A report on Friday sheds new light on a very unique issue Apple is dealing with at its Apple Park campus, saying a Cupertino city officials raised concerns about employees walking into glass doors, panels and walls well before the facility opened this year.
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The US Senate asked Apple various questions about the recently discovered iPhone slowdown practice. The iPhone maker issued a response on February 2nd, which was made public on Tuesday. In it, Apple explains the whole iPhone battery mess, providing a timeline of events, existing fixes as well as other mitigations for the future.
Apple’s explanation proves that the worst thing about the iPhone slowdown is that Apple lied about having informed users of what was about to happen once iOS 10.2.1 was released last year.
The first time Apple acknowledged that it hasn’t informed its customers properly back in January 2017 was a few weeks ago. “When we did put [the software update] out, we did say what it was, but I don’t think a lot of people were paying attention,” Apple’s Tim Cook said in an interview with ABC News. “And maybe we should have been clearer, as well.”
The letter to Congress makes that sort of misinformation even clearer.
First of all, Apple released the iOS 10.2.1 update in January 2017, a month before it actually tried to tell us what the update did.
“We first delivered this power management feature to iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE as part of iOS 10.2.1, in January 2017,” Apple explains.
Then, in February 2017, it “told” users about the slowdown.
“Once we verified that the feature was effective in avoiding unexpected shutdowns, we updated the iOS 10.2.1 ReadMe notes in February, 2017. Specifically, the iOS 10.2.1 ReadMe notes said that this update ‘also improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone,” Apple said.
I’m sorry, Apple, but telling users in an updated change log, a month after the update, that the update “also improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone” will not make me realize that the phone will be slowed down in certain cases.
Don’t get me wrong, I do understand why Apple had to revert to this fix. I happen to have been an iPhone 6s user right until the iPhone X rolled out, but I never noticed the slowdowns. Nor did I experience annoying iPhone shutdowns before the iOS 10.2.1 rolled out, although it may have shut down a few times overnight from what I can recall. I did replace the battery of the iPhone 6s long before the iPhone slowdown scandal was unearthed, as I was preparing it for a new life with a family member. Finally, I’m also a non-believer in the theory that Apple intentionally slows down iPhones to sell newer models.
But telling iPhone users that you warned us about what was going to go down, is a pretty huge “alternative fact,” Apple. That has been my main complaint all along. I wish I knew in advanced that iOS is clever enough to slow down the iPhone so that it doesn’t die unexpectedly. I wish I had the option of turning the feature down, just like it’ll happen from now onward.
Republican Senator John Thune, who penned the initial letter to Apple, also acknowledged in a statement that Apple’s disclosures of the update “came up short.”
“I appreciate Apple’s response to my inquiry and the company’s ongoing discussions with the committee,” Thune said, according to Business Insider. “In those conversations, Apple has acknowledged that its initial disclosures came up short.”
“Apple has also promised the committee some follow-up information, including an answer about additional steps it may take to address customers who purchased a new battery at full price,” he added.
Apple’s full letter follows below.
Kaspersky is in hot water…again. The US government recently prohibited federal agencies from using the company's products, and the FBI is reportedly convincing private entities to do the same. Its latest headache is linked to the NSA cyberattacks a…
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The VC firm sent a letter to Uber employees to explain why it sued Kalanick and the company.
Benchmark Capital sent a letter to Uber employees to explain why the firm decided to sue former CEO Travis Kalanick and the company.
“We know that many of you are asking why Benchmark filed a lawsuit against Travis last week,” the letter reads. “Perhaps the better question is why we didn’t act sooner.”
The firm wrote that they warned Kalanick over a month ago that members of the board were prepared to “resort to litigation” if he did not stop meddling in the search for his replacement.
The letter reads in part:
We were asked to postpone any filing and assured that efforts would be made to get these changes made without a lawsuit. We waited and waited, watching as things deteriorated even further. Eventually we felt that we could wait no longer and took action. It is our hope that this lawsuit will break the past, persistent patterns of dysfunctional behavior — making it possible to create a truly independent board and hire a truly great CEO.
Benchmark, which sits on Uber’s board, is suing the company and Kalanick for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract, claiming Kalanick was attempting to control the board for his own “selfish needs.”
Since the firm filed the lawsuit, a group of investors loyal to Kalanick asked Benchmark to divest its shares and step off the board. Members of the board, other than Kalanick and Benchmark, also said they were disappointed that the firm decided to resort to litigation. Sources previously told Recode those members were not aware Benchmark was suing the company until the complaint was filed.
The letter further details some of Benchmark’s primary concerns. For one, the firm wanted to expedite the implementation of recommendations that former Attorney General Eric Holder’s law firm Covington & Burling made to overhaul the company’s culture.
Benchmark said that to describe the Holder report as “hard-hitting” was an understatement.
While most of you have not had the opportunity to read the full “Holder Report” written by Tammy Albarrán and Eric Holder at Covington, Benchmark’s representatives on Uber’s board have. To describe it as hard-hitting would be an understatement. It’s why the board agreed to adopt Covington’s recommendations in full. That was well over two months ago, and while Uber’s excellent executive leadership team is making commendable progress on these changes, many of the most important issues agreed to by the board remain unaddressed.
Not having a chief financial officer at Uber could not be “justified” given the company’s scale and is “symptomatic of the broader problems with past management practices,” Benchmark added. Uber’s former and only CFO Brent Callinicos stepped down in 2015, saying that he would be spending time with his family. While the company has had someone fill the role of head of finance, Uber hasn’t found a replacement for Callinicos since then.
Here’s the letter in full:
To the Uber Employees:
Uber is the most important and promising company of our generation. We have tremendous respect for the incredible work you do to provide this vital service in cities all around the world and to create work opportunities for millions of people globally.
We know that many of you are asking why Benchmark filed a lawsuit against Travis last week.
Perhaps the better question is why we didn’t act sooner. As you know, Travis resigned in June at the request of a large group of shareholders which included Benchmark. It was a rare and extremely difficult step for us. But we acted out of a deep conviction that it would be better for Uber, its employees, and investors to have a fresh start. We believed then, as we believe now, that failing to act would have meant endorsing behavior that was utterly unacceptable in any company, let alone a company of Uber’s size and importance.
It’s easy to reduce this situation to a battle of personalities. But this isn’t about Benchmark versus Travis. It’s about ensuring that Uber can reach its full potential as a company. And that will only happen if we get rid of the roadblocks and distractions that have plagued Uber, and its board, for far too long. We need to focus on the work ahead — on building a company that everyone is proud to be associated with: employees, riders, drivers, and the cities you serve. You deserve that. You have always deserved that. We are sorry that it has taken us so long to do the right thing.
We hope to address three key issues with this action.
CEO Search: Nothing is more important than finding the right new leader for Uber. The best CEO candidates will only want to join if they believe that the board is truly independent, without any agenda other than the long-term success of the business.
The search for a new CEO started over 50 days ago. It was at the same time that Travis agreed in writing to modify the company’s voting agreement to ensure that the board was composed of independent, diverse, and well qualified directors. Despite agreeing in writing to sign these amendments, he has still not done so.
Travis’s failure to make good on this promise, as well as his continued involvement in the day-to-day running of the company, has created uncertainty for everyone, undermining the success of the CEO search. Indeed, it has appeared at times as if the search was being manipulated to deter candidates and create a power vacuum in which Travis could return.
A number of people have asked why we took legal action before giving Travis the chance to sign these amendments. The fact is that we did give him that chance. Over a month ago we told him and other members of the board that we were prepared to resort to litigation to force him to honor his commitments. We were asked to postpone any filing and assured that efforts would be made to get these changes made without a lawsuit.
We waited and waited, watching as things deteriorated even further. Eventually we felt that we could wait no longer and took action. It is our hope that this lawsuit will break the past, persistent patterns of dysfunctional behavior — making it possible to create a truly independent board and hire a truly great CEO.
Holder (Covington) Report: While most of you have not had the opportunity to read the full “Holder Report” written by Tammy Albarrán and Eric Holder at Covington, Benchmark’s representatives on Uber’s board have. To describe it as hard-hitting would be an understatement.
It’s why the board agreed to adopt Covington’s recommendations in full. That was well over two months ago, and while Uber’s excellent executive leadership team is making commendable progress on these changes, many of the most important issues agreed to by the board remain unaddressed. These include reformulating Uber’s cultural values (something many employees have said is essential to improving Uber’s culture), enabling a new “tone at the top,” and appointing an independent chairperson. We hope that our action will help expedite the implementation of Tammy Albarrán and Eric Holder’s recommendations in full.
Chief Financial Officer: Talk to any great CEO and she or he will tell you that having a strong, business-friendly CFO is essential to any company’s success. Yet Uber has operated without one for over two years now. This cannot be justified, given the scale and complexity of the business, and is symptomatic of the broader problems with past management practices. We hope that our lawsuit will help expedite the CFO search.
We know that the last six months have been incredibly hard for you all, and that this lawsuit may create more uncertainty short-term. We hope you understand that our decision was motivated by a deep desire to do what is best for Uber, and for the thousands of employees working so hard every day. Benchmark’s approach is to be quiet and understated and to work behind the scenes.
We pride ourselves on being incredibly supportive of the many amazing founders we have been fortunate enough to back over the last 20+ years. But these are unusual circumstances which required unusual action.
Finally, let us end by reiterating what we said at the beginning. We have tremendous respect for what you have achieved. You are a truly amazing team. And we deeply believe that Uber’s best days are ahead.
Plus, “Game of Thrones” is the flagship of a sprawling and symbiotic media industry, we are what we email, and the Doctor is (finally) a woman.
Robots are getting better at impersonating humans, and robots posing as people have already become a menace. For popular Broadway shows (“Hamilton,” anyone?), it is bots, not humans, that may do most of the ticket buying. When directed by bad actors and sometimes even nation-states, robots pose a particular threat to democratic societies, which are premised on being open to the people. [Tim Wu / The New York Times]
Elon Musk isn’t afraid of the technological future, but he wants to regulate artificial intelligence before it’s too late and the robots take over. Musk also told a gathering of U.S. governors that the biggest risk to autonomous cars is a “fleet-wide hack” of the software controlling them, and that in 20 years, owning a car that doesn’t drive itself will be the equivalent of someone today owning a horse. You can watch Musk’s talk here. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]
“Game of Thrones” isn’t the biggest show on TV, numbers-wise. But for the media business, it’s bigger than the Oscars and the Super Bowl — the peakest Peak TV. Trailers, podcasts and especially immediate online recaps of episodes are part of a symbiotic
cottage castle industry of “Thrones”-related content. [Peter Kafka / Recode]
Facebook is putting ads everywhere, hoping to hit upon another cash cow like its News Feed, which is maxed out on the number of ads it can carry without harming the user experience — which is why you’re seeing ads in Instagram Stories, Messenger and WhatsApp. Facebook is also testing ads inside Marketplace, its new Craigslist-style section for buying and selling used goods. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]
After the Enron Corporation imploded in 2001, more than 200,000 emails of 151 employees were made public, and that data dump has since spawned more than 3,000 academic papers in the relatively new field called “digital humanities.” Discoveries include clues to corporate malfeasance, of course, and hieroglyphics of everyday work life, including unspoken hierarchies and gender condescensions, and endless variations on “ball” metaphors (“I thought I’d get the ball rollin”). [Nathan Heller / The New Yorker]
Humans and AI will work together in almost every job, says Tolga Kurtoglu, the CEO of Parc, the iconic Silicon Valley research and development firm previously known as Xerox Parc. On the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, Kurtoglu says that we’re seeing significant advancements and penetration of AI technologies in almost all industries. [Eric Johnson / Recode]
An item in Friday’s newsletter incorrectly identified Susan Wojcicki as the CEO of Google; she is, of course, the CEO of YouTube, which is owned by Google. We regret the error.
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This is cool
The BBC’s “Doctor Who” has cast its first female Doctor since the sci-fi TV series began in 1963. The 13th Time Lord, Jodie Whittaker, will succeed Peter Capaldi, who will leave during the annual Christmas special episode. Dedicated Whovians were quick to react to the news of a woman taking over the Tardis. On social media, some said it would encourage them to watch the show for the first time; others said the casting meant they would be switching off, and that the Doctor should be played by a man. [BBC News]
A woman who says she was raped by an Uber driver is suing the ride-hail company for allegedly ignoring previous warnings about the driver’s violent history.
The victim, a post-graduate student from Kansas City referred to in court documents as “Jane Doe,” says she was raped by an Uber driver named Yahkhahnahn Ammi on January 28th, 2017. The incident was reported to the Kansas City Police Department, which has collected evidence and is currently investigating the matter. Ammi has not been arrested and was driving for Uber as recently as March 20th, 2017.
A spokesperson for Uber said the company had just received the complaint and declined to comment while the specifics were being reviewed. “What’s reported in the complaint is deeply…