🌎 Zoom's sales struggle

Plus: The battle of the prequel.
🌎 Zoom's sales struggle

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Zoom reported below-expectations results. The communication software failed to sign up as many enterprise customers as it had planned, and cut its annual sales forecast.

A group of Apple employees launched a petition against returning to the office. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, announced a new policy requiring three days of office-based work starting September 5.

Ben & Jerry’s lost a bid to block sales in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. A judge ruled parent company Unilever’s decision to license an Israeli firm would not damage the Vermont-based ice cream makers.

Elon Musk subpoenaed Jack Dorsey. Twitter’s former CEO is required to disclose data on the platform’s daily users and fake accounts, among other details.

Ford is shedding 3,000 jobs. The cuts will mostly affect workers in North America and India, and come as the carmaker focuses its sights on electric vehicles.

Argentina’s vice-president risks 12 years in jail in a corruption trial. The country’s public prosecutor also sought a lifelong ban from public office for Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Usain Bolt applied to trademark his signature celebration move. The retired Jamaican sprinter needs a logo for his business empire.

What to watch for

Ethereum, the blockchain that enabled the rise of nonfungible tokens (NFTs), is about to launch one of the most closely watched experiments in the crypto world.

On or around Sept. 15, the process of validating crypto transactions will shift from what’s known as proof of work, or mining, to proof of stake. “The merge,” as it’s being called, will instantly cut 99% of ethereum’s carbon emissions, according to the Ethereum Foundation.

While some see it as a long-awaited upgrade for ethereum, switching to a more sustainable and secure consensus mechanism has implications beyond the ethereum universe. A big test of the merge will be whether proof of stake can work at ethereum’s massive scale. It’ll also hurt those who have invested thousands in crypto mining machinery. Some people may choose to just keep mining anyway, though it’ll probably be less profitable.

The battle of the prequel

HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon debuted to millions of subscribers over the weekend, and the streaming service even saw some outages as demand swelled. The show aired just 11 days before the release of Amazon’s Lord of the Rings prequel, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Even before Dragon dropped, it was drawing more enthusiasm. Google Trends data on the two series over the last 30 days shows that Dragon garnered far more interest from potential viewers than the tale based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s sword and sorcery source material. Searches for the two shows were nearly identical until July, when the first trailers for both shows were released.

A bar chart showing Google Trends search interest in May and August for House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power. Search interest was much higher for House of the Dragon in July and August.
Graphic: Quartz

It’s clear Amazon is still finding its original content studio legs, and could learn a thing or two from the way HBO kept its budget in check and promoted the series (the High Valyrian language on Duolingo was a nice touch).

Is coupon clipping a lost art?

For decades, kitchen drawers across the US held clipped printed discounts that were brought to the store to get a few cents off shopping cart items when budgets were tight.

That practice is fading, and not even the pandemic, or the record high grocery prices that came with it, have rekindled Americans’ interest in it. But it’s not an entirely lost art: the penny-pinching technique is just taking on a new form.

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Surprising discoveries

Brazil is putting its first emperor’s heart at the center of its independence celebration. Dom Pedro I’s embalmed organ will receive military honors to mark the 200-year anniversary of Brazil’s breakup with Portugal.

A 1970s Apple-1 computer prototype sold for nearly $700,000 at an auction. The auctioneers described it as “the holy grail of Steve Jobs and Apple memorabilia.”

Tales of “Welsh Atlantis” may be rooted in historical fact after all. A medieval map depicts two islands off the Ceredigion coast that have since disappeared.

A bull took an Israeli bank branch by storm. At least it wasn’t a china shop.

French supermarket chain Carrefour will freeze prices on 100 products for 100 days. The decision follows a similar move by competitor E.Leclerc to help consumers tackle inflation.

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