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March 8 2017 2:37 PM

Disney’s CEO Quoted Hamilton to Explain Why He’s on Trump’s Business Council

This post originally appeared in Business Insider.

At Disney's annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, CEO Bob Iger responded to criticisms of his place on President Trump's business council by quoting the musical Hamilton. “I want to be in the room where it happens,” Iger said, quoting the smash-hit Broadway sensation that almost certainly will get made into a movie one day (maybe by Disney).

 

Feb. 28 2017 5:18 PM

Walmart is Testing Technology That Would Let Customers Skip Checkout Lines

Walmart is testing a technology that would allow customers to skip checkout lines and pay for purchases with their smartphones instead, the Washington Post reports.

The so-called "scan and go" technology sounds exactly like what Amazon is planning to implement in its new chain of grocery stores, which the company is calling Amazon Go. Amazon revealed plans for its new stores in December. The company said shoppers will be able to use an app to add products to a digital shopping cart, then walk out of the building with their purchases without waiting in a checkout line. Payment for the products will be handled through the app.

 

Feb. 23 2017 9:55 PM

Google's Self-Driving Car Company Is Suing Uber for Intellectual Property Theft

This post originally appeared in Business Insider.

Google and Uber started off as friends, then became competitors, and are now adversaries in a bitter legal fight. Waymo, the self-driving-car business that is owned by Google parent company Alphabet, has sued Uber, alleging that the ride-hailing company stole its intellectual property.

The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court in San Francisco, claims that a team of ex-Google engineers stole the company's design of its lidar system for Uber's self-driving-truck startup Otto. "We believe these actions were part of a concerted plan to steal Waymo’s trade secrets and intellectual property," reads a blog post by Waymo posted on Thursday.

"We take the allegations made against Otto and Uber employees seriously and we will review this matter carefully," Uber wrote in a statement to Business Insider.

Waymo said in the lawsuit that it was copied on an email, apparently inadvertently, that included machine drawings of what appears to be Uber's lidar circuit board that "bears a striking resemblance" to Waymo's own designs.

Waymo alleges that Anthony Levandowski, a co-founder of Google's self-driving car project, "downloaded over 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files for Waymo’s various hardware systems, including designs of Waymo’s LiDAR and circuit board" six weeks before resigning from the company.

Levandowski left Google after 9 years to found Otto, which was acquired by Uber at a deal valued at nearly $680 million. Uber bought Otto in August 2016, just six months after Levandowski founded the startup.

Waymo alleges that Levandowski installed specialized software on his company laptop in order to gain access to Waymo's design server. He then downloaded 9.7 GB of highly confidential files and trade secrets that included blue prints, design files, and testing documentation, the lawsuit claims.

Waymo wrote that former Waymo employees now working at Uber and Otto downloaded "additional highly confidential information" related to its lidar system, including supplier lists, manufacturing details, and statements of work with highly technical information.

"Misappropriating this technology is akin to stealing a secret recipe from a beverage company," Waymo wrote in its blog post.

Waymo announced in early January that it was building its own lidar system in-house, which allowed it to reduce the price of the notoriously expensive system by 90%.

The lawsuit marks the the latest escalation in the bumpy relationship between the two tech giants.

Google Ventures invested $250 million in Uber in 2013, when the ride-hailing service was still in its early years. But as the two companies' business interests began to overlap, particularly around self-driving cars, the relationship began to fray. In August, Google executive David Drummond stepped down from his seat on Uber's board.

Prior to stepping down, Drummond, as well as Google Ventures CEO David Krane, had been shut out of Uber's board meetings.

Feb. 22 2017 11:55 AM

Apple’s Massive, Ring-Shaped New Headquarters Is Opening This April

This post originally appeared in Business Insider.

Apple has announced that its new $5 billion campus will be open to employees starting in April.

The Silicon Valley tech giant said it would take over six months to move more than 12,000 workers to the new campus, which is set on a 175-acre site. The ring-shaped facility, which Apple is now calling "Apple Park," is several months behind schedule. Construction on the main building and the surrounding parkland will continue over the summer, Apple said.

Feb. 15 2017 11:25 AM

Under Armour's CEO Bought a Full-Page Newspaper Ad to Say He Didn't Mean to Praise Trump

This post originally appeared in Business Insider.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank is stepping up the effort to distance himself from comments he made praising President Donald Trump.

Plank published a full page ad in hometown newspaper The Baltimore Sun clarifying his previous remarks. The open letter never mentions President Trump by name, instead stating Under Armour's values in diversity, equal rights, job creation, and opposing Trump's executive order travel ban. "I personally believe that immigration is the foundation of our country’s exceptionalism," Plank wrote.

Feb. 8 2017 8:52 AM

The Newest Whole Foods Has a “Produce Butcher”

This post originally appeared in Business Insider.

Whole Foods' newest store has hired someone to cut up your fruits and vegetables for you.

The store near New York's Bryant Park, which opened last week, features a "Produce Butcher" who will chop, dice, and mince whatever vegetables customers need prepared. Whole Foods will charge $1 per pound, or per individually priced item, Foodbeast reported.

The Food Butcher isn't the only upscale innovation that Whole Foods is offering at the new Manhattan location. The grocery store also has three full-service restaurants, including a sushi restaurant and the Harbor Bar, which serves wine and 24 beers on tap.

Whole Foods has been trying to shed its "whole paycheck" reputation with new marketing and the launch of its more inexpensive 365 chain. However, at this new Manhattan location, luxury still seems to reign supreme.

Jan. 23 2017 4:06 PM

Snapchat Is Cracking Down on Racy and Misleading Content in Its Discover Section

This post originally appeared in Business Insider.

Snapchat will start cracking down on overtly sexual and misleading stories in its Discover section, a company spokesperson told Business Insider on Monday. Publishers who participate in Snapchat Discover will be required to not show "sensitive content, including profanity, overly sexualized content, and violent content." Snapchat is leaving an exception for content that publishers deem newsworthy, as long as a warning is shown first.

The decision comes as Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. prepares to go public at a potential $25 billion valuation in the coming weeks. Snap was also sued last year by the mother of a 14-year-old boy who claimed the app regularly showed explicit content to minors without proper age warnings. The lawsuit has since been settled outside of court.

 

Jan. 18 2017 1:47 PM

A Construction Company Put Trump’s “Wall” in Its Super Bowl Ad. The Ad Was Rejected.

This post originally appeared in Business Insider.

Fox, this year's Super Bowl broadcaster, has rejected a big game ad from construction-supply company 84 Lumber because it was deemed too political, Campaign first reported.

The ad had featured a "wall" blocking people in the U.S. from looking for work. The idea behind the 90-second spot—a huge ad buy likely costing the company around $15 million—was to boost recruitment at the company.

Advertising agency Brunner has now been sent back to the drawing board and a new ad is currently in production, ready to air during the big game on February 5. However, 84 Lumber still plans to put the original spot online on the same day.

Brunner sent Business Insider this statement on behalf of Brunner CEO Michael Brunner:

Fox rejected our original commercial because they determined that some of the imagery, including “the wall” would be too controversial. So we went back and revised the spot to make it acceptable to them. 84 Lumber challenged us to create a thought-provoking 90 second spot that would tell the world who 84 Lumber is and what they stand for – a company looking for people with grit, determination and heart, no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they look like. And while that full story will no longer be told on TV at the Super Bowl, we all believe too strongly in that message to leave it on the editing room floor. So we are going to launch it during the Super Bowl and make the full story available online.

Fox and 84 Lumber declined to comment.

Fox is reportedly charging advertisers just over $5 million for a 30-second advertising slot during the Super bowl. In December, Variety reported that it had sold almost 90% of its Super Bowl ad inventory.

Jan. 13 2017 1:47 PM

This Company Is Suing Because It Thinks Snapchat Ripped Off Its Eyeball Logo

Snapchat's parent company, Snap, is being sued over the eyeball logo featured on Spectacles vending machines.

Glasses brand Eyebobs is claiming trademark infringement in a lawsuit filed in Minnesota federal district court. The company claims it registered an eyeball logo in the US in 2008.

Jan. 10 2017 2:48 PM

Snapchat’s Unusual Choice to Open Its European Headquarters in the U.K.

This post originally appeared in Business Insider.

Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, has chosen to base its international headquarters in the UK, the Financial Times first reported on Tuesday.

The move is unusual for a US-based tech firm. Companies including Facebook, Uber, and Google have chosen other European countries including Ireland and the Netherlands as their international base to take advantage of lower corporation tax rates.

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