SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - MARCH 10: The Amazon Spheres remains mostly closed to visitors on March 10, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. Most Amazon workers continue to work remotely, and the visitors center remains closed to the public. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic, and Seattle was the first U.S. city with a major outbreak. Two years later Washington State is due to finally lift its indoor mask mandate this March 12. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Amazon’s rocky road into health

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Good morning! Amazon is desperately trying to disrupt health care in the U.S. — and for once, it’s not making the path to success look easy.

Amazon is shutting down its telehealth service

So long, Amazon Care. The telehealth service built for employees and businesses is being shuttered at the end of the year.

Amazon struggled to fulfil the promise of Care. It was supposed to offer a health practitioner on demand, 24 hours a day, initially for Amazon workers. The idea: to sell that service to a big enterprise market.

  • But “although our enrolled members have loved many aspects of Amazon Care, it is not a complete enough offering for the large enterprise customers we have been targeting,” Neil Lindsay, head of Amazon Health Services, wrote in a memo seen by Fierce Healthcare.

Its acquisition plans make even more sense now. That $3.9 billion purchase of One Medical will give Amazon access to many of the corporate clients it hoped Care could be sold to.

  • “One Medical already has all these contracts, and does telemedicine,” Christina Farr, a health tech investor at Omers Ventures, told the Financial Times. “Physician recruitment is really hard, building insurance contracts is really hard, building employer relationships is really hard. All of those things take a long time and One Medical was available to purchase.”

Throw into the mix a potential purchase of Signify Health via auction, and it’s clear Amazon’s health care ambition is still alive. It’s just not an easy nut to crack.

— Jamie Condliffe

Pinterest’s new legal troubles

Pinterest is facing a civil rights investigation in California, Protocol’s Issie Lapowsky reports.

The state’s Civil Rights Department reached out to potential witnesses for the probe Tuesday. Former Pinterest employee Ifeoma Ozoma, who you may remember from when she tweeted about alleged discrimination and retaliation at Pinterest in 2020, was among those contacted.

  • Ozoma — who has pushed for more worker protections since leaving Pinterest — said the department reached out to her asking for an interview in connection with the investigation. Other former colleagues (all women) told her they also got the email.
  • LeMia Jenkins Thompson, Pinterest’s chief communications officer, confirmed the investigation to Issie.

This isn’t the first time that Pinterest has faced legal trouble for its workplace practices. In 2020, Pinterest settled a gender discrimination suit with its former COO.

— Sarah Roach

Your WFH investment is evolving

Zoom is the latest remote work tool company to take a share price hit. Now that working from home is the norm, Zoom’s growth has quickly decelerated — but that doesn’t mean remote work is going anywhere.

There’s change afoot at remote work companies. They don’t want to “remain a one-trick pony,” Cornelio Ash, director and equity analyst at William O’Neil, told me.

  • Zoom, RingCentral, Twilio and others are expanding their offerings to encompass all the tools needed for remote work.
  • Product suites like these are still in their early days, though. “All of those players are not doing well right now as a stock investment,” he said. “There's still heavy R&D.”

An open question: Will it be enough? The bet is that broader offerings can keep these companies relevant and help ressusiciate their stock prices.

  • Ash is hopeful. “I believe it's eventually going to change,” he said. Institutional investors seem to feel the same way: Cathie Wood’s Ark Investment Management snatched up more than 800,000 Zoom shares on Tuesday.
  • But broader offerings mean more overlap between companies, so even if there are winners, there will likely be some losers too.

— Nat Rubio-Licht

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People are talking

Xbox's Phil Spencer said Microsoft is making progress with regulators on the Activision Blizzard deal:

  • “I feel good about the progress that we've been making."
During an all-hands yesterday, Parag Agrawal told Twitter employees that Peiter "Mudge" Zatko is creating a "false narrative" about the company:
  • "I know that that can be frustrating, and I know it can be challenging."

Making moves

Apple’s fall event will take place Sept. 7. The company’s expected to introduce new iPhones, Watches and AirPods.

Sam Trabucco is stepping down as Alameda Research’s co-CEO. Caroline Ellison will become the crypto trading firm’s sole leader, and Trabucco will stick around as an adviser.

Rick Clemmer joined Seagate’s board. Clemmer was the head of NXP Semiconductors until 2020 and worked as an adviser to KKR before that.

In other news

YouTube has a secret hardware weapon: A dedicated video processing chip called Argos that offers more than a 20-fold performance increase over general purpose chips. Here's how it came to be.

Ireland and France are following up on the Twitter whistleblower complaint. They're looking into claims that Twitter misled European regulators on compliance.

Tesla’s stock split takes effect today, which is intended to help boost the share price. But current market conditions mean it might not achieve quite the desired effect.

Are you ready for the Merge? Ethereum is scheduled to make the much-anticipated transition to proof-of-stake on Sept. 19, and crypto experts see opportunities and dangers ahead.

California’s banning the sale of new gas cars by 2035, which will speed up EV adoption and could lead other states to follow with similar auto emissions rules.

Even the SEC wants to know about Twitter’s bots. The commission asked Twitter in June about how it counts spam on the platform, but it wasn’t necessarily disputing Twitter’s calculation.

Peloton will now sell its bikes on Amazon as part of the company’s turnaround plan to stay afloat.

Twitter’s employee exodus is as bad as we thought. Employee attrition is at 18.3%, up from between 14% and 16% previously, Reuters reports.

Instagram’s defaulting new teens under 16 to its most restrictive setting, called “Less.” The platform is also starting to encourage teens to update their safety and privacy settings.

Building up defenses

Jigsaw, an anti-extremism research group within Google, is testing how informational video ads can help fight misinformation. The goal isn’t to correct every lie spread online, but to build people’s defenses against them. Our Issie Lapwosky took a close look at the initiative.

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Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to sourcecode@protocol.com, or our tips line, tips@protocol.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.

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