What’s new in tech
Alphabet and Uber settle lawsuit
Uber has settled its lawsuit with Alphabet’s self-driving offshoot Waymo, ending a yearlong legal battle that “riveted Silicon Valley,” said Greg Bensinger in The Wall Street Journal. The suit focused on Uber’s purchase of an autonomous truck company founded by former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, claimed Uber and Levandowski “conspired to steal and use driverless-car design secrets” as part of the sale. Under the terms of the settlement, Uber will refrain from using Waymo technology and will give Alphabet roughly $245 million in equity. Before the two sides came to an agreement, jurors in federal court in San Francisco heard two days of testimony from former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who confronted his scandal-plagued reign. Waymo will continue its case against Levandowski, though Uber will likely pay any settlement on his behalf.
Snapchat beats expectations
“To the surprise of investors, Snap reported that both its user growth and revenue growth are accelerating,” said Kerry Flynn in Mashable.com. The company behind the social media platform Snapchat has long been chastised “for its inability to impress investors.” However, its fourth-quarter results, announced last week, showed $285.7 million in revenue, outpacing the $252.8 million investors expected. The app also increased its number of daily users by 18 percent year over year, connecting with 187 million people, up from 178 million in the previous quarter. “These financial and growth achievements come after months of a declining stock price, news of top talent leaving the company, and concern about older users fleeing to Facebook’s Instagram Stories.”
Kids’ use of social media
“Silicon Valley has bet its future on younger users but has come under fire for building products that critics say aren’t safe for children,” said Sara Fischer and David McCabe in Axios.com. Social media usage has exploded among kids, with 10.9 percent of children under 12 and 72 percent ages 12 to 17 regularly using the platforms. As for video sites like YouTube, 49.5 percent of under-12s and 93.4 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds are users. “Kids’ internet access began to increase when Apple launched the iPad in 2010. Their screen time has only increased since then.” Some 40 percent of children ages 8 and under have their own tablet, up from 1 percent in 2011.