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Code/red: Aereo's Plan B? Bankruptcy.

Plus, the Uber scandal ad nauseam, Apple ribs Xiaomi and Britain’s first poo bus.


  • Airbnb’s first Airbnb Open kicks off in San Francisco.
  • Uber drivers in 10 cities will begin suffering through their passengers’ Spotify playlists.

Programming Note: I’m off next week and Code/red will not publish while I’m away. Enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday if you celebrate it.

Aereo Founder Mulling eBay Auction for Thousands of Tiny Antennas

Turns out Aereo, which claimed to have no Plan B, had one after all — or one that begins with that particular letter, anyway: Bankruptcy. This morning the company filed for Chapter 11 protection, conceding the inevitable after a June Supreme Court ruling that found its streams of broadcast TV channels violated the public performance clause of the Copyright Act. Seems Aereo’s other plan — convincing the FCC to classify it as a cable TV provider so it could pay to stream broadcast television content — didn’t have any legs. And now the company, which had raised nearly $100 million from venture capital firms and Barry Diller’s IAC/Interactive, has reached the end of the line. “[Our] challenges have proven too difficult to overcome,” Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia said in an open letter. “We believe that we have played a significant part in pushing the conversation forward, helping force positive change in the industry for consumers.” While the idea of the Aereo debacle effecting change in the TV Industrial Complex is certainly a nice parting sentiment, there’s really no evidence of it. Unless you take a very generous view of half-assed Web video services like this one from CBS.

Hear That, Elon “It Would Be Pretty Cool to Die on Mars” Musk?

NASA Chief Technologist David Miller on a manned mission to Mars: “If we don’t have the technology to come back, I don’t think we have the technology to go.”

Yeah, It’s Another Automated Ad Platform, but This One Is Magical

Apple’s iAd mobile advertising network is still furlongs away from its overly ambitious goal of capturing 50 percent of the mobile ad market. But some new programmatic ad buying alliances announced this morning could change that, opening up app advertising inventory to automated buyers.

Outlier Theory: It’s an Illegal Airbnb Hostel

So that New York City office building Amazon has been sniffing around for the past few months? The company just signed a 17-year lease on it. And while Amazon says publicly that it intends to use the site “primarily as corporate office space,” people familiar with the matter persist in telling the Wall Street Journal that its plans also include an outlet for same-day pickup of online orders and product returns and exchanges.

Leaked! Internal Uber Deck Reveals New Media Narrative.

Looks like Uber generates nearly as much revenue as it does controversy. Just check out the nearly year-old data in this dusty slide deck and try not to think too hard — or at all. And then, if you’re an investor, get on to the more pressing business of ignoring the congressional inquiry into the company’s data collection practices and get “super pumped” about the $1 billion-plus funding round the company is looking to pull off. Think Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is an unmoored megalomaniac now? Just wait until his company is valued at more than $30 billion.

Fab’s Black Friday Doorbuster Deal: $1 Billion Company for $15 Million

Fab CEO Jason Goldberg once said “e-commerce is a bitch.” Truer for some than others, but perhaps most true for Fab, which appears to finally be collapsing after a series of stumbling pivots. The social network turned flash-sale site turned furniture retailer is reportedly in talks to sell itself to PCH International, an electronics contract manufacturer. Price: Upward of $15 million in cash and stock, a nice return on investment for the addled VCs who pumped $150 million into the company at a $1 billion valuation just a year ago.

Apple to Xiaomi: Talk Is Cheap — Like Your Phones

Has Xiaomi’s swift assent to the upper reaches of the smartphone market given its leadership a case of hypoxia? Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell seems to think so. Remarking on Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun’s ambitions to become the top player in the market within five to 10 years, Sewell chided him for making a pledge that might be tough to keep. “It is easy to say,” Sewell said. “It is much more difficult to do.” A truism, of course. That said, Xiaomi — which is now the third-largest smartphone maker in the world — didn’t sell its first smartphone until summer of 2011. And its trajectory in the smartphone market does bear a passing resemblance to Apple’s own. Jun’s reply to Sewell’s bemused put-down: “In this magic land, we produced not only a company like Alibaba, but a small miracle like Xiaomi.”

Intel Chairman Not Embarrassed by Gaping Hole in His Pants, Either

Intel’s mobile business has been bleeding money for longer than anyone cares to remember. Next year probably won’t be any different, so brace yourselves, Intel investors — but stay proud, because there’s no shame in spending billions of dollars to stake a claim in the mobile market you didn’t have the foresight to prepare for. This according to Intel Chairman Andy Bryant, who wears the $1 billion loss posted by the company’s mobile business last month like Hooper’s Mary Ellen Moffat scar in “Jaws.” “We are aware we’re losing lots of money trying to gain presence in the mobility space,” Bryant said Thursday. “I’m not proud of the money we’re losing, but I’m not embarrassed by it. This is the price we pay for sitting on the sidelines for a number of years. We’re fighting our way back into a market. We will improve this. We will not accept a business to lose billions of dollars.”

The Fuel in the Bus Goes Poop, Poop, Poop …

Charlotte Morton, CEO of the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association, on Britain’s first poo bus: “The bus also clearly shows that human poo and our waste food are valuable resources.”

Off Topic

Making Real Food With Play-Doh Toys.

Thanks for reading. Send tips, comments, Off Topics and Flux Capacitor Wristwatches to, @johnpaczkowski. Subscribe to the Code/red newsletter here.

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