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A startup founded by the creator of Android has laid off about 30% of its staff, according to sources that spoke to Bloomberg News. Andy Rubin started Essential Products in 2015 with Brian Wallace, formerly of Magic Leap, to create a smartphone with high-end design features that wasn’t associated with a particular operating-system maker.
Cuts were particularly deep in hardware and marketing. The company’s Web site indicates it has about 120 employees. A company spokesperson didn’t confirm the extent of layoffs, but said that the decision was difficult for the firm to make and, “We are confident that our sharpened product focus will help us deliver a truly game changing consumer product.”
The firm was Rubin’s first startup after leaving Google in 2014, which had acquired his co-founded firm, Android, in 2005.
Essential’s first phone came out in August 2017, a few weeks later than initially promised. It received mixed reviews, with most critics citing its lower quality and missing features relative to competing smartphones, such as a lack of waterproofing and poor resiliency to damage. The company dropped the price from an initial $ 699 within weeks to $ 499, and offered it on Black Monday in November 2017 for $ 399.
Analyst reports showed the company sold just 5,000 units in the first two weeks of sales, and 88,000 in the first six months. By comparison, over 400 million other smartphones sold in just the last three months of 2017.
The company canceled production of its second smartphone model in May 2018, and shifted to work on other hardware, reportedly including smart speakers. At the time, Rubin said that his company had “multiple products in development,” including mobile and home hardware. The company had a valuation of nearly $ 1 billion in 2017, and was seeking additional financing earlier this year. It may have been or may remain up for sale. The company didn’t deny reports at the time, and hasn’t provided more detail on its plans since.
Rubin took a short leave of absence from Essential in late 2017 after the tech news site The Information reported on a complaint lodged against him at Google in 2014 that alleged he engaged in a relationship with a subordinate. Rubin said the relationship was consensual and didn’t involve someone who reported to him.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Sunday it was immediately suspending trading in two investment products that track cryptocurrencies, citing confusion in the markets over whether the products are exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
FILE PHOTO – High-end graphic cards are installed in a cryptocurrency mining computer at a computer mall in Hong Kong, China January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo
The SEC said in a statement that trading in Bitcoin Tracker One CXBTF.PQ CXBTF.PK and Ether Tracker One CETHF.PQ CETHF.PK will be halted in the United States until at least Sept. 20.
The products promise to track the price of the cryptocurrencies, less fees. They are both listed on a Nasdaq Inc (NDAQ.O) exchange in Stockholm, Sweden, but trade “over the counter” in transactions that occur off exchanges within the United States.
“It appears … that there is a lack of current, consistent and accurate information,” the SEC said in a notice posted on its website. “Application materials submitted to enable the offer and sale of these financial products in the United States, as well as certain trading websites, characterize them as ‘Exchange Traded Funds.’”
The issuer of Bitcoin Tracker One and Ether Tracker One, XBT Provider AB SE0010296574.ST and its parent company, did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment. Nasdaq also did not immediately respond for comment.
The SEC has taken a strict stance against letting ETFs tracking bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies come to market.
But investment firms have been pushing other types of investments that attempt to make it as easy to trade cryptocurrencies as a regular stock.
Those products are sometimes called ETFs, but that term generally refers to a different and often more stringently regulated product. Some industry experts, including the largest ETF provider BlackRock Inc (BLK.N), have called for regulators to standardize the terms used to describe ETFs and other kinds of investment products.
Virtual currency, including bitcoin and ether, can be used to move money around the world quickly and with relative anonymity, without the need for a central authority, such as a bank or government. A fund holding the currency could attract more investors and push its price higher.
Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Peter Cooney and Will Dunham
(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google said on Wednesday it will ban advertisements for cryptocurrencies and related content starting in June.
Under the new policy, the company will ban ads for unregulated or speculative financial products like binary options, cryptocurrency and financial spread betting among others. bit.ly/2Inxgg8
In a separate blog post, Google said it took down 3.2 billion ads that violated its advertising policies in 2017, nearly double the number of ads it removed in 2016.
“Improving the ads experience across the web, whether that’s removing harmful ads or intrusive ads, will continue to be a top priority for us,” Scott Spencer, director of sustainable ads, said. bit.ly/2IoTXQQ
In January, Facebook Inc (FB.O) said it will ban ads promoting financial products and services tied to cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings.
The policy will be implemented across its platforms, including Facebook, Audience Network and Instagram, the company said.
Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier
Siftery launched Trending Products, a live ranking of the most recommended business-to-business and enterprise software solutions from a growing database of more than 12,000 software products.
(PRWeb January 30, 2017)
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/01/prweb14024688.htm