The Scarlett Letters 📧

It's the End of the World as We Didn't Start the Fire

Yes, I published not one, not two, but three separate items about the Scarlett Johansson/OpenAI situation this week. And John Gruber and myself actually talked about the situation for another hour or so on an episode of his podcast, The Talk Show, which should drop soon.

It's not just my love of the movie Her – though apparently such love holds no candles compared to that of some OpenAI employees! – it's that this situation is in many ways the perfect encapsulation of so many things going on right now. AI. Creatives. Creatives fears about AI. Everyones' fears about AI. An Avenger. A litigious Avenger! A founder's self-own with three letters. That founder's war in this space with his former co-founder, who just happens to be Elon Musk. Who just so happens to own the network on which his co-founder who he is now at war with, self-owned himself. The VCs taking sides. Many VCs taking both sides. Some VCs taking all sides. Microsoft all-in. But also hedging. Vocal computing. The future of computing. AI. AI. AI. AI. AI. AI. AI.

I'm not yet sure if the above should be set to "We Didn't Start the Fire" or "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"

‘Sky’ Gets Called to the Sky
OpenAI pulls their ‘Samantha’-like voice – under threat from Samantha herself…
Who Is She in ‘Her’?
The curious case of Scarlett Johansson’s voice…
‘Sky’ Speaks!
Documents and timelines make OpenAI’s case -- for now
Enjoying a Paillette Pilsner
Sent from Paris, France


Ivan F. Boesky, Rogue Trader in 1980s Wall Street Scandal, Dies at 87 – One of the key inspirations for the Gordon Gekko character in Wall Street has an obit that's quite the read. Michael Milken. Rudy Giuliani. Slept two to three hours a night. Wore the same thing every day. Always stood while he worked. Barely ate because lunch is for wimps. Spent 18 months in prison for insider trading – only after rolling over on Milken. “I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself...” begat you-know-what. 📉

Nvidia’s Revenue Soars 262% on Record AI chip Demand – Just absolutely stunning earnings, which have driven Nvidia to be a $2.5T company. Depending on how WWDC goes, they may very well overtake Apple soon. At the same time, such great heights feel untenable. It's the bet to make on AI at the moment. But that will hit a wall at some point as all things do. What's wild is that Nvidia already fell quite a bit after the crypto bubble popped. 📈

OpenAI, WSJ Owner News Corp Strike Content Deal – While the headline number is large – $250M over 5 years – I'm even more intrigued by the notion that newly-published content wouldn't be available on ChatGPT immediately, but only after some sort of "cooling off" period. A windowing for written content! This is obviously quite divisive, but I do think it's an interesting way to potentially better showcase content from the archives. Also, "In addition to providing content, News Corp will share journalistic expertise with OpenAI, the companies said." Whatever that means.

🧿 The Inner Ring 🧿

The following are the columns sent to paid Spyglass subscribers this week – sign up here for full access and future emails...

Without Real Time Information, Threads is Pointless
Unleash the feeds

Meta's Threads is ready to take on/over Twitter, except for one key thing...

The Overwhelming Chaos of AI is Underwhelming
The AI madness needs to settle to reach its potential -- and it will

The technology underlying AI is still moving far too fast for great products


"The PC is essentially going to become a new sensor for AI."

-- Yusuf Mehdi, executive vice president and consumer chief marketing officer at Microsoft, talking to Tom Warren about the new Copilot+ PC announcements.

Some Thoughts On...

⚖️ The judge seems skeptical of Apple's shiny new 27% cut

🍪 Microsoft's teaming up with Qualcomm might signal the end of x86

📺 Apple has dropped another drip of content for Vision Pro

🐭 Disney too!

🏈 Also, Disney subleasing some college football to Warner Bros


  • Following the success of X-Men '97, it looks like we're going to be getting a new X-Men movie, at last. The first (official one) under Disney that will eventually set the stage for an tie-up with The Avengers, of course. (So far, just a screenwriter is attached – alongside Kevin Feige, of course.)
  • Speaking of X-Men, the longtime producer of those movies (for Fox), Simon Kinberg, is now working on rebooting Star Trek (for Paramount). But sort of an origins story, as they're still trying to make a fourth film with the last cast?
  • Keeping the movie train rolling, and tying things all together, not only is a new Jurassic Park/World in the works, but Scarlett Johansson is set to star? And the screenwriter on the original, David Koepp, wrote the script.
  • One more thing: Disney/Marvel is also working on a new Vision series for Paul Bettany. It's notable because it's under the new strategy to actually employ showrunners to come up with plans/ideas rather than just putting a title on a board and working backwards from it. If it's not in the native Vision Pro format, we've all failed.
  • Mark Zuckerberg has created a new Meta council to hang out with his friends and talk about AI.
  • Microsoft Teams gains Slack-like custom emojis. I'm sort of shocked this wasn't the first thing they copied, instead doing it almost a decade later.
  • Humane appears to be looking for a buyer – of the company, not the $700 AI Pin. But they'll take that too. Ultimately, hopefully it ends up a positive thing to get some of the hard learnings out of this one so early in the cycle.
  • Comcast is pricing their Peacock + Apple TV+ + Netflix bundle at $15/month. Which is nice – if you're already paying Comcast a lot more money a month to get access to this bundle. StreamSaver!
  • A24 strikes a deal to publish their best screenplays for sale in bookstores. As someone whose apartment used to just be stacks of screenplays, I approve.
  • A tablet with a screen that's meant to look like e-ink but isn't, so has a response rate that flies. The Daylight looks nice. I still wish Amazon hadn't all-but completely abandoned their efforts in actual e-ink. Even Kobo now has color.
  • Pour some chowder out for Red Lobster, which is entering bankruptcy – I had no idea that it started as an oyster lounge and cocktail bar in the 1960s.

More Missives...

Think: Thin
A slimmer $1,500 ‘iPhone Ultra’

Next year's iPhone looks to change, including in price...

Ovation Inflation
What is going on at Cannes and *who* is counting?

Things are getting out of... hand

Microsoft’s Copilots with Qualcomm usher in Copilot+ PCs and take on Apple

Microsoft's event around "AI PCs"

The Problem is Safari for iPad
Professional users hunt for a Mac-like Safari…

Might the macOS version of Safari save iPadOS?

Recall a Time Machine...
Microsoft’s AI strategy should push Apple…

Apple should know what it needs to do now...

One More Thing...

Speaking of "We Didn't Start the Fire", this is sort of wild: