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TI Reality Check: Better Optics and an HTC Teaser

HTC has started promoting new VR hardware as though it’s teasing the next Marvel movie. On Friday, the company tweeted out a partial image of something that looked like a new VR headset (HTC later cheekily confirmed that’s exactly what it was). Today, the company also announced a new event called ViveCon 2021—most likely a developer-focused VR conference—that...

Didi Chuxing Aborted $1 Billion Acquisition of Aurora Amid Concerns of U.S. Officials

After defeating Uber in China’s brutal ride-hailing war in 2016, Didi Chuxing had an even more ambitious goal: Win the global race to develop robotaxis. A year later, Didi quietly struck a $1 billion deal to acquire Aurora Innovation, the high-profile self-driving-car firm led by Chris Urmson, a pioneer in the field who started Google’s autonomous...

What Tech Can Do for Local Governments, Pandemic Edition

There was a period early in the pandemic when I wondered if Covid-19 would be the crisis that finally pushed Silicon Valley and Washington together. Google was promising to develop a website with nationwide information about testing and risk levels. In a rare collaboration to help the government and health officials, Apple and Google said they would...

The Briefing: Amazon Wins Round One of Union Battle

Amazon’s victory in the Alabama unionization vote will be a relief to the e-commerce giant in the short term, but it’s hardly the end of the matter. Leaving aside the legal appeals over the outcome of the Alabama vote, the labor movement is sure to try again elsewhere. Widespread reports of onerous working conditions for Amazon drivers and warehouse...

Tech’s Tiger King — The Information’s 411

Cory talks to Kate Clark about the new king of venture capital deals: Tiger Global Management. The New York hedge fund has invested at a rapid pace, at higher and higher valuations. What does it mean for venture capital in 2021? Plus, Wendy and Cory discuss whether venture-backed travel firms will get a lift after a bleak year.

Apple Hires Former Warner Exec As Part of Film Push

Apple has hired a former WarnerMedia executive to beef up its original film production, as part of a broader effort by the iPhone maker to ramp up the programming selection on its Apple TV+ streaming service, according to two people familiar with the situation. Jessie Henderson, who until last fall was executive vice president of feature films...

Want a Piece of Stripe and SpaceX? Find an SPV

When Khosla Ventures in February wanted to sell part of its stake in Stripe, one of the hottest private tech companies in the world, the shares ended up being auctioned in an opaque process. One broker with access to the auction told clients through texts that they had two days to submit a bid. The winning auction bidder paid $12 million for around...

The Briefing: Box Tries, Again, to Appease Activist Shareholder

Activist investors generally get favorable treatment from the business media, which likes to portray them as saviors riding in on a horse to rescue shareholders from poor management. While there are clearly situations where activists force much-needed changes that benefit all shareholders—eBay’s makeover under activist pressure comes to mind—there are...

Kid Debit Card Startup Greenlight Valued at $2 Billion in Andreessen-Led Round

Andreessen Horowitz is leading a new round of funding in Greenlight Financial Technology, a startup that offers debit cards meant for children, at a $2 billion valuation, according to two people familiar with the deal. The new funding comes as two rivals—Current and Step, which both offer specialized charge cards to teenagers—finalize new rounds...

TI Reality Check: The Common Ground Between an Apple Car and AR Device

What do two Apple projects—its autonomous vehicle and augmented reality technologies—have in common? Seemingly not much, other than the intense secrecy surrounding both of them. But a new patent Apple won on Tuesday suggests at least one common technical ingredient between them. The U.S. patent describes an approach to computer vision that solves...

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