ALL THINGS TECHNOLOGY YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
1.The Spotify saga continues. Days after artist Neil Young pulled his music from Spotify in protest of vaccine misinformation on Joe Rogan’s podcast, Spotify has responded. The platform will add content advisories to podcast episodes that discuss COVID-19. It is also making its COVID-19 content policy and platform rules publicly available on its site.
*Other artists have followed suit: Joni Mitchell announced she would also pull her music from Spotify, while author Brené Brown said she won’t release any new podcast episodes “until further notice.”
*Meanwhile, rivals have wasted no time cashing in on the drama. Amazon, Apple Music, and SiriusXM have all offered special deals to new listeners — like Amazon’s free four-month subscription trial.
*Apple Music has also proclaimed itself “the home of Neil Young,” and added a “We Love Neil” section to its homepage. SiriusXM announced that it’d air its “Neil Young Radio” program over the next week.
By Friday, Spotify had lost billions in market value, with shares down by 12%. The Verge has the rundown on Spotify’s response.
2.T-Mobile will fire unvaccinated corporate employees. According to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg, the company is prepared to fire unvaccinated workers by April.
3.New emojis are coming to iPhones. Dozens of emojis are being released with Apple’s iOS 15.4 update, including a disco ball, heart hands, and a smiley face holding back tears (relatable).
4.Some Amazon divisions have lost at least 35% of their staff in the past year. According to former employees, one major reason for the attrition is that Amazon doesn’t reward loyalty: it’s difficult for employees to get promotions and raises, and outside hires are often paid more than longtime workers in the same role.
5.Activision’s version of why it sold to Microsoft doesn’t quite add up. According to the WSJ reporter who investigated Activision employees’ complaints, CEO Bobby Kotick has one explanation for the sale: that Activision needs better engineering resources — but another version is that Activision’s board pushed Kotick to sell.
6.A robot bartender will be on duty at the Winter Olympics. The robo-bartender, which can mix and serve cocktails in around 90 seconds, will be put to work as part of organizers’ efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
7.Boeing invested another $450 million into developing pilotless aircraft. The company’s investment in aviation startup Wisk reflects a growing appetite for the development of self-flying taxis.
8.SpaceX plans to launch a record 52 rockets in 2022. It’s already had three Falcon 9 launches so far this year, and is planning to send the fourth one into orbit on Friday — putting it on track to launch one rocket every week, on average.
9.Analysts outline the biggest challenges facing AWS, Microsoft, and Google this year. Going into 2022, doubts are lingering over the companies’ ability to maintain the cloud growth they saw during the pandemic — and experts are worried talent wars, cloud outages, and new regulations could hamper their businesses.
10.A writer shares what it’s like to drive an EV in freezing temps. On a trip to upstate New York, Insider’s transportation reporter test drove the all-electric Polestar 2, and found that EVs can still be practical in winter — if you know their limits.
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