Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.
- Facebook has confirmed that a contractor at its Seattle office tested positive for coronavirus. The announcement comes a day after Amazon confirmed that one of its employees in Seattle tested positive for coronavirus.
- IBM has canceled its biggest event of the year over coronavirus fears, as it makes a new rule that employees can’t go to a conference with over 1,000 attendees. It follows Google Cloud, Facebook, and other tech companies in doing so.
- Etsy has pulled thousands of coronavirus-themed products from its website to prevent people from exploiting the outbreak for profit. E-commerce sites like Etsy and Amazon have been scrambling to stop opportunistic sellers from exploiting the outbreak to mislead customers about their products or jack up prices.
- Angry Robinhood users say they missed out on making thousands during the stock-trading app’s outages, but a big class-action suit is unlikely. The commission-free trading app, popular among millennials, was offline for almost all of trading Monday — and half of Tuesday — due to infrastructure issues as the markets made their biggest rally in over a decade.
- Microsoft has asked all Seattle and Bay Area employees to work from home until March 25 due to coronavirus fears. The news comes after Business Insider on Monday reported that some employees were concerned Microsoft’s internal response to the outbreak was insufficient.
- The CEO of Zoom says that the coronavirus outbreak is going to drive more companies to remote work even after it’s all over. Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said that he expects the coronavirus outbreak to make remote work, which was already gaining traction, even more popular.
- British police scanned 8,600 people’s faces in London without their consent, resulting in just 1 arrest and 7 false positives. London’s Met Police announced early this year that it would start rolling out facial recognition in London despite pushback from advocacy groups.
- SoftBank-backed Improbable deepened its operating loss to $82 million in 2019 thanks to hiring, R&D spend, and expansion. The firm’s gross margin percentage stood at a whopping -1,332% over the period, meaning the firm is spending a high amount for every pound earned.
- Apple is telling retail store workers to expect a limited supply of replacement iPhones for the next several weeks. Employees at Apple’s retail stores were warned that replacement iPhones could be in short supply for weeks, according to Bloomberg.
- A leaked recording of an Amazon retail executive has shed light on its vision for physical stores and the future of retail. Change in physical retail doesn’t happen overnight — it could take years, if not decades, Amazon’s former physical-stores boss Steve Kessel said.
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