NewsBytes Tech Briefing: Apple, Amazon offices raided in Italy
In the tech world, the news cycle was dominated by revenue reports and antitrust investigations. To begin with, Apple and Amazon's offices were raided in Italy over an antitrust investigation launched by the country's competition authority. They have reportedly been accused of unfairly curbing the sale of Apple's Beats headphones by sellers other than those who are a part of their official reseller program.
Elon Musk's EV company Tesla reported its fourth straight quarter of profitability, becoming eligible to be part of the companies that make up the S&P 500 stock index. During the earnings call, the billionaire tech mogul also announced that the company will make its next Gigafactory near Austin, Texas, and use it for the production of Cybertruck, Semi, Model 3 and Model Y.
Along with Tesla, Microsoft also posted quarterly earnings, beating expectations — for both sales and profits. The company reported a 13% increase in overall revenue, with Xbox content and services witnessing the biggest spike — 65%. However, Microsoft is also facing some troubles, as Slack filed an anti-competitive complaint with the European Commission against the Redmond giant.
Even though WhatsApp's peer-to-peer payment system is not yet fully available in India, the messaging service is eying to expand its scope. At yesterday's Global Fintech Fest conference, Abhijit Bose, the head of the company's India arm, claimed that they will soon add more partners to test offerings like insurance, micro-pension, and credit services for lower-income people, especially in rural India.
Once again, Facebook announced changes for its products. The company confirmed a test under which it is bringing a new redesigned interface for public pages, with a cleaner and more readable layout and without the 'Like' button or count. Secondly, it also announced more stringent message controls and a feature that allows iPhone users to protect their chat with Face ID or Touch ID.
Among other things, the New York Times' COO, Meredith Kopit Levien, got elevated to the position of CEO, Spotify signed a music deal with Universal Music Group, and Amazon confirmed Alexa will trigger apps and functions from voice commands on Android and iOS devices. Meanwhile, Japan's Supreme court ruled that Twitter will have to provide details of people retweeting copyright-infringing images to rights-holders.
India reported 45,000+ new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, witnessing the biggest spike in a single day and taking the total tally of infections to 12.4 lakh. Mike Ryan, WHO's head of emergencies program, said vaccines are making good progress but their use cannot be expected until early-2021. Plus, the Pharma department of India raised alarms around the over-prescription of anti-viral drugs.