Hi Guys! Its Friday again and the much-anticipated weekend is around the corner. Across the week, many interesting developments like fundraising, product launches and acquisitions happened across the global tech space.
Here is a quick roundup of some of the major stories you might have missed.
Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook Joins the Billionaires Club
Apple’s chief executive officer, Tim Cook has joined the billionaires club. The Apple boss’ wealth crossed the billion-dollar mark following the continuous rise of the tech firm’s share price.
Apple’s market value has been on the rise since the beginning of the year due to strong results and a positive outlook. Cook owns 847,969 shares in Apple and earned more than $125m (£96m) as part of his pay package last year alone.
Apple is closing in on the milestone of being the first company to be valued at $2trn, after becoming the first company to be valued at $1trn two years ago.
Cook’s billionaire status is based on the shares he owns and the compensation he has been paid at Apple as calculated by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He took over from Apple founder Steve Jobs nine years ago.
Google is turning Android Phones into Earthquake Detectors
Google has launched a new worldwide earthquake detection system and a new earthquake alerting feature using Android Phones. According to Google, smartphone accelerometers are sensitive enough to detect P-waves, which are the first waves to arrive during an earthquake.
So it’s turning Android phones into a seismometer that will communicate with a central server to confirm if your Android phone thinks it has detected an earthquake.
Google is using Andriod phones to create “the world’s largest earthquake detection network.”
In California, Google is partnering with the United States Geological Survey and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to provide earthquake alerts. For now, Google will only use this data to show information when somebody then searches for “earthquake” or a similar keyword.
Belarus Shuts down the Internet amid Protests After Controversial Election
Earlier in the week, internet connectivity and cellular services in Belarus were down for about 3 days. The connectivity blackout appears to be a government-imposed outage amid widespread protests over presidential election results.
On Sunday, President Aleksandr Lukashenko was announced to have won a sixth term with about 80% of the votes. However, the results sparked protests against Lukashenko’s administration with opposition and protesters saying the election was rigged and believe the results to be illegitimate.
The protesters soon found themselves in an internet blackout with the government responding to protests by mobilizing police and military forces, particularly in Minsk, the capital. Lukashenko claimed that the government was not responsible for the blackout.
However, protesters and many onlookers are sceptical about his claim after noticing the convenience of the timing. The internet has however returned on Wednesday after Belarusians figured out ways to get around the blockade via services such as virtual private networks (VPN) and proxies.
Mozilla Lays off 250 Employees
Mozilla, creators of web browser, Firefox, is laying off about 250 employees as part of a corporate restructuring drive caused by the long-term impact of COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Company’s CEO, Mitchell Baker, the pandemic has significantly impacted Mozilla revenue.
The sacked staff will receive severance pay and COBRA benefits until at least December 31st, 2020. They will also still have access to previously-allocated company bonuses and Mozilla has pledged to help as many people as possible to find new jobs.
The departing staffs represent 25% of Mozilla’s over 1,000 employees. Apart from those leaving, 60 people will be forced to change jobs, while the Mozilla offices in Taipei, Taiwan, will be shut down.
TikTok rival Likee Hits 150M monthly users worldwide
TikTok rival, Likee has hit 150 million monthly active users, according to earnings reports of its parent company, Joyy. This is significantly less than the 200 million daily active users TikTok reported at the beginning of the year.
As TikTok’s future remains quite uncertain with the potential ban and forced sale in the US, Likee will be looking to push its advantage with its monetized system that allows influencers to easily make money from virtual gifts they receive from fans.
However, like TikTok, Likee is not immune to the current scrutiny Chinese apps are getting. Likee’s biggest market, India recently banned the app alongside TikTok and dozens of other Chinese-owned apps.
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