10 things in tech you need to know today

Warner Bros.Niantic is expected to make a ‘Harry Potter’ game after its fundraise.

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Friday.

  1. Apple has slipped further down the ranks of the most valuable companies, dropping behind Google parent Alphabet to fourth place. Its valuation, once above $US1 trillion, slipped to around $US680 billion on Thursday.
  2. Wall Street took an apocalyptic view of Apple’s shock sales warning, with analysts almost universally reducing their price targets. Analysts worried that China’s economic slowdown had impacted Apple so severely.
  3. Apple’s attempts to distract Wall Street by talking up its $US10.8 billion services business were somewhat undermined by Netflix finding a way to circumvent iTunes billing. Figures show that Apple is hugely reliant on the revenue it earns from its unpopular 30% levy on app subscriptions, one-off payments, and in-app content purchases – but Netflix’s latest move puts that revenue stream at risk.
  4. The comedian whose show was pulled from Netflix in Saudi Arabia said that the kingdom had played itself by encouraging more people to talk about and watch the show. Hasan Minhaj said that the removal of the episode made it go viral, and that more people saw it as a result.
  5. Mark Zuckerberg stopped selling off his Facebook stock in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to a Bloomberg report on Thursday. The decision to cease the sale of his options amid the stock’s recent decline is likely Zuckerberg protecting his majority stake in the company.
  6. Elizabeth Herbst-Brady, Snap’s head of global strategic partnerships, is leaving the company. Herbst-Brady is the latest in a string of executives to leave Snap in recent months.
  7. New York’s governor called Tesla to see if the company could help fix NYC’s subway system. Andrew Cuomo was discussing an idea to improve the signal system used by NYC’s subway, which he said would take seven to ten years to install.
  8. Enigmatic life science company Verily has raised a mega funding round of $US1 billion led by technology investment firm Silver Lake. Formerly called Google Life Sciences, Verily aims to develop tools that help collect and organise health data.
  9. Payment firm Square has hired Amrita Ahuja as its new CFO, three months after predecessor Sarah Friar left to become CEO of Nextdoor. Ahuja joins from Blizzard Entertainment.

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