Oct 20, 2018

Google, Android apps and other tech news from this week

Amazon corporate office building in Sunnyvale, California. Photo: Lisa Werner / Contributor.

This week was another PR nightmare for Facebook, riddled with political ad bans, a new lawsuit from advertisers, its retracted statement about Portal-related ads and election security reassurance. But here are some other tech headlines you may have missed this week.

Catch up quick: Google plans to start charging for Android apps in Europe; How northern Virginia checks the most boxes for Amazon HQ2; eBay sues Amazon, alleging it illegally poached sellers; Lyft now has a subscription plan for $299 a month; JD.com to launch online store on Google shopping for Americans.

Google plans to start charging for Android apps in Europe (Axios)

How northern Virginia checks the most boxes for Amazon HQ2 (The New York Times)

  • Why it matters: Tight-lipped Amazon has the entire country wondering where its second headquarters will be. Northern Virginia checks out as a top choice: good transit, diverse residents, a friendly business climate and a single developer with a big chunk of land.

eBay sues Amazon, alleging it illegally poached sellers (Axios)

  • Why it matters: The two e-commerce giants go up against each other, as eBay asks for a jury trial and a halt to the allegedly fraudulent activity by Amazon, along with monetary and punitive damages. The lawsuit alleges Amazon reps contacted American and international eBay sellers using eBay’s messaging system — a fraudulent act.

Lyft now has a subscription plan for $299 a month (TechCrunch)

  • Why it matters: Lyft and rival Uber have been experimenting with monthly subscriptions and bundles for a while now—not a surprise as they can can hook customers into paying a big sum upfront. The Lyft plan comes with 30 rides at up to $15 each, with a 5% discount on subsequent rides.

JD.com to launch online store on Google shopping for Americans (Bloomberg)

  • Why it matters: In June, JD.com took a $550 million investment from Google as part of a partnership to help each other expand into their respective markets. JD is in direct competition with Alibaba. The main hiccup for China’s second-largest retailer is the trade war between the U.S. and China — a potential for inflation of shipping costs and levies on imported goods.

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Ivanka Trump plans focus on coronavirus recovery for small businesses

Ivanka Trump speaks at yesterday's White House videoconference with bank and credit card executives. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Ivanka Trump personally lobbied top bank executives to line up the $1.5 billion in commitments to small business that were announced yesterday at a videoconference among the bank executives and President Trump — stoking competitive juices among the execs to drive up their commitments.

The state of play: Ivanka, who has had workforce development in her portfolio going back to 2017, plans an increasing emphasis on small businesses in the weeks ahead as they navigate the rescue bill’s Payroll Protection Program, sources tell me.

Public transit's death spiral

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Public transit systems across the country are experiencing a painful trifecta: Ridership has collapsed, funding streams are squeezed, and mass transit won't bounce back from the pandemic nearly as fast as other modes of transportation.

Why it matters: Transit agencies could see an annual shortfall of as much as $38 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to TransitCenter. At the same time, they're more important than ever, with more than 36% of essential workers relying on public transportation to get to work.

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: London mayor says U.K. nowhere near lockdown lifting

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered hope in the fight against the novel coronavirus, saying she believes New Zealand has "turned a corner" after two weeks of strict lockdown measures. But London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said the U.K. is "nowhere near" lifting restrictions.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed over 82,000 people and infected 1.4 million others globally as of early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Global recoveries have surpassed 301,000. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 141,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 17,000). Half the planet's population is on lockdown.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health