Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.
- Google has been fined $US1.7 billion by the European Union for its third breach of EU antitrust rules in three years. The fine relates to Google’s abuse of its dominance in search advertising, with the firm pressuring third-party publishers to use its AdSense tool.
- Huawei’s CTO for Germany has dismissed spying claims as absurd and “technically impossible.” The entire debate, he said, was being conducted by non-technical experts and related to politicians’ wider concerns about China.
- Apple finally launched its second-generation AirPods, which offer hands-free Siri support and the option for wireless charging. The new AirPods are powered by Apple’s new H1 chip, which should make it possible to connect to devices more quickly and deliver more talk time.
- Google is going to make it easier for Android users in Europe to select competing browsers and search apps. According to the firm’s policy chief, Google will ask existing and new Android users in Europe which browser and search apps they would like to use.
- It isn’t clear how great an experience Google’s new Stadia cloud gaming service will be for most users. Comments from Google suggest players will need not just fast internet, but a connection that remains pretty stable.
- A number of internet service providers in Australia temporarily blocked sites that hosted footage of the New Zealand gunman carrying out an attack on two mosques. The ban included platforms such as 4chan, 8chan, and LiveLeak.
- The success of “Fortnite” has helped the game’s creators carve out a major stake in the PC gaming market. During a keynote address at the Game Developers Conference earlier today, Epic Games announced that its digital storefront surpassed 85 million users in less than four months.
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke out about criticism of the opposition she took to the deal New York struck for Amazon’s HQ2. At a community-board meeting, she emphasised that her problem was with the process of how the deal was made, its lack of transparency, and a lack of enforcement of how promises made by Amazon would be kept.
- Former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is getting a $US60 million payout package from Verizon. The so-called golden parachute follows Armstrong’s departure from the company in October, and comes after Verizon wrote down about about half of Oath’s $US9 billion value.
- Bill Gates is $US9.5 billion richer than he was one year ago, despite many people thinking his philanthropy is shrinking his wealth. He’s now one of two people with a net worth of $US100 billion – the only other person is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
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