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Alphabet’s “moonshot” unit, X, has lost one of its hotshots. Per Axios and CNBC, director Rich DeVaul left the company yesterday without any exit package, following claims detailed in an extensive New York Times piece last week about rampant sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior at the company.
According to that report, DeVaul told a female engineer who was applying for a position at X that he and his wife were polyamorous. Then he invited her to the Burning Man festival, where he asked her to remove her shirt for a back rub. She agreed only to a neck rub, then discovered later that she didn’t get the job. DeVaul claims X had already decided not to hire her, and he didn’t know she was unaware of this when she came to the festival.
The star of that Times piece was Andy Rubin, Android’s creator, who left Google four years ago with a $ 90 million exit package after allegedly—he denies it—coercing an employee into performing oral sex on him. The company’s protection of Rubin went unreported until last week. There’s also a reference to Alphabet’s now-chief legal officer, David Drummond, who had a child with an employee working in the legal department; when he admitted to the relationship, which was discouraged under company rules, she was the one who got transferred out of the division.
To protest the events that have been revealed, more than 200 Google engineers are planning a “women’s walk” walkout tomorrow. “I feel like there’s a pattern of powerful men getting away with awful behavior towards women at Google‚ or if they don’t get away with it, they get a slap on the wrist, or they get sent away with a golden parachute, like Andy Rubin,” one employee told Buzzfeed.
Sensibly, Google CEO Sundar Pichai is not pushing back against the walkout, telling employees in an email that human resources would “make sure managers are aware of the activities planned for Thursday and that you have the support you need.”
“I understand the anger and disappointment that many of you feel,” Pichai wrote. “I feel it as well, and I am fully committed to making progress on an issue that has persisted for far too long in our society…and, yes, here at Google, too.”
As Pichai noted, Google needs to do more to ensure it takes “a much harder line on inappropriate behavior.” To be meaningful, this will surely have to be a cultural change that involves re-evaluating the consequences for executives who abuse their positions of power, no matter how valuable those individuals are to the company. And whatever the future brings, it’s unfortunate that it took press exposure to bring the company to this point.
A version of this story originally appeared in Fortune’s CEO Daily newsletter. Subscribe here.
Amazon has increased the price on Prime subscriptions. But that isn’t stopping some folks from finding ways around that price bump.
Over at Gizmodo’s deals site Kinja, writer Shep McAllister has come up with a novel way to sidestep Amazon’s $ 20 Prime subscription increase. He suggested you buy an Amazon Prime gift subscription now for the price of $ 99. When it’s time to renew your Prime subscription, simply redeem the gift card and take advantage of the lower price. That said, you’ll need to cancel your subscription ahead of the renewal so you can take advantage of the deal.
Amazon announced on Thursday that it would increase the price of its Amazon Prime subscription from $ 99 per year to $ 119 per year. The change goes into effect on May 11 for new customers and June 16 for those who already subscribe to Amazon Prime. If your subscription is set to auto-renew before June 16, you’ll be able to take advantage of the $ 99 pricing for one more year. If, however, your auto-renewal date is set to after June 16, you’ll need to drop $ 119.
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The workaround McAllister has pitched was used with success the last time Amazon increased its Prime pricing, he said. But it’s unknown whether the company will allow you to take advantage of this loophole this time around or change policies so you can’t use the gift card trick. If it does work, be aware that next year when it’s time to renew your subscription, you’ll be subject to the $ 119.
Fortune has reached out to Amazon to find out whether the gift card trick will be allowed. We’ll update this story when we learn more.
(Reuters) – Uber rival Lyft Inc is raising an additional $ 500 million in funding, according to a U.S. share authorization document filed in Delaware news website Axios said. (bit.ly/2BhebbU)
The additional funding round, led by Alphabet Inc’s CapitalG, is an extension of the $ 1 billion round announced in October.
Lyft spokesman Adrian Durbin, confirming the funding round, in an e-mailed statement said, “Increasing the potential for this round will allow us to further accelerate our commitment to serving passengers and drivers.”
In October Lyft had said that the previous round of funding boosted its valuation to $ 11 billion from $ 7.5 billion. The fresh funding would raise its valuation to $ 11.5 billion.
Reporting by Sangameswaran S in BengaluruEditing by Greg Mahlich
Disney CEO Bob Iger didn’t reveal what the movie would be about, but he says a third Star Wars anthology flick is in the works for 2020. The post Cantina Talk: Rejoice! Another Star Wars Standalone Movie Will Land in 2020 appeared first on WIRED.
To that end, Google, OpenStack distributor Mirantis, and chip maker Intel, which is keen on promoting private cloud computing to drive its Data Center …
This week, we have a hint at what to expect from one of Marvel’s newest cinematic heroes—and teases of a return from one of its oldest.
The post Cape Watch: We May Have Another Vampire Invasion Coming Soon appeared first on WIRED.