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10 things in tech you need to know today

Category : entrepreneur

kylie jenner fan selfie

Instagram is experimenting with dropping ‘likes’ worldwide.
Jeff Kravitz/BMA2015/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Friday.

  1. Amazon made its first official challenge to Microsoft’s $10 billion JEDI cloud-contract win over claims of ‘unmistakable bias.’ Amazon has filed a protest in the US Court of Federal Claims, arguing that there were errors in the procurement process.
  2. WeWork has sent combative legal letters to people it laid off in a round of job cuts earlier in 2019, warning them not to compete with its business. The letters warn the former employees to stick to the terms of their contracts, or the company will pursue legal action. 

  3. Insiders have raised questions about Plenty, the buzzy farming startup backed by SoftBank and Jeff Bezos. The sources told Business Insider that Plenty’s leadership repeatedly touted expectations for the company that did not materialize during their time at Plenty, and even that they felt unsafe at work on more than one occasion.
  4. A multistate investigation into potential anticompetitive behavior by Google has expanded to its search and Android businesses. Previously, attorneys general from 48 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico were only looking into Google’s digital ads business, but the broadened investigation adds to Google’s regulatory headaches.
  5. Instagram is now experimenting with removing ‘likes’ worldwide. Last week, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri announced that the company would start removing likes on posts in the US, an experiment which it has already been testing in seven other countries.
  6. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk described how his brain-chips company Neuralink Musk could “solve a lot of brain-related diseases,” naming autism and schizophrenia as examples — but autism is not a disease. Musk has talked before about Neuralink’s potential to treat neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
  7. Lawmakers have turned their fire on Goldman Sachs over the Apple Card and say the bank needs to explain its algorithm. Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden separately called out Goldman Sachs for its handling of recent allegations that its credit decisions for the Apple Card were biased.
  8. Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said Disney Plus’ reliance on universes like Marvel and “Star Wars” comes with a big risk at a Paley International Council Summit event in New York on Thursday. “I don’t know if it’s a luxury or a trap,” Sarandos said when asked about the Disney’s legacy brands. “The risk of being bound in a few universes [is] that there maybe a melting ice cube of interest over time.”
  9. 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang has released his plan to regulate the tech industry, including a policy on giving people a right to own their personal data, enabling them to make money by sharing it with companies. That would be a huge shift from the current status quo where companies fully own users’ data, giving them little control over how it’s used.
  10. A Silicon Valley startup is offering $10,000 to workers who volunteer to leave the Bay Area. Tech firms can hire MainStreet to recruit and hire workers in Silicon Valley, and MainStreet will give those employees a stipend to work remotely in one of the startup’s own brick-and-mortar offices outside the Bay Area. 

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‘We get the orders from Moscow as well’: Secret phone calls from pro-Russian rebels revealed in the investigation of the downing of MH17 that killed 298 people

Category : entrepreneur

  • Investigators probing the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014 have recorded phone calls that draw a connection between pro-Russian rebels implicated in the missile strike and a senior aide for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • The international Joint Investigation Team (JIT), based from the Netherlands, publicly released the calls between the members of the armed Russian separatist group Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), which has fought against the Ukrainian government for independence in eastern Ukraine.
  • According to the phone calls, senior members of the DPR “maintained contact with Russian government officials about Russian military support,” including Vladislav Surkov, a senior aide to President Putin.
  • “Well, your plans are far-reaching. Mine are not,” Alexander Borodai, the former self-proclaimed prime minister of the DPR, said in one call. “I’m carrying out orders and protecting the interests of one and only state, the Russian Federation. That’s the bottom line.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Investigators probing the downing of Flight MH17 in 2014 are in po session of recorded phone calls that draw a connection between pro-Russian rebels implicated in the missile strike and a senior aide for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The international Joint Investigation Team (JIT), based from the Netherlands, publicly released the calls between the members of the armed Russian separatist group Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), which has fought against the Ukrainian government for independence in eastern Ukraine.

“Well, your plans are far-reaching. Mine are not,” Alexander Borodai, the former self-proclaimed prime minister of the DPR, said in one call. “I’m carrying out orders and protecting the interests of one and only state, the Russian Federation. That’s the bottom line.”

Members of the DPR were found to have been responsible for the downing of MH17 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board. Four suspects have since been charged with murder in June.

“The indications for close ties between leaders of the DPR and Russian government officials raise questions about their possible involvement in the deployment of the [missile system], which brought down flight MH17,” the JIT said in its findings, adding that the missile system that downed the aircraft originated from “a unit of the Russian armed forces from Kursk in the Russian Federation.”

According to the phone calls, senior members of the DPR “maintained contact with Russian government officials about Russian military support,” including Vladislav Surkov, a senior aide to President Putin.

In a conversation six days before the missile strike, Borodai pleads to Surkov that he urgently needs military support from Russia. Surkov replied that Russian “combat-ready” reinforcements will be arriving, according to the call logs.

Other intercepted phone calls also implicate the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, and the FSB, Russia’s secret intelligence agency.

“It’s a week we’ve directly…. [inaudible] to Moscow and we get the orders,” one rebel said during a call in July 2014.

“We get the orders from Moscow as well. It’s the same with us,” another person replied.

“But it’s FSB in your case? Right,” the first rebel asked.

“Yes,” the second person said.

“And it’s GRU in our case. That’s the only difference,” the first rebel said.

“I know about it perfectly well,” the second person replied.

Although former DPR rebels testified in the investigation that they received military help from Russia, both the rebels and Russia have denied they were involved in the missile strike. A spokesman for the Kremlin said that the call logs should be scrutinized, and it comes amid a trove of “fake news” regarding the incident, according to Reuters.

According to the communications, the FSB provided telephones that rebels believed were immune from being wire-tapped.

“How are you about those special communication telephones, you know, that we have? Those that go through the Internet, do you know? Secure,” Sergey Dubinskiy, a former GRU officer and a member of the DPR, said to another person on July 3, 2014.

“Those are special phones, you cannot buy them. They are gotten through Moscow. Through FSB,” Dubinskiy added.


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BIG TECH IN HEALTHCARE: How Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are shaking up healthcare — and what it means for the future of the industry (GOOGL, AAPL, AMZN, MSFT)

Category : entrepreneur

  • This is a preview of The Big Tech In Healthcare research report from Business Insider Intelligence.
  • Purchase this report.
  • Business Insider Intelligence offers even more healthcare coverage with Digital Health Pro. Subscribe today to receive industry-changing digital health news and analysis to your inbox.

bii big tech in healthcare ALL Four

Business Insider Intelligence

The healthcare industry is undergoing a profound transformation. Costs are skyrocketing, consumer demand for more accessible care is growing rapidly, and healthcare companies are unable to keep up.

More Than Half of US Consumers Would Use An Amazon Pharmacy Over Their Current Pharmacy

Business Insider Intelligence

Health organizations are increasingly turning to tech companies to facilitate this transformation in care delivery and lower health expenditures. The potential for tech-led digital health initiatives to help healthcare providers and insurers deliver safer, more efficient, and cost-effective care is significant. For healthcare organizations of all types, the collection, analyses, and application of patient data can minimize avoidable service use, improve health outcomes, and promote patient independence, which can assuage swelling costs.

For their part, the “Big Four” tech companies — Google-parent Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft — see an opportunity to tap into the lucrative health market. These same players are accelerating their efforts to reshape healthcare by developing and collaborating on new tools for consumers, medical professionals, and insurers.

In The Big Tech in Healthcare Report, Business Insider Intelligence explores the key strengths and offerings the Big Four will bring to the healthcare industry, as well as their approaches into the market. We’ll then explore how these services and solutions are creating opportunities for health systems and insurers. Finally, the report will outline the barriers that are inhibiting the adoption and usage of the Big Four tech companies’ offerings and how these barriers can be circumvented.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Tech companies’ expertise in data management and analysis, along with their significant compute power, can help support healthcare payers, health systems, and consumers by providing a broader overview of how health is accessed and delivered.
  • Each of the Big Four tech companies — vying for a piece of the lucrative healthcare market — is leaning on their specific field of expertise to develop tools and solutions for consumers, providers, and payers.
  • Alphabet is focused on leveraging its dominance in data storage and analytics to become the leader in population health.
  • Amazon is leaning on its experience as a distribution platform for medical supplies, and developing its AI-assistant Alexa as an in-home health concierge.
  • Apple is actively turning its consumer products into patient health hubs.
  • Microsoft is focusing on cloud storage and analytics to tap into precision medicine.
  • Health organizations can further tap into the opportunity presented by tech’s entry into healthcare by collaborating with tech giants to realize cost savings and bolster their top lines. But understanding how each tech giant is approaching healthcare is crucial.

In full, the report:

  • Pinpoints the key themes and industry-wide shifts that are driving the transformation of healthcare in the US.
  • Defines the main healthcare businesses and strategies of the Big Four tech companies.
  • Highlights the biggest potential impacts of each of the Big Four’s healthcare strategies for health systems and insurers.
  • Discusses the potential barriers that will challenge the adoption of the Big Four tech companies’ initiatives and how these hurdles can be overcome.

The companies included in this report include: Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, FitBit, MyFitnessPal, Verily Life Sciences, Calico, DeepMind, Merck, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase, Retail Pharmaceuticals, PillPack, Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, John Hancock.

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Adtech company IgnitionOne lays off staff while facing an allegation of unpaid bills

Category : entrepreneur

  • New York-based adtech firm IgnitionOne laid off staff on Wednesday and faces allegations of unpaid bills.
  • IgnitionOne recently spun off its demand-side platform to martech firm Zeta Global to focus on its data and tech business.
  • Progress Partners, an investment firm IgnitionOne hired to advise it on the deal, alleges that IgnitionOne owes the firm more than $590,000 in damages.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

IgnitionOne, which builds and sells programmatic advertising technology, laid off a handful of employees on Wednesday, sources close to the company said.

The cuts, estimated to number fewer than 10, came two months after martech firm Zeta Global acquired IgnitionOne’s demand-side platform that coordinates marketers’ programmatic ad buys. Some of IgnitionOne’s accounts from small to mid-size brands and fewer than 15 people from IgnitionOne joined Zeta Global as part of the deal, a Zeta Global spokesperson said.

IgnitionOne confirmed that the layoffs affected fewer than 10 employees.

IgnitionOne faces a breach of contract complaint from its former investment firm 

IgnitionOne also faces a civil complaint alleging breach of contract from Progress Partners, an investment firm it hired to advise it on a potential sale. A complaint filed in October in Massachusetts District Court alleges that IgnitionOne owes Progress Partners more than $590,000 in damages plus attorney’s fees, interest and other costs, related to its work that led to the deal with Zeta Global in September.

It’s unclear if there is a connection between the complaint and the layoffs.

Adtech consolidation continues

Fifteen-year-old IgnitionOne is one of the oldest adtech firms and works with brands like Mazda and Motel 6, according to its website. The company sold marketers the DSP as well as a tech and data service that claims to help companies do things like personalize ads to people based on their search history.

IgnitionOne was acquired by holding company Dentsu Aegis in 2010 and spun out as a standalone company in 2013. The company has raised $85.2 million and has about 250 employees, according to LinkedIn.

Adtech companies struggle to pivot into new businesses, particularly DSP companies that specialize in media buying.

Big firms like The Trade Desk and Google continue to make inroads with large advertisers while holding companies cut back on the number of adtech companies that they work with.

As a result, smaller DSPs like IgnitionOne, OwnerIQ and Dataxu have become acquisition targets. Roku recently acquired Dataxu for $150 million, and OwnerIQ was acquired by tech and data services company Inmar.


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How 3PL providers can thrive in light of their changing relationship with retail partners

Category : entrepreneur

  • This is a preview of the Future Business Models in Logistics Report from Business Insider Intelligence.
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  • Business Insider Intelligence offers even more technology coverage with Connectivity & Tech Pro. Subscribe today to receive industry-changing connectivity news and analysis to your inbox.

Third-party logistics (3PL) providers have been the cornerstone of retail supply chains for decades. 3PL providers are defined by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) as “a specialized company that handles the outsourcing of much or all of a company’s logistics operations.”

3PL_Providers

Business Insider Intelligence

Today, the term has become nearly synonymous with any company in the logistics industry that operates planes, trucks, or warehouses. 

But the rapid growth of e-commerce has given rise to new services and business models, challenging the 3PL model. Traditional 3PL relationships are well suited to route orders from a factory to a distribution center to a brick-and-mortar store, but they’re typically ill-equipped to bring parcels to customers’ homes.

Historically, retail supply chains had a single destination: stores. And even the largest retailers only had a few thousand of them — Walmart operates 5,000 stores in the US and Puerto Rico, for instance — allowing retailers to rely on a handful of 3PL providers that had warehouses near their brick-and-mortar locations. 

But the rise of online shopping has turned that model upside down. Now, retailers must deliver their products directly to the homes of the more than 300 million consumers in the US — and increasingly within only a few days — a far greater challenge than delivering directly to stores.

Meeting this challenge requires a higher number of supply chain partners than before, meaning products often change hands several times before they arrive at a consumer’s door. To effectively manage this complex new environment, some retailers are opting for one of two approaches to supply chain management: fourth-party logistics (4PL) providers or in-house supply chain management.

In Future Business Models in Logistics, Business Insider Intelligence details how the rise of e-commerce as a core consumer shopping channel has fundamentally transformed retail supply chains. We examine the primary two business models — 4PL and in-house supply chain management — and what’s driving retailers to adopt these new models. Lastly, we offer recommendations for how legacy 3PL providers can adapt to meet the changing demands of retailers in the age of e-commerce.

The companies mentioned in this report are: Accenture, Deloitte, McKinsey, CH Robinson, Penske Logistics, UPS, DHL, XPO Logistics, JB Hunt, Kuehne and Nagel, Amazon, Alibaba, and JD.com.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Retailers’ supply chains are being crunched: They must deliver a higher volume of goods to more locations than ever before, and must do so faster — a significantly greater challenge than delivering to brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Such complexities require more 3PL partners than ever, requiring a separate entity to coordinate and manage the relationship between all these partners. Two popular models have emerged: 4PL providers and in-house supply chain managers.
  • 4PL providers typically fall into one of two buckets: legacy 3PL providers that have transitioned into the 4PL space, and management consultancies that have long had supply chain management practices.
  • Both 4PL providers and in-house supply chain management teams need to get comfortable collaborating with longtime competitors if they are to thrive in the managed supply chain environment.
  • Legacy 3PL providers that transition into the 4PL space must carve out a separate business unit to house their 4PL business segments.

In full, the report:

  • Outlines several factors that legacy 3PL providers need to consider when deciding whether to transition into the 4PL space.
  • Details why not all 3PL providers need to reinvent the wheel and carve out their own 4PL arms to thrive in the age of managed retail supply chains.
  • Explains why legacy 3PL providers will be left behind if they don’t learn to cooperate well with both 4PL providers and other 3PL providers.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are four ways to access it:

  1. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now
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  4. Current subscribers can read the report here.

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The CEO of Amazon Web Services told employees that its cloud is ‘24 months ahead of Microsoft in functionality and maturity’ (MSFT, AMZN)

Category : entrepreneur

  • Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy reportedly told employees the AWS cloud was 24 months ahead of Microsoft’s “in functionality and maturity.”
  • Jassy’s comments came as he discussed the company’s plans to challenge Microsoft’s win of the $10 billion JEDI cloud-computing contract with the Pentagon, according to a report from Federal Times.
  • The contentious bidding process included tech titans such as Oracle and even politicians including President Donald Trump, who has publicly ridiculed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
  • Jassy said the political aspect made the process unfair. “When you have a sitting president who’s willing to publicly show his disdain for a company and the leader of a company, it’s very difficult for government agencies including the DOD to make an objective decision without fear of reprisal,” Jassy said.
  • Though difficult, experts say Amazon may have a case if it could prove political interference unfairly affected the outcome of the bidding process — particularly given that a coming book claims Trump ordered then-Defense Secretary James Mattis to “screw Amazon” out of the JEDI contract.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories

Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy reportedly told employees at an all-hands meeting on Thursday that the Seattle-based company’s cloud business was two years ahead of its competitor Microsoft’s.

“If you do any thorough, apples-to-apples, objective comparison of AWS versus Microsoft, you don’t come out deciding that they’re comparable platforms,” he said, according to a report from the Federal Times, which said it obtained a video of the meeting. “Most of our customers will tell us that we’re about 24 months ahead of Microsoft in functionality and maturity.”

Jassy’s comments came as the executive was detailing the company’s plans to challenge Microsoft’s win of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure project, a contentious $10 billion cloud-computing contract with the Department of Defense.

AWS has started to protest that decision over the so-called JEDI contract in the US Court of Federal Claims, citing “unmistakable bias.”

“AWS is uniquely experienced and qualified to provide the critical technology the US military needs, and remains committed to supporting the DOD’s modernization efforts,” an AWS representative said in a prepared statement cited by the Federal Times. “We also believe it’s critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence. Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias- and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified.”

Microsoft was selected October 25 for the JEDI deal, which will help move the Department of Defense’s sensitive data to the cloud. It’s worth as much as $10 billion over 10 years.

The contentious bidding process included involvement from tech titans such as Oracle and politicians up to and including President Donald Trump, who has publicly ridiculed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos over his ownership of The Washington Post, whose coverage Trump takes issue with.

Jassy told employees the process involved political interference and therefore was unfair.

“When you have a sitting president who’s willing to publicly show his disdain for a company and the leader of a company, it’s very difficult for government agencies including the DOD to make an objective decision without fear of reprisal,” Jassy said, according to the report.

Experts say Amazon may have a case if it could prove political interference unfairly affected the outcome of the bidding process — particularly given that a coming book claims Trump ordered then-Defense Secretary James Mattis to “screw Amazon” out of the JEDI contract.

But it’s no sure thing. Amazon would have to prove not only that political pressure was applied to the process but also that the pressure affected the outcome. Experts previously told Business Insider that Microsoft most likely won the JEDI deal on its own merits as a cloud heavyweight.


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Andrew Yang and his loyal ‘knights’ of Silicon Valley

Category : entrepreneur

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Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of Trending, the newsletter that highlights the best of BI Prime’s tech coverage.

I’m Alexei Oreskovic, Business Insider’s West Coast bureau chief and global tech editor. If you like this email, tell your friends and colleagues that they can sign up for the newsletter here.

This week: Andrew Yang and his loyal ‘knights’ of the valley

While much of the US was tuned in to the public impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill this Wednesday, a few dozen techies in San Francisco convened at the home of the tech entrepreneur Sam Altman to focus on another political story.

Andrew Yang, the Democratic presidential hopeful, was in town for a fundraiser. Business Insider’s Melia Russell managed to get into the event so she could see firsthand why so many techies were head over heels for Yang.

Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang.
AP Photo/Nati Harnik

As she reports, Yang is someone who speaks the techie language.

Sure, it may help that he doesn’t want to break up big tech as some of the other candidates do. But Yang isn’t promising a libertarian, laissez-faire society. During the event he talked up how he shared Elon Musk’s belief that artificial intelligence needed to be reined in.

When it comes to artificial intelligence technology, he told Russell: “Going as fast as possible could have some real drawbacks or negative effects. And so, you need a different set of incentives than ‘just go as fast as possible.'”

His newly unveiled tech-policy blueprint, including a tax on digital ads and the creation of a “Department of the Attention Economy,” would also put new burdens and constraints on tech companies.

Yang is preaching a tech-savvy and industry-active brand of regulation — “you can’t take a sledgehammer to these problems,” he says — that plays well with the Valley’s we-know-best mentality. He even suggested “knighting” the techies at the event, so that they could make the government operate more efficiently.

That’s earned him trust, and money, from a lot of the tech industry elite. The problem is, the tech industry has lost everyone else’s trust.

Read the full story here:

Andrew Yang wants to regulate big tech without breaking it up and says his fan Elon Musk is in full support


Werner in the cloud with diamonds

Amazon insiders don’t appear overly worried about the company getting split up by the government, in any case.

In an interview with Julie Bort, Werner Vogels, the head of Amazon’s AWS cloud business, insists that the topic never comes up internally.

“We have no intention of doing anything like that,” he says.

Werner Vogels

Reuters/Richard Brian

Vogels defends the benefits of being a conglomerate, telling Bort that “the synergies are just too good” to ever consider breaking up.

Those “synergies” are exactly what critics like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders contend are giving big tech companies unfair advantages. To judge by Vogels’ response, Amazon is either playing ignorant to these concerns or simply choosing to defy them.

Read the full story here:

Amazon never talks internally about breaking up or even spinning out new units, CTO Werner Vogels says


Silicon Valley’s next frontier in workplace relations

On a lighter note, Rob Price has staked his claim to the insufficiently covered corporate-restroom beat.

His first dispatch from the field reveals a trend that’s spreading throughout Silicon Valley: official company outreach — including memos, workplace training drills, and other communiqués — in toilet stalls.

Google was first to implement the idea years ago, but a growing list of tech companies, including Yelp and Walmart’s Jet.com, are now adopting the practice.

It’s the latest, and perhaps most intrusive, example of Silicon Valley’s never-ending quest to maximize worker productivity.

If this Silicon Valley innovation is as successful as smartphones and instant messaging, it may soon become standard throughout the country. But I can’t help wondering why the world’s most cutting-edge companies are using old-fashioned paper, and not a digital format, to reach their toilet-bound toilers.

Read the full story here:

Efficiency-obsessed tech firms are sticking newsletters on toilet stall walls to keep employees productive while they poop

silicon valley bathroom memos 4x3

Samantha Lee/Business Insider

Other recent tech highlights:

  • A big new deal with Salesforce shows Microsoft is ‘on the offensive’ in the cloud wars, even as it puts Amazon under pressure for trying to ‘go it alone’
  • Early Google and Apple backer Sequoia Capital is actively hiring to boost its investments in European startups

  • IBM and Oracle are so far behind in the cloud, they might stop trying to compete with Amazon altogether and go a different route, analyst says
  • The CEO of Freshworks had an idea 10 years ago when his TV was damaged by movers. Now his startup is worth $3.5 billion and is threatening Salesforce.
  • 2 months after Israeli startup Stoke was founded, it raised $4.5 million. Here’s the pitch deck it used.

And more from across the BI newsroom:

  • SoftBank-backed startup Fair burned through nearly $400 million in 10 months. Insiders reveal how Softbank stepped in and cleaned house in the wake of WeWork.
  • ‘We’re going to have to have a severe recession if we’re ever going to build a viable economy’: Here’s why one market expert says the US is doomed to default on its debt no matter what
  • Inside a restructuring of Walmart’s legal department that’s dragging on longer than execs promised. Some employees are exiting, and one used a meme of Al Pacino to say goodbye.
  • A futuristic farming startup raised $260 million from Jeff Bezos and SoftBank on the promise of upending agriculture. Insiders are raising questions.

That’s it for this week. As always, I’m eager for your feedback, thoughts, and tips — you can email me at aoreskovic@businessinsider.com. And if you like this newsletter, please tell your friends and colleagues they can sign up here to receive it.

Alexei


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Amazon just made its first official challenge to Microsoft’s $10 billion JEDI cloud-contract win over claims of ‘unmistakable bias’ (AMZN, MSFT)

Category : entrepreneur

  • Amazon made its first formal action against Microsoft’s victory in the battle for a $10 billion Pentagon cloud contract.
  • The Pentagon selected Microsoft on October 25 for the contract to move the Department of Defense’s sensitive data to the cloud.
  • The decision was an upset for front-runner Amazon Web Services and generally regarded by experts as “a huge feather in the cap for Microsoft” and a “black eye for Amazon and Bezos.”
  • The bidding process for the contract was contentious and included involvement from tech titans such as Oracle and reported interference by President Donald Trump.
  • For more of Business Insider’s coverage of the JEDI deal, click here.

Amazon has filed a protest in the US Court of Federal Claims in the Seattle-based company’s first formal action against Microsoft’s victory in the fierce battle for the $10 billion cloud contract with the Pentagon.

Microsoft was selected on October 25 for the controversial deal, called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, to move the Department of Defense’s sensitive data to the cloud. It’s worth as much as $10 billion over a 10-year span.

“AWS is uniquely experienced and qualified to provide the critical technology the U.S. military needs, and remains committed to supporting the DoD’s modernization efforts,” an AWS spokesperson said in a statement. “We also believe it’s critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence. Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias — and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified.”

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

The decision came as a surprise, as Amazon Web Services was considered the likely choice for the contract for reasons such as the cloud provider’s market-dominant position and high security clearance. It was generally regarded by experts as “a huge feather in the cap for Microsoft” and a “black eye for Amazon and Bezos.”

The bidding process was contentious and included involvement from tech titans such as Oracle and reported interference by President Donald Trump, who has publicly feuded with Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos.

Trump wanted to “scuttle” the bidding process for JEDI for fear that Amazon Web Services might win, according to CNN, and a forthcoming book also alleges Trump last year ordered former Defense Secretary James Mattis to “screw Amazon” out of the deal.

Oracle formally challenged the JEDI bidding process, arguing it was “riddled with improprieties” that largely favored Amazon — including undisclosed employment and bonus offers to Department of Defense officials — and that the Pentagon set unfair criteria.

A federal-claims judge ultimately rejected Oracle’s protest and denied the company’s bid to be reconsidered for the contract, finding “individual conflicts of interest did not impact the procurement.” Which is to say, the judge in the case acknowledged that there were conflicts but found that they didn’t unfairly tilt the playing field.

IBM also bid on the contract. Google withdrew from contention before making a formal bid, citing possible conflicts of interest with its corporate ethics policy, as well as a possible inability to meet the terms of the deal.


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What if the Earth stopped orbiting the Sun?

Category : entrepreneur

  • It’s a natural cycle: the Earth orbits the sun. But what if something catastrophic happened and we were knocked out of orbit?
  • The sun’s gravity would quickly take hold of Earth and we’d go flying straight toward the sun.
  • Turns out, you’d only have about one month to live, and over that time your demise wouldn’t be pretty. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Earth zooms around the sun at 110,000 kph, but what if it just…stopped? Well, for one thing, you’d have only a month to live.

First off, if Earth stopped short, you’d actually die immediately because you’d fly off the planet and hurtle into space, just like you lurch forward in a car when a driver slams on the brakes. But if Earth slows down more gradually, you’d instead suffer a slower (but still horrific) death. That’s because the planet is about to get very, very hot.

You see, the sun’s tremendous gravity pulls the Earth right toward it. Meanwhile, the planet is trying to whiz away in this direction. This tug of war keeps us in orbit. But if the Earth slows down and stops, the sun wins and yanks us toward our doom. In fact, a model from the University of Colorado shows us how long that terrible trip would take. Just two months.

In the first week, you wouldn’t notice much of a change. The average global temperature would climb less than 1 degree Celsius and hover around 16 degrees for another week. But the closer we get, the stronger the sun’s pull and the faster we go. This causes the temperature to rise exponentially.

By day 21, global temperatures will have jumped to 35 degrees. That’s hotter than an average day in the Sahara. And with desert heat comes desert droughts, sparking wildfires and killing crops. UV radiation from the sun is so strong, we’d get severe sunburn after just 15 minutes outdoors. At this point, our bodies also will have hit the upper limit of their heat tolerance. Any hotter, and heat stroke can set in, leading to exhaustion, delirium, or even a coma. And guess what? It gets hotter.

By day 35, world temperatures will reach 48 degrees. That’s as hot as an average summer day in Death Valley, one of the hottest places on Earth. Most mammals, birds, and insects die as the proteins that make up their cells start to cook. Yes, even roaches can’t withstand this apocalypse. If we want to live, we need some indoor air-conditioning, stat. Except, the amount of energy you need to run millions of AC units at once would wipe out power grids around the world. So, with no way to keep cool, humanity dies.

By day 41, the Earth has passed by Venus. We’re now the second planet from the sun, and temperatures have climbed to 66 degrees. But believe it or not, some creatures still cling to life. Like Thermus aquaticus, a bacteria that lives in Yellowstone’s hot geysers. But less than a week later, temperatures are hot enough to boil water and kill even that bacteria.

By day 54, temperatures surpass 160 degrees, and the last remnant of life on Earth flickers out. Soon after, the barren planet crosses Mercury’s orbit. For its last week of existence, Earth is the first planet from the sun. Until day 65. The final day.

By now, the sun’s extreme gravity stretches the planet into an oval shape, and magma begins to leak through the crust. At about noon, Earth tears apart, bleeding liquid rock as temperatures hit 3,800 degrees. Our planet is no more.


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Best Buy and Target are offering a free smart plug when you buy a Google Nest Mini right now

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Google Home Mini

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  • Smart speakers and plugs are a great way to get started in the smart home world.
  • For a limited time, if you buy a Google Nest Mini from Best Buy and Target, you’ll get a free Belkin WeMo Mini smart plug. That’s a savings of $29.99.
  • The offer is valid until November 27, so it’s worth acting quickly if you’re interested.
  • Shopping for more Black Friday deals? Check out our deal coverage on Insider Picks and visit Business Insider Coupons to find the most up-to-date coupons and promo codes.

Looking to build up your smart home? There are a few pieces that can help get you started quickly — like a decent smart speaker and a smart plug. Right now, if you buy a Google Nest Mini smart speaker through Target or Best Buy, you’ll get a Belkin WeMo Mini Smart Plug for free.

Although you won’t see the free plug prominently mentioned on the product page for the Nest Mini, when you look in your cart, you will see that the plug has been added along with the smart speaker. At Best Buy, you also get a free 90-day trial of Pandora and Sirius XM (for new subscribers only). The offer is valid from now until Wednesday, November 27, so if you’re interested, it’s worth acting quickly.

The Google Nest Mini is easily one of the best budget smart speakers with its good audio quality and simple design. By talking to the Google Assistant, you can find out information from the web, play music, and, of course, control smart home devices like Belkin’s WeMo Mini smart plug — which comes free when you buy the Nest Mini.

The WeMo Mini smart plug has long been one of our favorites. You simply plug it into a normal outlet, and then you can plug another non-smart device like a lamp into it so that you can control it with the Belkin app on your phone or with your voice.

The plug is small enough that it doesn’t block the other outlet, and it can be controlled with voice commands issued to the Google Assistant, Alexa, and Apple HomeKit.

As mentioned, the deal is available at Best Buy and Target. You have to add the Google Nest Mini to your cart and actually go to your cart before you see the WeMo Mini. You’ll be able to take advantage of this deal until November 27.

Get the Google Nest Mini with free WeMo Mini smart plug from Best Buy, $49.99 [You save $29.99]

Get the Google Nest Mini with free WeMo Mini smart plug from Target, $49 [You save $29.99]