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March 25, 2019
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Daily Crunch: Apple unveils new AirPods

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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Apple announces new AirPods

The new AirPods are fitted with the H1 chip, which is meant to offer performance efficiencies, faster connect times between the pods and your devices and the ability to ask for Siri hands-free with the “Hey Siri” command.

“They are powered by the new Apple -designed H1 chip which brings an extra hour of talk time, faster connections, hands-free ‘Hey Siri’ and the convenience of a new wireless battery case,” said Apple’s Phil Schiller in a press release.

2. Google fined €1.49BN in Europe for antitrust violations in search ad brokering

Speaking at a press conference today, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the search giant — “by far the biggest” search ad broker in the region, with its AdSense platform taking a share in Europe of “well above 70% since 2006” — had engaged in illegal practices in order to “cement its dominant market position.”

3. All 88 companies from Y Combinator’s W19 Demo Day 2

And there were already 85 startups that pitched on Day 1!

4. The 9 biggest questions about Google’s Stadia game streaming service

Google’s Stadia is an impressive piece of engineering to be sure: Delivering high-definition, high frame-rate, low latency video to devices like tablets and phones is an accomplishment in itself. But the game streaming service faces serious challenges if it wants to compete with the likes of Xbox and PlayStation, or even plain old PCs and smartphones.

5. Disney closes its $71.3B Fox acquisition

The goal of the enormous acquisition is to help Disney position itself for a streaming-centric future.

6. Kickstarter CEO Perry Chen steps down

Chen says he will stay with the service as chairman of the board, focusing “on high-level and long-term company needs.” Kickstarter will be promoting its head of Design and Product, Aziz Hasan, as interim CEO, as Chen steps away from day to day operations.

7. The Oculus Rift S is indeed real and arrives in spring for $399

After years of high-profile onstage announcements, Oculus has decided to quietly deliver the successor to its flagship Rift virtual reality headset, confirming most of our October report with the release of the new Oculus Rift S.

News Source = techcrunch.com

Daily Crunch: Social media struggles with shooting tragedy

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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Videos of shooting tragedy in New Zealand continue resurfacing on social media

Earlier today there was a horrendous mass mosque shooting in New Zealand that killed 49 people — and because this is 2019, social media was used by the apparent murderers to plan, announce, broadcast and virally resonate what they did.

Some of that — such as the Facebook and Twitter accounts of the perpetrator — have been deleted. Yet nearly 12 hours later, you can still find multiple copies of the shooting videos on YouTube and Twitter, with some being used to promote other things.

2. Facebook loses CPO Chris Cox and WhatsApp VP Chris Daniels

Chief Product Officer Chris Cox is departing the company after two years of supposedly seeking to do something new. More surprising is today’s departure of Chris Daniels, an eight-year employee who was moved from being head of Internet.org to VP of WhatsApp just last May.

3. Apple addresses Spotify’s claims, but not its demands

In a lengthy statement on its site called “Addressing Spotify’s Claims,” Apple walks through and dismantles some of the key parts of Spotify’s accusations about how the App Store works — covering app store approval times, Spotify’s actual cut on subscription revenues and Spotify’s rise as a result of its presence on iOS.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk views the new Tesla Model Y at its unveiling in Hawthorne, California on March 14, 2019.

4. The Tesla Model Y is a 300-mile-range Model 3 doppelgänger coming in fall 2020

After years of teasers and hints, Tesla CEO Elon Musk finally unveiled the Model Y, a mid-sized all-electric vehicle that is slated to hit the marketplace in fall 2020.

5. Bird lays off up to 5 percent of workforce

“As we establish local service centers and deeper roots in cities where we provide service, we have shifting geographic workforce needs,” a Bird spokesperson told us.

6. Slack removes 28 accounts linked to hate groups

To date, Slack has managed to stay out of the conversation around what happens when sometimes violent politically extreme organizations use popular social platforms to organize.

7. Apple’s iCloud recovers after a four-hour outage

Facebook has only just recovered from one of its worst outages to date, and Gmail and Google Drive also experienced a worldwide outage this week. Now, apparently, it was Apple’s turn.

News Source = techcrunch.com

Daily Crunch: Telegram soars after Facebook outage

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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Telegram gets 3M new signups during Facebook apps’ outage

In a message sent to his Telegram channel, founder Pavel Durov wrote, “I see 3 million new users signed up for Telegram within the last 24 hours.” Durov doesn’t offer an explicit explanation for Telegram’s sudden spike in signups, but he does take a thinly veiled swipe at social networking giant Facebook.

It’s probably not a coincidence that Facebook and its related family of apps went down for most of Wednesday.

2. Google removed 2.3B bad ads, banned ads on 1.5M apps + 28M pages, plans new Policy Manager this year

Using both manual reviews and machine learning, Google said that in 2018 it removed 2.3 billion “bad ads” that violated its policies — which at their most general forbid ads that mislead or exploit vulnerable people.

3. Uber reportedly raising $1B in deal that values self-driving car unit at up to $10B

Uber is in negotiations with investors, including the SoftBank Vision Fund, to secure an investment as large as $1 billion for its autonomous vehicles unit. The deal would value the business at between $5 billion and $10 billion, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

4. Opportunity’s last Mars panorama is a showstopper

The Opportunity Mars Rover may be officially offline for good, but its legacy of science and imagery is ongoing — and NASA just shared the last (nearly) complete panorama the robot sent back before it was blanketed in dust.

5. AI photo startup Polarr raises an $11.5 million Series A

At the moment, Polarr is probably best known for its photography app for iOS and Android, which utilizes machine learning and AI to improve image editing. The company says it has around four million monthly active users.

6. WeWork Labs is launching a food tech accelerator

WeWork is committing $1 million to back the first batch of companies.

7. Facebook won’t store data in countries with human rights violations — except Singapore

When Mark Zuckerberg said in a lengthy blog post that Facebook would not build data centers in countries with poor human rights, he chose to ignore Singapore — known for a lack of privacy and freedom of expression.

News Source = techcrunch.com

Daily Crunch: Facebook pulls Warren ads criticizing Facebook

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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Facebook’s ad team shoots itself in the foot by pulling Elizabeth Warren campaign ads

Facebook’s advertising department pulled Elizabeth Warren campaign ads touting the senator’s proposal to break up big tech. According to Politico, the offending ads were pulled over their use of the Facebook brand in their copy.

The removal appears to be short-lived, but it has given the Warren campaign ammunition for their argument.

2. Marking 30 years of the web, Tim Berners-Lee calls for a joint fight against disinformation

“If we give up on building a better web now, then the web will not have failed us,” said the inventor of the World Wide Web in an open letter. “We will have failed the web.”

3. Google paid $105 million to two executives accused of sexual harassment

The suit, filed by shareholder James Martin, confirms the board of directors approved a $90 million exit package for Andy Rubin “as a goodbye present to him. No mention, of course, was made about the true reason for Rubin’s ‘resignation’ — his egregious sexual harassment while at Google.”

4. Twitter’s new prototype app ‘twttr’ launches today

Initially, the new twttr app will focus on testing new designs for conversations. As the company demonstrated at CES, the app will show a different format for replies, where conversations themselves have a more rounded chat-like shape and are indented so they’re easier to follow.

5. Russia blocks encrypted email provider ProtonMail

The block was ordered by the state Federal Security Service, formerly the KGB, according to a Russian-language blog, which obtained and published the order after the agency accused the company and several other email providers of facilitating bomb threats.

6. Hulu and Spotify launch an even more steeply discounted bundle of $9.99 per month

This effectively lowers the price of Hulu’s ad-supported service to nothing.

7. Amazon reportedly nixes its price parity requirement for third-party sellers in the US

Amazon will stop forbidding third-party merchants who list on its e-commerce platform in the United States from selling the same products on other sites for lower prices, according to Axios.

News Source = techcrunch.com

Daily Crunch: NVIDIA is buying Mellanox for $6.9B

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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. NVIDIA to buy supercomputer chipmaker Mellanox for $6.9B, beating out Intel and Microsoft

The news caps off what the media had reported as a bidding war between NVIDIA, Intel and Microsoft for the chipmaker now based out of San Jose but originally founded in Israel.

The deal underscores ongoing consolidation in the world of processors, and is a key move for NVIDIA to shore up its market share, specifically in high-performance computing and powering supercomputers.

2. Niantic’s Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is a sorcerous smorgasbord for the Pokémon GO generation

Devin Coldewey spent some time playing the game at Niantic’s office in San Francisco — enough to convince him that HP:WU will be a huge time-sink for any Harry Potter fan, and will probably convert or cannibalize many players from GO.

3. Dozens of companies leaked sensitive data thanks to misconfigured Box accounts

Although data stored in Box enterprise accounts is private by default, users can share files and folders with anyone, making data publicly accessible with a single link. But cybersecurity firm Adversis said these secret links can be discovered by others.

NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 19: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Democratic House Of Representatives address the crowd and kicks off the 3rd Annual Woman’s March in the borough of Manhattan in NY on January 19, 2019, USA.  (Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images)

4. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says labor should not fear automation

“We should not be haunted by the specter of being automated out of work,” the congresswoman said at South by Southwest. “We should be excited by that.”

5. Appen acquires Figure Eight for up to $300M, bringing two data annotation companies together

Both companies focus on using crowdsourced labor pools to annotate data, which in turn is used to train artificial intelligence and machine learning. Under the name CrowdFlower, Figure Eight launched onstage at the TechCrunch50 conference nearly a decade ago.

6. Tufts expelled a student for grade hacking. She claims innocence

In almost every instance that the school accused Tiffany Filler of hacking, she was elsewhere — with proof of her whereabouts or an eyewitness account — without the laptop she’s accused of using.

7. This week’s TechCrunch podcast roundup

The team at Equity discusses leadership changes at Y Combinator, while over at Original Content, we review the true crime documentary “Murder Mountain.”

News Source = techcrunch.com

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