10 things in tech: Apple’s big earnings – Activision strike – Insta update

tim cook peace sign

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1. Apple and Alphabet breeze past earnings estimates. Despite the global chip shortage, Apple’s fiscal third-quarter earnings surpassed Wall Street expectations. Take a look at the key numbers. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, also defied expectations. See those figures here.

2. Employees lambast “Call of Duty” maker over its response to a sexual-harassment lawsuit. More than 1,000 Activision employees called the company’s response “abhorrent and insulting.” Plus, workers called for a strike today, per Bloomberg. Read more from the employees’ letter.

3. Instacart’s decision to replace CEO Apoorva Mehta came after years of chaotic management. Former employees said Mehta’s “trophy hunting” approach to recruitment, a high executive turnover, and his vice-like grip on product development thwarted his ability to lead. Here’s what else we know about his ouster.

4. Elon Musk said it’s “debatable” whether Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” subscription is worth it. During the company’s earnings call on Monday, Musk said customers who pay $199 for the subscription are “betting on the future.” Here’s what else he said.

5. Instagram has introduced new protections for teenage users. Starting this week, when people under 18 join the app, their account will default to private. Additionally, a tool that detects “suspicious” adult accounts will block them from interacting with kids. More on that here.

6. Watch a drone deliver a customer’s Starbucks order. The dropoff was completed by Flytrex, a startup that is looking to revolutionize delivery services by working with major chains from McDonalds to Walmart. See the video here.

7. A Google executive in Singapore who has 40 hours of meetings a week explained how she avoids burnout. To mitigate “Zoom fatigue” and burnout, Stephanie Davis prioritizes self-care like yoga and sailing, and schedules three-minute stretch breaks on her calendar. Read her other pieces of “calendar magic.”

8. Amazon rejects speculation about bitcoin payment plans as untrue. The company dismissed a report specifying its plans to accept bitcoin and to issue its own token, but said it’s still exploring crypto. Here’s what you need to know.

9. Amazon’s companywide deal to use Workday’s HR software ended after about three years. Announced in 2017, the deal struggled because the database behind Workday’s software didn’t scale as planned to support Amazon’s workforce, sources said. More on that here.

10. NDAs create a culture of silence in Silicon Valley. To understand how nondisclosure agreements have formed Silicon Valley’s culture of secrecy, we reviewed 36 agreements shared by tech workers at companies from giants like Facebook and Google to smaller startups. Here’s what we found.


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10 things in tech: RIP Twitter Fleets – Snapchat salaries – Tesla tunnel

TikTok

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1. TikTok hit three billion downloads, a critical milestone only Facebook has reached. The video-snippet platform is the fifth non-game app to ever surpass the three billion install mark, showing that Facebook isn’t the only app people can’t live without. More on that here.

2. Twitter has abandoned Fleets. The company’s version of the disappearing stories made famous by Snapchat wasn’t getting enough engagement to make it worthwhile, according to Axios. Rest in peace, Fleets.

3. Fort Lauderdale wanted Elon Musk to build a commuter train tunnel, but got a $30 million Tesla tunnel instead. Emails obtained by Insider show how Musk’s The Boring Company persuaded the city to pursue an entirely different project from the one that brought them together. Here’s what went down.

4. Apple and Goldman Sachs are launching a “buy now, pay later” service. Dubbed Apple Pay Later, the service will let you pay for products over several months, according to Bloomberg. This is how it’ll work.

5. Facebook joined Amazon in requesting the FTC’s new chairwoman be removed from any investigations. In a filing this week, the company asked that Lina Khan recuse herself, citing her past criticisms of the tech industry as biased. What we know about its request.

6. Videos of Tesla’s latest full self-driving software update don’t inspire much confidence. Taken by beta testers, some videos show the cars driving smoothly, while others show Teslas swerving into medians and narrowly missing other vehicles. You can see clips here.

7. When Yahoo offered $1 billion to buy Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg said he’d probably use the money to build (drumroll, please) another Facebook. Zuckerberg said he wouldn’t know what to do with the money Yahoo offered him in 2006, according to a new book. Read more excerpts from the book.

8. Bay Area renters have to make between $31 and $68 an hour to afford an apartment. Due to its tech scene, San Francisco has the highest rent in the country – and residents have to work two full-time, minimum-wage jobs to afford a two-bedroom apartment. Get the details here.

9. A leaked email shows cybersecurity startup Tanium lost its fourth chief marketing officer in five years. The latest exit comes as CEO Orion Hindawi says the company is preparing for an IPO. A look at what we know so far.

10. Snapchat salaries revealed: How much does Snapchat pay its employees? We researched how much Snap pays for jobs in product, marketing, engineering, and more. Here’s how much staffers get paid.


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10 things in tech: Musk visits Branson – AI tiny homes – Amazon Prime Air issues

Elon Musk is shown next to Richard Branson

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1. Elon Musk went to Richard Branson’s house at 3 a.m. to wish him luck before his flight. Branson tweeted a photo of Musk visiting him on the morning of his historic flight to the edge of space. Jeff Bezos, who is heading to space on July 20, wished Branson well in an Instagram post. Miss Branson’s launch? Check out a video of him in space.

2. About 600 people reserved tickets to space with Virgin Galactic – including A-list celebs. Tom Hanks and Lady Gaga are among those who paid $250,000 for a ticket. Virgin Galactic isn’t the only company offering space tours – here’s what passengers will get when they fly with SpaceX, Blue Origin, or Virgin Galactic.

3. Amazon’s Prime Air drone-delivery team is experiencing more growing pains. Internal conflict, high turnover, and launch delays are threatening one of Amazon’s loftiest projects, which aims to deliver packages using fully electric drones. Here are some of its pain points.

4. Singapore-based Nestron is now shipping its futuristic tiny homes overseas. The company is introducing its artificial intelligence-powered, prefabricated tiny homes – some of which start at $34,000 – to the UK this year. Take a look inside the AI-powered houses.

5. Some of Google’s own employees told Insider the company is too large and complex and needs to be broken up. “Google is all over the place,” one senior employee said of the firm’s sprawling projects. More on their dissatisfaction here.

6. Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos were spotted at the Sun Valley “billionaire summer camp.” This marks Gates’ first appearance at a major event since the announcement of his divorce from Melinda French Gates. More on that here.

7. More than 10 new electric vehicles will go on sale in the US by the end of 2021. From Porsche’s $91,000 station wagon to an electric Hummer “supertruck,” here are nine of the coolest electric vehicles launching this year.

8. WhatsApp is trying to bring Snapchat-style disappearing photos and videos to iPhones. The Facebook-owned app rolled out the feature, called View Once, to iPhone beta testers on Friday. Read up on Facebook’s latest push to mirror Snapchat’s popular features.

9. Salesforce and Amazon are becoming each other’s best allies in the battle against Microsoft. The partnership brings them so many benefits that analysts even suggested an (admittedly unlikely) way they could be even stronger together: Merging the two companies.

10. “Digital nomads” are ruining tropical paradises. Unlike tourists who stay just a few days, nomads – people who’ve willingly moved three times in the last year – create a permanent strain on local infrastructure. Read our exclusive report on the invasion of remote workers.


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10 things in tech: Richard Branson is space bound, Instacart’s next CEO, Dodge’s electric muscle car

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos.

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1. Billionaire Richard Branson is set to beat Jeff Bezos to space on Sunday. Their launches will differ in three big ways, including that Branson will ride a space plane, not a capsule launched by a rocket – and some say he won’t even reach space. Watch the flight live.

2. Instacart poached Fidji Simo from Facebook to be its next CEO. In August, Simo will take over the role from Instacart founder Apoorva Mehta, who is transitioning into the position of executive chairman of the board. More on that here.

3. Square is building a hardware crypto wallet. The payments firm wants to make bitcoin more mainstream. More on the plans.

5. Trump’s presidency drove a wedge between Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. A new book claims the execs often disagreed over how to tackle Trump’s hate speech and misinformation on the platform. Read more from the book.

5. Dodge is making an electric muscle car that will debut in 2024. Future models will be able to hit 62 mph in as little as two seconds – rivalling the Tesla Model S Plaid, currently the world’s quickest production car. Here’s what we know about the car so far.

6. Uber and Lyft could be avoiding $135 million in Canadian taxes every year. By taking advantage of lax financial disclosure requirements and classifying drivers as contractors, the companies could be skirting millions of dollars worth of taxes. Get the full rundown here.

7. Funding into Chinese startups has peaked. New data indicates that China’s share of global venture funding has been waning. Dealroom’s CEO pointed to a drop in mega-rounds, and geopolitical tensions.

8. A senior Google exec will reportedly work remotely after opposing it for staff. Urs H√∂lzle is moving to New Zealand to work remotely, a decision that sparked outrage as he had opposed remote work for lower-ranking employees. More on Google’s remote-work drama.

9. Amazon is struggling to get Aetna and other health plans to cover its medical-care service. Securing health-insurance coverage would be a crucial milestone as Amazon Care seeks to expand to more people and companies. Here are the roadblocks it’s facing.

10. Our flow chart explains Amazon’s controversial system for fixing or ousting employees. As part of our investigation into the company’s employee review program, we created a chart that takes you through each step in the process. See our exclusive chart here.


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10 things in tech: Amazon’s new era, Branson in space, Crypto startups

andy jassy amazon
New Amazon CEO Andy Jassy.

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1. Andy Jassy has started as Amazon’s new CEO, replacing Jeff Bezos. His first 100 days will set the tone for his leadership, and he’ll have to tackle issues like improving workplace conditions and unionization. More on Jassy’s challenges here.

2. Billionaire Richard Branson aims to fly to the edge of space before Jeff Bezos. Virgin Galactic announced it was planning to launch Branson aboard a flight as early as July 11; Bezos is expected to launch July 20. But the CEO of Blue Origin says Bezos will fly higher.

3. POWER PLAYERS: We looked at 35 of Google’s most powerful executives in Europe, covering everything from AI to regulation. Google faces numerous challenges in Europe, where it has been fined to the tune of almost $10 billion on antitrust grounds. Check out the full list.

4. China ordered the removal of the Didi ridehailing app from stores. The suspension comes days after the tech giant went public in New York.More on China’s tech crackdown.

5. A Gen Z VC negotiated for a paid apartment, car, tuition and other compensation perks. His employer, an east coast VC fund, agreed to a lower base pay with a rare compensation package. He explains how he did it.

6. Jeff Bezos had a number of flops under his watch. Bezos famously embraces failure as a part of doing business – even when it results in billions in losses. From a multiplayer game to Amazon Restaurants, take a look at Amazon’s biggest flops during the Bezos era.

7. Trump’s social app GETTR is off to a rocky start, with the service and several high-profile accounts experiencing hacks and security bugs. The platform’s most popular verified users, mostly former Trump aides, had their accounts compromised on Sunday and GETTR’s official support page was also targeted. Here’s who got hacked.

8. Google’s AI chief Jeff Dean sparked controversy after trying to attract marginalized groups to a research program. Critics pointed out that the company had not publicly resolved an ongoing spat between two AI researchers it fired. Dean ended up deleting his tweet.

9. Top VCs shared their 10 picks for the most promising crypto startups of 2021. From non-fungible tokens to decentralized finance and cryptocurrency, here’s what they think is worth keeping an eye on.

10. The woman who just led Turkey’s first Nasdaq listing says society remains biased about male and female roles. Hanzade Dogan is a founder of Turkey’s Amazon, Hepsiburada, which went public at a $3.5 billion valuation.Here’s how she views efforts to get women in leadership.


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10 things in tech: Amazon employees spill, Bill Gates’ other side, SpaceX launch

Jeff Bezos and Andy Jassy surrounded by images of workers and robots in Amazon warehouses

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1. Employees reveal what it’s really like working at Amazon. We’ve been investigating what the company is like when it comes to hiring, firing, performance reviews, and more. Here’s everything you need to know about working there.

2. SpaceX had to reschedule yesterday’s rocket launch. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the launch was called off because an aircraft entered the so-called “keep out zone.” Here’s what that means – and why Musk isn’t too thrilled about it.

3. Insiders say Bill Gates’ squeaky-clean image was merely good PR. People who worked with Gates told us that he was a hot-tempered office bully who pursued sexual affairs with older women. Here’s what else they said about Gates’ other side.

4. Facebook is worth $1 trillion after a US court’s dismissal of two antitrust lawsuits. The company’s court victory spurred a jump in stock – making it the youngest US company to reach the trillion-dollar milestone. More on that here.

5. Some Amazon warehouse workers in Seattle are struggling to cope with the heatwave. While the company gave iced scarves to workers at some facilities, others said Amazon had been “ill-prepared” for the weather. A look at working conditions amid the record heat.

6. A modified Tesla Model S Plaid sped 3,400 feet up Pikes Peak in less than seven minutes. The drive was part of this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, which the modified Tesla won. Watch it rip up Pikes Peak here.

7. Trump reportedly would have joined social-media site Parler – if it banned his critics. According to an excerpt from an upcoming Michael Wolff book, Parler balked at the suggestion, which was made by Trump’s reps. Read more from the excerpt.

8. You can still buy a new Windows 10 laptop – but Windows 11 requires specific hardware. The system requirements for Windows 11 are steeper than 10, but most laptops sold in the past four years will meet them. Here’s what you’ll need to keep in mind.

9. Amazon is building out its influencer program. As part of the e-commerce giant’s push toward working directly with creators, it’s now recruiting YouTube and Instagram stars to join its livestreaming platform and sell products. How the program works.

10. Tech companies are revamping their return-to-office plans. Uber decided to replace its initial plan to send employees back to the office with something a bit more flexible. Plus, a leaked memo shows that Google employees can return to the office in July – and won’t have to wear masks if they’re vaccinated.


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10 things in tech: Great Jones mutiny, Uber competitor, Foldable Kindle

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

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1. A judge has dismissed the United States’ antitrust lawsuit against Facebook. The FTC filed a lawsuit against Facebook in December, but a judge determined the FTC failed to show that Facebook had monopoly power in the social media market. Get the full story here.

2. Jeff Bezos is heading to space, but he’s not the only tech mogul obsessed with extreme experiences. A passion for the extreme seems to be common among the world’s billionaires. From racing yachts to meditating for 10 days straight, here are the wild ways tech elites spend their free time.

3. A cofounder war led every employee to quit Instagram’s trendiest cookware company. Great Jones was sent into a tailspin after one founder appeared to push her partner out of the company, causing employees to launch an uprising. More on the mutiny at Great Jones.

4. Tesla will recall about 285,000 cars in China as drivers are accidentally switching on Autopilot. Turning on the assisted driving software while in motion caused some vehicles to quickly speed up or slow down, an issue that Tesla will be fixing remotely. More on that here.

5. Corporations world wide are starting to embrace the four-day workweek. Proponents say a permanent three-day weekend would boost employee happiness and productivity – and these seven companies are giving it a shot.

6. Walter Isaacson is reportedly in early talks to write Elon Musk’s biography. Isaacson wrote the famous biography of Steve Jobs, which sold millions of copies. A look at what we know so far.

7. The Rock and Jeff Bezos are working together on a “big announcement” coming this week. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson posted a photo on Instagram that teased a partnership between his production company and Amazon Studios. More on their mysterious news.

8. Amazon could debut a Kindle with a folding screen. After a decade on the market, the new Kindle would open and close like a real book. Get the details here.

9. Tech workers are flocking to seven US cities – and not a single one is on the coasts. A new LinkedIn report found that a handful of second-tier cities were luring tech employees away from coastal hubs like New York and San Francisco. See what cities are booming right now.

10. A former McKinsey partner raised $45 million to take on Uber. Will Coleman’s company, Alto, is a premium taxi service that in many ways flies in the face of what Uber and Lyft have built. How it plans to become the Starbucks of the ride-hailing world.


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10 things in tech: John McAfee has died, Apple’s warning, Top startups

John McAfee

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1. John McAfee has died by apparent suicide in jail while awaiting extradition on tax evasion charges. McAfee, 75, was found dead in a Barcelona jail cell on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Spain’s National Court approved his extradition to face US-based charges. What we know so far.

2. Six Amazon employees reveal what’s driving people to quit. We spoke with half a dozen employees who all cited the same issues: surveillance, the work’s monotonous nature, and burnout. Here’s what else they told us.

3. These 19 companies are the most promising retail startups of 2021. Top VCs named the startups they’re most excited about this year – from Slice, a pizza delivery app, to Tonal, an at-home smart gym system. Check out our list of the ones to keep an eye on.

4. Apple warned that allowing iPhones to use apps from outside its App Store is a security risk. The warning comes as lawmakers seek to force Apple to allow apps from anywhere to be installed on iPhones. Why Apple says “sideloading” apps outside the App Store is dangerous.

5. Microsoft has hit a $2 trillion market valuation for the first time. It’s the second US-listed company – following Apple – to hit the $2 trillion mark. Get the full rundown here.

6. Mark Zuckerberg’s ghostly sunscreen application is back – this time, it’s plastered on his surfboard. It’s an image that haunts us all: Zuck surfing with a thick layer of sunscreen on his face. Now, you can see it immortalized on his surfboard.

7. Tech legend Marc Andreessen says the rise of remote work might be more important than the internet. It’s “a permanent civilizational shift” that has globally expanded the number of good jobs, he recently wrote. Wondering what the future of work should look like for you? Take this quiz to determine if you work best from home, an office or somewhere in between.

8. Apple CEO Tim Cook called Nancy Pelosi to ask her to slow down six tech antitrust bills. The bills – which Cook said would stifle innovation – are aimed at breaking up any market dominance tech giants like Apple, Google, and Facebook hold. More on Cook and Pelosi’s call.

9. Austin lured 67,000 new residents – including numerous tech execs and entrepreneurs – last year. We spoke with recent transplants who told us how no state income tax and a rollicking social scene drew them to the Lone Star State. Take an inside look at life in Texas.

10. Tractable survived near-death, then its founder turned it into a $1 billion unicorn. Just a few years ago, Tractable was hanging on by a thread. This year, the company announced a round of funding that valued it at $1 billion. How CEO Alex Dalyac and his cofounders transformed the startup.


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10 things in tech: Amazon Prime Day, Netflix org chart, Microsoft gaming future

Amazon Prime Day

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1. Amazon Prime Day kicks off today. This is what you can expect from one of the biggest sales of the year. Plus, here are some deals that other retailers are offering, too.

2. 34 women are suing Pornhub, alleging it’s profited from trafficked videos. One plaintiff said she was trafficked from age seven. More on the case here.

3. Microsoft is preparing for a future without consoles. At E3, the tech giant released a range of titles that can be played on its Xbox consoles, but also its streaming service. How the old gaming playbook is being tested.

4. Amazon is probing allegations of gender bias after an Insider report. It follows internal complaints of a hostile workplace for women and a culture of male-dominated leadership. More on the investigation.

5. Ford may be working on electric successors to its Maverick and Ranger pickups. Nothing’s official, but the automaker said it’s working on midsize electric trucks. How CEO Jim Varley sees Ford’s electric future.

6. Will Jeff Bezos be an astronaut when he launches off with Blue Origin? Experts are conflicted. Academics say there isn’t consensus on where space begins. More on Bezos’ astronaut status.

7. A major cruise line says customer data may have been accessed after a data breach. Carnival Corp says outsiders may have obtained Social Security and passport numbers, addresses, and health data. That came after two ransomware attacks earlier in 2021.

8. Revolut, the major UK fintech, nearly doubled its losses in 2020 as the pandemic bit. The $5.5 billion fintech is set to raise further funding, and pointed to uplifts in its crypto- and stock-trading businesses. More on the loss-making business.

9. We got hold of leaked documents detailing Amazon’s performance-review program. Employees said the turnaround plan can feel more like an effort to oust staff rather than keep them. More on the Pivot program here.

10. We mapped out Netflix’s 66 most powerful people after it overhauled its leadership. In addition to our numerous other org charts for top companies like Google and JPMorgan, we outlined people in key leadership positions at the streaming giant. Check out our exclusive Netflix org chart.


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10 things in tech: Elon Musk’s Zillow listing, Google Health shakeup, ‘Sexiest’ VCs

Elon Musk's Bay Area home in a Zillow listing.

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Tomorrow is Juneteenth. Here are a few ways to celebrate the day.

Now, let’s get started.

1. Elon Musk’s last remaining home is listed on Zillow for $37.5 million. The 16,000-square-foot mansion – which he’s selling to help fund a Mars colony – sits on 47 acres and has a pool, hiking trails, and space for 11 cars. Take a look at the listing.

2. Insider compiled seven pitch decks that fintechs used to raise millions. These hot new startups are looking to disrupt banking, wealth management, and credit scores. See the pitch decks that sold their vision.

3. Google Health is undergoing a major reorganization. The division is downsizing its health team and moving employees to Fitbit – yet another growing pain for a tech company that’s still finding its voice in healthcare. Read our exclusive report on the shakeup here.

4. Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella is now also the company’s chair. His new position makes him the first person since Bill Gates to hold both roles at the same time. Get the latest on his new role.

5. WeWork’s cofounder is reportedly spending $44 million on two Miami Beach properties. Adam Neumann’s purchase comes just months after he sold his compound in San Francisco’s Bay Area. A look at what we know about the properties.

6. Bitcoin bull Mike Novogratz says Elon Musk’s tweets don’t help crypto – he just likes the attention. Musk’s crypto-themed Twitter outbursts aren’t good for other investors, Novogratz said. Here’s why.

7. OnlyFans is plotting to move away from adult content and become more mainstream. The adult-entertainment site is also reportedly in talks to raise new funding at a valuation above $1 billion. Get the full scoop here.

8. Airbnb faces thousands of sexual-assault claims every year, but manages to keep many out of the public eye. Payouts, arbitration, and NDAs have helped Airbnb avoid scrutiny on safety issues, according to a report by Bloomberg. More on that here.

9. A new website is asking people to rank the sexiest venture capitalists alive. So far, the website has logged about 5,000 page views and 50,000 votes, including from Seven Seven Six founder Alexis Ohanian. Here’s what investors had to say about it.

10. Blade, the Uber for helicopters and chartered jets, had a fake spokesperson for three years. CEO Rob Wiesenthal admitted Blade created a fake communications director to interact with reporters and author the company’s newsletter. Get the details on the made-up persona.


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