10 tech facts you should know today 03/04/2020

  1. A leaked memo obtained by Vice showed Amazon’s efforts to mount a smear campaign against a worker it fired. The memo was written by one of Amazon’s top lawyers who described the fired worker, Chris Smalls, as “not smart or articulate.”
  2. Zoom’s CEO has apologized to the video conferencing app’s millions of users over privacy concerns. “We recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s — and our own — privacy and security expectations,” founder Eric Yuan said in a blog post.
  3. Japanese investor SoftBank stated it is dropping a plan to buy $3 billion worth of WeWork shares, claiming ‘significant’ criminal and civil investigations. The decision nixes an offer to buy $3 billion worth of shares from other WeWork investors and employees, including nearly $970 million worth from former CEO Adam Neumann.
  4. Apple seemed to unintentionally leak details of an unreleased iPhone accessory, which would help you find lost items with your phone. Apple posted and quickly removed a video tutorial that mentioned an unreleased and long-rumored product called AirTags.
  5. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will give $100 million to support food banks that are facing shortages due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Bezos wrote that food insecurity in American households is an important problem that will be made worse by COVID-19.
  6. Disney will furlough employees during the Coronavirus crisis. This will begin on April 19 after the company’s theme parks, cruise lines, retail stores, and film productions have all been hit by the pandemic. 
  7. Bill Gates has said the US must have a nationwide shutdown for at least 10 more weeks to fight coronavirus. The Microsoft founder called for a “consistent nationwide approach to shutting down” to combat the spread of the Coronavirus. 
  8. Airbnb has reportedly dropped its internal valuation to $26 billion as the coronavirus halts travel worldwide. That’s a 16% drop from the company’s previous valuation of $31 billion, according to PitchBook.
  9. Venture capital-backed startups will become eligible for $350 billion in small business loans guaranteed by the federal government. Coronavirus stimulus provides forgivable loans of up to $10 million for companies with fewer than 500 employees but contained an affiliation rule which would have excluded small businesses with venture capitalists as shareholders. 
  10. The CEO of Voi, a European rival to $2.5 billion scooter startup Bird, revealed the firm has furloughed and laid off staff to cope with COVID-19. The company has laid off and furloughed most of its staff in an attempt to manage the ongoing pandemic.