Techmeme
January 5, 2023, 2:30 PM

Top News

Leyland Cecco / The Guardian:
Apple quietly launches a catalog of books narrated by AI on its Books app, in a move that publishers, authors, and agents warn may upend the audiobook market  —  Exclusive: tech firm quietly launches new audiobook catalogue narrated by AI - but move expected to spark backlash
Wall Street Journal:
Amazon plans to lay off 18,000+ employees, more than its initial target of 10,000 in November 2022, with the “majority” coming from retail and recruiting  —  Cuts focused on the company's corporate staff exceed earlier projection  —  Amazon AMZN -0.79%decrease …
David Benoit / Wall Street Journal:
US bank Silvergate, which caters to crypto, reports liquidating debt to cover $8.1B withdrawals as FTX collapsed and laying off 40% of its staff; SI falls 40%+  —  Bank sold assets at a loss to cover withdrawals and cut 40% of its staff but remains committed to crypto
Angus Berwick / Reuters:
Source: FTX's former top lawyer Daniel Friedberg has cooperated with US prosecutors, telling them what he knew of SBF and others misusing customer funds  —  FTX's former top lawyer Daniel Friedberg has cooperated with U.S. prosecutors as they investigate the crypto firm's collapse …
Jessica Conditt / Engadget:
Sony unveils Project Leonardo, a PS5 accessibility controller kit with circular gamepads, for use on its own or with DualSense; pricing and release are TBC  —  Sony is building a better PlayStation 5 controller with Project Leonardo, a kit that promises to make games easier to play for people with limited motor control.
Mitchell Clark / The Verge:
Sony has sold ~30M PlayStation 5 consoles and says the shortage is over, meaning everyone “should have a much easier time” finding a PS5 at retailers globally  —  The PlayStation 5 shortage is finally over — at least according to Sony.  “Everyone who wants a PS5 should have a much easier …
Wall Street Journal:
New York AG Letitia James files a civil suit against Celsius co-founder Alex Mashinsky, alleging he defrauded investors out of billions through false statements  —  Alex Mashinsky made false statements to investors about the crypto lender, lawsuit alleges  —  New York Attorney General …
Jules Roscoe / VICE:
The FTC proposes a rule banning worker non-compete clauses, saying they harm healthy competition in the labor and product markets and block entrepreneurship  —  The agency stated that noncompete clauses are bad for both the labor market and innovation.  The proposed rule would make them illegal.
Matt Burgess / Wired:
WhatsApp launches proxy support globally, letting users with blocked or disrupted connections access WhatsApp via servers set up by volunteers and others  —  Amid internet shutdowns in Iran, the encrypted messaging app is introducing proxy connections that can help people get online.
Antonio G. Di Benedetto / The Verge:
Lenovo unveils the Yoga Book 9i, a laptop with two 13.3" OLED displays, available in June 2023 for $2,100+ with a 13th Gen Intel Core i7-U15 and 16GB of RAM  —  Dual monitor setups are great and all, but how about dual screens in a strangely tall laptop?  Lenovo is here to answer that …
Wall Street Journal:
Levi Winslow / Kotaku:
After YouTuber Coffeezilla reported on Logan Paul's apparently sham NFT game CryptoZoo, Paul says his only mistake was trusting the project's many “bad actors”  —  Blockchain investigator Stephen ‘Coffeezilla’ Findeisen may see Paul in court  —  After keeping his mouth shut …
Ben Schoon / 9to5Google:
Google says Android TV OS, the underlying platform for Google TV and Android TV, now has 150M monthly active devices, up 36%+ YoY  —  At CES 2023 this week Google is sharing an update on how many devices are now using Google TV and Android TV, with 150 million devices in the hands of users.
Crystal Kim / Axios:
A US judge rules that the crypto deposits in bankrupt crypto lender Celsius Network's yield-bearing accounts belong to Celsius and not the individual holders  —  Celsius Network's bankruptcy might have just set a precedent in determining what crypto assets belong to whom when stored on a centralized platform.
Mark Gurman / Bloomberg:
Amazon unveils the Ring Car Cam, its first car dashboard camera, with inside and outside recording, after a two-year delay, shipping in February 2023 for $250  —  Amazon.com Inc.'s Ring division introduced its first car dashboard camera after a two-year delay, expanding beyond home security with a new category.
Scott Stein / CNET:
HTC unveils the $1,099 Vive XR Elite headset with a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2, 110-degree field of view, and two 90HZ 2K LCD displays, available in February 2023  —  The compact, depth-sensing, $1,099 headset arrives in February.  Vive boss Dan O'Brien explains the strategy.  —  VR has suddenly gotten more expensive.

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