ChatGPT goes pro, layoffs at Alphabet, and Dungeons & Dragons flirts with restrictive new licensing • TechCrunch

Welcome to Week in Review, TechCrunch’s regular column of news from the past week. If you would like to receive it every Saturday, please sign up here. I hope you can sit comfortably with a warm drink on this winter Saturday afternoon. Are you expecting Greg’s byline? As we mentioned in our Jan. 7 issue, he’s still enjoying his parental leave. All is well.

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ChatGPT goes pro: OpenAI hinted this week that it would soon start charging for ChatGPT, a viral AI-powered chatbot that can create essays, emails, poems, and even computer code. The “pro” version of the tool, called ChatGPT Professional, uses ChatGPT for an unlimited number of messages with no dead windows or throttling. “At least twice the normal daily limit.” Prices remain up in the air.

Microsoft 365 moves to Basic: Microsoft will introduce the low-priced tier of Microsoft 365, a family of productivity software, and a cloud-based document editing service starting January 30, the company announced Wednesday. Called Microsoft 365 Basic, the $1.99/month or $19.99/year plan initially includes 100 GB of storage, Outlook email, and access to support experts for Microsoft 365 and Windows 11.

Job cuts hit news aggregators: SmartNews, a Tokyo-based news aggregation website and app, laid off 40% of its employees in the US and China, or about 120 people. Sara When Kirsten report. In addition to the complexities resulting from Apple’s implementation of App Tracking Transparency (ATT), Apple has been hit by the same macroeconomic factors that have led to numerous tech industry layoffs in recent months.

Robotics also: Brian Alphabet reports this week that it has joined a list of tech giants laying off workers amid ongoing economic woes. The company’s robotics software company, Intrinsic, laid off his 40 employees. The move comes less than a year after Intrinsic acquired both Vicarious and Open Robotics.

Licensed Fun: Dungeons & Dragons content creators are fighting to save lives. Amanda I am writing this with a calm deep dive. Wizards of the Coast (WotC), the publisher of the Hasbro-owned game, has renewed the game’s license for the first time in over 22 years, releasing a new licensing system that requires his creators to earn over $750,000 in D&D content. intend to do something. He pays the company a 25% royalty on every dollar over that threshold. The good news is that WotC has postponed the rollout of its licensing scheme after widespread backlash.

Color, but E ink: One of the coolest gizmos at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show is an E Ink color display. needle writing. It can spit out 50,000 colors at 300 DPI. This significantly exceeds the maximum 4,000 colors of the previous generation model. E Ink says it aims to use them to build enough magazine reading experiences to win even the most demanding publishers.

Days key: my colleague (and boss!) Frederick reviewed the Keychron Q10 this week. This is a smaller Alice style board similar to Keychron’s other keyboards. He approved gasket mounts and silicone gaskets that provide a bit of flexibility while reducing ping and other noise. As for Alice’s layout (the keys aren’t straight and the left and right halves are slightly angled), he said it was easy to get used to. It maps to what you want. Read our full review to learn more.

Welcome back, welcome back: In your profile, Mary Ann Welcome Homes, a proptech startup launched by the co-founder of cloud service provider DigitalOcean. The New York City-based company, which recently raised $29 million, is learning how to design and build new homes online, along with other venture-backed companies (Atmos, Homebound, etc.) looking to address the housing shortage. offers to people.

A deepfake voice can be heard: Microsoft’s new VALL-E AI model can replicate speech using as little as three seconds of audio from the target speaker. But as my colleague Devin writes, it’s not necessarily the cause of the warning. Speech replication has been the subject of intense research for years, and the results have empowered many startups such as WellSaid, Papercup, and Respeecher. VALL-E is just the latest example of its potential and danger.

Medium Joins Mastodon: Medium, an online publishing startup originally created by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, is powered by the open source social platform Mastodon. Sara Medium reports that it created its own instance of, supporting authors and their publications with trusted infrastructure, moderation, short domain names, making it easy for authors to share usernames, and more doing.

Audio summary

As usual, TechCrunch has another award-winning line-up of audio content this week. Might be so deviate a little. In the startup-focused Found, TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Editor Neesha Tambe confronts her Sheeba Dawood, co-founder of clean energy technology provider Minerva Lithium, as a woman of color trying to innovate in the mineral manufacturing industry We talked about our struggles and what to do next. for the company. TC’s exclusive crypto show, Chain Reaction, interviewed her with Polygon Labs, one of the biggest market shakers in the crypto space built on top of the Ethereum ecosystem and a layer-2 blockchain. Featured. Meanwhile, on Equity, Natasha, Mary Ann and Becca talked about her deals from Inflow, Deel and Fidelity. Layoffs and lawsuits at Carta. Microsoft’s investments in ChatGPT and his OpenAI are rumored. And SBF sub stack debut.


If you have not yet subscribed to TC+, we will periodically remind you to subscribe to TC+. Here, TC conducts in-depth and independent research into trends, industries, and emerging technologies. Here are some of the most popular content from TC+ this week.

Crypto Roller Coaster: While some crypto-focused venture capitalists are bullish on 2023, others see it as a dangerous time. Jacqueline report. According to one source cited in this article, internal sentiment among VCs is a “wait and see” game. Competition in the market may increase as investors issue fewer checks and become more selective.

Meet ChatGPT, VC: It turns out that some investors are (cautiously) incorporating ChatGPT into their workflows. ChatGPT is specifically a text-based support tool, and TC found that automation could extend to rejection letters, market maps, and even parts of due diligence. All of this for survival in a changing venture environment. Natasha M., ChristineWhen Me Please have more

Pivot when ready: Pivoting isn’t necessarily bad news. Brian Casey writes about how his deep tech turned his startup into a software-as-a-service company. In his words, “Moving from hardware to his SaaS was the right move for an electric motor design startup, but the process wasn’t exactly linear.”

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