s amazing.”
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