April 6, 2020, 1:50 AM

April 6, 2020

12:55 AM  •
Chris Welch / The Verge:  Quibi app review: works reliably, auto-flips between landscape and portrait, but no tablet-optimized mode, no family member profiles, and lacks a TV experience
12:40 AM  •
Nicole Sperling / New York Times:  Jeffery Katzenberg and Meg Whitman's Quibi short-video streaming service launches with $1.8B in funding amid the Covid-19 pandemic

April 5, 2020

10:50 PM  •
Nathan DiCamillo / CoinDesk:  PwC report: the total number of crypto M&A deals dropped from 189 in 2018 to 114 last year, while the value of M&A deals dropped from $1.89B to $451M
10:25 PM  •
Protocol:  Execs at US digital banks say European challengers, like N26, are underestimating the hurdles they will face in the US, like regulation and cultural differences
8:10 PM  •
Gareth Corfield / The Register:  UK High Court judge says Google will either need to let an SEO expert inspect its ranking algorithms or withdraw evidence from its long-running competition case
7:35 PM  •
Catalin Cimpanu / ZDNet:  Twice this week, traffic to 200+ of the world's largest CDNs and cloud hosts was redirected through Russia's telco Rostelecom in likely BGP hijacking attacks
7:20 PM  •
Michael Potuck / 9to5Mac:  Skype no longer requires video call participants to have an account or to download software, letting users join a call via a link, similar to Zoom
6:45 PM  •
Chance Miller / 9to5Mac:  Tim Cook says Apple has now sourced 20M+ masks for healthcare workers from its supply chain, has designed and is shipping face shields at a rate of 1M per week
6:30 PM  •
Xinmei Shen / Abacus:  Report: the live streaming e-commerce market in China saw more than $61B in transactions in 2019 and is expected to double this year due to the pandemic
6:05 PM  •
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols / ZDNet:  Huawei joins the Open Invention Network, the leading US-based patent non-aggression group covering Linux and related open-source tech
5:20 PM  •
Kritti Bhalla / Inc42 Media:  Bengaluru-based digital payments startup JusPay raises $21.6M Series B led by Vostok Emerging Finance
4:20 PM  •
Alex Hern / The Guardian:  YouTube says it will remove content spreading conspiracy theories linking 5G and coronavirus, but will leave content that is simply conspiratorial about 5G
2:05 PM  •
Lawrence Abrams / BleepingComputer:  NetMarketShare: Microsoft Edge becomes the second most popular desktop browser for the first time, with a market share of 7.59%, beating Mozilla Firefox's 7.19%
11:50 AM  •
Harriet Sherwood / The Guardian:  After some cell towers in the UK were set on fire, govt to meet with Facebook, YouTube, Twitter to stop the spread of a conspiracy theory linking 5G to COVID-19
11:10 AM  •
Jason Del Rey / Vox:  In internal email lists Amazon corporate employees express dismay over the firing of Christian Smalls and a report that management discussed a plan to smear him
8:05 AM  •
Rebecca Rubin / Variety:  Some independent movie theaters are launching “virtual cinemas” to let patrons stream first-tier films from home as a temporary revenue source amid the pandemic
5:00 AM  •
Manish Singh / TechCrunch:  India's Unified Payments Interface eliminated most of the fees apps like Paytm charged for transactions, forcing them to search for other sources of income
1:55 AM  •
Salvador Rodriguez / CNBC:  How Silicon Valley food caterers, event planners, venue owners, models, DJs, and others who relied on tech parties and events are coping with the loss of income
1:25 AM  •
Dave Gershgorn / OneZero :  Washington state's facial recognition law, which is championed by Microsoft, was sponsored by State Sen. Joe Nguyen, who is also a program manager at Microsoft
12:25 AM  •
Sidney Fussell / Wired:  Uber Eats waived delivery fees in the name of supporting local restaurants, but some restaurants say Uber's 25% commission for take-out orders is too high

April 4, 2020

11:40 PM  •
Valerie Strauss / Washington Post:  Zoom is being banned over security concerns by some US school districts, including NYC, which is directing teachers to switch to Microsoft Teams
10:55 PM  •
J.M. Porup / CSO:  Critics say bug bounty programs buy researcher silence, may violate labor law, and are less effective when they are closed and have NDAs placed on them
7:50 PM  •
Dieter Bohn / The Verge:  Apple's deal with Amazon to allow the Prime Video app to process some in-app payments on its own shows how arbitrary, unfair, and outdated App Store rules are
4:25 PM  •
Filipe Espósito / 9to5Mac:  iOS 14 code indicates that Apple is working on a new feature codenamed “Avocado” to enable real, movable widgets on iPad and iPhone home screens
4:00 PM  •
Jonathan Shieber / TechCrunch:  US Small Business Administration issues new guidance for the $350B stimulus program that still seems to exclude most VC-backed startups
2:50 PM  •
Zac Hall / 9to5Mac:  Sources: Apple is in the process of acquiring the California-based VR startup NextVR in a deal valued around $100M
1:35 PM  •
Financial Times:  China's efforts to track COVID-19 cases using personal data has been messy, partly due to sporadic coordination between different agencies and local governments
11:55 AM  •
Andrey Kuzmin / Reuters:  Report: Russia delays the implementation of a law banning devices not pre-installed with Russian software, by six months until January 1, 2021
9:55 AM  •
New York Times:  Analysis: thousands of people are organizing via private group chats, message boards, Twitter, Instagram, more to execute coordinated “Zoombombing” campaigns
7:10 AM  •
Jim Waterson / The Guardian:  Telecom engineers, considered essential workers in the UK, are facing harassment from anti-5G conspiracy mongers, linking the deployment of 5G to coronavirus
4:35 AM  •
Jane Zhang / South China Morning Post:  4Paradigm, a China-based startup providing AI-powered real-time data analytics, raises $230M from Cisco, Lenovo, and others, at a post-money valuation of ~$2B
2:00 AM  •
Angel Au-Yeung / Forbes:  Profile of Larry Ellison, who has turned the Hawaiian island of Lanai into a data-powered wellness lab and is building a COVID-19 database for the White House
12:40 AM  •
Zack Whittaker / TechCrunch:  Zoom apologizes for routing some calls made in N. America through China, says it “mistakenly” allowed Chinese data centers to accept calls due to traffic spike
12:05 AM  •
David McCabe / New York Times:  A look at how tech's lobbying efforts in the US are quietly pushing for long-held goals in the frantic political and economic environment amid COVID-19 outbreak

April 3, 2020

11:05 PM  •
Ryan Gallagher / Bloomberg:  UK researchers are using Google's mobile location data collected from apps like Google Maps to help track and predict the spread of COVID-19 across Europe
10:05 PM  •
Josh Constine / TechCrunch:  Zoom will require passwords to enter calls via Meeting ID and will turn on Waiting Rooms by default to prevent trolls from disrupting calls, starting April 5
8:50 PM  •
Nick Statt / The Verge:  US federal law enforcement warns that invading Zoom meetings to broadcast “disruptive content” will result in fines or possible imprisonment
8:15 PM  •
Abhilash Kumar / Counterpoint Research:  Global online music streaming grew 32% YoY in 2019, reaching 358M total subs; Spotify led with 31% market share of paid subs, followed by Apple Music at 19%
6:55 PM  •
Aliya Chaudhry / The Verge:  Google temporarily rolls back its SameSite policy in Chrome, to allow stability for essential service websites that may not meet third party cookie requirements
6:30 PM  •
Kyle Wiggers / VentureBeat:  Qcraft, which is developing simulation software to help train autonomous vehicle systems, raises a seed round in the “dozens of millions”, led by IDG Capital
5:55 PM  •
Mark Gurman / Bloomberg:  Apple has acquired Dublin-based AI startup Voysis, which developed a platform for digital assistants to better understand people's natural language
5:05 PM  •
Anthony Ha / TechCrunch:  Apptopia and Braze study: with 59M global installs, Netflix led rivals YouTube, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ in Q1, but more time was spent on YouTube Kids
4:10 PM  •
Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:  Insight Partners closes its $9.5B Fund XI, says it will be “hyper-focused on supporting its portfolio companies” with ongoing and near-future funding
3:20 PM  •
Bloomberg:  Four Democratic senators send a letter to Apple asking whether its COVID-19 app and website comply with HIPAA, and seeking info on its government agreements
2:15 PM  •
Reuters:  Internal docs: Amazon to postpone Prime Day at least until August, expects a potential $100M hit from excess devices it may now have to sell at a discount
1:45 PM  •
Alicja Siekierska / Yahoo Finance:  Justin Trudeau says Canada has signed an agreement with Amazon to distribute critical medical supplies across the country
12:50 PM  •
Drew Harwell / Washington Post:  Thousands of Zoom video calls found via web search using Zoom's default file naming scheme after users saved them in unprotected spaces like open AWS S3 buckets
11:45 AM  •
Frederic Lardinois / TechCrunch:  OctoML, which wants to use machine learning to make ML models run more efficiently on different types of hardware, raises $15M Series A led by Amplify
11:45 AM  •
Shelby Brown / CNET:  Apple Arcade launches new RPG Legend of the Skyfish 2
10:43 AM  •
Joseph Cox / VICE:  In a court filing, CEO of NSO Group says Facebook representatives approached NSO in 2017 to buy parts of Pegasus to monitor phones of users who installed Onavo
9:58 AM  •
Alex Konrad / Forbes:  Profile of Zoom CEO Eric Yuan, who says the company will “probably” suspend all tracking on Zoom's sites and consider open-sourcing its code in the future
9:35 AM  •
Zac Hall / 9to5Mac:  The new iPad Pro gets a privacy feature, first introduced on 2018 MacBooks, that disconnects hardware microphones when an attached MFi compliant case is closed
9:00 AM  •
Sam Biddle / The Intercept:  Civil liberties advocates say a data-driven approach to pandemic response is compatible with individual rights, but with limits and justifications at every step
8:10 AM  •
Dave Lee / Financial Times:  Source: Airbnb CEO told staff at a company-wide meeting that the company lowered its internal valuation to $26B, a 16% drop since its last funding round
7:25 AM  •
Micah Lee / The Intercept:  Researchers: Zoom sometimes uses encryption keys issued by servers in China, uses a flawed encryption method, and hence is not suited to communicate secrets
7:00 AM  •
Darrell Etherington / TechCrunch:  Pinterest CEO and a team of multi-disciplinary scientists launch How We Feel app to collect global COVID-19 data daily while respecting user privacy
4:40 AM  •
Mike Wheatley / SiliconANGLE:  Microsoft's Azure Cognitive Services gets new voice styles designed to help developers tailor the voice of their apps and services to their brand or scenario
3:03 AM  •
Casey Newton / The Verge:  Google uses aggregated anonymized location data from 131 countries to show which places are complying with social distancing and which aren't
1:05 AM  •
Reuters:  Researchers are using Facebook's location data to provide daily updates to US cities and states evaluating the effectiveness of social distancing amid COVID-19
12:03 AM  •
Mark Gurman / Bloomberg:  Leaked memo: Apple told employees that its retail stores in the US will remain closed and work-from-home procedures will remain in place until early May

April 2, 2020

11:15 PM  •
Andrew Hutchinson / Social Media Today:  Facebook announces new measures to help businesses including a gift card registry, says applications for its $100M SMB grant program will open next week
10:15 PM  •
Julian Borger / The Guardian:  Twitter deletes 20K fake accounts linked to governments of Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Honduras, and Indonesia for “attempt to undermine public conversation”
8:30 PM  •
Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch:  FCC approves $200M COVID-19 Telehealth Program to help cover the cost of new telehealth services and devices with up to $1M in funding for medical providers
8:00 PM  •
Zac Hall / 9to5Mac:  Source: Apple's new entry level iPhone will be called iPhone SE, available in white, black, and red, with 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB storage options
6:50 PM  •
Mark Hachman / PCWorld:  Zoom has issued a patch for a vulnerability in its Windows client that let attackers steal Windows login credentials from malicious chat links
6:20 PM  •
John Gruber / Daring Fireball:  A deep dive into the deal between Apple and Amazon that lets the retail giant process some payments in Prime Video app, and the motivations of both companies
5:40 PM  •
Ryan Browne / CNBC:  European countries, including France and Germany, are offering billions of euros to support tech startups during COVID-19; the UK is facing calls to do similar
4:35 PM  •
Megan Rose Dickey / TechCrunch:  Instacart says it will start providing free health and safety kits with a face mask, hand sanitizer, and a thermometer to its full-service shoppers
4:20 PM  •
Pururaj Dutta / Appleosophy:  Apple references its rumored AirTags item tracking tags in a video uploaded to its Apple Support channel on YouTube
4:15 PM  •
Paul Blest / VICE:  Leaked notes from an internal meeting attended by Jeff Bezos reveal Amazon execs discussed a plan to smear fired warehouse employee Christian Smalls
3:55 PM  •
Tom Warren / The Verge:  Zoom issues a new update to fix its “malware-like” macOS installer
3:10 PM  •
Chaim Gartenberg / The Verge:  eBay says it will waive seller fees for new businesses through June 30 as part of a new Up & Running program to help owners of shuttered physical stores
2:05 PM  •
Dan Primack / Axios:  House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says VC-backed startups will become eligible for $350B in small business loans guaranteed via the CARES Act
1:15 PM  •
Ivan Mehta / The Next Web:  Google says it is shutting down Neighbourly, a neighborhood Q&A app for India, on May 12
1:00 PM  •
Sara Fischer / Axios:  Memo: Google will begin letting some advertisers run COVID-19 related ads, prioritizing government entities, hospitals, and others working directly on the issue
12:50 PM  •
Seth Schiesel / New York Times:  Amazon reveals plan for interactive games on Twitch, arriving over summer; sources say Amazon is working on a cloud gaming platform codenamed Project Tempo
12:25 PM  •
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:  App Annie: consumers spent a record $23.4B+ globally through Google and Apple app stores in Q1 2020, with average weekly time spent in apps and games up 20% YoY
11:35 AM  •
Jason Del Rey / Vox:  Amazon bans the sale of some medical supplies, like N95 and surgical masks, to the general public and will only allow hospitals and government orgs to buy them
11:20 AM  •
Kyle Wiggers / VentureBeat:  Phantom AI, which is developing advanced driver-assistance systems for cars and trucks, raises $22M Series A led by Celeres Investments
11:10 AM  •
Chaim Gartenberg / The Verge:  Intel announces its first 10th-gen Comet Lake H-series CPUs for high-end gaming laptops, with clock speeds that can boost past 5.0GHz
10:40 AM  •
Frank Chaparro / The Block:  Binance acquires crypto data aggregator CoinMarketCap, source says for around $300M
10:35 AM  •
Jeffrey Dastin / Reuters:  Amazon says it plans to roll out temperature checks and masks for staff at its US and European warehouses and will use ML to improve social distancing measures
10:07 AM  •
Christine Fisher / Engadget:  Facebook launches a standalone Messenger app for MacOS and Windows with unlimited, free group video calls, support for Dark Mode, and more
10:00 AM  •
New York Times:  Zoom says it's now disabled a feature that let users covertly access data from some people's LinkedIn profiles, even when they were in the meeting anonymously
9:45 AM  •
Rory Cellan-Jones / BBC:  Spyware firm NSO Group is marketing software that uses mobile phone data to monitor and predict the spread of COVID-19, says some countries are testing it
9:30 AM  •
Ari Levy / CNBC:  How Toast, a cloud-based restaurant management software provider, is supporting its clients' transitions from in-person dining to takeout and delivery services
9:00 AM  •
Eric S. Yuan / Zoom Blog:  Zoom apologizes for security failures, says it has 200M+ DAUs vs. 10M in Dec., and plans to freeze development of new features to focus on security and privacy
8:35 AM  •
Bloomberg:  Sources: SoftBank-backed online lender Kabbage suspended credit lines to its small business clients in the past week without notice
8:10 AM  •
Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:  Collibra, which provides tools to manage, warehouse, store, and analyze data troves, raises $112.5M at a post-money valuation of $2.3B
7:20 AM  •
Tammy Lovell / MobiHealthNews:  London-based Air Doctor, which helps travelers connect with local doctors for non-emergency conditions in 42 countries, raises $7.8M Series A
4:50 AM  •
Kieren McCarthy / The Register:  Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Akamai, and Netflix join MANRS, an Internet Society-supported initiative aimed at bolstering internet's routing security
1:15 AM  •
Matthew Gault / VICE:  Popular early internet meme site YTMND has been resurrected with the help of fans, a year after it went down
12:00 AM  •
Olivia Poh / The Business Times:  Doctor Anywhere, a Singapore-based telemedicine startup, raises $27M Series B, says it will use the funds to expand into Malaysia and the Philippines

April 1, 2020

11:20 PM  •
Dave Lee / Financial Times:  Amazon is investigating claims of its contractors sleeping in “subhuman” conditions on makeshift beds in a Philippine call center due to travel restrictions
11:05 PM  •
Ben Bergman / dot.LA:  An inside account of how Bird laid off 406 employees in two minutes via a Zoom webinar; employees say they were locked out of their computers during the meeting
9:55 PM  •
Jason Aycock / Seeking Alpha:  Snap says the time users spent calling on its app increased by 50%+ from February to March, and that Snaps between friends reached all-time high in that period
8:15 PM  •
Kirsten Korosec / TechCrunch:  Anthony Levandowski files motion to force Uber into arbitration, alleging Uber must shoulder $179M judgment against him as part of its 2016 indemnity agreement
7:45 PM  •
Ry Crist / CNET:  FCC will vote on a proposal to make the entire 6 GHz band available for unlicensed use, citing the increase in Wi-Fi demand, on April 23
7:05 PM  •
Zoe Schiffer / The Verge:  Some couples, faced with orders to shelter in place to avoid COVID-19, are getting married at home with friends and relatives watching on Zoom
6:13 PM  •
Mark Gurman / Bloomberg:  Apple now lets some video streaming apps, like Amazon Prime Video, use their own payment methods for in-app purchases on Apple devices, avoiding Apple's 30% cut
4:28 PM  •
Nick Statt / The Verge:  Amazon Prime Video now allows in-app rentals and purchases on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV
4:00 PM  •
Mary Ann Azevedo / Crunchbase News:  Ohio-based Olive, which is developing an automation tool for US healthcare administration, raises $51M led by General Catalyst, bringing total raised to $123.8M
3:36 PM  •
Erin Griffith / New York Times:  All-in-one productivity tool Notion, which helps people organize and track their work, raises $50M from Index Ventures and others at a $2B valuation
3:18 PM  •
The Information:  Sources: YouTube is planning to release Shorts, a rival to TikTok inside YouTube's main app, by the end of the year
2:50 PM  •
Issie Lapowsky / Protocol:  As COVID-19 confines people to their homes and prohibits gatherings, US political races are moving online, causing anxiety for some campaigns
2:25 PM  •
Erin Griffith / New York Times:  COVID-19 has negatively affected tech startups big and small, leading to layoffs, halted IPOs and hiring, slashed prices for products, and bankruptcies
2:10 PM  •
Kaya Yurieff / CNN:  Doctors are banding together on Twitter and TikTok to settle on frameworks of verifiable sources and information to share with the public
2:00 PM  •
Daphne Leprince-Ringuet / ZDNet:  Amazon says Amazon Detective for AWS, which uses ML to visualize anomalies in customer resources, is now generally available
1:45 PM  •
Pearse Anderson / The Verge:  As colleges shutter campuses, students are using Minecraft servers to faithfully replicate those spaces, hosting graduation ceremonies and parties online
1:15 PM  •
Filipe Espósito / 9to5Mac:  iOS 14 code indicates Apple is beefing up its Keychain password manager, adding two-factor authentication and more
1:05 PM  •
Lynn La / CNET:  As the US Census kicks off, the Census Bureau's 500,000 enumerators will use iPhone 8s instead of clipboards, improving data entry and analysis
12:30 PM  •
Drew Harwell / Washington Post:  “Online proctor” companies, which watch students through their webcams during exams, are seeing a surge of business as universities close due to the pandemic
12:08 PM  •
Nikitha Sattiraju / Bloomberg:  A look at Google's US data center water usage, which it tries to keep secret: an estimated 2.3B gallons in three states in 2019, some with water shortages
11:55 AM  •
Colin Campbell / Polygon:  A look at Microsoft's strategy with Xbox Series X: building a top-tier console alongside robust streaming services to ward off Amazon and Google
11:35 AM  •
Stephanie Condon / ZDNet:  Okta announces Okta Platform Services, a suite of tools to help companies manage user identities
11:10 AM  •
Douglas Busvine / Reuters:  A new initiative between 130 researchers from eight European countries aims to build a platform for COVID-19 contact tracing while complying with GDPR
10:55 AM  •
Bloomberg:  Source: following its deal with the UK's NHS, Palantir is in talks with France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland about using its tools to battle COVID-19
10:00 AM  •
Tom Warren / The Verge:  Slack introduces a new app to integrate Microsoft Teams calling features and launches VoIP phone integration with Zoom, WebEx, Jabber, and more
9:33 AM  •
Lauren Feiner / CNBC:  John Legere steps down as T-Mobile CEO after the company closed its merger with Sprint; President and COO Mike Sievert takes over as CEO
9:25 AM  •
Bloomberg:  Sources: Amazon's job fairs in various cities had packed rooms, followed no special precautions, and ignored official social distancing guidelines
9:00 AM  •
Vikas SN / The Economic Times:  Spotify renews global licensing partnership with Warner Music Group, bringing WMG's roster of popular artists to Spotify users in India for the first time
7:30 AM  •
Mary Ann Azevedo / Crunchbase News:  Orion Labs, which develops automated communication tools for deskless and frontline workers, raises $29M Series B led by Dell Technologies Capital
7:05 AM  •
Manish Singh / TechCrunch:  Prominent VC firms including Accel, Lightspeed, Sequoia Capital, and Matrix Partners write an open letter cautioning Indian startups to “prepare for the worst”
2:50 AM  •
Lauren Feiner / CNBC:  Analysis finds that almost 4,000 jobs across 40+ US startups were eliminated in March, operating in sectors including hospitality, transportation, and AI

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