EVEN the most celebrated firms have their hiccups. On July 16th Netflix, an online-streaming giant, presented disappointing news to investors: it had added just 5.2m new subscribers in the second quarter of 2018, well below its projected number of 6.2m. Shares plunged by 14%; they have since recovered some ground.This most recent bout of volatility may say more about the firm’s soothsaying abilities than the strength of its underlying business. Although Netflix’s subscriber growth fell short of its own projections, it was still in line with that of past quarters (see chart). In percentage terms, Netflix registered a bigger miss against projected subscriber growth in the second quarter of 2016, when its shares fell by 13%. The firm has also had much bigger forecasting misses on the upside.When asked this week to explain the forecasting error, Netflix’s chief executive, Reed Hastings, responded that the company never worked out what happened in 2016 either, “other than...Continue reading
OPINION: Every few months we hear a little bit more about Google’s not-so-secret Fuchsia operating system. The project is open source, and first became publicly available on GitHub in August 2016. Google didn’t bother announcing Fuchsia, but it has talked about the project a few times. After all, it is being developed in the open, although […]
Fuchsia, a scratch-made operating system that some Google employees started building in 2016, is picking up steam within the company. Bloomberg reports that more than 100 engineers are now working on Fuchsia, and CEO Sundar Pichai has shown internal support for the project. If all goes to plan, the operating system could launch on connected devices such as smart speakers within a few years, and could replace Android within five years.
Why bother? As I wrote in 2016, Fuchsia is an attempt to create a truly modern operating system without the baggage of Linux, on which Android is based. On small-scale connected devices (like thermostats, connected cameras, and so on), it would require less code and would therefore be less prone to security vulnerabilities. On phones and computers, it could allow for faster updates and may avoid intellectual property disputes, like the one that’s dragged on for years between Google and Oracle over Android.
Still, Bloomberg cautions that Google’s leadership hasn’t committed to a roadmap for Fuchsia, and its engineers have reportedly clashed with Google’s ad team over privacy features, which might allow users to curb the data collection that Google’s business depends on. One source described Fuchsia as merely a way to hold the attention of senior engineers, who might otherwise defect to other companies for new technical challenges. And even if Google does bet on Fuchsia, replacing the existing Android ecosystem will be a slog.