Data Sheet—Some More Skepticism About Blockchains, Bitcoins, and What Not

Keeping the lawyers busy. Two weeks after sending a cease-and-desist letter, eBay sued Amazon, accusing its rival of illegally poaching sellers. EBay says Amazon employees used the auction site’s messaging service to contact top sellers seeking to convince them to switch platforms. Amazon said it was investigating the situation. Separately, Amazon’s $100 million Alexa Fund invested an undisclosed amount in SevenRooms, a restaurant and hotel software developer.

Less essential. Android creator Andy Rubin’s smartphone startup Essential laid off about 30% of its staff, Bloomberg reports. The company’s original product didn’t sell well, and Rubin canceled a follow-up in May to concentrate on developing other kinds of smart devices.

Passing the cup. After hearing from interested investors, Uber may spin off a minority stake in its self-driving car unit, Advanced Technologies Group, the Financial Times reported. Such a plan would follow General Motors’ decision to take outside investment from SoftBank and Honda in its self-driving car effort, Cruise, while retaining majority control. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has previously rejected calls from some current investors to divest the ATG unit entirely.

A difficult situation. Speaking of SoftBank, the tech conglomerate run by Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son may have to delay a second huge investment fund, as scandal swirls around top funder Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. SoftBank is “anxiously looking at what is happening” and “there is no certainty” about a sequel to its $100 billion Vision Fund, which is almost half Saudi money, COO Marcelo Claure said on Wednesday.

I don’t remember taking that picture. Starting on Wednesday, Apple extended to its U.S. customers the ability to download all personal data the company has collected, matching the feature made available to European customers back in May under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. The downloadable data set includes everything from stored photos and documents to app purchase and usage history, Apple says.

I’m not sure how well this works in real life, but it looks so damn cool. Upstart drone maker Skydio introduced an app for the Apple watch to control the flight of its AI-powered R1 drone. The app includes simplified flying controls and even uses the watch’s digital crown control to rotate the drone. The Verge got to test the new app and found it “a pretty flawless experience.”

Good point. We brought news of Apple’s revised bagel emoji yesterday, but some people used the light-hearted news to make a more important point. Artist Ace Ratcliffe pointed out on Twitter: “we have revamped the bagel emoji but still don’t have disabled human emojis, even though disabled humans make up 20% of the population. almost 60 MILLION people.”

Published on: 2018-10-18 12:46:43

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