Data Sheet—How Tech Companies Like Amazon Are Reaching for New Markets


Conscious uncoupling. Low earth orbit, the space up to about 1,200 miles high, could get pretty crowded. Getting even further out of its lane, Amazon confirmed a plan called Project Kuiper to loft more than 3,200 satellites to provide worldwide Internet service. SpaceX, OneWeb and others have similar plans. In other Amazon-adjacent news, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos revealed that, under the terms of their divorce, MacKenzie will get 25% of the family’s Amazon stake (worth about $35 billion) but voting control for the shares will remain with Jeff. Those votes may come in handy, as the Securities and Exchange Commission ruled that Amazon shareholders should be allowed to vote on a proposal to ban the company from selling its facial recognition software to governments if it endangers human rights

I’m not sure how healthy bacon is in general. Speaking of dissolutions, Google said it would un-form its A.I. ethical advisory board about a week after it was formed. Beset with controversy over some of the members, Google is “ending the council and going back to the drawing board,” a spokesperson told Vox. Meanwhile, Google stirred a new controversy by testing a program to put advertisements on the home screens of some smart TV sets, including multi-thousand-dollar 4K Sony devices. Not cool, Google, not cool.

Kicked out of our school. Tough times at Samsung. Slipping smartphone sales and falling prices for LCD panels and memory chips combined to put a crunch on profits, which will fall 60% from a year earlier to about $5.5 billion, the company said.

You just make it work. In a victory for responsible PC owners, Microsoft is changing the Windows update process. Home users will have the option to pause updates for 35 days and delay larger updates.

The balance between cigarettes and tofu. The British royals have a problem with battle royale. Prince Harry, speaking at a YMCA in West London, criticized the popular video game Fortnite. “The game shouldn’t be allowed,” he said. “It’s created to addict. An addiction to keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible. It’s so irresponsible.”

I am who I am. There was no verdict in the case of SEC v. Elon Musk on Thursday. The agency wanted a judge to hold the Tesla CEO in contempt for tweets that may have violated an earlier settlement agreement. But District Judge Alison Nathan was having none of it, telling both sides to “put their reasonableness pants on” and get back to her in two weeks.

(Headline quote explainer for those who are not fans of the creator of GOOP, the current film incarnation of Pepper Potts, and a couple of cookbooks.)

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