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Google employees stage global walkout for women’s rights

More than 1,000 workers around the world walked away from their desks to protest the company's handling of sexual misconduct and equality issues. They also called for equal pay and an end to forced arbitration. At least 1,000 Google workers walked out of offices across the world on Thursday in protest of how the company handles sexual harassment. Employees in the Tokyo, Singapore, Berlin, London, Dublin and New York offices have already taken part, with California expected to follow suit. Google is facing an internal backlash after the New York Times (NYT) reported last week that Android software creator Andy Rubin was paid a $90 million (€79 million) severance package in 2014 after being accused of sexual misconduct. Both Google and Rubin have refuted this claim. The tech giant told the NYT that it had fired 48 people for sexual harassment since 2016, and none of them had been given an exit package. Google chief executive Sundar Pichai issued an apology on Tuesday, e-mailing employees that he was "deeply sorry for the past actions and the pain they have caused employees." The next day, Google's parent company Alphabet confirmed that Richard DeVaul, an executive accused of sexual harassment, had been fired without severance. Employees demand equal pay, end to arbitration But employees were not placated, and issued a list of demands during the Thursday walkout. They are asking Google for a concrete commitment to ending pay inequality, a clearer process for reporting sexual misconduct, and an end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment or discrimination, a standard practice across many industries designed to force such disputes to be settled privately through a binding arbitration process, rather than in courts. Hundreds of Google employees in New York staged a rally in a park near the company's offices: Some employees have also accused Google of claiming to be a champion of diversity and equality, while failing to take any concrete steps towards comprehensive inclusion.

More than 1,000 workers around the world walked away from their desks to protest the company’s handling of sexual misconduct and equality issues. They also called for equal pay and an end to forced arbitration. At least 1,000 Google workers walked out of offices across the world on Thursday in protest of how the company handles sexual harassment. Employees in ... Read More »

Fired Google employee James Damore files reverse discrimination lawsuit

The ex-employee, who notoriously posited that "biological causes" explained why many of Google's senior staff were male, now argues that he was unfairly dismissed. He's the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit. A former Google engineer who was fired over a memo he wrote about the company's hiring quotas, filed a lawsuit against the US tech giant on Monday, alleging it discriminates against men, conservatives and Caucasians. James Damore was dismissed in August for violating Google's code of conduct, after he posted an internal memo saying that fewer women than men worked in the tech industry because of biological differences. Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told employees in a note that portions of the anti-diversity memo "violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace." Read more: Google fires employee behind 'gender stereotypes' memo The 161-page class action lawsuit claims Google "ostracized, belittled and punished" him and others "for their heterodox political views, and for the added sin of their birth circumstances of being Caucasians and/or males." Google "employs illegal hiring quotas to fill its desired percentages of women and favored minority candidates, and openly shames managers of business units who fail to meet their quotas — in the process, openly denigrating male and Caucasian employees as less favoured than others," the lawsuit said. Read more: Google faces class action gender pay discrimination lawsuit The lawsuit was filed in a court in Santa Clara, in California's Silicon Valley. Damore is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, which has also been filed on behalf of other people who could be categorized into three "subclasses of individuals" that Google discriminated against, Damore's attorney, former Republican Party official Harmeet Dhillon, said in a Monday press conference posted on Facebook. The three subclasses are conservatives, Caucasians and men. Read more: Women getting ripped off: In Germany, pink razors cost more "All three subclasses happened to James because he is all of those three, but I want to be very clear that the lawsuit classes include women, they include people of colour who happen to fall into one of those three classes," Dhillon said. She added that Google had retaliated against Damore for "raising workplace issues" and in doing so violated provisions of California and federal law relating to discrimination. Women have 'more neuroticism' In Damore's memo, he wrote that "the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes … These differences may explain why we don't see equal representation of women in tech and leadership." Damore said women displayed "extraversion expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness" and "higher agreeableness … This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading." He also said women exhibited "more neuroticism," with higher anxiety levels and lower stress tolerance. "This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs," Dalmore wrote. At the press conference, Damore defended the comments made in the memo. "There is definitely a lot of discrimination in that certain programs are not open to certain people," he said. "I believe the document I wrote and the comments that were shared showed that this was a common experience," he added. Read more: Asia-Pacific women 'under-represented' in leadership roles Google's new Vice President of Diversity, Integrity and Governance, Danielle Brown, responded to Damore's document in a memo to Google employees, saying, "Like many of you, I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender." "Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we'll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul," she said.

The ex-employee, who notoriously posited that “biological causes” explained why many of Google’s senior staff were male, now argues that he was unfairly dismissed. He’s the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit. A former Google engineer who was fired over a memo he wrote about the company’s hiring quotas, filed a lawsuit against the US tech giant on Monday, alleging ... Read More »

Police raid McDonald’s French headquarters

Agents of special tax fraud unit have raided McDonald's premises west of Paris, seizing company files, police sources say. French authorities suspect the company of avoiding taxes by sending earnings to Luxembourg. Investigators are looking into allegations of aggravated tax fraud and money laundering, the French prosecutor's office said on Thursday. The police searched McDonald's national headquarters last week, seizing a number of documents at the offices in Guyancourt, west of Paris. Previously, trade union representatives filed a complaint accusing the company of organized tax evasion. French authorities suspect the burger chain of illegally cutting down its tax bill by transferring money to its European parent company in Luxembourg, where taxes are lower. The scheme allegedly allows McDonald's France to save about 75 million euros ($84 million) in taxes every year, according to the union representatives. Last month, business magazine L'Expansion said that the government had sent the company a 300-million-euro bill for unpaid taxes, including 100 million in fines. McDonald's France has denied any wrongdoing. The officials claim that their French branch transfers money to Luxembourg to pay its parent company for rights of use and expertise fees. On Thursday, the burger chain told the AFP news agency that it had "spoken at length on the issue" and had "nothing to add at this stage." The multinational giant is only one of several large firms to be scrutinized for fraud and tax evasion in recent months. Earlier this week, French police also raided Google's offices in Paris. The authorities suspect the multinational company of owing 1.6 billion euros in taxes. During a February visit to Paris, Google CEO Sundar Pichai defended the Internet giant's tax practices. "We're a global company. We have to abide by tax laws everywhere, and we do abide by local tax laws in every single country," he said.

Agents of special tax fraud unit have raided McDonald’s premises west of Paris, seizing company files, police sources say. French authorities suspect the company of avoiding taxes by sending earnings to Luxembourg. Investigators are looking into allegations of aggravated tax fraud and money laundering, the French prosecutor’s office said on Thursday. The police searched McDonald’s national headquarters last week, seizing ... Read More »

Facebook, Google and Twitter back Apple in encryption fight with FBI

Tech giants, including Facebook, have said Apple was right to refuse a court ruling to help the FBI break into the iPhone of a California shooter. Detectives think the shooter's phone could hold clues to the attack. "We will continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems," a Facebook representative was cited by Reuters as saying on Thursday. "These demands would create a chilly precedent and obstruct companies' efforts to secure their products," the spokesperson added. The social media giant's public support of Apple follows similar backing by the likes of Google, Twitter and WhatsApp against a court order to help crack the encryption on an iPhone belonging to San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook. On December 2, Farook and his wife killed 14 people in an attack at an office Christmas party, which officials say was inspired by the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) militant group. Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said the case "could be a troubling precedent" and warned that "forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users' privacy." FBI adamant But two of New York's top law enforcement officers accused Apple of being irresponsible by not allowing investigators to hack into the phone. The FBI wants the tech giant to disable a feature that wipes the phone's data after 10 failed password entries. Police intend to use the software to try all password possibilities until it finds the right one. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said the case was "the most visible example of how Silicon Valley's decisions are thwarting criminal investigations and impeding public safety." Vance's office currently holds 175 seized iPhones that remain inaccessible despite court orders allowing prosecutors to search the devices. Apple has until Tuesday to file a protest to the decision by a magistrate in California. The company's chief executive Tim Cook said the demand is dangerous and an overreach of government power. Analysts said Apple is likely to seek to invoke free speech protection measures as one of its key legal arguments to block the order. The company's defiance has led to a wide variety of supporting and opposing comments on social media, with some people calling for users to #boycottapple.

Tech giants, including Facebook, have said Apple was right to refuse a court ruling to help the FBI break into the iPhone of a California shooter. Detectives think the shooter’s phone could hold clues to the attack. “We will continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems,” a Facebook representative was cited by ... Read More »

Yahoo to cut 15 percent of workforce

Internet pioneer Yahoo has posted a $4.4 billion loss for the last quarter of 2015. In a bid to save the struggling business, the firm has said it will slash jobs and sell "non-strategic" assets. Yahoo announced on Tuesday that it had made the decision to cut 15 percent of its workforce as the once-massive internet firm continued to flounder amongst competition from rivals, such as Google. The cuts will amount to around 1,500 jobs and close offices in Dubai, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Madrid and Milan. "Yahoo does not take this decision lightly and will make every effort to handle the process with thoughtfulness, transparency, and compassion," the firm said in a press release. CEO Marissa Mayer said the company was exploring "additional strategic alternatives," adding fuel to rumors that the firm may finally be sold or merged with a more lucrative business. Uncertain future With regards to Yahoo's future, Mayer told the press that she had drafted a new plan that would "dramatically brighten our future and improve our competitiveness, and attractiveness to users, advertisers, and partners." She added that this meant focusing on Yahoo's mobile, video, social and "native offerings" to help drive online advertising revenue. Once Yahoo's major profit driver, many advertisers have long moved on to more popular competitors like Facebook. The company further said that it will sell off "non-strategic" assets, most likely real estate. The news comes after the California-based company posted a $4.43 billion loss (4.05 billion Euros) in the final quarter of 2015, and although revenue was up marginally from a year ago at the beginning of 2016, the company will still be forced to make most of the cuts this quarter. By the end of the year, Yahoo is expected to have only 9,000 employees and 1,000 contractors, less than half of staff numbers from 2012. As Yahoo continued its downward spiral, its major rival Google made global headlines just the day before when its parent company Alphabet overtook Apple to become the most valuable company in the world.

Internet pioneer Yahoo has posted a $4.4 billion loss for the last quarter of 2015. In a bid to save the struggling business, the firm has said it will slash jobs and sell “non-strategic” assets. Yahoo announced on Tuesday that it had made the decision to cut 15 percent of its workforce as the once-massive internet firm continued to flounder ... Read More »

Google’s Alphabet overtakes Apple as world’s most valuable company

Alphabet, the company that owns Google, has surpassed rival Apple in after-hours trading to become the highest valued company in the world. A strong quarterly report sent Alphabet shares soaring. Google's parent company Alphabet flew past Apple to become the world's most valuable company on Monday. The firm's quarterly profit increased five percent to reach $4.92 billion (4.51 billion Euros), the result of solid online advertising revenue as customers used their services to search for holiday gifts. Alphabet shares jumped by more than five percent on the better-than-expected earnings figures. "This holiday season, we found that shopping moments replaced shopping marathons," said Google CEO Sundar Pinchai, implying that allowing customers to consider and browse was part of the company's recipe for success. The global reach of the incredibly popular search engine at the heart of the company's business has continued to climb as more people use smartphones and tablets for a rising amount of daily tasks. Google and Apple have worked to develop mobile computing, and their competition has seen Apple's iOS smartphone operating system battle Google's own Android for dominance since the latter emerged on the market in 2008 and became the system of choice for Samsung. The South Korean tech giant is in turn Apple's major rival in smartphone production, and the two are locked in litigation over patent infringement. At the end of trading on Monday, the combined worth of Alphabet's shares was $554 billion, cleanly leaping over Apple's $534 billion. In order for Alphabet to officially be called the most valuable firm on earth, however, shares must open at the same price on Tuesday. Apple itself sailed past Microsoft in 2010 after Microsoft's long period of dominance gave way to the world's obsession with the iPhone. The recent news that Apple was expecting the first ever drop in sales for its smartphone have led to speculation that the firm's momentous growth could finally be coming to an end .

Alphabet, the company that owns Google, has surpassed rival Apple in after-hours trading to become the highest valued company in the world. A strong quarterly report sent Alphabet shares soaring. Google’s parent company Alphabet flew past Apple to become the world’s most valuable company on Monday. The firm’s quarterly profit increased five percent to reach $4.92 billion (4.51 billion Euros), ... Read More »

Renault-Nissan enters into the self-driving car market

Renault-Nissan Alliance has announced it will introduce 10 self-driving models by 2020, in attempt to break into the emerging market. The cars will be introduced in Europe, the US, Japan and China. Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault and chairman of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, made the announcement on Thursday, saying that the self-driving technology would be introduced gradually. "It's going to happen in waves. We want to make sure our technology is accepted, understood and used." Ghosn's statement pointed to concerns from researchers who said people may not be ready for self-driving technology, as the transition from robotic driving to human control could prove too disastrous on the open road. However, Ghosn believes that introducing the technology "in waves" could help people learn what autonomous driving can and can't do. Renault-Nissan plans to debut its first batch of self-driving cars later this year. The company says the cars should be able to steer while traveling down a single lane on the highway. By 2018, the company will introduce cars that will be able to automatically navigate across several highway lanes, and by 2020 the cars should be able to navigate city streets on their own. The company hasn't said which models will include the self-driving technology or how much the cars would cost. Stiff competition The company's announcement doesn't represent a unique breakthrough, as Tesla Motors, an American automotive company, has already unveiled cars capable of shifting into self-driving mode on highways. In addition, Google has already logged more than 1 million miles with their self-driving cars, and has been experimenting with the technology since 2009. Competition also includes Toyota, Ford Motor and General Motors. Other companies such as Uber and Lyft have also joined the market.

Renault-Nissan Alliance has announced it will introduce 10 self-driving models by 2020, in attempt to break into the emerging market. The cars will be introduced in Europe, the US, Japan and China. Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault and chairman of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, made the announcement on Thursday, saying that the self-driving technology would be introduced gradually. “It’s going to ... Read More »

Apple enters refugee crisis with donations

Apple has enabled its customers to make a "financial donation" to aid refugees in Europe. CEO Tim Cook told employees the company will also make a donation in hopes of easing "the hardship so many are enduring." American technology giant Apple enabled a function on its operating system's App Store allowing iPhone and MacBook consumers the ability to make a donation to the Red Cross in response to Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War II. "Help people affected by the refugee and migration crisis across the Mediterranean Sea and in Europe by making a financial donation to the American Red Cross," the company said on the App Store's donation page. The move comes as the EU struggles to cope with the mass influx of refugees from war-torn countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Meanwhile, a message from CEO Tim Cook posted on Apple's Intranet site said that the company would be making a "substantial donation" to relief agencies responding to the refugee crisis. "Apple is making a substantial donation to relief agencies which provide humanitarian aid to refugees in Europe and around the Mediterranean," Cook said. Cook also noted that donations from employees would be matched "2-for-1" if made to the Red Cross campaign or select others. "Apple is dedicated to advancing human rights around the world. We hope the actions we're taking will help make the situation less desperate for some and ease hardship so many are enduring," Cook concluded. Earlier this week, Google also said it would be contributing to easing the refugee crisis, stating it would match at least $5.5 million (4.86 million euros) of donations made through its dedicated page. According to the website, it has already raised 10 million euros ($11.28 million) "globally for refugees and migrants," which will be donated to its relief partners Doctors without Borders, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children and the UN Refugee Agency. The EU witnessed 213,000 first time migrants apply for asylum within its borders between April and June of this year.

Apple has enabled its customers to make a “financial donation” to aid refugees in Europe. CEO Tim Cook told employees the company will also make a donation in hopes of easing “the hardship so many are enduring.” American technology giant Apple enabled a function on its operating system’s App Store allowing iPhone and MacBook consumers the ability to make a ... Read More »

Google challenges Apple with Android Pay

Google has unveiled a new pay-with-a-phone system for Android devices in an attempt to boost mobile payments. The new application may also allow the company to better compete with rival Apple. Android Pay, unveiled at the Google Developers' conference in San Francisco on Thursday, brings together mobile carriers, payment networks, banks and retailers. It allows smartphone users to use their handsets instead of payment cards, and comes after Apple unveiled a similar system last year. Like Apple's system, Android Pay can be used to store major credit and debit cards in smartphones that can be used to pay merchants equipped with terminals that work with the technology. At the event, the Mountainview-based firm presented the next version of its Android operating system that will boast new ways to fetch information and protect privacy on mobile devices, among other things. The Android update is currently known simply as "M". 'An exciting journey' Most of the Android renovations unveiled on Thursday, however, won't be available until late summer or early fall. That's around the same time that Apple is expected to release the latest overhaul of the iOS software that powers the iPhone and iPad. Google engineering vice president Dave Bruke said Android Pay would work in more than 700,000 US retail outlets that accept contactless payments. "We are at the start of an exciting journey, we are working closely with payment networks, banks and developers," he said. A Google blog post said the system was in partnership with the major credit card firms including Visa and Mastercard and payment processing firms including Braintree, CyberSource, First Data, Stripe and Vantiv. Both Google and Apple are vying to make their products more ubiquitous by transplanting much of their mobile technology into automobiles and Internet-connected televisions and appliances. At its conference, Google also annonced the launch of a new photo service providing unlimited storage of all pictures up to 16 megapixels and high-defintion video up to 1080p. The service, called Google Photos, will be available on Android and Apple devices. As AP news agency put it, it "is the latest example of Google's desire to wrap its tentacles around virtually every part of people's lives."

Google has unveiled a new pay-with-a-phone system for Android devices in an attempt to boost mobile payments. The new application may also allow the company to better compete with rival Apple. Android Pay, unveiled at the Google Developers’ conference in San Francisco on Thursday, brings together mobile carriers, payment networks, banks and retailers. It allows smartphone users to use their ... Read More »

Google, like Facebook, in talks to buy Waze for $1 billion: report

NEW YORK: Google Inc is considering buying Israeli mobile satellite navigation start-up Waze Inc, which may lead to a bidding war with Facebook Inc, Bloomberg news reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Waze is seeking more than $1 billion and is fielding expressions of interest from multiple parties, Bloomberg cited a source as saying. Maps and navigation services have ... Read More »

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