What’s new in tech
Amazon and prescription meds
Amazon has shelled out $1 billion for a startup that will provide it “nationwide access” to the prescription medicine business, said Sharon Terlep and Laura Stevens in The Wall Street Journal. The move by the e-commerce giant sent shudders through the retail pharmacy market, since it will allow Amazon to ship prescriptions overnight to homes in 49 U.S. states. The company’s bid for PillPack beat out one from archrival Walmart, which was also in talks to purchase the five-year-old startup. Shares in pharmacy retailers CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid “tumbled” following the news, but Amazon’s move was not completely unexpected. In preparation for Amazon’s entry into the market, CVS last month struck a deal with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver prescriptions from its stores to customers within two days.
AT&T increases prices after merger
AT&T has hiked the price of its DirecTV Now service, despite promising lower consumer prices in its recent merger trial, said Brian Fung in The Washington Post. The telecom assured a federal judge earlier this year that its merger with Time Warner would result in lower prices for DirecTV customers. But last week, the company revealed a $5 monthly increase for both new and existing customers of DirecTV Now’s digital television service. Applied across DirecTV Now’s 1.5 million–strong customer base, the price rise will add about $87.5 million in annual revenue to AT&T’s coffers. The merger’s potential impact on prices was “a key battleground in the Justice Department’s antitrust suit to block the deal earlier this year.” In a statement, AT&T said the price hike “was driven by industry trends.”
Apple to reboot Maps
“Apple is rebuilding Maps from the ground up,” said Matthew Panzarino in TechCrunch.com. The company is embarking on a significant overhaul of the much-maligned Apple Maps, beginning by retooling the geographical data that forms the basis of the app. Apple is moving to ensure that it is not reliant on third-party data, “which has been one of its major pitfalls from the beginning.” The company will roll out the new iteration of Apple Maps covering Northern California by the fall, with each new version of iOS updating new areas. The realignment aims to counter Google Maps’ ascendency, which has cast “a lingering shadow on iPhones.”