Source: Microsoft

A massive content recommendation merger falls apart, Microsoft reveals the release date and pricing for its flagship game console and Alexa enables phone calls for AT&T customers. This is your Daily Crunch for September 9, 2020.

The big story: Taboola and Outbrain call off their merger

Looks like the two biggest companies in the content recommendation market won’t be teaming up after all.

Taboola and Outbrain announced an $850 million merger last year, but apparently a “challenging cultural fit” and the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the digital ad business have scuttled the deal. There’s been no formal announcement yet, but TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden has confirmed the news with both companies.

“We’ve seen changing conditions in the market due to COVID-19, and we decided to terminate the deal,” an anonymous source told us.

The tech giants

Microsoft confirms $499 Xbox Series X arrives November 10, pre-orders begin September 22 — We mentioned a new, scaled-down Xbox yesterday, but Microsoft announced today that the flagship Xbox Series X is arriving on November 10.

AT&T customers can now make and receive calls via Alexa — Once enabled, customers with supported devices will be able to speak to the Alexa digital assistant to start a phone call or answer an incoming call.

Snapchat’s new Lens celebrates tomorrow’s NFL kickoff — Snap and the NFL recently announced a multi-year extension to their content partnership.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Yubico unveils its latest YubiKey 5C NFC security key, priced at $55 — The company says this new security key offers the strongest defenses against some of the most common cyberattacks.

Xometry raises $75M Series E to expand custom manufacturing marketplace — The company has built an online marketplace where businesses can find manufacturers across the world with excess capacity to build whatever they need.

Rick Moranis breaks acting hiatus for 30 seconds to launch Mint’s $30 a month unlimited plan — Why? Who knows!

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

As direct listing looms, Palantir insiders are accelerating stock sales — Danny Crichton examines how insiders perceive Palantir’s value.

Shift’s George Arison shares 6 tips for taking your company public via a SPAC — Shift has nearly completed the SPAC process.

Slack’s earnings detail how COVID-19 is both a help and a hindrance to cloud growth — Alex Wilhelm looks at Slack’s latest numbers.

(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our subscription membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Watch the first trailer for the insanely star-studded ‘Dune’ — Sandworms, ahoy!

Learn how to build a service marketplace from the CTOs of Peloton and DoorDash at Disrupt — The connected fitness platform and food delivery app have both built massive service businesses that touch millions of consumers.

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Daily Crunch: Taboola and Outbrain call off their merger