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Day: January 17, 2019

  • The Seattle area, home to both Microsoft and Amazon, is a potent symbol of the affordable housing crisis that has followed the explosive growth of tech hubs. Now Microsoft, arguing that the industry has an interest and responsibility to help people left behind in communities transformed by the boom, is putting up $500 million to help address the problem. Microsoft’s money represents the most ambitious effort by a tech company to directly address the inequality that has spread in areas where the industry is concentrated, particularly on the West Coast. It will fund construction for homes affordable not only to the company’s own non-tech workers, but also for teachers, firefighters and other middle– and low-income residents. Microsoft’s move comes less than a year after Amazon successfully pushed to block a new tax in Seattle that would have made large businesses pay a per-employee tax to fund homeless services and the construction of affordable housing. The company said the tax created a disincentive to create jobs. Microsoft, which is based in nearby Redmond, Wash., and has few employees who work in the city, did not take a position on the tax. The debate about the rapid growth of the tech industry and the inequality that often follows has spilled across the country, particularly as Amazon, with billions of taxpayer subsidies, announced plans to build major campuses in Long Island City, Queens, and Arlington, Va., that would employ a total of at least 50,000 people. In New York, elected officials and residents have raised concerns that Amazon has not made commitments to support affordable housing. Microsoft has been at the vanguard of warning about the potential negative effects of technology, like privacy or the unintended consequences of artificial intelligence. Executives hope the housing efforts will spur other companies to follow its lead....
  • Apple is double down on its services business now by teaming up with Verizon Wireless to offer Apple Music as part of Verizon Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited Data Plans. If you are like me and have Verizon New Unlimited or Go Unlimited which is unlimited at a cheaper because you are grandfathered in you can still get 6 months of Apple Music Free then pay $9.99 a month after that on your Verizon Bill. In their blog post, Verizon Angie Klein said this “Verizon Unlimited customers have been streaming their favorite songs on America’s largest and most reliable network with six months of Apple Music included with their plans. Now, we’re bringing the best in unlimited data and the best in unlimited music together in an even bigger way. Starting January 17, Apple Music will be included in Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited plans.* And for customers choosing Go Unlimited, they can still get six months of Apple Music free**.” “When we introduced six months free of Apple Music to Verizon Unlimited subscribers, we said it was just the beginning of a great collaboration between Verizon and Apple to bring music streaming to our loyal customers,” said Angie Klein, vice president of marketing at Verizon. “Our customers loved the offer, so we’re expanding the value of our Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited plans by including Apple Music at the same plan price. You can stream more of the music you love on the network you deserve.” While this partnership is a win for both companies. For Verizon, they can lure in more customers and push them over to unlimited and Apple gets more Apple Music Subscribers as Apple realizes the future of the company is subscription services. Since Apple Music is available on Android as well, it won’t be limited...