Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Friday.
- Apple laid off 200 people from its secretive self-driving car unit Project Titan. CNBC reported that the layoffs were billed internally as a restructure after two executives joined Titan late last year.
- Google quietly urged the US government to narrow legal protections for workers organising online, Bloomberg reported. Current rules allow employees to use their workplace email to circulate petitions or have discussions about forming unions, but Google asked for those rules to be changed.
- Mark Zuckerberg wrote 1,000 words defending Facebook in the Wall Street Journal. The placement of the column in The Journal indicates that Facebook wants to reassure the newspaper’s influential audience – including investors and politicians – that the company still serves an important purpose.
- High-end speaker brand Sonos is considering a move into headphones, Bloomberg reported. The wireless, over-the-ear headphones might arrive in 2020.
- More than 1,000 media jobs were lost in just one day in the US after Huffington Post owner Verizon, Gannett, and BuzzFeed announced cuts in staff. The losses are a signal of digital and traditional media’s ongoing struggle against Facebook, Google, and even Netflix as competition.
- One of the most powerful CEOs in China hinted that Trump’s trade war wouldn’t hurt its “self-sufficient” market of 1 billion consumers. Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said Chinese consumers had considerable spending power, meaning US and European firms would always want to do business in China.
- The top 10 US video subscription apps pulled in a collective $US1.32 billion in 2018, up 72% year on year, TechCrunch reported. The top app was, unsurprisingly, Netflix.
- A survey by the UK’s Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) showed that half of parents with children under five had seen anti-vaccination messages online. The anti-vaxx movement has found a foothold on social media, and a spokesman for the RSPH said people cannot afford to be complacent about its effect.
- Meizu, the 11th biggest smartphone maker in the world and one of the most popular consumer tech brands in China, announced a smartphone without ports, holes, or wires on Wednesday. Sound comes from the screen, the phone charges wirelessly, and it isn’t clear how you’d listen to sound through headphones.
- The founders of dog-walking startup Wag, which raised $US300 million from SoftBank, have a new startup.Jonathan and Joshua Viner have set up Wheels, a new electric bike-sharing startup.
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