Elon Musk threatens to charge for X, OpenAI launches DALL-E 3 and Cisco acquires Splunk

Welcome to Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s regular newsletter covering the past few days in tech. The TC crew — including this reporter — is coming off the high of Disrupt, which hopefully some of you, dear readers, were able to attend in person. Fret not if you didn’t — there’s always next year, and other TC events besides. And over the coming days, TC’s YouTube channel will have all the highlights for your on-demand viewing pleasure.

But the world didn’t stop turning for Disrupt. This week was as newsy as any other, what with Elon Musk threatening to charge all X (formerly Twitter) users a fee, OpenAI launching DALL-E 3 and Cisco acquiring Splunk in a deal worth $28 billion. Elsewhere, outgoing TC editor-in-chief Matthew Panzarino published his iPhone 15 review, Apple released iOS 17, Y Combinator got defensive and Microsoft researchers accidentally exposed terabytes of data. And that’s just scratching the surface.

If you haven’t already, sign up here to get WiR in your inbox every Saturday. Now, on to the news!

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A fee for X: Early this week, X owner Elon Musk floated the idea that the social network formerly known as Twitter may no longer be a free site. In a livestreamed conversation with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Musk said that the company was “moving to a small monthly payment” for the use of the X system, suggesting that such a change would be necessary to deal with the problem of increasing bots on the platform.

OpenAI unveils DALL-E 3: OpenAI unveiled DALL-E 3, an upgraded version of its text-to-image tool, which uses ChatGPT — OpenAI’s viral AI chatbot — to take some of the pain out of prompting. Via ChatGPT, subscribers to OpenAI’s premium ChatGPT plans, ChatGPT Plus and ChatGPT Enterprise, can type in a request for an image and hone it through conversations with the chatbot, receiving the results directly within the chat app.

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Cisco buys Splunk: Cisco has a reputation of building the company through acquisitions, but it’s tended to stay away from the really huge ones. That changed this week when the company announced it was acquiring Splunk for $28 billion. With Splunk, Ron writes, Cisco gets an observability platform that could fit nicely into its security business to help customers better understand security threats.

The iPhone 15 goes to Disneyland: For what’s likely his last iPhone review at TechCrunch, Matthew took the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Max to Disneyland. Literally. He had two days and some change to drag the phones through the parks capturing video, making purchases, using them as virtual tickets and vacation planners for reservations, coordinating a friends and family group, and more. The verdict? The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max prove that there’s much more room for Apple to grow, Matt writes — albeit inward instead of outward.

iOS grows up: Romain reviewed iOS 17, whose arrival coincided with the launch of the iPhone 15. He found it to be a “nice and polished” update, spotlighting the overhauled keyboard with AI-assisted autocorrect, a Messages app with vastly improved search, and support for offline maps in Apple Maps. But the highlight is StandBy mode, he says, which displays glanceable information when the iPhone’s charging on a MagSafe dock.

Y Combinator goes on the defensive: Storied accelerator Y Combinator has been on the defensive as of late. Mary Ann reports on the recent and unexpectedly aggressive reactions from YC leaders, including CEO Garry Tan, to criticism on social media — including to a piece written by TechCrunch’s own Rebecca Szkutak.

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Microsoft exposes data: Microsoft AI researchers accidentally exposed tens of terabytes of sensitive data, including private keys and passwords, while publishing a storage bucket of open source training data on GitHub. In research shared with TechCrunch, cloud security startup Wiz said it discovered a GitHub repository belonging to Microsoft’s AI research division as part of its ongoing work into the accidental exposure of cloud-hosted data.

Unity backtracks: Unity, the popular cross-platform game and media development engine, is on the defensive after receiving intense backlash over a controversial new fee structure. Devin reports that Unity has done a 180, nixing plans to introduce a widely decried “runtime fee” for current versions of Unity and raising the revenue ceiling above which users must upgrade to the paid version of Unity.

Audio

In need of a quality podcast? You’re in luck — TC’s got plenty.

This week on Equity, the crew hosted two — count ’em, two — podcasts on the ground at Disrupt. The first covered breaking IPO news around Instacart, as well as how Joby is all in on the Buckeye state, growth in the elder tech space and Writer bringing back nine-figure joy. The second was a retrospective, spanning topics from VC panel highlights to the latest from GM-backed self-driving car company Cruise.

Found hosted Bianca Cefalo, CEO and co-founder of Space DOTS, a space tech startup that makes testing materials in space cheaper and easier. Cefalo talked about how difficult it is to bootstrap a deep tech company, the challenges of testing materials in space and how she leads their growing team.

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And over on Chain Reaction, Chris Lehane, chief strategy officer at Haun Ventures, came on during Disrupt to talk about the world of crypto at Haun, which has two investment vehicles: a $500 million early-stage fund and a $1 billion acceleration fund.

TechCrunch+

TC+ subscribers get access to in-depth commentary, analysis and surveys — which you know if you’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, consider signing up. Here are a few highlights from this week:

Thoughts on the SEC’s crypto regulation: As the regulatory landscape continues to be shaky for crypto players, some regulators may be overreaching when it comes to creating frameworks for the industry, said Lehane at Disrupt.

Instacart’s IPO: Instacart shot up high this week after the American grocery delivery giant priced its IPO at the top of its recently raised range. As Alex writes, for startups dying of thirst in this desert devoid of capital, the company couldn’t have offered up a more satisfying glass of cool water.

Elder tech expands: Rebecca takes a deep dive into the “elder tech” industry, including startups like Los Angeles–based Bold, which created a digital at-home fitness platform for aging adults with personalized exercise routines to help with common ailments like arthritis and balance issues.

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