10 things in tech you need to know today
Let's get started.
1. Apple let other payment providers into the App Store for the first time. This weekend, in compliance with a Dutch mandate, the iPhone maker officially let dating apps in the Netherlands use other payment services in the App Store — marking the first time it's ever allowed outside payment providers in the store.
- While this is just a small portion of apps within one country, opening up App Store payments to third parties is a major evolution for the company. And although Apple has been fighting it, it's likely to happen in other countries soon.
- If developers are free to use cheaper payment alternatives to Apple, they could save millions of dollars. By one estimate, Match Group, one of the largest dating app developers, could save as much as $215 million a year.
- Match isn't the only company poised to benefit. We spoke with industry experts, who shared which firms are set to gain from the change — including payment companies like PayPal and Stripe.
In other news:
2. ICYMI: Netflix raised the prices on its streaming plans. In order to help pay for its new movies and shows, the company announced price bumps of $1, $1.50, and $2. What this means for your streaming bill.
3. Facebook has designed a humanlike mechanical eyeball. In a patent granted in December, the company details a design for a "high-performing and realistic" mechanical eye, along with a body and head that would be covered in a mold "resembling human skin." Everything we know about Facebook's animatronic eyeball.
4. Amazon dropped its plan to block Visa credit cards in the UK. The company announced last year it would no longer accept Visa credit cards starting Jan. 19, citing high costs. Now, amid talks with Visa, it has walked back that decision. More on that here.
5. Laid-off Better employees say the company shortchanged them as much as $5,000 in severance. While the company increased severance pay for laid-off workers from one month to 60 days, at least three former employees said they feel they're not being given the severance they expected. Here's what they told us.
6. Tesla has pushed back production of its Cybertruck to early 2023. According to Reuters, the company is making changes to the Cybertruck's features and functions — making its release two years later than Elon Musk first predicted. Get the latest on the Cybertruck delay.
7. Unredacted court documents reveal a string of new allegations against Facebook and Google. The lawsuit claims that the companies' CEOs, Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai, personally oversaw an illegal deal that misled publishers and advertisers. More on the suit here.
8. Microsoft hired external lawyers to review its sexual harassment policies. Microsoft's board has hired a law firm to investigate how it deals with sexual harassment, including the misconduct allegations against Bill Gates. Here's what you should know.
9. Meta's VR division is under investigation by the FTC. The Federal Trade Commission and several US states have been questioning third-party Oculus app developers to determine whether Oculus uses its market position to squash competition, per Bloomberg. What we know so far.
10. Walmart is planning its dive into the metaverse. Trademark applications filed by the company reveal Walmart's plans to sell virtual merchandise, as well as to create its own cryptocurrency and NFTs. A look at Walmart's hopes for the metaverse.
What we're watching today:
- Bloomberg's The Year Ahead Summit takes place today and tomorrow.
- The North American Bitcoin Conference is going on in Miami until Jan. 19. Mark Cuban is a keynote speaker.
- Goldman Sachs' Q4 and full year earnings are expected today. Keep up with earnings here.
- WSJ Women In: The Tech Industry event takes place today.
Event invite: Join us on Jan. 25 at 12 p.m. ET for "Multi-Cloud Powers the Future of IT," sponsored by Dell Technologies, to learn how innovative businesses are leveraging multi-cloud technology. Register here.
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