This is The Download, a weekday recap of the top technology headlines.
Lyft buying core operations of Citi Bike parent company Motivate
Lyft has acquired Motivate, the bike-sharing company behind New York City’s Citi Bike program and Ford’s GoBike program in San Francisco.
Motivate, which accounts for roughly 80 percent of bike-share trips in the US according to Lyft, also operates networks in Chicago; Boston; Washington, DC; Portland, Oregon; Columbus; and Minneapolis. Lyft said that it will “invest to establish bike offerings in our major markets and pursue growth and innovation in the markets where Motivate currently operates,” but it’s unclear where or when that might happen beyond Motivate’s existing cities. The company also didn’t mention when or if Motivate’s bikes will become available in the Lyft app.
“Together Lyft and Motivate will revolutionize urban transportation and put bike-share systems across the country on a path toward growth and innovation.”
Lyft, in a blog post announcing the acquisition
Lyft will take on Motivate’s city contracts, according to Lyft, but the bike-share company’s maintenance and servicing operations “will remain a standalone business, retaining the Motivate name, and will continue to support bike-share systems across North America.”
Facebook notifying roughly 800K users hit by Facebook, Messenger bug that unblocked some previously blocked people
Facebook has disclosed a bug affecting roughly 800,000 users by unblocking at least one person on that user’s block list for around a week.
According to a blog post by the company’s chief privacy officer Erin Egan, the bug was active between May 29 and June 5. It didn’t re-establish friend connections between any of the affected users and the blocked individuals, but it did allow those previously blocked users to see posts shared to a wider audience like photos shared with friends of friends. Content shared with the friends-only preference wouldn’t have been accessible to the unblocked person.
Blocked users may have been able to resend friend requests if they happened to notice they were suddenly unlocked. Egan also confirmed that unblocked users were potentially able to send Messenger messages to people who presumably didn’t want to interact with them at all. According to Facebook’s data, 85 percent of people had only one person on their block list unblocked due to the bug.
“This issue has now been fixed and everyone has been blocked again. People who were affected will get a notification on Facebook encouraging them to check their blocked list.”
Erin Egan; Facebook chief privacy officer, in a blog post
Xfinity Mobile throttles personal hotspot usage on “unlimited” plan to 600kbps, caps video at 480p quality unless customers pay extra
Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile service is throttling video watching and personal hotspot usage, with customers having to pay up to watch HD quality on cellular networks.
Videos will be throttled to 480p (DVD quality) on all Comcast mobile plans unless you pay extra, while Comcast’s “unlimited” plan will limit mobile hotspot speeds to 600kbps. Only customers that pay by the gigabyte will get full-speed tethering.
According to Comcast, the changes are being made to “help us maintain the low price point of Xfinity Mobile.” Comcast pays Verizon to resell its service for Xfinity Mobile.
HTC plans to cut roughly a quarter of its workforce at Taiwan manufacturing unit
HTC plans to slash roughly a quarter of its workforce (1,500 jobs) with job cuts at its Taiwan manufacturing unit to better manage resources in lieu of the company’s dwindling sales.
“This plan will allow more effective and flexible resource management going forward.”
HTC, in a statement
The layoffs will be completed by the end of September, and are part of a larger plan that brings HTC’s smartphone and VR businesses under common leadership.
Dell will become a public company again by subsuming tracking stock DVMT in $21.7B cash and share-swap deal
Dell Technologies has announced plans to reopen public trading five years after a leveraged buyout.
The company will do this by buying out DVMT, its tracking stock, in a $21.7 billion cash and share-swap deal.
As part of the deal, VMware – which Dell has a controlling stake in – will pay its shareholders an $11 billion special cash dividend with Dell offering more shares (or cash) to make up the difference. Dell’s Class C common stock will become listed publicly on the New York Stock Exchange.
In other news…
- Instagram is rolling out its “You’re All Caught Up” warning in the feed, letting users know that they’ve seen all the new posts within the last 48 hours.
- Singapore-based startup Homage has raised $4.15 million as it eyes overseas expansion to connect caregivers and organizations with patients and their families.
- The FBI, Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission have joined the Department of Justice’s existing probe into Facebook’s role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
- A San Mateo, California county judge dismissed felony assault and child abuse charges against Zain Jaffer, the former founder and CEO of mobile ad company Vungle.
- Facebook is shutting down Moves, Hello, and tbh, a trio of apps that Facebook either launched or acquired over the last four years because of “low usage.” All of the user data for the apps will be deleted within 90 days.