We may not find out whether the vaccines prevent moderate or severe cases of Covid-19.
The question of how policymakers should respond to the power of big tech didn’t get a great deal of airtime at TechCrunch Disrupt last week, despite a number of investigations now underway in the United States (hi, Google).
It’s also clear that attention- and data-monopolizing platforms compel many startups to use their comparatively slender resources to find ways to compete with the giants — or hope to be acquired by them.
But there’s clearly a nervousness among even well-established tech firms to discuss this topic, given how much their profits rely on frictionless access to users of some of the gatekeepers in question.
Dropbox founder and CEO Drew Houston evinced this dilemma when TechCrunch Editor-in-Chief Matthew Panzarino asked him if Apple’s control of the iOS App Store should be “reexamined” by regulators or whether it’s just legit competition.
“I think it’s an important conversation on a bunch of dimensions,” said Houston, before offering a circular and scrupulously balanced reply in which he mentioned the “ton of opportunity” app stores have unlocked for third-party developers, checking off some of Apple’s preferred talking points like “being able to trust your device” and the distribution the App Store affords startups.
“They also are a huge competitive advantage,” Houston added. “And so I think the question of … how do we make sure that there’s still a level playing field and so that owning an app store isn’t too much of an advantage? I don’t know where it’s all going to end up. I do think it’s an important conversation to be had.”
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) said the question of whether large tech companies are too powerful needs to be reframed.
“Big per se is not bad,” she told TC’s Zack Whittaker. “We need to focus on whether competitors and consumers are being harmed. And, if that’s the case, what are the remedies?”
In recent years, U.S. lawmakers have advanced their understanding of digital business models — making great strides since Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg answered a question two years ago about how his platform makes money: “Senator, we sell ads.”
A House antitrust subcommittee hearing in July 2020 that saw the CEOs of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple answer awkward questions and achieved a higher dimension of detail than the big tech hearings of 2018.
Nonetheless, there still seems to be a lack of consensus among lawmakers over how exactly to grapple with big tech, even though the issue elicits bipartisan support, as was in plain view during a Senate Judiciary Committee interrogation of Google’s ad business earlier this month.
On stage, Lofgren demonstrated some of this tension by discouraging what she called “bulky” and “lengthy” antitrust investigations, making a general statement in favor of “innovation” and suggesting a harder push for overarching privacy legislation. She also advocated at length for inalienable rights for U.S. citizens so platform manipulators can’t circumvent rules with their own big data holdings and some dark pattern design.
Die Apple Watch ist teuer, über 400 Euro kostet das neueste Modell. TechStage zeigt, wie Sie eine Apple Watch Series 6 & Co. günstiger mit Vertrag bekommen.
Sechs Wochen vor der US-Wahl versucht Donald Trump, durch scharfe Kritik an China bei den Wählern zu punkten. Peking habe das “China-Virus” auf “die Welt losgelassen” und müsse “zur Rechenschaft gezogen” werden. Chinas Regierungschef Xi reagiert kühl.
A 400-resident village in Wales suffered 18 months of DSL Internet outages each morning until the culprit was identified as electrical interference from an old TV set.
The residents of Aberhosan mysteriously experienced the outages each morning at 7am. Openreach, a BT subsidiary that provides Internet service in the UK, replaced old cables in the village in an attempt to stop the outages.
“Unfortunately, this didn’t resolve the problems and so they began sleuthing for electromagnetic interference with the aid of a spectrum analyzer,” according to an article in ISPreview today. The article has a lengthy quote from Openreach engineer Michael Jones, who said, “Not being able to solve the fault for our customers left us feeling frustrated and downbeat, but we were determined to get to the bottom it.” Jones explained what happened next:
Multiple investigations into Google parent Alphabet’s competition practices may finally be reaching a head, as state and federal regulators meet today to plan next steps for one or more lawsuits against the company.
Attorneys from the Department of Justice are meeting today with attorneys general from several different states about imminent plans to file an antitrust suit against Google, the Washington Post and Bloomberg report.
The DOJ began its antitrust probe of “market-leading online platforms” a little more than a year ago, without naming names. Google was widely assumed to be one of the targets, and the company confirmed last September that it was indeed under investigation.
Readers recall clerking for R.B.G. while her husband was dying, chatting with her during a daughter’s class trip and having her as a law professor.
Tischmanieren sind unserem Autor wichtig. Seine Tochter nimmt mit den Händen die Nudeln aus dem Topf und schlürft ihre Apfelschorle. Macht sie das wirklich nur zu Hause?
Weeks before lockdown, I made a whirlwind tour of Istanbul’s public baths. It was a crash course in pleasure that helped me understand what we’ve lost since.
A total of 156 countries—representing about 64 percent of the world’s population—have committed to pooling resources to help develop, buy, and equitably distribute two billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021.
“This isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, which is co-leading the effort along with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
So far, 64 high-income countries have signed on to the effort, as well as 92 low- and middle-income countries, which would be eligible for support in procuring vaccine doses. Gavi CEO Seth Berkley said in a WHO press conference on Monday that he expects 38 more countries to sign up in the coming days.
More than seven years after Amazon began its e-commerce operations in India, and two years after its shopping service added support for Hindi, the most popular language in the country, the American giant is embracing more local languages to court hundreds of millions of new users.
Amazon announced on Tuesday its website and apps now support Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu in a move that it said would help it reach an additional 200-300 million users in the country.
Localization is one of the most crucial — and popular — steps for companies to expand their potential reach in India. Netflix added support for Hindi last month, and Amazon’s Alexa started conversing in the Indian language last year. (Amazon’s on-demand video streaming service, Prime Video, also supports Hindi, in addition to Tamil and Telugu.)
The company said the usage of Hindi, which it rolled out on its website and apps in India in 2018, has grown by three times in the past five months, and “hundreds of thousands” of Amazon customers have switched to Hindi shopping experience.
Amazon’s further language push comes months after its chief rival in India, Walmart -owned Flipkart, added support for Tamil, Telugu and Kannada, three languages that are spoken by roughly 200 million people in India.
Like Flipkart, Amazon worked with expert linguists to develop an accurate and comprehensible experience in each of the languages, the American e-commerce firm said.
But simple translation is not enough to make inroads with users in India. YouTube and YouTube Music, for instance, understand when Bollywood fans in India search for music by the name of the movie character or actor who played the part instead of the actual musician or song title — a phenomenon unique among Indian users.
Amazon appears to have incorporated similar learnings into its shopping experience. The company said for translations it preferred using commonly used terms from daily life over perfectly translated words.
Kishore Thota, Director of Customer Experience and Marketing at Amazon India, termed the availability of Amazon India shopping experience in four new languages a “major milestone.”
The move comes weeks ahead of Diwali, the biggest festival in India that sees hundreds of millions of Indians spend lavishly. “We are super excited to do this ahead of the upcoming festive season,” said Thota.
A quick tour of some of the Bethesda gaming franchises Microsoft now owns begins with The Elder Scrolls series.
As recently as last weekend, it seemed relatively certain that the next games in major franchises like Doom, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Dishonored, and The Evil Within would come to the PlayStation 5 (and maybe even to the Nintendo Switch). That certainty went out the window yesterday, though, when Microsoft announced that it would spend $7.5 billion to acquire major publisher Bethesda Softworks.
Still, there is some hope for Bethesda fans who don’t want to play on Xbox, PC, or via Microsoft’s xCloud streaming. Future Bethesda titles will still be considered for multi-platform release “on a case-by-case basis,” Microsoft Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said in an interview with Bloomberg News Monday morning.
Thus far, there are only a few clues as to which games might qualify for either side of that “case-by-case” line.
Don’t let budget woes keep you from participating in TC Sessions: Mobility 2020 on October 6-7. We’re dedicated to making this event accessible to as many members of the mobility community as possible. Case in point: today we’re announcing the new Expo Ticket for just $25.
Pro tip: Get your Expo ticket today. The price jumps to $50 once the conference begins on October 6.
What can you do with an Expo ticket? The short answer is plenty. You’ll have access to all the Mobility 2020 breakout sessions, which take a deeper dive into specific topics. We’ll be announcing those breakout sessions soon. Watch for our announcement, and be sure to check out the Mobility 2020 agenda.
“I learned a lot from the breakout sessions. An official from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation spoke about the city’s plan to build pathways for micro mobility vehicles. Access to experts sharing that kind of information is essential for anyone launching a micro mobility startup.” — Parug Demircioglu, CEO at Invemo and partner at Nito Bikes.
Plus, you can explore 40+ startups — both early stage and more established companies — exhibiting during the conference. Think of “Expo” as an alternative way to spell “opportunity.” Connect with the exhibiting founders, hear their product stories and watch their demos. You might find your next customer, partner, investment or employer.
We’ve got your back in the networking department with CrunchMatch. Our AI-powered platform helps you find and connect with the people who align with your business goals. Answer a few simple questions when you register and CrunchMatch will be ready to do the heavy lifting for you. Peruse the offerings and schedule 1:1 video calls with the folks who can help you take your startup dream to the next level. It’s the perfect tool to help organize and simplify your expo exploration.
“CrunchMatch, which is basically speed-dating for techies, was very helpful. I scheduled at least 10 short, precise meetings. I learned about startups in stealth mode, what big corporations were up to — things not yet picked up by the press. It was great, and I followed up on three or four of those connections.” — Jens Lehmann, technical lead and product manager, SAP.
Join mobility’s brightest minds, makers and investors at TC Sessions: Mobility 2020 on October 6-7. Set aside your budget concerns and buy an opportunity-packed Expo Pass — before October 6 — for just $25. We can’t wait to “see” you there!
Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: Mobility 2020? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.
Maya Gabeira didn’t just ride the biggest wave ever ridden by a woman. It was the biggest wave surfed by anyone in the 2019-20 winter season, a first for women in professional surfing.
Jeden Abend fassen wir die wichtigsten Wirtschaftsnews des Tages zusammen. Heute mit dem Anlageskandal um die Firma Bonus.Gold, den Filialschließungen der Deutschen Bank und einem Gespräch mit BlackRock-Spitzenökonomin Elga Bartsch.
Over the past four years or so, HMD has carved out a nice little niche for itself with its Nokia-branded handsets. The instant name recognition of a legacy brand was a nice little perch on which to gain some footing in an overcrowded market.
Pricing has long been a key to its appeal, as well, and that’s on display with the arrival of the company’s first 5G-enabled handset. The Nokia 8.5 5G runs $699 and goes up for pre-order today in the U.S. It will also be hitting Amazon in the coming weeks. It’s not cheap by the company’s standards, but it’s definitely among the more competitively priced 5G handsets around.
The phone is also set to make an appearance in the upcoming Bond film. It features four rear-facing cameras, including a 64-megapixel lens and a macro — an uncommon but increasingly popular alternative on the latest batch of smartphones. The screen is a massive 6.81 inches, and the device is — unsurprisingly — powered by Qualcomm’s mid-tier Snapdragon 765G.
Today’s announcement also finds Nokia bringing its fully wireless earbuds stateside. No specific time frame was given for the Power Earbuds, but they’ll be priced at a reasonable $99. There’s stiff competition in the market, these days — especially in the low end of the market — but the buds have been getting a pretty positive reaction for their price point, thanks to a comfortable design and a ridiculous 150 hours of battery courtesy of their massive charging case.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the way a number of companies have had to do business. For the event discovery startup, IRL, it meant pivoting into the virtual events space. This April, the startup quickly reacted to government lockdowns and restrictions on in-person gatherings to focus on helping people find their online counterparts and other virtual events, like live-streamed concerts, Zoom parties, esports tournaments, and more. Today, those efforts are paying off as IRL announces $16 million in Series B funding and the expansion of its social calendaring app to colleges.
The new round was led by Goodwater Capital with participation from Founders Fund, Floodgate, and Raine, and comes on top of the $11 million IRL had previously raised, including its $8 million Series A last year.
The coronavirus pandemic, surprisingly, may have made IRL relevant to a wider audience. Before, IRL was mostly useful to those who lived in areas where there were a lot of events to attend, or who could afford to travel. But with the refocusing on “remote life” instead of “real life,” more people could launch the app to find something interesting to do — even if it was only online.
In fitting with its new focus, IRL redesigned its app earlier this year to create a new homescreen experience where users could discover events they could attend remotely. This design continues to be tweaked, and now features a colorful “discover” tab in the app where you can tap into various event categories, like gaming, music, tv, wellness, sports, podcasts, lifestyle, and more, including those sourced from partners like TikTok, Meetup, Twitch, Spotify, SoundCloud, HBO, Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, and others.
There are also dedicated sections for events you’re following and a curated Top Picks. The IRL in-app calendar, meanwhile, lets you easily see what’s happening today and in the weeks and months ahead.
According to TikTok, IRL had helped it gauge early interest in its The Weekend Experience event, with some 52,000 IRL RSVPs and 1.1 million followers on its IRL profile.
“IRL has been an amazing platform for us to engage with more of our audience and meet new potential users,” said Jenny Zhu, Head of Integrated Marketing U.S. at TikTok. She also added that TikTok sees “major traffic coming from IRL” and is “excited to continue our partnership.”
In terms of growth, IRL claims its users are now tracking over 1 million hours per spent daily in “Time Together” — a metric that tabulates the number of hours users are spending together at the events they RSVP’d to, virtual or otherwise. In addition, IRL says it has seen 10x growth in daily active users and a total of 300 million “Time Together” hours since last June. It also claims 5.5 million MAUs.
While IRL doesn’t share its download figures, app store intelligence firm Sensor Tower estimates the app has seen a total of 7.7 million installs across iOS and Android.
With the additional capital, IRL is expanding with the launch of a college network.
Its goal is to improve upon the Facebook experience for the younger, student demographic by helping college users find, share, and attend academic and social events, both physical and virtual. However, just this month Facebook launched its own college network, Facebook Campus, which allows students to privately network and track student events on the Facebook platform, outside of their main Facebook profile.
IRL says it’s starting its college network with 100 colleges and universities across the North America, including Harvard, Columbia and NYU. Facebook Campus, meanwhile, launched with 30 schools.
“IRL is the only social platform that helps users find the best ways to spend their time and actually encourages them to get off the platform,” said IRL founder and CEO Abraham Shafi, Founder, about the launch of the new network. “Colleges and universities, in particular, need a way to build and foster a sense of community, whether their students are away from campus remote learning or on campus practicing hybrid learning,” he explained.
For IRL’s investor, Chi-Hua Chien, a Managing Partner at Goodwater Capital, the potential in IRL is its focus on real connections and community-building.
“We believe IRL will grow to become one of the major social networks powering communities on the Internet and in the real world,” Chien said. “IRL delivers on the promise to make social media less isolating, by helping drive authentic connection between friends and family around events they care about,” he added.
Sleep is tough to come by even when there isn’t a pandemic raging. Even when it doesn’t feel like the world is coming apart at the seams every damn day. Bose’s original Sleepbuds pre-date the current desperate moment of “coronasomnia” (not my turn of phrase, mind) by a couple of years, but the timing of the Sleepbuds II could hardly be better.
The new version follows the same principle as its predecessor: comfortable buds that you can wear to sleep. And once again, they rely on Bose’s proprietary content. That was one of my bigger issues with the original buds, and that seems to still be the case here. Bose continues to update its content, but you can’t listen to your own calming music on these $250 headphones.
Per Bose, “They aren’t active noise cancelling headphones or in-ear headphones with an added feature, and they don’t stream music or let you take and make calls — because every last detail was optimized for one thing — better sleep, all night, every night.” That understandably may be a dealbreaker for some — particularly at that price point. That said, there are a number of other sleep-focused earbuds that do let you customize content if you’re like me and enjoy falling asleep to weird ambient albums.
The content library is still a bit limited, but expanding. There are 35 free tracks, including,
When that’s caused by noise, 14 noise-masking tracks mirror the frequencies of night-time disruptions, hiding them under soothing layers of audio. When it’s caused by how you feel, new relaxation options are now available: 15 Naturescapes help calm racing thoughts with walks down a Country Road, Shore Line, Boardwalk, and beyond; 10 Tranquilities help lower stress and tension with tones to Lift, Drift, Dream, and more.
The buds themselves are lighter than before, and the noise canceling has been improved. There are also new, proprietary ear tips for added comfort. All welcome additions, no doubt. The battery should give you 10 hours of playback on a charge — more than enough for most nights. The new charging case provides an extra 30 hours — that will be nice for when we travel again. There’s also a tiny bit of storage for up to 10 sound files on the bud.
The Sleepbuds II go up for preorder today and will start shipping in early October.