Daily Crunch: Citizen Lab claims Apple’s ‘Lockdown Mode’ helped block spyware attack by hacker group NSO

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Happy Tuesday Crunch, our crunchiest of friends. So happy to see you again.

Yesterday, Haje wondered if he was an AI, so clearly he needs a holiday. Today, shall we bask in the glory of tech news together?

—  Christine and Haje 

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • You got blocked: Sometimes technology does what it’s supposed to. In Apple’s case, researchers looking into spyware vulnerabilities said its “Lockdown Mode” was able to thwart the advances of the infamous mercenary hacking provider NSO Group. Lorenzo has more. Also, Apple opens its first retail store in India, but there are…challenges, Manish writes.
  • Don’t forget your boarding pass: Alaska Airlines is doing away with check-in kiosks in favor of a more modern look to its gate area. Fliers will need to print boarding passes at home or check in using their smartphones, Frederic reports.
  • Truth seeker: Elon Musk wants to develop his own chatbot called TruthGPT, which he describes as “a maximum truth-seeking AI,” reports Ivan.

Startups and VC

Mansa, a free ad-supported streaming service and content aggregator that offers a curated selection of Black cultural content, launched out of stealth today, Lauren reports. Mansa offers a wide variety of content, from on-demand titles and digital linear (FAST) channels to short-form videos and user-generated content.

And we have another loosely assembled melange of tasty morsels for you:


SaaS retention benchmarks: How does your business stack up?

SaaS companies are like leaky rowboats. If retention rates aren’t strong enough to overcome customer churn, they’ll take on water until they sink to the bottom.

Sid Jain, a senior analyst with ChartMogul, researched 2,100 companies and found that “more than half of SaaS businesses had lower retention in 2022 when compared to 2021.”

In this detailed breakdown, he compares net revenue retention rates by ARR range and identifies benchmarks for companies that have yet to reach product-market fit.

“What is considered a good net retention rate differs by the stage of your business,” advises Jain. “When benchmarking, always keep the stage of your business in mind.”

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Three more from the TC+ team:

Big Tech Inc.

You gotta love Darrell’s headline for his article today, “Goodbye to the fat middle,” which at first glance might pay homage to ridding oneself of their fluffy abdominal fat, but really Darrell opines about Adobe’s new AI-powered features, and what that means for the human workforce, namely, that “what’s most in danger of future extinction within these bullet points provided by Adobe is effectively the fat middle of the bell curve of multimedia editing work.”

Some television platforms and shows are quieter than others, but Prime Video customers who need a little extra sound to hear dialogue just got boosted. Sarah reports that if you can’t watch television without subtitles, Prime Video has a new feature that makes dialogue easier to hear.

And we have five more for you:


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