Plus, Fast-growing Netflix surprises even itself with 7.41 million new subscribers, meet Donald Trump’s “Secretary of Offense,” and the earliest drone footage of planet Earth.
Elon Musk is putting more than $100 million of his own money into his tunnel-digging startup, The Boring Company. Musk aims to build a network of underground tunnels that would help alleviate urban traffic, starting with Los Angeles — the first segment has already been completed. Meanwhile, one of Musk’s other companies, SpaceX, rescheduled yesterday’s planned launch of NASA’s new planet-hunting satellite. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite — also known as TESS — will launch tomorrow on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the company’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.[Johana Bhuiyan / Recode]
Netflix surprised even itself by adding 7.41 million subscribers during Q1; the company had told Wall Street it thought it would add 6.35 million in the quarter. Netflix now boasts 125 million subscribers worldwide, and its shares, which have already climbed 60 percent this year, were up another 6 percent in after-hours trading. All this is to say Netflix is growing, fast — its Q1 revenue grew 43 percent, the fastest rate the company has seen since it moved into streaming — and it thinks that is going to keep growing fast.[Peter Kafka / Recode]
The U.S. Department of Commerce has banned American companies from selling components to Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp for seven years. ZTE pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions by illegally shipping U.S. goods and technology to Iran. The ban could be devastating to ZTE, since American companies are estimated to provide 25 percent to 30 percent of the components used in ZTE’s equipment, which includes networking gear and smartphones.[Steve Stecklow and Karen Freifeld / Reuters]
Cryptocurrency platform Coinbase has made its first acquisition, buying Earn.com for about $100 million. The deal is mostly about one key “acqhire”: Former Andreessen Horowitz partner Balaji Srinivasan, who will be chief technology officer. Founded in 2013 as a hardware maker for bitcoin mining, Earn.com is a portal that allows people to make money by answering emails or completing other tasks.[Theodore Schleifer / Recode]
Meet the only man Donald Trump trusts with his Twitter account. Most Americans have never heard of “aggressively nondescript” White House social media director, Dan Scavino Jr. — “the Secretary of Offense,” this profile dubs him — whose job is to help @realDonaldTrump stay unpresidential. He’s one of the original members of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and is now the longest-tenured Trump employee in the White House. [Robert Draper / The New York Times]
Recode Presents …
Do you have questions about the future of commercial spaceflight? We’ll be talking about SpaceX, Blue Origin and more on this week’s Too Embarrassed to Ask podcast. Tweet us your questions with the hashtag #TooEmbarrassed or email them to TooEmbarrassed@recode.net.
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