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.
- Why it matters: This could have huge implications for European Android users, including higher fees and unpredictable combinations of Google apps and services on Android devices.
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.
- 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.
- 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.