Techmeme
February 13, 2019, 2:10 PM

Top News

Sara Salinas / CNBC:
SEC charges Gene Levoff, Apple's ex-VP of Corporate Law, with insider trading, alleging he traded on earnings info in 2015 and 2016; Levoff was fired in Sept.  —  - Gene Levoff, senior director of corporate law and corporate secretary until September, “traded on material nonpublic information …
Kate Fazzini / CNBC:
Google says it will spend $13B this year on expanding data centers and offices across the US, doubling its workforce in Virginia  —  - Google doubled capital spending in 2018, but CFO Ruth Porat said that should “moderate” this year.  — The company said it's expanding its presence …
John Paczkowski / BuzzFeed:
Sources: Apple plans to hold a special subscription services-focused event on March 25 at its Apple Park campus to announce a subscription news service  —  The company is expected to show off a long-rumored news subscription service.  —  Reporting From San Francisco, CA
Wall Street Journal:
Tom Warren / The Verge:
Amazon now lets users create and submit custom Alexa skills for certification and publication in the US Skills Store  —  Anyone can create a trivia game and share it on the Alexa store  —  Amazon is now letting anyone create and publish Alexa skills into the Alexa skills store.
Matt Day / Bloomberg:
Amazon and Google are asking smart gadget makers to continuously send status updates to Echo and Home devices, even if customers aren't interacting with devices  —  As Amazon.com Inc. and Google work to place their smart speakers at the center of the internet-connected home …
Michael Futter / Variety:
Activision Blizzard announces record $1.8B net income in 2018, but says it is laying off 8%, or ~800 of its staff, amid internal changes and unmet expectations  —  UPDATED: Activision Blizzard is laying off approximately 775 people — 8% of its 9,600-person staff — as it refocuses its efforts …
Zack Whittaker / TechCrunch:
US DOJ charges former Air Force counter-intel officer Monica Witt with aiding Iranian cyber operations against the US and sanctions two Iranian companies  —  Prosecutors have brought charges against a former Air Force officer for allegedly spying for Iran, the Justice Department confirmed Wednesday.
Cecilia Kang / New York Times:
Democratic lawmakers step up scrutiny of T-Mobile-Sprint merger, which they say reduces competition, as two days of Congressional hearings begin  —  WASHINGTON — When T-Mobile announced its intention to buy Sprint last April, the prospects for the $26 billion deal winning regulatory approval appeared strong.
The Guardian:
Facebook criticized by health experts for allowing the rise of closed groups rife with anti-vaccination misinformation, some with 150,000+ members  —  Experts are calling on company to counter closed groups where members can post misinformation without challenge
Mark Suster / Both Sides of the Table:
Seed investing cooled after 2015 as Series A and B investing failed to match its growth, but is here to stay given its necessary delineation from traditional VC  —  Seed investments are down by any measure (funds, deals, dollars) over the past 3 years in deals < $1 million AND in deals between $1-5 million.
More: AVCTweets: @msuster, @msuster, @jeremyshure, and @semil
Kyle Wiggers / VentureBeat:
Affinity raises $26.5M Series B led by Advance Venture Partners and Sway Ventures for its AI-enhanced CRM platform  —  Relationships are a tricky thing — and particularly fraught in the enterprise world, where the right connection or second-degree contact can make the difference in a high-stakes deal.
More: FinSMEs and PE Hub Blog
Steve O'Hear / TechCrunch:
British mobile banking startup Starling Bank raises £75M for European expansion, says it now has 460K consumer and 30K SME accounts  —  Starling Bank, founded by banking veteran Anne Boden, has raised £75 million (~$97m) in further funding.  The new capital breaks down as £60 million …
Peter Bright / Ars Technica:
Researchers find a way to run malicious code on Intel-based systems using the SGX feature, preventing antivirus software from identifying or analyzing malware  —  Processor protects malware from attempts to inspect and analyze it.  —  Researchers have found a way to run malicious code …
More: arXiv.org
Kurt Wagner / Recode:
Jack Dorsey and Kara Swisher's live Twitter interview could have been a great conversation, but Twitter's live chat limitations made it hard to follow  —  Kara Swisher's live-tweeted interview with Jack Dorsey highlighted some of Twitter's product issues.  —  Twitter wants to be the place …

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