Technology Roundup – Amazon launches cloud service for no-code apps, Uber, Lyft legal battle escalates in California

Published on: June 24, 2020
Author: Amy Liu

Amazon launches cloud service for no-code apps

Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ:AMZN) unveils the fully-managed Honeycode service, which lets users build mobile and web applications without writing any code.

Honeycode uses a spreadsheet model and comes with templates for common applications, including a to-do list, customer tracker, and inventory management.

Amazon Honeycode is now available in beta.

Cloud competitor Microsoft already offers the no-code Power Apps solution. Earlier this year, Google acquired App Sheet for its own app development offering.

Uber, Lyft legal battle escalates in California

California AG Xavier Becerra will file a request for a preliminary injunction to force Uber (NYSE:UBER) and Lyft (NASDAQ:LYFT) to classify their drivers as employees, per a new state law.

Uber, Lyft, Postmates (POSTM), DoorDash (DOORD), and Instacart (ICART) have committed more than $110M towards a ballot initiative that would keep their workers as independent contractors.

Becerra’s injunction requests a July 23 hearing date.

Related: Earlier this year, Becerra and the attorneys of major cities filed suit to compel gig economy companies to treat workers as employees.

Apple roundup: Acquires Fleetsmith, iPhone sales drop in China

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has acquired Fleetsmith, according to a post on the mobile device management startup’s website.

Fleetsmith automates Apple device setup, intelligence, patching, and security for enterprises.

Financial terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed, but Fleetsmith raised $40.8M in private funding.

In other Apple news, the iPhone sales in China dropped to 3.6M in May from the 3.9M in April, according to CINNO Research data.

The April sales figure was up 160% on the month as China reopened its economy from the coronavirus shutdown.

Sell-in iPhone shipments, or those sold to the tech giant’s retail partners in China, dropped 25% on the month in May, according to preliminary IDC data.

Apple shares are down 2% following this morning’s report that the DOJ is considering an antitrust investigation.

Tencent Video acquiring Iflix streaming company – Variety

Variety sources say that Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY,OTCPK:TCTZF) Video will buy control of Southeast Asian streaming company Iflix, which operates in 13 countries. Tencent will use a special purpose company to complete the transaction.

Financial terms weren’t available, but the sources say Tencent is paying “several tens of millions of dollars.”

Content providers have reportedly been informed about the purchase.

The Iflix brand will continue to operate for at least the next six to 12 months, and the majority of the staff are expected to stay on.

As of April, Iflix had more than 25M active users and over 2.5B minutes viewed per month.

Despite the strong user numbers, Iflix’s CY 2018 losses grew 30% Y/Y to $158M.

Amazon’s Deliveroo stake receives UK watchdog approval

The Competition and Markets Authority grants preliminary approval for Amazon’s (AMZN -0.1%) 16% stake in Deliveroo.

The antitrust watchdog previously said it should clear the deal to keep Deliveroo from going out of business during the pandemic.

The CMA now says it approves the deal because it wouldn’t hurt competition, noting that the pandemic’s impact on Deliveroo wasn’t as severe as anticipated.

The in-depth probe into the stake started late last year.

Slack launches Connect to expand shared channels

After four years of development, Slack (WORK -5.5%) unveils Connect, which allows up to 20 organizations communicate within one channel.

Companies can use Connect to sign contracts, close deals, and manage workflow, according to Slack.

At launch, Connect users can send direct messages to others in the channel. In the future, Slack will add a feature allowing users to message anyone using Slack, even if the businesses aren’t connected.

Slack says Connect will sync with business-specific security standards, and enterprise key management will launch this summer.

Slack Connect is rolling out now for paid customers and might launch for unpaid users in the future.

Yesterday, Slack competitor Microsoft made its Teams available for personal use to connect users with friends and family.

Slack and Microsoft have faced competitive pressure from Zoom, which received another share boost this week after coronavirus cases spiked in several areas of the United States.