11 TechCrunch Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week
This week, Twitter rolled out its new algorithmic timeline, Tesla confirmed the price of its next car, Zenefits CEO Parker Conrad exited the company and on the science front, gravitational waves were detected in space. TechCrunch held the 9th Annual Crunchies awards show, which you can watch in full here. Or, you can just read about the winners. These are the top tech stories of the week to keep you in the loop.
1. Facebook’s Free Basics — the company’s zero-rated mobile service — has been under fire in India over net neutrality violations for months, and now the country’s regulator has weighed in hard on the issue: FreeBasics has been banned. Investor Marc Andreessen took to Twitter to express his irritation with the regulator’s decision in a statement that some on the Internet likened to colonialist attitudes. Mark Zuckerberg responded, noting that he found Andreessen’s comments “deeply upsetting.”
2. Tesla has yet to unveil the Model 3, but this week the company confirmed that it will be available starting at $35,000.
3. It was a big week for Twitter, as the social network rolled out its new algorithmic timeline, unveiled its First View video ads. Josh Constine wrote about how using Twitter sometimes feels like yelling into a black hole, and that this new timeline tweak could help boost user growth by helping users feel more loved. The company also reported Q4 earnings, meeting revenue expectations of $710 million but falling flat in user growth.
4. It was an exciting week for science; researchers detected gravitational waves for the first time, confirming Albert Einstein’s prediction of their existence. NASA released a 360 degree video of Mars that was created by stitching together images taken by the Mars Curiosity Rover.
5. Reports surfaced claiming that Zenefits has hit significant turbulence, including missing revenue targets according to a Wall Street Journal report, and also running into issues with regulators. This week, CEO Parker Conrad exited the company and COO David Sacks took over. Conrad is also stepping down as a director of the company. Shortly after the news was announced, we learned that the California Department of Insurance has begun an investigation into Zenefits’ licensing practices.
6. There’s been plenty of speculation around the future of browser maker Opera, and now that looks like it will soon be resolved. The company confirmed that it has received a $1.2 billion acquisition offer from a group fronted by Chinese consumer tech companies Kunlun Tech and Qihoo 360.
7. To the delight of social media managers everywhere, Instagram enabled a feature allowing users to quickly switch between multiple accounts.
8. Columnist Jon Evans wrote about how to fix tech’s H-1B problem.
9. Natasha Lomas reported that analyst Canalys says the Apple Watch accounted for two-thirds of the smartwatch market in 2015, with more than 12 million units shipped by its count in total — and more than 5 million of those in the holiday quarter.
10. Ron Miller wrote about the challenges that Autodesk is facing as the company shifts from a licensing model to subscription pricing.
11. Google reversed its earlier decision to ban ad blockers from the Google Play Store – a move which had seen the company pulling apps like Adblock Fast and stalling the updates for others. The decision represents a change in course for Google, regarding its position on what sort of apps the company will allow in its app store for Android devices.