Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Wednesday.
- An investigation by The Washington Post has found that many iOS apps use background refresh to send data, such as location and IP address, to third-party tracker companies. The investigation raises questions about Apple’s promises that user activity stays on their devices.
- MacKenzie Bezos pledged to give away half her fortune during her lifetime, something Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world, has avoided doing. MacKenzie Bezos has signed the Giving Pledge, a commitment to donate more than half of her almost $37 billion in assets to charity.
- Amazon is looking to expand its presence in New York City, despite the collapse of its HQ2 plans there. The New York Post reported that the company is considering opening an additional office in Manhattan.
- Analysts warned that Chinese patriotism could halve Apple’s sales in China. Citi analysts said that US-China friction is denting Apple’s brand in China and causing Chinese citizens to turn to domestic mobile brands.
- A New York Times report chronicled the conditions faced by Google temps, vendors, and contractors (known internally as TVCs), who often accept their roles with the hopes of reaching full-time status. This massive “shadow workforce” is raising questions about the way Google treats its contractors compared to its full time employees, and about whether a contracting job at Google can really serve as a stepping stone to a career at the tech giant, or is merely a clever way for Google to cut costs.
- Netflix is the first major US studio to speak out against the antiabortion laws that are making their ways through states such as Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri. In Georgia, a major US production hub for TV and film, Netflix said it would consider pulling its productions from the state if the “heartbeat bill,” which was signed into law in May, went into effect.
- Tesla will be acquired within a year, according to the NYU professor who predicted Amazon’s takeover of Whole Foods. Scott Galloway told journalist Kara Swisher in a podcast that Tesla’s tanking share price would make it a prime takeover target.
- Roblox, the $2.5 billion video game platform, is forming a joint venture with Chinese tech titan Tencent. The eventual goal is bringing Roblox, which currently has over 90 million active players, to the massive Chinese market.
- Tesla owes roughly $1.77 million in overdue payments, a French metal supplier alleged in a new lawsuit filed on Tuesday. According to court documents, Lebronze Alloys has supplied a metal part for Tesla’s electric motors since 2016 but it has been unable to collect the 1,559,420.06 euros (approximately $1,768,460.32) that it is owed.
- A fruit-picking robot developed by a university spinout can pick up to 25,000 raspberries a day, and it could someday replace human workers. The robot uses machine learning techniques to identify “supermarket ripe” raspberries by using its cameras and sensors.
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