Weekly Roundup: MacBook Pro’s big update, Walmart buys Jet and Facebook’s adblocking saga continues – TechCrunch


This week, reports hinted at what could be the most impactful MacBook Pro update in years, Walmart leveled up in the ecommerce space with its $3 billion purchase of Jet.com, and the Facebook adblocking war raged on. These are the top stories of the week.

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1. Get ready for the biggest MacBook Pro update yet. According to reports, Apple is planning to unveil new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops with retina displays soon. Apple is building a completely new pro laptop with many new features, such as a Touch ID sensor and an OLED mini screen above the keyboard. Can we skip to September now, please?

2. Walmart took its biggest step in its bid to compete against Amazon in the ecommerce world as it acquired Jet.com for $3 billion in cash. Jet will continue to exist as a separate brand, as part of Walmart’s strategy to widen the types of consumers that it targets. “This is Walmart being even more committed to winning in e-commerce,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart.

3. The Facebook adblocking saga continues. Facebook tiptoed around adblockers with a new change to its HTML that disguised its web ads as organic content. With this update, Facebook will allow you to opt out of certain ad targeting categories or set preferences to block ads from particular businesses. But, two days later, the Adblock Plus community found a way to block them again. Facebook them claimed it would update its code to nullify the workaround. And so on…

4.  Amazon launched Prime Air, its own dedicated cargo planes to speed up delivery. The plane is a a Boeing 767-300 operated by Atlas Air. Meet the Amazon One.

Amazon_One

5. Private data analytics unicorn Palantir acqui-hired Silk, a cloud data visualization company. Founded in 2010, Silk helps data journalists, activists, NGOs and businesses produce data visualizations in the cloud without the need for complex software and programming knowledge.

6. Tech companies hold a ton of our most personal information, and they must earn our trust in keeping our data secure. Most major tech companies have created bug bounty programs, reimbursing hackers in cash. Now, finally, Apple has announced its long-awaited bug bounty program. And the rewards are high.

7. Google bought Orbitera, a cloud marketplace platform, for just north of $100 million. If it wasn’t clear before, it is now: Google is ramping up to improve how it competes against Amazon’s AWS, Salesforce and Microsoft in cloud enterprise services.

8. Airbnb plans to bring in late-stage capital. $850 million, to be exact. This bumps the sharing economy company from the fifth to the fourth most valuable tech unicorn at a potential valuation of $30 billion.

9. In SolarCity’s investor call, Elon Musk revealed that the company is working on a solar roof – as in the entire roof is made of solar power cells, as opposed to panels.

Solar panel on a red roof reflecting the sun and the cloudless blue sky

10. More M&A ahead. Randstad Holdings, the Amsterdam-based human resources and recruitment company, announced it will acquire job hunting portal Monster Worldwide, for $429 million in cash. Monster will keep its brand and will operate separately, but the idea here is to consolidate the recruitment and employment industry.

11. Deliveroo couriers held a protest over the way they will potentially be paid, just after the on-demand delivery startup announced it had raised another $275 million in funding. It was reported that after Deliveroo trialled what it described as a successful new payment model, the company would start paying drivers a fixed fee per deliver of £3.75 rather than the current hourly rate of £7 per hour plus £1 per delivery.

Deliveroo

12. Yahoo made a play for cord cutters with the launch of a new TV-watching site in partnership with Hulu. With Yahoo View, you’ll be able to watch Hulu’s free content, and the site will become one of the only ways to watch Hulu’s free TV shows and movies, as it will be winding down its free version soon.

13. Many have started using Instagram’s new Stories, a Snapchat feature clone that Instagram launched last week. In the past, Facebook’s failed attempts to copy Snapchat didn’t work because they tried to create an “even-better” version of a popular product that already existed. This time around, Facebook-owned Instagram just may have the trajectory to wound Snapchat because while Stories isn’t better than Snapchat, it’s “good enough.” 

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