Economics/Class Relations

Real-estate reckoning

November 5, 2023 • 4 min read
with Matt Turner
Hello! Welcome back to Insider Today’s Sunday edition, a roundup of the week’s top stories. I’m Matt Turner, the editor in chief of business at Insider.
On the agenda today:
But first: Amazon and Microsoft are now frenemies.


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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images
Tech’s biggest frenemies
Microsoft is getting ready to bring on Amazon in a $1 billion deal that will redraw the competitive landscape in cloud computing.


Amazon has signed up for just over 1.5 million license seats for Microsoft 365, the tech giant’s cloud-based productivity suite. More than 500,000 of those seats will be a higher tier of Microsoft 365 for corporate workers, with 1 million seats for frontline staff.


The five-year deal marks a reset in Amazon and Microsoft’s crosstown rivalry. Amazon Web Services, which remains the dominant cloud provider, competes fiercely with Microsoft Azure and had previously stayed off of Microsoft’s cloud.

And it’s a big win for Microsoft. When Insider first reported details of the deal, Microsoft’s stock popped. Since then, Microsoft has reported strong growth for Azure, with cloud-services sales up 29% year on year, versus a 12% gain at AWS.

Read the full story
Christian Northeast for Insider
This week’s top reads
Drama at luxury-cruise startup
Die-hard cruisers are paying up to $8 million for a never-ending trip — but it may never even start, according to a number of investors and former employees.


Storylines’ first residential cruise ship was initially scheduled to launch in 2019. It promised to travel to six continents over 1,000 days and lengthen residents’ lives through an “antiaging global lifestyle.”


However, the launch has been pushed back to 2026. Nine former employees, consultants, and investors described their time at Storylines as a roller coaster of lofty goals and unfulfilled promises — with some doubting the ship would ever be built.


Read the full story


Also read:

Chelsea Jia Feng/Insider
Real estate’s ‘watershed moment’
A battle between the real-estate industry and consumer advocates ended with a decision that sent shockwaves through the market.

A jury determined the National Association of Realtors and brokerages were using the rules of the multiple-listings services, where the vast majority of homes are advertised for sale, to inflate agent commissions paid by sellers. The ruling meant roughly $1.8 billion was awarded to the plaintiffs.

Stephen Brobeck, a senior fellow at the Consumer Federation of America, called it “the biggest watershed moment” for real estate in his 30 years covering the industry.

“For nearly a century, the industry has been able to maintain high and uniform commission rates,” Brobeck told Insider. “This decision indicates that it’s going to be much more difficult for them to do that in the future.”

More on the future of the real-estate industry.

Startup founder Obi Felten said she struggled to find spaces where she could let her humanity show. Courtesy of Obi Felten
Tech-exec loneliness retreat
Tech founders and CEOs can pay $10,000 to spend four days at a resort in Northern California — and participate in up to 12 hours a day of intense emotional labor.


Leaders in Tech, the brainchild of the executive coach Carole Robin, is an invite-only retreat meant to help execs open up and cope with the isolation of leading a prominent tech company.


“They don’t have anybody they can be real with,” Robin told Insider, “so they’re always having to spin their image, and spin what they say, and spin how they’re seen.”


Go inside the retreat here.

Samantha Lee/Insider
Goldman’s newest execs
Goldman Sachs just gave 608 employees the coveted title of managing director. The class, announced every two years, is down 5% compared with 2021’s cohort.


Money talks among the latest crop of inductees, as 76% came from revenue-generating divisions. Nearly half the class (47%) came out of Goldman’s global banking and markets division, which includes investment banking and trading.


Check out all the names of the newest MDs here.


Also read:


This week’s quote
“Chances are, if you’re not a professional actor, interviewers will catch that you are lying and you’ll fail the interview.”
— Daniel Rizea, a Google engineering exec, on some of the worst interview mistakes he’s seen even the best candidates make.



More of this week’s top stories:



The Insider Today Sunday team

Matt Turner, editor in chief of business, in New York City. Dan DeFrancesco, senior editor, in New York City. Diamond Naga Siu, senior reporter, in San Diego. Grace Lett, associate editor, in Chicago. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York City.


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