Amazon faces worker complaints over its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, General Motors says it’s moving fast to manufacture face masks and we’ve got some numbers quantifying the video conferencing boom. Here’s your Daily Crunch for March 31, 2020.
1. Amazon warehouse workers are walking out and Whole Foods workers are striking
Yesterday, warehouse workers on Staten Island in New York walked off the job in protest of Amazon’s treatment amid the crisis. Meanwhile, workers at Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon, are organizing a “sick out” strike to demand better protections on the job, Vice reports.
“We have taken extreme measures to keep people safe, tripling down on deep cleaning, procuring safety supplies that are available, and changing processes to ensure those in our buildings are keeping safe distances,” an Amazon spokesperson said. “The truth is the vast majority of employees continue to show up and do the heroic work of delivering for customers every day.”
2. General Motors spins up global supply chain to make 50,000 face masks a day
The automotive giant said in a released statement that it expects to deliver 20,000 masks on April 8 — and soon after, it should be able to produce 50,000 masks a day once the production line is at full capacity.
3. Videoconferencing apps saw a record 62M downloads during one week in March
According to a new report from App Annie, business conferencing apps have been experiencing record growth and just hit their biggest week ever in March, topping 62 million downloads during the week of March 14-21. Meanwhile, social networking video app Houseparty has also seen phenomenal growth in Europe during lockdowns and home quarantines.
4. Uber co-founder Garrett Camp steps back from board director role
Camp is relinquishing his role as a board director and switching to board observer, where he says he’ll focus on product strategy for the ride hailing giant. In his Medium post announcing the shift, Camp signs off by saying he’s looking forward to helping Uber “brainstorm the next big idea.”
5. Leading VCs discuss how COVID-19 has impacted the world of digital health
We asked several of the VCs who participated in our last digital health survey to update us on how COVID-19 is impacting digital health startups and broader healthcare systems around the world. (Extra Crunch membership required.)
6. Niantic squares up against Apple and Facebook with acquisition of AR startup 6D.ai
The studio behind Pokémon Go has acquired 6D.ai, a promising augmented reality startup focused on building software that allowed smartphone cameras to rapidly detect the 3D layouts of spaces around them.
7. Disney+ to launch in India on April 3
The service, available globally in about a dozen markets, will launch in India on Hotstar, one of the most popular on-demand streaming services in the country (it’s also owned by Disney). The company said it is raising the yearly subscription cost of the combined entity, Disney+Hotstar, to Rs 1,499 ($20), up from Rs 999 ($13.20).
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