EMPIST Tech News Roundup: Friday, July 20, 2018

Top tech news of the week: It was an Amazon Prime Day for the record books, Netflix is reevaluating their strategy following a low subscriber rate and Google gets hit with a record-breaking fine for Android misuse from the EU. Get these and other tech news updates now!

On Amazon Prime Day, Site and App Crash; Shoppers Left in Lurch, Instead See Dog Pictures

USA Today | Mon July 16, 2018 — Everyone’s favorite annual online shopping bonanza (outside of Black Friday and Cyber Monday) experienced its highest-ever volume of traffic and sales on Monday. Amazon Prime Day, a celebrated annual 36-hour sale, suffered a rare glitch at its start that turned away would-be browsers shopping Prime Day deals. Unlike many traditional retailers, Amazon opted to display a unique message to those experiencing problems due to the heavy traffic. Instead of a simple message, shoppers were shown pictures of dogs. Users could access their online shopping cart, but when they attempted to actually purchase something, they got a note saying, “Sorry, we’re experiencing unusually heavy traffic. Please try again in a few seconds. Your items are still waiting in your cart.” This year’s sale is predicted to reach $3.4 billion. Read the full story >>

Amazon’s Two Most Powerful Rivals Just Decided to Team Up

Business Insider | Tue July 17, 2018 — Between cloud computing and retail Amazon has two big-name competitors. Those two competitors, Walmart and Microsoft, are now teaming up. This strategic partnership will be used for a wider use of cloud and AI technology. The five-year agreement will utilize Microsoft’s cloud technology, Azure, to make shopping faster and easier for customers. The ultimate goal is for Microsoft to help retailers keep pace with the technology behind Amazon Go, as well as ultimately eliminating cashiers and checkout lines from brick and mortar stores. As part of the partnership, Walmart and Microsoft engineers will collaborate to migrate a significant portion of Walmart’s e-commerce site and samsclub.com to Azure. Read the full story >>

Netflix Only Takes Up 8 Percent of the Time You Spend Watching Video, But They Want to Change That

CNBC | Tue July 17, 2018 — Despite news that Netflix’s subscriber rates are slowing down and that they missed their projected goal, the popular video streamer isn’t slowing down. Instead, they are focusing on a new strategy. Rather than the volume of subscribers, Netflix is sharing focus with another area: time spent streaming content. Netflix said last year average viewing hours per membership rose 9 percent year-over-year. The company also said last year users watched 140 million hours of content per day. The debate now is whether people will even have enough time to watch more content and spur Netflix’s intended growth. Read the full story >>

EU Fines Google $5.1 Billion Fine in Android Antitrust Case

New York Times | Wed July 18, 2018 — The GDPR was no joke, and now one major company is feeling the pain of its consequences. In an attempt to rein in the Silicon Valley tech arena, the EU fined Google a hefty $5.1 billion for abuse of power in the mobile phone market. The root of the fine stems from Google’s hugely profitable business model: providing phone makers like Samsung its Android operating system. In exchange for this, the phone companies must prioritize Google search bar, Chrome browser and other apps over their competitors. Along with the sizeable fine, Google is now also forced to decouple the Android system from its other services in Europe. This poses the risk of losing both users and advertising revenue. Read the full story >>

Slack Acquires Missions to Help Users Automate Work Tasks Inside Chat

TechCrunch | Tue July 17, 2018 — After gaining a popular following for its user-friendly messaging platform, Slack is continuing to take steps towards more streamlined efficiency. The latest step in this goal was for Slack to acquire Robot and Pencils’ app Missions, which will allow Slack users to build tools to automate simple routines without code. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. This is in addition to the Slack library containing 1,500 apps that users can integrate. Missions’ technology lets people create workflows for tasks that they might normally have to talk about inside Slack and then carry out the process off-chat. Slack hopes that this addition will let users and their teams boost productivity by making things more simple for a variety of repeatable processes. Read the full story >>

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