Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Wednesday.
- Airbnb is cutting 25% of staff — 1,900 jobs — after its business has been slammed by the coronavirus crisis. Airbnb plans to offer affected workers at least 14 weeks of severance pay and, in the US, a year’s worth of healthcare coverage.
- An Amazon warehouse employee in New York has died of COVID-19. Workers at the Staten Island location organized multiple strikes in April to protest pandemic working conditions.
- California is suing Uber and Lyft, accusing the ride-hailing companies of misclassifying their drivers. A consortium of city attorneys from the state’s largest cities accused the firms of misclassifying their workers as contractors in order to avoid paying some benefits.
- The UK’s COVID-19 contact-tracing app is about to roll out but it almost certainly won’t work properly. The app relies on Bluetooth signals that trigger “proximity events”, and experts say it probably won’t work on newer iPhones and Android devices.
- Beleaguered AR startup Magic Leap is turning to a healthcare company for new funding, potentially raising as much as $100 million. If successful, the deal would see Magic Leap’s headset used for surgical procedures and training.
- Whisper users have sued the company over the exposure of almost 900 million records. The app, which allows users to anonymously post secrets online, had a class action lawsuit filed against it by three women who have used the company since they were children, per Bloomberg.
- The UK and US have issued a joint warning that cyber-spies are targeting the health sector. Hackers linked to foreign states could be trying to steal data related to COVID-19 vaccine research.
- Disney announced that it now has 54.5 million Disney+ subscribers, nearly doubling its audience since the end of December. The rise in subscribers comes as users are confined due to stay-in-place and lockdown measures worldwide.
- Video game companies like Activision Blizzard, and Electronic Arts reported strong results for Q1. The increase was partly down to users looking for entertainment options during lockdowns, with EA seeing strong crowds for online FIFA and Madden tournaments.
- The company behind ‘Call of Duty’ says it’s funding COVID-19 treatment research while it figures out how to produce video games remotely. Activision Blizzard has funded clinical trials of coronavirus-fighting drugs following the success of its latest release.
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