10 things in tech you need to know today
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Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Friday.
- Amazon made its first official challenge to Microsoft's $10 billion JEDI cloud-contract win over claims of 'unmistakable bias.' Amazon has filed a protest in the US Court of Federal Claims, arguing that there were errors in the procurement process.
- WeWork has sent combative legal letters to people it laid off in a round of job cuts earlier in 2019, warning them not to compete with its business. The letters warn the former employees to stick to the terms of their contracts, or the company will pursue legal action.
- Insiders have raised questions about Plenty, the buzzy farming startup backed by SoftBank and Jeff Bezos. The sources told Business Insider that Plenty's leadership repeatedly touted expectations for the company that did not materialize during their time at Plenty, and even that they felt unsafe at work on more than one occasion.
- A multistate investigation into potential anticompetitive behavior by Google has expanded to its search and Android businesses. Previously, attorneys general from 48 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico were only looking into Google's digital ads business, but the broadened investigation adds to Google's regulatory headaches.
- Instagram is now experimenting with removing 'likes' worldwide. Last week, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri announced that the company would start removing likes on posts in the US, an experiment which it has already been testing in seven other countries.
- Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk described how his brain-chips company Neuralink Musk could "solve a lot of brain-related diseases," naming autism and schizophrenia as examples - but autism is not a disease. Musk has talked before about Neuralink's potential to treat neurological conditions such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
- Lawmakers have turned their fire on Goldman Sachs over the Apple Card and say the bank needs to explain its algorithm. Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden separately called out Goldman Sachs for its handling of recent allegations that its credit decisions for the Apple Card were biased.
- Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said Disney Plus' reliance on universes like Marvel and "Star Wars" comes with a big risk at a Paley International Council Summit event in New York on Thursday. "I don't know if it's a luxury or a trap," Sarandos said when asked about the Disney's legacy brands. "The risk of being bound in a few universes [is] that there maybe a melting ice cube of interest over time."
- 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang has released his plan to regulate the tech industry, including a policy on giving people a right to own their personal data, enabling them to make money by sharing it with companies. That would be a huge shift from the current status quo where companies fully own users' data, giving them little control over how it's used.
- A Silicon Valley startup is offering $10,000 to workers who volunteer to leave the Bay Area. Tech firms can hire MainStreet to recruit and hire workers in Silicon Valley, and MainStreet will give those employees a stipend to work remotely in one of the startup's own brick-and-mortar offices outside the Bay Area.
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