10 things in tech you need to know today, November 14


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Disney Plus got 10 million signups in one day.
Disney / The Lion King screencap

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.

  1. Apple’s highly anticipated $6,000 Mac is finally launching in December. It’s a redesign from the previous “trashcan” model that Apple power users have been working with since June 2013, and this time, it’s modular.
  2. Facebook spent the second half of 2016 trying to buy Musical.ly, the Chinese lip-syncing app that would merge into TikTok. According to BuzzFeed, Facebook held serious talks with CEO Alex Zhu but a deal never materialised. 
  3. Early Google and Apple backer Sequoia Capital is actively hiring to boost its investments in European startups, sources told Business Insider. Sequoia has hired a search firm to help it find investment talent in Europe for the first time, as it increases its portfolio of European investments.
  4. WeWork added a record number of desks in the third quarter, showcasing ousted CEO Adam Neumann’s high-growth strategy, per an earnings presentation reviewed by Business Insider. Overall, the company lost $1.3 billion in the third quarter, compared with $500 million in the third quarter of 2018. 
  5. Mark Zuckerberg created a secret TikTok account under the handle “@finkd”, apparently to check out the most popular celebrities and TikTokkers on the app. Zuckerberg only follows 61 people on TikTok and doesn’t seem to have posted anything. 
  6. Disney announced on Wednesday that Disney Plus had 10 million sign-ups since launching on Tuesday. Disney Plus had 1.9 million preorders in the US by Sunday, a few days before launch, according to data provided to Business Insider by analytics company Jumpshot.
  7. Presidential candidate Andrew Yang had a fundraiser attended by tech workers in San Francisco at supporter and tech investor Sam Altman’s house. Altman and Yang talked about their shared interest in “universal basic income” and the argument against breaking up big tech. Yang called the proposal espoused by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders “a knee-jerk 20th-century approach to much more nuanced problems.”
  8. Apple’s head of marketing slammed Chromebooks, calling them ‘cheap testing tools’ and saying kids who use them in school won’t succeed. Phil Schiller’s comments ignored the notoriously high price point of Apple products, which most schools can’t afford, and other benefits offered by Chromebooks.
  9. Microsoft-owned GitHub is under pressure for its work with ICE, as employees resign and activists protest its biggest event of the year. On Wednesday morning, the Tech Workers Coalition set up a giant cage outside GitHub’s annual user conference in San Francisco to protest its $200,000 contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
  10. An unearthed video from 1997 shows a young Jeff Bezos explaining why he built Amazon’s empire on books. In the video, Bezos noted that there was greater choice in books than in any other product category.

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