10 things in tech you need to know today

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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 Wednesday.

  1. Facebook's ads business is being hurt by coronavirus - even though the lockdown has caused unprecedented usage. Much of the activity is on unmonetized services, while advertisers are pulling back due to the pandemic.
  2. Startup founders say investors are using the coronavirus to renege on term sheets. Founders and other investors described how some VCs were responding to the crisis by lowering valuations and backing away from deals.
  3. Amazon says the Pentagon isn't really serious about fixing the JEDI process and accuses it of wanting to give Microsoft a 'do-over' in $10 billion cloud contract. Amazon had initially cheered the Defense Department's request to remand the case in order for the Pentagon to reconsider its decision.
  4. Apple expects to start reopening its retail stores in the first half of April. According to a new report from Bloomberg, the company will begin reopening its nearly 500 retail stores around the world next month on a staggered basis.
  5. SoftBank considered a big move to take the company private before settling on a plan to sell off billions in assets. According to the Financial Times, SoftBank held talks to take the company private with activist investor Elliot Management and Abu Dhabi's sovereign fund Mubadala.
  6. TripActions, the $4 billion Andreessen Horowitz-backed corporate travel startup, has laid off 350 employees as the travel industry grinds to a halt. The company had over 1,000 employees prior to the cuts, according to startup database PitchBook, which would mean that the layoffs affected roughly a third of its workforce.
  7. Brex, the $2.6 billion credit card startup, used its deep pockets to acquire 3 startups as founders scramble with sinking valuations and VC uncertainty. The firm announced Tuesday that it had acquired blockchain startup Neji, web publishing startup Compose Labs, and internal database company Landria for undisclosed amounts.
  8. Google is extending the contracts of temporary workers whose jobs were due to end during the pandemic. The company is keeping workers who were due to end from March 20 onwards on for an extra two months.
  9. Apple is donating 9 million protective face masks to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. CEO Tim Cook spoke with Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
  10. Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM, and Microsoft are worse at transcribing black people's voices than white people's with AI voice recognition, a study found. Previous studies have shown that AI systems like facial recognition develop racial bias when trained on data sets of primarily white faces.

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