TechSummit Rewind 086

Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

NHTSA investigating death of Tesla driver in crash with Autopilot active

Tesla Model S

A Tesla Model S with the Autopilot system activated was involved in a fatal crash, in the first known fatality in a Tesla where Autopilot was active. According to Tesla, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the accident, which is now investigating.

The accident occurred on a divided highway in Williston, Fla. when a tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the Model S. Neither the driver – who Tesla notes as being ultimately responsible – nor the noticed the big rig or trailer “against a brightly lit sky” and the brakes weren’t applied.

Because of the trailer’s high ride-height and positioning across the road, the Model S passed under the trailer and the first impact was between the windshield and the trailer. According to Tesla, if the car impacted the trailer’s front and rear, even at high speed, the car’s safety systems likely would have “prevented serious injury as it has in numerous other similar incidents.”

According to Tesla, the NHTSA investigation is a “preliminary evaluation” to see if the Autopilot system was working properly, which can eventually lead to further safety action.

“The opening of the Preliminary Evaluation should not be construed as a finding that the Office of Defects Investigation believes there is either a presence or absence of a defect in the subject vehicles.”

-NHTSA, in a statement

Spotify: Apple won’t approve new app version because it competes with Apple Music


According to Spotify, Apple is making it harder for the Stockholm-based streaming music service to compete by blocking a new version of its iOS app.

In a letter sent to Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell this week, Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez claims that Apple is “causing grave harm to Spotify and its customers” by rejecting an update to the app.

According to Spotify, Apple turned down a new version of the app, citing “business model rules” and demanded that Spotify use Apple’s billing system if “Spotify wants to use the app to acquire new customers and sell subscriptions.”

“This latest episode raises serious concerns under both U.S. and EU competition law. It continues a troubling pattern of behavior by Apple to exclude and diminish the competitiveness of Spotify on iOS and as a rival to Apple Music, particularly when seen against the backdrop of Apple’s previous anticompetitive conduct aimed at Spotify. We cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors.”

-Horacio Gutierrez, Spotify general counsel

Zenefits halves previous valuation to $2B to head off investor lawsuits


Zenefits is changing its ownership structure to increase the company’s overall ownership by late-state investors, revaluing the San Francisco-based company’s Series C round at $2 billion and looks to settle investor concerns over its’ regulatory investigations.

Participating investors will sign a release of claims against the company.

“Since shortly after becoming CEO, I have been in discussions with a number of our major investors about how we can reset our relationship in light of the fact that they (like I) were never informed about the Macro before investing in the company. We have been working on a new basis on which they can recommit to the company and get fully aligned with the new Zenefits.”

-David Sacks, Zenefits CEO

Investors in Zenefits’ Series C round will have their ownership stake upped from around 11 percent to 25 percent, effectively valuing the company at $2 billion in its Series C round, with earlier investors receiving small adjustments to offset the dilution.

The company’s common stock will be diluted by around 20 percent. Non-executive employees will receive a special stock grant equal to 25 percent of their current number of shares, to offset the dilution, that will be vested in 12 months and consist of restricted stock units.

“At some point, this company will want to sell its shares again, and future prospective shareholders will look closely at how we treated our current shareholders.”

-David Sacks

This agreement doesn’t include a release of claims for the $10 million in stock sold by former Zenefits CEO Parker Conrad.

Andreessen Horowitz, Fidelity, TPG, and Insight Venture Partners all agreed to the new statement.

“I want to thank our investors for reaffirming their confidence in us. We take our commitment to you seriously to build value for all shareholders. As a result of The Offer and Investor Settlement, all of our employees and investors will be aligned, committed, and focused on what’s next, which is the launch of Z2 of October.”

-David Sacks

Android N becomes Android Nougat

Android Nougat

Google announced on Snapchat that Android N is now Android Nougat.

Google working on virtual reality version of Chrome for Android

Google Cardboard

The latest beta and developer versions of Chrome for Android include support for the open source WebVR standard, according to Road to VR. The dev version uses a “VR Shell” feature that will enable mobile headsets to browse any website regardless of whether it uses WebVR.

WebVR helps facilitate the creation of VR-ready websites.

The feature is not usable at the moment, but is expected to launch with Google’s Daydream VR platform.

Facebook shutting down Paper newsreading app July 29


Facebook is shutting down Paper, an iOS app that turned the Facebook experience into a newsreader of sorts with customizable sections for politics, technology, food, and other subjects. The app will no longer function on July 29.

Paper has also been removed from the App Store.

Oracle ordered to pay HP $3B in Itanium case


A California jury has ordered Oracle to pay Hewlett-Packard Enterprise $3 billion in damages in a case over HP’s Itanium servers, according to an Oracle spokesperson.

Oracle will appeal the verdict.

The company decided to stop developing software for the Itanium-based servers in 2011, saying that Intel made it clear that the chip was nearing the end of its life.

According to HP, they had an agreement with Oracle that Itanium support would continue.

“HP is gratified by the jury’s verdict, which affirms that HP has always known and the evidence overwhelmingly showed.

-John Schultz, Hewlett Packard Enterprise executive vice president & general counsel

According to Oracle general counsel Dorian Daley, the company has been providing all of its software for Itanium servers since the ruling.

Dell discontinues Venue Android tablets

Dell Venue 7

Dell is discontinuing its Venue line of Android tablets, and ceasing OS updates for them.

“The slate tablet market is oversaturated and is experiencing declining demand from consumers.”

-A Dell spokesperson

According to PCWorld, the Round Rock, Texas-based company will continue to honor active warranties and service contracts.

“2-in-1s with larger screens in the 10- to 13-inch range are offering a laptop-first experience with the convenience of a tablet when needed. This is where our customers are asking us to invest and innovate.”

-Kirk Schell, Dell VP of commercial client solutions

Facebook lets you fundraise for your favorite non-profit


Facebook users in the U.S. will now be able to raise funds for U.S.-based 501©(3) non-profit charitable organizations, inviting friends to chip in to the cause.

NBC to present 85 hours of Olympics content in virtual reality


NBC plans to broadcast 85 hours of virtual reality programming during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The content will be available exclusively through Samsung devices for subscribers of participating cable/satellite operators.

Programming will include the Opening/Closing ceremonies, men’s basketball, gymnastics, track and field, beach volleyball, diving, boxing, and fencing.

“The world’s greatest sporting event is always a showcase for cutting-edge technology, and we’re thrilled to partner with Samsung and OBS to bring our viewers even closer to compelling Olympic action with virtual reality.”

-Gary Zenkel, NBC Olympics president

Content will be presented on a one-day delay, starting Aug. 6 (the day after the Opening Ceremony) and concluding on Aug. 22 (the day after the Closing Ceremony).

Facebook has funds frozen in Brazil in WhatsApp encrypted data dispute


Around $6 million in Facebook’s Brazilian bank account has been frozen following a court order involving a dispute over encrypted data on the WhatsApp messaging app, according to Globo G1.

The dispute pertains to WhatsApp messages that Brazilian federal police want access to progress an international drugs investigation, ongoing since January, according to Reuters.

Google Maps gets multi-stop directions, vacation memories on mobile

Google Maps multi-stop directions

Google is bringing multi-stop directions to mobile in its summer update, changing the order of stops as they go. Android users will be get the feature first, before iOS gets it in the near future.

In addition, the maps app’s Timeline feature is for those times that you don’t remember that thing you did last weekend to tell your friends/family. Users can drop notes into their activities. As of now, the feature is an Android-exclusive.

A programming note…

The TechSummit Rewind and the GameSentral Rewind will be off on Monday for the Fourth of July holiday (and my personal vacation). Stay tuned for further updates on our Twitter and Facebook accounts.


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