We know you’re thrilled and looking forward to all the rest, fun and game times, and family moments. Before you run along, we think it is best to share with you the important tech news you may have missed this week. In this episode of the global tech roundup, we will be taking a sneaky view of the most exciting updates across the globe in the outgoing week.
We will be sharing details about tech giant Apple and the union-busting allegations levelled against the company in the US. Meanwhile, Netflix has laid off 150 employees to contend with subscriber losses.
There are more updates in this edition of the Global Tech Roundup. Let us get to it:
Apple accused of union-busting in the US
Apple has been accused of union-busting at its flagship World Trade Center store in New York City, The Verge reports. According to a complaint filed by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the iPhone-maker violated federal labour laws by interrogating workers about union activity, prohibiting employees from posting union flyers in shared spaces, and forcing workers to attend anti-union presentations.
It’s the second time the CWA has accused Apple of union-busting activity this week, with similar complaints filed in Atlanta on Tuesday. These complaints form part of a wave of union organization in retail and tech sectors, including the successful unionization of an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island.
Three Apple stores have officially launched union drives so far, though Apple does not currently have any retail unions in the US.
Details of the New York City labour complaint against Apple, as reported by Bloomberg and Engadget, included accusations that Apple holds “captive audience” meetings — mandatory meetings with anti-union messages.
In the past, such meetings have been allowed up until 24 hours before a union vote, but the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently changed its position on this issue, saying captive audience meetings are coercive and a violation of federal labour law.
Speaking on the filing at the World Trade Center store, Tim Dubnau, the deputy organizing director of the CWA, said in a press statement:
“Apple retail workers across the country are demanding a voice on the job and a seat at the table. Unfortunately, and in contradiction to its stated values, Apple has responded like a typical American corporation with heavy-handed tactics designed to intimidate and coerce workers. The best thing Apple can do is allow workers to choose for themselves whether or not they want a union.”
Reacting to the CWC filing, an Apple spokesperson reiterated a previous comment saying the company deeply values the contributions of its retail employees.
“We are pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits for full time and part-time employees, including health care, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants and many other benefits,” Apple said in the statement.
Netflix lays off 150 employees to contend with subscriber losses
Netflix is laying off around 150 employees across the company, CNBC confirmed Tuesday. The eliminated positions represent less than 2% of the streamer’s 11,000 staffers, with most of the cuts happening in the U.S.
“As we explained on earnings, our slowing revenue growth means we are also having to slow our cost growth as a company,” a representative from the company told CNBC.
“So sadly, we are letting around 150 employees go today, mostly US-based. These changes are primarily driven by business needs rather than individual performance, which makes them especially tough as none of us wants to say goodbye to such great colleagues. We’re working hard to support them through this very difficult transition”.
During the company’s earnings last month, co-CEO Reed Hastings said the company is exploring lower-priced, ad-supported tiers in a bid to bring in new subscribers after years of resisting advertisements on the platform.
Netflix is also working to crack down on rampant password sharing, noting that in addition to its 222 million paying households, there are more than 100 million additional households through account sharing.
The Netflix layoffs, while tied to its slowdown of subscribers, are part of a larger contraction of jobs within the global tech industry. Several tech companies have recently announced hiring freezes and layoffs, including Facebook parent company Meta, Amazon, Uber and Robinhood.
Google is taking down 900,000 apps from its Play Store
Tech giant Google is preparing to take down nearly 900,000 apps, which have been abandoned or not been updated, from its Play Store.
According to Android Authority, the Google Play Store could see the number of available apps drop by nearly a third.
Google and Apple have both unveiled measures to deal with abandoned apps or apps that have not been updated in two years. In Google’s case, that amounts to 869,000 apps, while Apple has some 650,000.
According to CNET, Google is preparing to hide those apps, making it impossible for users to download them until the developers update them.
The main reason both companies are taking these measures is to protect their users’ security.
Older apps do not take advantage of changes in Android and iOS, new APIs, or new development methods that bring enhanced protection. As a result, older apps can have security flaws that newer apps don’t have, the report said.
Elon Musk loses $12.3 billion
While Elon Musk was busy on Wednesday, announcing changes to his political leaning and thrashing “wactivists” on Twitter, the share price of Tesla sank to its lowest level of the year, wiping $12.3 billion from his net worth.
After Wednesday’s 6% drop, Tesla shares are now down 28% since Musk launched his bid to buy Twitter on Apr. 14. This means that the vocal Musk’s net worth has sunk by $49 billion since he first made his $44 billion offer.
The fall in Tesla stock came alongside a wider market tumble, which saw the S&P 500 drop 4% over the course of the day. But the electric vehicle maker also faced its own unique headwind Wednesday, as it was excluded from the S&P sustainability ESG index due in part to claims of racial discrimination and poor working conditions at Tesla’s California factory.
Musk still remains the world’s richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The report estimates his current fortune to be $210 billion—equivalent to 1% of the GDP of the U.S. and 3 million times greater than the median U.S. household income.
That’s about the size of the Global Tech Roundup this week. Did you enjoy the updates?
Have a great weekend.
Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!