Technology News

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In a win for net neturality, ISPs agreed to end their legal challenge to a 2018 Californa law that bars providers from throttling service. Telecom groups and California Attorney General Rob Bonta today jointly agreed to dismiss the case, reportedReuters

It’s fair that say that luck hasn’t exactly been on the telecom industry’s side. Earlier this year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider its ruling that California’s law be upheld. And last year, the US DOJ dropped its own lawsuit over the net neutrality law, which the agency had filed during the Trump administration.

“Following multiple defeats in court, internet service providers have finally abandoned an effort to block enforcement of CA’s net neutrality law. This is a win for California and for a free and fair internet,” wrote Bonta in a tweet.

After Trump-appointed FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai overturned the agency’s net neutrality rules in 2017, California’s legislature decided to enact its own law. The state’s net neutrality law, which went into effect in August 2018, expanded on previous federal rules by banning the use of “zero-rating” by ISPs in an anti-competitive manner. Zero-rating occurs when an ISP exempts any of its affiliated services from eating away at a customer’s data caps. For example, AT&T Wireless once exempted HBO Max from the data caps of its internet customers. The company dropped this practice last year, and blamed the impact of California’s law. Digital rights groups like Electronic Frontier Foundation have argued that zero-rating is hostile to consumers, especially those from low-income households.

Federal net neutrality rules that were blocked under the Trump administration have yet to be restored by the FCC under President Joe Biden. That’s because the five-member panel is currently short one member, which they’ll need in order to vote on net neutrality. The agency is awaiting the Senate confirmation of Gigi Sohn. But thanks to intense lobbying from telecom groups and a number of Republicans (and moderate Democrats) in Congress, Sohn’s confirmation is stalled at present.

  • A dive into Haun Ventures with the firm’s first deal lead, Sam Rosenblum
    by Connie Loizos on May 17, 2022 at 12:49 am

    Sam Rosenblum never imagined he would work at a crypto-focused investment firm. A Southern California native who spent a “large portion of my life outdoors in the sun, playing sports and hanging out with friends,” crypto was not technically a thing until he was in college at UCLA. Stints at the DOJ and as an

  • Bird changes course, drops vehicle sales in pursuit of profitability
    by Rebecca Bellan on May 17, 2022 at 12:44 am

    Bird presented its first quarter 2022 earnings on Monday after the bell. Revenue has decreased consistently since the company went public via a special purpose acquisition merger in November last year. As a result, Bird is looking at streamlining resources so it can achieve profitability this year. Bird’s initiatives involve focusing on its most profitable

  • With Twitter deal on hold, Musk says a lower sale price isn't 'out of the question’
    by Amrita Khalid on May 17, 2022 at 12:21 am

    Billionaire Elon Musk is continuing to clash with Twitter over the accuracy of its bot count, and hinted today that he may try to renegotiate the $44 billion deal. Musk told attendees at a Miami conference that a deal at a lower price wasn’t “out of the question," reportedBloomberg. Musk's potential bid for a lower price is an unexpected twist, given that the SpaceX exec agreed to pay a 38 percent premium on Twitter when he reached a deal with the company's board back in April. “Currently what I’m being told is that there’s just no way to know the number of bots,” Musk said at the conference. “It’s like, as unknowable as the human soul." Musk's potential bid for a lower price is an unexpected twist, given that the SpaceX exec agreed to pay a 38 percent premium on Twitter when he reached a deal with the company's board back in April.  Last Friday, Musk had announced that a buyout of Twitter was “temporarily on hold” due to concerns that the number of bots on the platform was much higher than the company estimated. The billionaire tweeted that his team would do an independent analysis on bot count and also tried to crowdsource bot estimates from his own followers. Musk was later reprimanded by Twitter’s legal team for revealing — in a tweet, of course — the company's methodology for estimating the proportion of bot accounts across the platform. Earlier today, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal explained in a series of tweets that external estimates of bots are likely wrong, since the platform includes private data in its count. “Unfortunately, we don’t believe that this specific estimation can be performed externally, given the critical need to use both public and private information (which we can’t share),” tweeted Agrawal. Musk responded to Agrawal’s explanation with a series of his own tweets, one that included a single poop emoji. Musk also suggested that Twitter verify whether users are human or not by calling them on the phone. Tesla expert Dan Ives — an analyst at financial advisory firm Wedbush Securities — put the chances of Musk going through with the deal at under 50 percent. If Musk chooses to walk away, he’ll be subject to a $1 billion “kill fee”. But according to legal experts who spoke to The Washington Post, Twitter could sue Musk for the financial damages inflicted on the company due to the hasty reversal of the deal.

  • How to Order Your Free At-Home Covid-19 Tests
    by Medea Giordano on May 16, 2022 at 10:48 pm

    The US government is offering 8 more at-home tests to every household. Here's how to get yours, and how to troubleshoot common problems.

  • Daily Crunch: ‘The bitcoin network is not a payments network,’ says FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried
    by Haje Jan Kamps on May 16, 2022 at 10:40 pm

    Hello friends and welcome to Daily Crunch, bringing you the most important startup, tech and venture capital news in a single package.

  • Rivian founder RJ Scaringe snaps up $1M worth of EV maker’s stock
    by Kirsten Korosec on May 16, 2022 at 10:25 pm

    Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe bought 41,000 shares of company stock worth about $1 million, a securities filing posted Monday afternoon shows. The latest proxy filing, which pre-dated this purchase, shows Scaringe owns 11.99 million shares of class A stock, or about 1.3%, and 7.82 million class B common stock. He also holds 4.3

  • iOS 15.5 brings new Apple Cash update that lets you send and request money directly in Wallet
    by Aisha Malik on May 16, 2022 at 10:10 pm

    Apple users can now request and send money from their Apple Cash card directly through the Wallet app with the launch of iOS 15.5. The company notes that to request or send money directly from Wallet, users can open up the app, tap on their Apple Cash card to view it, tap “request or send,”

  • Max Q: Near and far
    by Aria Alamalhodaei on May 16, 2022 at 10:00 pm

    Hello and welcome back to Max Q. In this issue: Astra’s long game in the small launch market The supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy News from Virgin Orbit, SpaceX and more Don’t forget to sign up to get the free newsletter version of Max Q delivered to your inbox. Astra’s playing

  • Kolkata Chai’s next cup includes a taste of venture funding
    by Natasha Mascarenhas on May 16, 2022 at 9:46 pm

    Co-founded by brothers Ani and Ayan Sanyal, Kolkata Chai wants to be “the place to get good chai” in the United States. It’s a big market. The Sanyal brothers estimate the national tea market represents a $12.7 billion business per year. To chase after it, the duo tells TechCrunch that Kolkata is about to embark

  • Fall Guys is going free-to-play, coming to Switch and Xbox on June 21
    by Aisha Malik on May 16, 2022 at 9:23 pm

    Battle royale platformer Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is going free-to-play and is coming to Xbox, Nintendo Switch and the Epic Games Store on June 21, developer Mediatonic announced on Monday. The game initially launched on PlayStation and PC in August 2020 and was set to be released on Switch and Xbox last summer. A dedicated

  • Ballooning US EV registrations raise opportunities for startups
    by Tim De Chant on May 16, 2022 at 9:15 pm

    Surging EV adoption is certain to drive even more opportunities for startups to capitalize on the sector's growth.

  • Tesla starts taking Semi truck reservations, five years later
    by Jon Fingas on May 16, 2022 at 8:53 pm

    Tesla's long-delayed Semi just took an important step toward becoming a practical reality. As CNETreports, the automaker has started taking reservations for its electric big rig. You'll need to place a $20,000 deposit ($15,000 of it by wire transfer), and Tesla still hasn't narrowed down the launch beyond the expected 2023 production window. Still, this is notable when early commitments have largely been limited to bulk orders from the likes of PepsiCo and Walmart. The Semi was unveiled in 2017 alongside the second-generation Roadster. The machine was meant to up-end conventional trucking with a maximum 500-mile range, fast "Megacharger" top-ups and a 20-second 0-60MPH time at a loaded weight of 80,000lbs. It's still expected to start at $150,000, making it potentially viable for companies that want inter-city haulers without the usual fuel costs or environmental impact. As with the new Roadster, though, the launch didn't go according to plan. Tesla has delayed the Semi multiple times, most recently to grapple with chip shortages and limited production capacity for the necessary 4680 battery cells. Reservations at this stage are less about imminent delivery and more about locking in future income, just as Cybertruck deposits (estimated at 1.3 million as of November 2021) helped Tesla secure billions in revenue whenever the pickup arrives. Still, Tesla might not be too worried about the wait. Rival Nikola is only just ramping up production of its electric semi-truck, and established brands like Freightliner haven't found runaway success with their EVs. The Semi will still enter a relatively young field with both name recognition and technology as advantages.

  • Prusa buys 3D-printer seller Printed Solid to expand US footprint
    by Brian Heater on May 16, 2022 at 8:44 pm

    Lots going on in the world of desktop 3D printers — that’s not a sentence I thought I’d be writing anytime soon. Days after MakerBot and Ultimaker announced merger plans, one of the companies’ most well-regarded competitors is making its own moves. Prague-based Prusa Research is acquiring Printed Solid Inc., a Delaware-based 3D-printer reseller. Founded

  • There are no easy answers for tech in the aftermath of the Buffalo tragedy
    by Taylor Hatmaker on May 16, 2022 at 8:42 pm

    As a gunman wrought terror in a Buffalo, New York supermarket over the weekend, the violence was, yet again, streamed live online. The latest U.S. mass shooting left 10 people dead and raised familiar questions about how much responsibility social media companies bear in amplifying extremism that can lead to violence and in circulating footage

  • Rivian says pricing dispute with seat supplier threatens Amazon van program
    by Kirsten Korosec on May 16, 2022 at 8:37 pm

    Rivian filed a complaint against Commercial Vehicle Group, alleging that the supplier violated a contract and nearly doubled prices on a custom seat package bound for the electric vans it’s producing for Amazon and potentially other commercial customers. WSJ was the first to report on the complaint, which was filed March 9 in the Wayne

  • Start up solo, or bring on a co-founder? 4 factors to consider
    by Ram Iyer on May 16, 2022 at 7:47 pm

    While the data show solo founders raise more funding, a holistic approach to understanding your gaps and how to fill them is imperative.

  • Twitter CEO and Elon Musk clash over bot-battling metrics
    by Devin Coldewey on May 16, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    Twitter is full of bots, this much we know. But how full, and what kinds of bots? With estimates ranging from Twitter’s own “under 5 percent” to independent researchers suggesting 20% or more, it’s clearly a tricky number to nail down, as the company’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, explained in a thread today. Prospective buyer Elon

  • Peloton and iFit settle patent feud
    by Igor Bonifacic on May 16, 2022 at 7:35 pm

    Peloton has struggled financially in recent months, but it shared a bit of good news on Monday. It announced a settlement agreement with iFit, one of the companies it sued last fall for attempting to “free ride” off of its technology. At the time, Peloton accused its rival of violating up to four of its patents related to on-demand classes. As part of the settlement, iFit will remove some leaderboard features from its devices. Peloton, meanwhile, has agreed to license a handful of patents from iFit that involve the company’s remote control technologies. The two firms did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement. “The parties are pleased to put the litigations behind them,” Peloton said. While we will probably never know the factors that led to iFit’s decision to settle, the company probably had the fate of Flywheel in mind. Just before the start of the pandemic, Flywheel announced it would shut down its online classes after losing a patent lawsuit to Peloton. In the aftermath of that announcement, Peloton began a promotion for Flywheel customers where they could trade in their bikes for a refurbished Peloton bike at no cost. At the same time, there are examples of companies successfully challenging Peloton. At the start of the year, Echelon convinced the US Patent and Trademark Office that Peloton shouldn’t have been granted two patents related to its streaming technologies.

  • Melbourne-based Blinq wants to make paper business cards obsolete
    by Catherine Shu on May 16, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    Business cards feel almost as outdated as Victorian calling cards, but they are still a networking staple. Melbourne-based Blinq wants to do away with them altogether. The app generates a QR code that shows your professional info, including social media links, as soon as someone scans it, even if they don’t have the app installed.

  • Apple rolls out iOS 15.5 with upgrades to Apple Cash and Podcasts
    by Jon Fingas on May 16, 2022 at 6:08 pm

    Apple is quickly acting on its promise to deliver some useful upgrades before WWDC. The company has released iOS 15.5 and its iPadOS 15.5 counterpart with improvements to both Apple Cash and (as mentioned earlier) Podcasts. Cash users can now send and receive money from their card, while Podcasts users can have the app automatically limit episode storage based on criteria like the number of shows or time since release. A corresponding macOS 12.4 update adds the relevant Podcasts features. You can also grab a previously teased firmware fix for the Studio Display's mediocre webcam quality. Apple has also released watchOS 8.6, tvOS 15.5 and HomePod 15.5 updates, although those focus on bug fixes and performance rather than any significant features. The iOS, iPadOS and macOS updates aren't huge, but that's not surprising. Apple has historically wound down significant upgrades to its current operating systems around this time of year. The focus now is likely on iOS 16 and other big revisions likely to arrive in the fall.

  • Spotify is testing NFT galleries on artist pages
    by Igor Bonifacic on May 16, 2022 at 5:35 pm

    In addition to their latest tracks and playlists, musicians can use Spotify’s artist profile pages to promote merchandise and concert dates. Soon, they may be able to use those pages to promote NFTs as well. As first reported by Music Ally, Spotify has begun testing NFT galleries. The feature is available to a select group of US users on Android and includes Web3 enthusiasts like Steve Aoki. If you have access to the test, you can view the galleries by visiting one of the included artist pages and scrolling past the song list. Tapping on an NFT allows you to see a larger version of it, in addition to a short description. Per The Verge, a “See More” option redirects you to the NFT’s OpenSea listing page where you can purchase the token. According to Music Ally, Spotify isn’t collecting a commission on sales it helps facilitate during the test. “Spotify is running a test in which it will help a small group of artists promote their existing third-party NFT offerings via their artist profiles,” Spotify told the outlet. “We routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve artist and fan experiences. Some of those tests end up paving the way for a broader experience and others serve only as an important learning.” We’ve reached out to Spotify for more information. The test comes as other major platforms like Instagram incorporate their own NFT features even as the market cools down. Citing data from NonFungible, The Wall Street Journal recently found that daily NFT sales are down 92 percent from their peak in September. The number of active wallets is also down by about 88 percent. 

  • Sony confirms its new PlayStation Plus tiers will launch on June 13, reveals list of games
    by Aisha Malik on May 16, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    Sony announced today that its revamped PlayStation Plus gaming subscription tiers will launch in the United States on June 13th. The new PlayStation Plus tiers offer similar benefits to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, which gives users access to a library of rotating games for a monthly fee. Sony has also released a list of games

  • Flexxbotics puts work-cell manufacturing on cloud nine
    by Haje Jan Kamps on May 16, 2022 at 5:24 pm

    In manufacturing — and especially in the space of contract manufacturing, where production lines are reconfigured to suit the product that’s being built — we’ve seen a prevailing trend from super-specific automation robots that are custom-built to do just one thing, toward more generalized, multi-purpose robots. Flexxbotics just closed a $2.9 million round to leap

  • Google faces fresh class action-style suit in UK over DeepMind NHS patient data scandal
    by Natasha Lomas on May 16, 2022 at 5:24 pm

    Google is facing a new class-action style lawsuit in the U.K. in relation to a health data scandal that broke back in 2016, when it emerged that its AI division, DeepMind, had been passed data on more than a million patients as part of an app development project by the Royal Free NHS Trust in

  • Apple TV+’s ‘For All Mankind’ season three trailer drops, teasing a space race to Mars
    by Lauren Forristal on May 16, 2022 at 5:22 pm

    Apple TV+ released the trailer for season three of “For All Mankind,” which returns to the service on Friday, June 10, featuring 10 weekly episodes. By altering historical events, the drama imagines a global space race occurring after the 1969 moon landing. In an epic pursuit for resources on the red planet, the third season

  • 'Fall Guys' lands on Switch, Xbox and Epic Games Store on June 21st
    by Kris Holt on May 16, 2022 at 5:21 pm

    It's been over a year since Mediatonic confirmed Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout was coming to Xbox and Nintendo Switch. After somedelays, the wait is almost over. The ridiculously fun battle royale platformer is coming to those platforms, as well as Epic Games Store, on June 21st. A dedicated PlayStation 5 version is on the way too. Full cross-play and cross-progression will be available across all platforms as well. What's more, Fall Guys is going free-to-play. Epic pulled a similar move with Rocket League after snatching up Psyonix. Existing players on PlayStation and Steam will receive a legacy pack, which includes three costumes and some other bonuses. Newcomers who pre-register can claim some swag as well.  It's not a huge shock that Fall Guys is coming to the Epic Games Store — Epic bought Mediatonic parent Tonic Games Group last year. Users have needed an Epic account to play Fall Guys since November, when cross-progression was added. IT'S HAPPENING!Soon you'll be able to play Fall Guys for free on ALL PLATFORMS!See you on PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and EGS on June 21!!!!— Fall Guys - BIG Announcement TODAY!!!! (@FallGuysGame) May 16, 2022 A new season will also get underway on June 21st. Mediatonic is resetting the counter and calling it Season 1: Free For All. It will be the first seasonal update since November and, as ever, there will be new levels and more cosmetics. For the first time, there will be a premium (i.e. paid) season pass with 100 tiers and extra cosmetic items. Those who receive the legacy pass will get free access to the premium season pass for season one. A free season pass will still be available with other items to unlock.  Crowns will no longer be used for currency to buy items in the store. The crown rank feature will be boosted with more rewards. Unspent crowns will be converted into Kudos. There will be another in-game currency called Show-Bucks, which can be used to buy the premium season pass. Costumes that are on the way include Ezio from the Assassin's Creed series, along with Mecha Godzilla and Mothra. There's one more big update on the way: a level creator. This was announced as being "under construction" and, while it won't be arriving any time soon, it's an exciting feature to look forward to. The game debuted on PS4 and Steam in August 2020 and was an instant hit, racking up millions of players on PC in just a few days and becoming the most-claimed game in the history of PlayStation Plus at the time. It seems player numbers have dropped quite a ways since the early days — having increasingly lengthy seasons likely hasn't helped. However, the arrival of Fall Guys on more platforms, the free-to-play shift and a new season should all bring new and lapsed players into the fold.

  • Cadillac's Lyriq EV will start at $62,990
    by Andrew Tarantola on May 16, 2022 at 5:08 pm

    Cadillac has released more details about the vehicle and its features ahead of online orders reopening for its highly-anticipated Lyriq EV on May 19th. The crossover will start at $62,990 and just $2,000 more for its 4WD variant. What's more, Cadillac is sweetening the deal by including either two years of unlimited public charging through EV Go or up to a $1,500 credit for a home charging unit through QMerit. Orders will open for both the RWD and AWD versions at the end of this week. Customers will have two additional exterior paint options — Opulent Blue Metallic and Crystal White Tricoat — to choose from that happens. Customers should expect the RWD models to arrive first — it's coming this fall after the summer production run of the Lyriq Debut Edition concludes. The AWD models should hit dealerships by early next year. Cadillac also unveiled the EPA-rated mileage of 312 miles for the RWD Lyric (no official word yet on the AWD version but assume it to be a bit lower).  The company also announced on Monday that it is partnering with both charging station network EV Go and home charging system installers, QMerit, to help reticent buyers overcome their range anxiety through the judicious application of cash. Lyric shoppers will have their pick of two included charging options: two years of unlimited charging sessions at EV Go's 850-plus stations or they'll receive up to a $1,500 rebate for the installation of a Level 2 AC home charging unit. Opting for the public charging option will be faster (with a 190kW max rate on a Level 3 DC charger, the Lyric will add 76 miles of range in about 10 minutes) while the home charging method won't require you to hang around a parking lot for 45 minutes while the Lyric's batteries refill.  

  • Yes! More tickets released for TechCrunch’s Annual Summer Party next month
    by Lauren Simonds on May 16, 2022 at 5:02 pm

    Get ready for summer in the city, TechCrunch style. We just released a second round of tickets to our Annual Summer Party happening this June. Available on a first-come, first-served basis, tickets to our popular event sell out quickly, and they’ll be gone before you know it. Don’t wait — buy your ticket today. We’re

  • Apple Podcasts will manage episode downloads to save storage space
    by Jon Fingas on May 16, 2022 at 4:02 pm

    Apple is giving Podcasts a useful boost, both for listeners and podcasters. As TechCrunchexplains, the impending iOS 15.5, iPadOS 15.5 and macOS 12.4 upgrades will finally give you a host of advanced tools to limit podcast storage across your devices. You can tell the Podcasts app to only download a certain number of recent episodes, those within a set timeframe (such as a week or month) or only new episodes. You can also disable downloads entirely — helpful if you're using a small-capacity iPhone and need every gigabyte you can get. AppleThe new OS upgrades will also give you the option of yearly subscriptions for paid podcasts. You'll alsoget to browse shows by season and filter episodes by their status. You may see more podcasts, too. Apple has unveiled plans for a "Delegated Delivery" feature that lets creators send both free and paid shows to Podcasts through third-party providers like Acast, Libsyn and Omny Studio. The move should make it much easier for producers to distribute their shows across platforms — they could make a series available through Podcasts, Spotify and other big platforms while managing content in one place. Delegated Delivery will be available sometime this fall, and will be free whether or not creators are part of the Apple Podcasters Program. They'll only need to join that program to publish paid material. The initiative is effectively Apple's response to Spotify's Anchor, and should increase the odds that your favorite show is available through your listening app of choice.

  • What’s the Deal With Synesthesia TikTok?
    by Amelia Tait on May 16, 2022 at 4:01 pm

    A growing number of people on the platform claim to have a perceptual condition that lets them smell colors, see music, or taste sounds. But do they really?