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Last night was the full moon, somehow it’s half August already, and did you know there’s a Beach Plum LaCroix flavor? The world is upside down, but at least it’s weekend time.
TechCrunch’s Top 3
- excuse me: A presidential pardon restores the ability of Samsung Vice President Jay Lee to lead the company. Lee had been convicted of bribery in 2017, and grace will clear it, kate writing.
- 5G begets 4G: Yes, you read that right. Amazon launched AWS Private 5G so businesses can build their own 4G networks…for now, Paul writing. It’s something that’s been in the works since late 2021, and the company said there will eventually be capabilities for 5G networks.
- Location obliteration: Natasha L explains how Google was fined $40 million by the Australian government after it found the tech giant misled consumers about its Android location tracking settings.
Startups and VCs
Don’t miss brian‘s Actuator newsletter, which is usually about the state of hardware and robotics, but today it’s mostly about Amazon and iRobot.
And for your daily dose of levity, don’t miss Amanda‘s excellent piece of satire: FWD: fwd: From CEO: BeCareful while you BeReal!
Some other highlights:
What does the future of e-commerce aggregators look like?
In the Katamari Damacy video game, players control an avatar that rolls a sticky ball that captures anything it hits. The goal: to create a sphere large enough to become a star or a moon.
E-commerce aggregators work much the same way by buying smaller brands and then optimizing their manufacturing and sales channels to increase their market share.
This model was effective in a pre-vaccine era when consumers stopped visiting stores, but is the brand-roll-up model still viable today?
“Drooping consumer confidence, inflated brand value and frozen investment capital are creating a real storm,” says David Wright, co-founder and CEO of e-commerce accelerator Pattern. “Unless aggregators change the way they operate, their future is bleak at best and non-existent at worst.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams grow. You can register here.)
Big Tech inc.
Have you seen these members of the ransomware group? The US government offers $10 million in exchange for information to identify and locate members of the Russian-based Conti ransomware, Carly writing.
Speaking of alleged fraudulent behavior, pot holder writes about India’s anti-money laundering agency freezing $46.4 million in assets belonging to Singapore-based crypto exchange Vauld while it examines the company’s business practices.
Meanwhile, brian examines what’s happening at Boston Dynamics after its 2020 acquisition by Hyundai, which includes a new $400 million-backed artificial intelligence and robotics institute.
- A Pew study reveals what we’ve known for some time: That teenagers no longer use Facebook. The study found that Facebook has lost almost half of its users aged 13 to 17 since 2015, Amanda reports.
- You have to spend money to make money: That’s what Rivian’s management says anyway. The electric vehicle maker is sticking to its plans to deliver 25,000 vehicles by the end of the year, but it will have to spend $700 million to do so, Harris reports.
- Your neighbor just got interesting or scary, you don’t know which one yet: If you’ve ever wanted to see what’s happening on other people’s Ring Doorbells, Amazon-owned MGM is ready to make you happy, Amanda writing.
- Friday Features: Let’s review some new app features, shall we? Aisha reports on Instacart’s new feature for truly hungry but also undecided customers, and explores LinkedIn’s new creative tools designed to better share visual content. Meanwhile, Google is updating the search quality of its “featured snippets”, taylor writing.