Tesla solar panels reportedly caught fire at an Amazon warehouse in 2018

Inventory at a warehouseGetty ImagesTesla solar energy systems ignited at an Amazon warehouse in Redlands, California in June 2018, according to Bloomberg. As a result, the Seattle e-commerce titan has no further plans to buy solar energy systems from Tesla.The news follows a tumultuous week for Elon Musk’s renewable energy and electric vehicle company. On Tuesday, Walmart sued Tesla over solar panels that ignited atop seven of its stores in recent years. Tesla and Walmart have been partners on clean energy initiatives for years; more than 240 Walmart stores have…

YouTube says it will now remove ‘violent’ and ‘mature’ videos pretending to be kid-friendly

Earlier this week, YouTube quietly announced a policy change to its treatment of videos targeted toward minors and young children. The video platform says it will now remove all content that contains “violent” or “mature” themes if it is targeted toward kids, either through the title of the video, its description, or the accompanying tags. Going forward, YouTube says this type of content “will no longer be allowed on the platform.” Prior to this change, YouTube was age-restricting such videos, but now it’s going a step further to help clean…

Top U.S. publishers sue Amazon’s Audible for copyright infringement

The front desk of the Amazon office is pictured in New York, May 1, 2019.Carlo Allegri | ReutersAmazon’s Audible was sued by some of the top U.S. publishers for copyright infringement on Friday, aiming to block a planned rollout of a feature called ‘Audible Captions’ that shows the text on screen as a book is narrated.The lawsuit was filed by seven members of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), including HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan Publishers. « Essentially Audible wants to provide…

Apple and chip stocks slide after Trump orders US companies to look for alternative to China

A man uses a smartphone outside an Apple store in Beijing.Nicolas Asfouri | AFP | Getty ImagesSemiconductor stocks and shares of Apple slid more than their peers in the tech sector on Friday, after President Donald Trump said U.S. companies should « immediately start looking for an alternative » to their operations in China.Shares of Apple fell as much as 4.1%, while the VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF declined 3.5%. Among the chip companies, Qualcomm slid 2.7% and Nvidia lost 4.8%, as Advanced Micro Devices dropped 5.1%, Micron fell 3.1% and…

Ping Identity files to go public, betting investors will favor shrinking losses over fast growth

Ping Identity CEO Andre Durand poses for a portrait on February 14, 2018.AAron Ontiveroz | Denver Post | Getty ImagesPing Identity, a company whose software enables corporate workers to easily log in to many applications, has filed to go public. The company’s regulatory filing kicking off the process for an initial public offering became available online on Friday.Ping is looking to start trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol « PING. »As a provider of single sign-on and multi-factor authentication tools, Ping competes with the likes of Broadcom-owned CA, IBM,…

How to keep spam from invading your Google Calendar

For some time now, Google Calendar users have been vulnerable to a rather nasty type of spam that seems to have gained momentum lately. It works like this: an email containing an invitation to an event is sent by a spammer to your Google Calendar (this can apparently happen even with an email that ends up in your spam folder), and the calendar automatically puts the appointment into your calendar — even though the body of the appointment contains a spam link or some other obnoxious content. At minimum, this…

Google spooks employee activists with new guidelines for political speech at work

Google has updated its employee guidelines to caution against unnecessary political debate and improper disclosure of company information. Unveiled on Friday, the guidelines direct Googlers to be respectful in all internal communications, with prohibitions against trolling or blanket statements against groups of people that make fellow employees unwelcome. “Don’t troll, name call, or engage in ad hominem attacks,” the new guidelines read. “Be respectful in your comments about (and to) your fellow Googlers.” The previous version of the guidelines was unveiled just over a year ago in the wake of…

Amazon hosts thousands of unsafe or banned products, new investigation finds

FILE – In this Nov. 11, 2010 file photo, Humberto Manzano, Jr., delivers an arriving pallet of goods at an Amazon.com fulfillment center in Phoenix. Products are flying off the shelves at Amazon warehouses across the county as Californians prepare to start paying sales taxes on online purchases. The change, which takes effect Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, will pave the way for the e-commerce giant to open warehouses in California and offer same-day shipping to customers. (AP Photo/Ross D. FranklinRoss D. FranklinAmazon continues to struggle to curtail the sale of…

Tesla short David Einhorn says Elon Musk should resign over solar panel fires

David EinhornAndrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesTesla short David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital said on Twitter Friday that CEO Elon Musk should resign following allegations that the company’s solar panels have caused fires.The comments came just days after Walmart filed a lawsuit against Tesla claiming that solar panels it bought from the company caught fire in seven of its stores. Walmart alleged Tesla committed gross negligence, breach of contract and failure to live up to industry standards. It is asking for Tesla to remove its solar panels from over…

Facebook’s Libra reportedly losing support from early investors amid regulatory scrutiny

In this photo illustration, a visual representation of a cryptocurrency sits on display in front of a Facebook logo.Chesnot | Getty ImagesSome original investors in Facebook’s digital currency project are considering leaving,  the Financial Times reported Friday.Two Libra founders told the Financial Times they were worried about the regulatory spotlight that the cryptocurrency was attracting. The newspaper also said at least three early backers privately discussed separating themselves from the operation.The investors said they were concerned that the extra attention would put pressure on their other business ventures, the report…

The Google Home Mini’s mute switch makes privacy deliberate

In today’s digital age, it sometimes feels like hardware has taken a back seat to the software that drives our devices. Button of the Month is a monthly look at what some of those buttons and switches are like on devices old and new, and it aims to appreciate how we interact with our devices on a physical, tactile level. Smart home devices can make people uneasy, what with the “constantly listening to you” and the massive breach of privacy whereby paid human contractors turned out to be listening to…

Facebook learned about Cambridge Analytica as early as September 2015, new documents show

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC.Jim Watson | AFP | Getty ImagesNewly released documents appear to shed light on when Facebook first learned about potential violations by Cambridge Analytica, the firm that used Facebook data to profile and target voters in the 2016 U.S. election.The internal communication refers to concerns over Cambridge Analytica as early as Sept. 2015.Facebook released a blog post Friday…

EU drafts plan for hundred billion-dollar fund to take on US tech firms, reports say

Ursula von der Leyen, incoming president of the European Commission, left, speaks during news conference at the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, France, on Tuesday, July 16, 2019.Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesEuropean Union officials drafted a plan to launch a sovereign wealth fund to invest in companies that could compete with U.S. and Chinese tech giants, according to reports in the Financial Times and Politico.The reports, citing an internal document, said EU officials have drafted a document for a « European Future Fund » that would invest 100 billion euros…

Facebook bans ads from The Epoch Times after huge pro-Trump buy

Facebook has banned The Epoch Times, a conservative news outlet that spent more money on pro-Trump Facebook advertisements than any group other than the Trump campaign, from any future advertising on the platform.The decision follows an NBC News report that The Epoch Times had shifted its spending on Facebook in the last month, seemingly in an effort to obfuscate its connection to some $2 million worth of ads that promoted the president and conspiracy theories about his political enemies. « Over the past year we removed accounts associated with the…

Huawei launches A.I. chip as it looks to defy US pressure, pitting it against giants like Nvidia

A Huawei logo on display at MWC Shanghai in June 2019.Arjun Kharpal | CNBCHuawei announced the commercial availability of an artificial intelligence (AI) chip Friday, pitting it against major American giants like Qualcomm and Nvidia, as it looks to defy continued U.S. pressure and prove it can still bring out core technology.The chip, called the Ascend 910, was first unveiled in October last year and is aimed at data centers. Companies using AI applications require huge amounts of data to train smart algorithms, which can take several days or weeks.…

OnePlus says its TV will have a 55-inch QLED panel

OnePlus is continuing the dripfeed of information about its upcoming TV, following news of its September release date and the revelation that it’ll be called the OnePlus TV. Now we know the first technical details of the product, courtesy of a tweet from OnePlus India: it uses a 55-inch QLED panel. Previous filings have suggested Android-based models of between 43 and 75 inches in size, with the 43-inch variant seemingly also bound for India. This announcement doesn’t necessarily rule any of that out, but it does at least confirm that…

Pompeo says the US message on Huawei is clear. Trump’s words say otherwise

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this week the U.S. has been very clear about its stance toward Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. « No mixed messages, not at all, » Pompeo told CNBC earlier this week. « President Trump has been unambiguous. I don’t think there’s a mixed message at all. » « The threat of having Chinese telecom systems inside of American networks or inside of networks around the world presents an enormous risk — a national security risk. Our mission set is to find a way to reduce that…

Google Photos now lets you search for text in pictures you’ve taken

Google made a subtle announcement today on Twitter: it’s in the process of rolling out new AI features for its Lens platform that will let you search your Google Photos library for text that appears within photos and screenshots. Then, you’ll then be able to easily copy and paste that text into a note, document, or form. Both of the new features make use of a technique known as optical character recognition (OCR), with the copy/paste option building on Lens’ existing ability to understand and pull out the text found…

Digital wave and values-based business are driving Salesforce’s growth, CEO says

Modern corporations have shifted focus to partner with companies that are value-focused, Salesforce’s Keith Block said on CNBC Thursday.That’s why Salesforce joined about 200 other businesses to proclaim that pleasing shareholders is no longer their main goal, Block said. The co-CEO was responding to a question from Jim Cramer about how the company is having an « Impact Per Share » — what companies are doing to promote eco-friendly and sustainability initiatives.On top of catering to shareholders, « it’s about stakeholders, it’s about your employees, it’s about you partners and suppliers.…

Texas ransomware attacks show big gaps in cyber defenses — expect more like them

The ransomware attacks against more than 20 Texas towns this week are significant. Though little is known about the origins of the attacks, the spread of ransomware across small-town America has exposed a deep problem in how the country approaches cybersecurity.That’s because local governments commonly share single service providers, making many vulnerable at once. On top of this, ransomware has often been used to mask more targeted, malicious activity by nation-states, and there are clear indications this will happen again in the future.Ransomware, which is malicious software that spreads across networks and…

YouTube disabled 210 accounts for spreading disinformation about Hong Kong protests

Google just published a blog post revealing that it has disabled 210 YouTube channels that the company says “behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.” Google cites the behavior as being “consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter.” The accounts were disabled earlier this week. Both Facebook and Twitter recently uncovered and suspended accounts that the social media companies believe were operated by the Chinese government and designed to seed doubt about and undermine…

Google shutters more than 200 YouTube channels amid Hong Kong protests

Pro-democracy protestors block the entrance to the terminals at Hong Kong’s international airport on August 13, 2019.Manan Vatsyayana | AFP | Getty ImagesGoogle axed 2010 YouTube channels after it found they had been tied to misinformation about Hong Kong protesters, the company announced Thursday.This comes days after Twitter and Facebook said they would suspend nearly 1,000 accounts that were linked to a state-backed disinformation campaign originating from inside China. It also comes after Google and its video platform face scrutiny from lawmakers regarding its ability to control misinformation that goes…

VMware buys Carbon Black and Pivotal, valued together at $4.8 billion

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks at the company’s VMworld conference in San Francisco in 2012.Kim Kulish | Corbis News | Getty ImagesSoftware company VMware on Thursday said it’s acquiring Carbon Black at an enterprise value of $2.1 billion and Pivotal at an enterprise value of $2.7 billion. The deals are expected to close by the end of January 2020. Shares of Pivotal were up as much as 7% after the announcement, while VMware shares fell as much as 4%.These are VMware’s largest acquisitions yet. The deals build on VMware’s strength…

Lenovo’s Smart Clock can now showcase your Google Photos collection

One of the disappointments my colleague Dan Seifert had with Lenovo’s Smart Clock was that the device’s tiny screen didn’t do as much as it could (or should) compared to similar products. At launch, it didn’t even offer the basic function of acting as a digital picture frame for your photo library. That’s something the Google Nest Hub smart display can do, as can Amazon’s various bedside Echo devices with screens. Lenovo and Google are rectifying that today with an update that allows the Smart Clock to showcase your Google…

Box CEO says it would be a disaster if the US-China trade war turned into a ‘digital cold war’

The CEO of cloud storage company Box Inc. told CNBC on Thursday the U.S. should be doing everything possible to avoid a « digital cold war. » « I think it would be a disaster if we end up in that direction, » Box’s Aaron Levie said on « Squawk Alley. « The entrepreneur addressed the importance of global trade and business with China. « I think the general volatility of the market, trade wars, tariffs, all of that is never a good thing for business. …  We want our…

Mark Zuckerberg has sold $296 million worth of Facebook shares in August

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the F8 Facebook Developers conference on April 30, 2019 in San Jose, California.Justin Sullivan | Getty ImagesMark Zuckerberg has been on a selling spree in August, unloading nearly 1.6 million shares of Facebook worth nearly $296 million.Prior to this month, the Facebook co-founder and CEO hadn’t sold shares since April. He’s now sold 2.9 million shares this year worth more than $526 million. Zuckerberg still owns over 375 million Facebook shares with a current value of over $68 billion, making him the fifth-richest person in…

How Amazon is fighting back against workers’ increasing efforts to unionize

Throughout Amazon’s 25-year history, there have been multiple rumblings of workers trying to unionize, but to no success.With record-breaking sales numbers and newly doubled shipping speeds, however, momentum to organize has picked up among some of Amazon’s more than 650,000 worldwide employees.Three big unions are among those talking to Amazon workers — the Teamsters, the United Food & Commercial Workers Union and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Recent worker protests point to organizing efforts.On Prime Day in July, a handful of Amazon workers at a fulfillment center in…

Google News inventor returns to Google after four-year hiatus

Pedestrians walk past Google headquarters in New York.Jeenah Moon | ReutersKrishna Bharat, the inventor of Google News, has returned to the company after five years, the company has confirmed. His return comes at a time when lawmakers and politicians scrutinize the company’s handling of content including news rankings.The former Google veteran worked at the company for 15 years, between 1999 and 2015, and led a team that built Google News in the aftermath of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. « At Google we realized that our ability to…

Palantir CEO says Google shouldn’t rule A.I.

Palantir Technologies CEO Alex KarpAndrew Kelly | ReutersPalantir CEO Alex Karp said billionaire investor Peter Thiel is right to question Google’s decision to work in China, while abandoning military contracts in the US. Google has faced renewed scrutiny from Thiel, a Trump supporter and Facebook board member, who said last month that the FBI and CIA should investigate the company to see if it has been « infiltrated » by foreign intelligence agencies.By contrast, Karp said in an interview with Bloomberg that Palantir « doesn’t work with adversaries of the US. »…

Google is getting rid of dessert code-names for Android and just using numbers

Justin Solomon | CNBC Google is nixing its quirky naming convention for new versions of its Android operating system and using numbers instead.The company has typically named its new Android releases after desserts, placing a statue of the treat next to the Android figure at its Mountain View, Calif. headquarters. The releases are named in alphabetical order, with its latest release, Pie, following Oreo, Nougat, Marshmallow and so on.In a blog post Thursday, Google said its next version of Android, which it had previously referred to as Android Q, will…