Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.
Google is recommending all employees in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to work from home because of the coronavirus. This is an expansion of Google's policy for its employees in North America, who have been given the same advice. Apple is telling retail workers not to encourage customers to try on the Apple Watch or AirPods in a precaution against spreading the coronavirus. While Apple hasn't eliminated try-ons, employees are being told not to offer it proactively and to only allow try-ons at the customer's request. E3, one of the world's biggest gaming events, has been canceled over coronavirus fears. In a statement sent to Business Insider, the Entertainment Software Association – E3's organizer – said it was "very disappointed" but described the cancelation as "the right decision." The UK will spend $1 billion on a moonshot agency to fund cutting-edge tech and compete with the US and China. The idea is to create a UK "blue skies" funding agency that mimics the US Advanced Research Projects Agency, a government agency which fuelled the invention of the internet. The Trump administration implored Silicon Valley tech giants to aid its fight against coronavirus. The federal government asked for assistance from companies including Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, IBM and Twitter, Politico reports. Magic Leap, the hyped-up smart-glasses startup that raised over $2.6 billion from investors like Google, is reportedly exploring a sale. Magic Leap is also exploring options including partnerships and a possible stock market listing, Bloomberg reports. The European Commission has set out a plan to move towards a 'right to repair' for electronics devices, such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops. The proposals are part of a plan that's designed to aid a Commission pledge to transition the bloc to carbon neutrality by 2050, TechCrunch reports. Millennial-focused bank Cogni is launching with fee-free checking accounts to disrupt the 'expensive' US banking market. Cogni is a new challenger bank backed by Barclays, Guggenheim Partners, and the CXO fund, among others. Googlers are jolted by life without free lunch as hundreds of thousands work from home — but insiders say 'nobody could be more prepared' than their company for COVID-19. The biggest impact for many Googlers is the loss of the company's famous free lunches. Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has said Facebook 'serves as a s--- umbrella for Instagram.' Mosseri said it's "generally the case" that people trust Instagram more than Facebook, while admitting he isn't as big a public figure as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Have an Amazon Alexa device? Now you can hear 10 Things in Tech each morning. Just search for "Business Insider" in your Alexa's flash briefing settings. You can also subscribe to this newsletter here — just tick "10 Things in Tech You Need to Know."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos reportedly just spent $165 million on a Beverly Hills estate — here are all the ways the world's richest man makes and spends his money
More like this (3)
Instagram adds bulk comment deletion and control for who can mention or tag you on iOS, to help fight bullying; the ability to pin comments is being tested (Michael Potuck/9to5Mac)
Michael Potuck / 9to5Mac: Instagram adds bulk comment deletion and control for who can mention or...Michael Potuck / 9to5Mac: Instagram adds bulk comment deletion and control for who can mention or tag you on iOS, to help fight bullying; the ability to pin comments is being tested — Instagram is rolling out some changes today to keep the platform a more positive place for users.
Sources: Apple plans to return employees to offices sooner than rival tech companies, with staff coming back in phases (Mark Gurman/Bloomberg)
Mark Gurman / Bloomberg: Sources: Apple plans to return employees to offices sooner than rival tech...Mark Gurman / Bloomberg: Sources: Apple plans to return employees to offices sooner than rival tech companies, with staff coming back in phases — - Company to start letting more workers return to major offices — Google, Facebook will allow remote work through end of 2020 — Apple Inc. plans …
Magic Leap, the much-hyped augmented reality startup that raised billions for its augmented-reality goggles, is cutting staff and shifting its business to enterprise
Magic Leap, the much-hyped smart glasses startup that spent years getting people excited about the future...Magic Leap, the much-hyped smart glasses startup that spent years getting people excited about the future of spatial computing, is pivoting away from consumer tech and laying off half its staff. CEO Rony Abovitz announced that the company was making 'targeted' changes to the way it operates, with layoffs happening at 'every level' of the company. Magic Leap's first product was released in 2018 and overlaid digital imagery onto the real world. The company had planned to follow up with a more mainstream product down the line. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Magic Leap, the smart glasses startup that spent years building hype as the next big thing in augmented reality, has announced it is restructuring its business away from the consumer market and laying off a number of employees. In a blog post titled "Charting a new course," Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz announced that the company would be pivoting away from the consumer business to focus on enterprise. "To better prepare Magic Leap for the future, we have taken a close look at our business and are making targeted changes to how we operate and manage costs," wrote Abovitz in the post. The company will also be laying off a number of employees, which Bloomberg reports to be half of the total workforce, with about 1,000 employees being let go. A source with knowledge of the matter told Business Insider that Magic Leap told employees about the changes happening in a company-wide call just moments before the blog was posted. The call was followed by emails informing staff who were being laid off. "These changes will occur at every level of our company, from my direct reports to our factory employees," Abovitz added in the blog post. Abovitz said the current pandemic had caused "unprecedented change" around the world, leading Magic Leap to examine its own operations. However, just last month it was reported that Magic Leap was exploring a sale of the company, as well as other options such as partnerships and a possible stock market listing. Magic Leap spent years hyping up a product that no one could actually see, raising over $2 billion from major sources that included Google and Alibaba. In 2018 it finally released the Magic Leap One augmented reality goggles, which overlaid digital imagery onto the real world. At the time, Magic Leap conceded that it was an early-adopter product, promising something more consumer-friendly down the line – but it sounds like that follow-up product won't be happening any time soon, with the company turning to enterprise as a more lucrative source of revenue. According to a report from The Information last December, sales of the Magic Leap One headset have failed to meet the company's own expectations. Business Insider reported in 2018 the company was burning about $50 million a month. A spokesperson from Magic Leap did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment at the time of publishing.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Pathologists debunk 13 coronavirus myths