Amazon Music surpasses 55 million users, “nearly all” of which are paying subscribers – Blog – 10 minute

The big picture: Apple and Spotify’s stranglehold on the streaming music market isn’t as tight as perceived as a third competitor is right on their heels. Amazon has been able to make meaningful headway in the crowded streaming space thanks in part to its pricing structure.
Steve Boom, head of Amazon Music, told the Financial Times on Wednesday that the e-commerce giant’s music streaming service now has more than 55 million users. The figure encompasses six different price tiers, including an ad-supported free tier, although Amazon insists that “nearly all” of its users are paying subscribers.
For comparison, Apple said last summer that its Apple Music service had 60 million paying subscribers. As of last September, Spotify had 113 million paying subscribers and 248 million total listeners.

For $10 a month, you get access to roughly the same catalog of 50 million tracks that Apple and Spotify offer but if you’re a Prime subscriber, that rate drops to $8 per month. And if you listen exclusively on an Amazon Echo speaker, it goes down to just $4 a month.
Amazon is no stranger to selling music. The company was among the first to do so on the Internet with CDs in the 90s and even offered downloadable MP3s yet was surprisingly late to the streaming game. Amazon Music debuted in the latter half of 2016 whereas Apple Music landed in mid-2015 and Spotify made the jump over the pond in July 2011.
Masthead credit: Amazon Music by Nicole Lienemann. Headphones by welcomia.

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Tesla’s stock surpasses $500, total value now exceeds Ford and GM’s combined – Blog – 10 minute

In context: Despite a few setbacks over the years, Tesla is now doing quite well for itself. In 2019, it managed to ship an impressive (by Tesla standards) 367,500 vehicles, and it’s rapidly opening up new “gigafactories” throughout the world. If that wasn’t enough for the electric carmaker, though, there’s more good news for it to boast about now.
Yesterday, Tesla’s stock surpassed $500 per share, which has pushed the EV maker’s total valuation to roughly $94.6 billion as of writing. That’s an astounding figure for such a comparatively small car company and one that Tesla is probably pretty pleased with. Notably, it also makes Tesla America’s most valuable car company (for now).
The $94.6 billion number is made even more impressive when it’s put into the appropriate context. As other outlets have noted, Tesla’s total valuation is higher than not just that of other carmakers, but also the combined value of some such companies — Ford and GM, for example. The two automotive giants are, as of now, worth $36.64 billion and $50 billion, respectively.

Of course, as great as this news will be for Tesla’s executives and stockholders, there’s no guarantee this rapid stock price growth will be sustainable in the long term. Tesla has seen quite a bit of success and stability over the past few months in particular, but the company’s past is still troubled, especially where production is concerned. We’ll have to wait and see whether those troubles will rear their heads again in the future.
For now, though, Tesla (and anyone who’s purchased its stock) gets to enjoy the fruit of its labor. For our part, we look forward to seeing how Tesla’s stock performs over the next few months. Will it rise further and take the company beyond the $100 million ceiling or will it fall back down to earth? Only time will tell.

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Cash Value of Android Zero-Day Exploits Surpasses iOS


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Apple has long positioned itself as the more secure option to open platforms like Windows and Android, but that might no longer be the case. As previously unreported “zero-day” iOS exploits pile up, security researchers are seeing the cash value of such research fall. Zerodium, the largest purchaser of such flaws, has updated its bug bounty payments. Android exploits now command a maximum of $2.5 million, but iOS tops out at $2 million. 

Last month, we reported on a series of iOS exploits uncovered by Google’s Project Zero. Google isn’t in the business of selling exploits, so it researched the scheme and reported it to Apple in a responsible manner. Google detected websites using multiple attack chains to steal data from almost all versions of iOS, and they were operating for at least two years.

Apple rolled out an update to iDevices that blocked those exploits, but you have to wonder how many more unreported attacks are floating around out there. The perpetrators of this hack weren’t even treating the exploits like a valuable commodity. They were hacking iPhone users indiscriminately when they could have been using targeted attacks against high-value targets. They might never have been caught going that route. 

Apple talks up iPhone security, but Zerodium says it’s falling behind.

Zerodium buys exploits for big money so it can exclusively report the research and mitigation measures to its corporate and government clients. Zerodium founder and CEO Chaouki Bekrar says that the company still gets ample submissions for iOS exploits, mostly connected to Safari and iMessage. There are so many that the company has started turning down some offers from researchers. On the other hand, functional zero-click or one-click exploits for Android are increasingly rare, especially for versions 8.0 and later. 

Given the state of the major operating systems, Zerodium decided it makes sense to assign a higher value to Android exploits. Zerodium doesn’t pay $2.5 million for just any Android hack, though. Researchers have to submit basic details of the hack first, and then wait on an offer from Zerodium. The $2.5 million top offer only applies to serious flaws in Android 8, 9, or 10. Apple’s lower $2 million maximum bounty is still nothing to sneeze at — serious exploits for desktop systems top out at $1 million. Since mobile platforms were built more recently, they have more security features integrated at a low level. That makes them harder to hack than desktop operating systems.

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