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All the bad news for Amazon on Prime Day

Amazon delivery driver

Amazon Prime Day is today.

Image: Amazon

It's Amazon Prime Day, also known as the day Amazon sometimes make mores than $10 billion. But today also means more attention than usual on a company that is having objectively a very bad month.

    • First, there was the news from the Strategic Organizing Center that Amazon's injury rates are more than 1.5 times the national average and more than double Walmart's.
    • Then the New York Times released a massive investigation into how Amazon's glitchy human resources technology makes the work at Amazon even harder for the people who get lost in the system, can't get the benefits they need and have no human managers to actually give them support.
    • And then today, British ITV news released video showing how Amazon U.K. destroys enormous quantities of unsold products, ranging from TVs and laptops to hair dryers and face masks.
    • Finally, a coalition of more than 30 activist groups ranging from the Athena Coalition, Color of Change and the Open Markets Institute has released a letter today calling on Congress to increase enforcement of existing workplace safety laws and create new ones to force Amazon to change its worker surveillance and productivity systems.
    While all this news can't be good for Amazon's political future, today will still likely be one of Amazon's best days ever. Prime Day last year raked in north of $10 billion, a massive increase on the year before.

    Google wants to (try to) make Google Glass cool again

    Also this week: savvy virtual assistants, surveillance without violating people's privacy, and more patents from Big Tech.

    Is making these cool even possible?

    Image: Google

    This week was so full of fun patent applications that I didn't know where to start. We've got a throwback to 2013, a virtual assistant that knows when I've stopped talking, and headphones that can determine a user's hearing abilities.

    But as always, remember that the big tech companies file all kinds of crazy patents for things, and though most never amount to anything, some end up defining the future

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    Karyne Levy

    Karyne Levy ( @karynelevy) is the West Coast editor at Protocol. Before joining Protocol, Karyne was a senior producer at Scribd, helping to create the original content program. Prior to that she was an assigning editor at NerdWallet, a senior tech editor at Business Insider, and the assistant managing editor at CNET, where she also hosted Rumor Has It for CNET TV. She lives outside San Francisco with her wife, son and lots of pets.

    As President of Alibaba Group, I am often asked, "What is Alibaba doing in the U.S.?"

    In fact, most people are not aware we have a business in the U.S. because we are not a U.S. consumer-facing service that people use every day – nor do we want to be. Our consumers – nearly 900 million of them – are located in China.

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    J. Michael Evans
    Michael Evans leads and executes Alibaba Group's international strategy for globalizing the company and expanding its businesses outside of China.

    Does Elon Musk make Tesla tech?

    Between the massive valuation and the self-driving software, Tesla isn't hard to sell as a tech company. But does that mean that, in 10 years, every car will be tech?

    You know what's not tech and is a car company? Volkswagen.

    Image: Tesla/Protocol

    From disagreements about what "Autopilot" should mean and SolarCity lawsuits to space colonization and Boring Company tunnels, extremely online Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his company stay firmly in the news, giving us all plenty of opportunities to consider whether the company that made electric cars cool counts as tech.

    The massive valuation definitely screams tech, as does the company's investment in self-driving software and battery development. But at the end of the day, this might not be enough to convince skeptics that Tesla is anything other than a car company that uses tech. It also raises questions about the role that timeliness plays in calling something tech. In a potential future where EVs are the norm and many run on Tesla's own software — which is well within the realm of possibility — will Tesla lose its claim to a tech pedigree?

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    Becca Evans
    Becca Evans is a copy editor and producer at Protocol. Previously she edited Carrie Ann Conversations, a wellness and lifestyle publication founded by Carrie Ann Inaba. She's also written for STYLECASTER. Becca lives in Los Angeles.
    Protocol | Workplace

    Apple isn’t the only tech company spooked by the delta variant

    Spooked by rising cases of COVID-19, many tech companies delay their office reopening.

    Apple and at least two other Silicon Valley companies have decided to delay their reopenings in response to rising COVID-19 case counts.

    Photo: Luis Alvarez via Getty

    Apple grabbed headlines this week when it told employees it would delay its office reopening until October or later. But the iPhone maker wasn't alone: At least two other Silicon Valley companies decided to delay their reopenings last week in response to rising COVID-19 case counts.

    Both ServiceNow and Pure Storage opted to push back their September return-to-office dates last week, telling employees they can work remotely until at least the end of the year. Other companies may decide to exercise more caution given the current trends.

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    Allison Levitsky
    Allison Levitsky is a reporter at Protocol covering workplace issues in tech. She previously covered big tech companies and the tech workforce for the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Allison grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from UC Berkeley.
    Protocol | Workplace

    Half of working parents have felt discriminated against during COVID

    A new survey found that working parents at the VP level are more likely to say they've faced discrimination at work than their lower-level counterparts.

    A new survey looks at discrimination faced by working parents during the pandemic.

    Photo: d3sign/Getty Images

    The toll COVID-19 has taken on working parents — particularly working moms — is, by now, well-documented. The impact for parents in low-wage jobs has been particularly devastating.

    But a new survey, shared exclusively with Protocol, finds that among parents who kept their jobs through the pandemic, people who hold more senior positions are actually more likely to say they faced discrimination at work than their lower-level colleagues.

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    Issie Lapowsky

    Issie Lapowsky ( @issielapowsky) is Protocol's chief correspondent, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. She also oversees Protocol's fellowship program. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University's Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing.

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