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Tech is making up its own COVID rules

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Good morning! The CDC’s new relaxed COVID guidelines are meant to encourage everyone to go back to work, but not everyone is listening to the agency.

The CDC said what?

Under the CDC’s updated COVID guidelines, people don’t need to quarantine if they’re exposed to the virus, and there’s less of an emphasis on screening people with no symptoms. In other words, the CDC told everyone to just go back to work. But tech is in its own boat.

Tech companies have been laying out their own workplace rules for two years. Sometimes the rules are influenced by the CDC (like when Meta dropped its COVID booster requirement), but remote work is an option at nearly every tech company. If a tech worker is exposed to the virus, they usually aren’t pressured to go to the office anyway.

  • In-person work rules have already been decided. The CDC’s new guidelines won’t affect Customer.io, for example, chief people officer Jennifer Fong told me. Customer.io requires vaccines and COVID tests for in-person retreats and team meet-ups.
  • It’s unclear whether rules will change for companies like TikTok and Apple, which require that employees make it to the office on a regular basis. Those companies didn’t return requests for comment.

Tech’s response to the new guidelines marks a shift from how the world responded in the early days of the pandemic, when everything centered around what was coming out of the CDC. “Our team is continuously monitoring this situation but plans to stay the course,” Fong said.

So who’s actually calling the shots? From remote work to vaccine requirements, it’s clear that employees — not the CDC — are the ones that companies are paying attention to.

— Sarah Roach

Call of Duty: Corporate feud edition

Microsoft and Sony are going to war over Call of Duty. Microsoft wants to convince regulators to let it close its $70 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard, the company behind the wildly popular war game franchise. But for the last decade, the games have been a huge part of Sony’s PlayStation business — so much so that in a court filing meant to stop the deal, Sony called the franchise “essential” and “so popular that it influences users’ choice of console.” If the purchase were to go through and Microsoft decided to make Call of Duty games exclusive to Xbox, it could spell trouble for Sony.

But Call of Duty may need to get with the times, as cross-platform play, cloud streaming and subscription bundling become the norm. “As gaming gets mainstream, these classic franchises like Call of Duty hit these midlife crises and try to figure out how to reinvent themselves and stay fresh and have pull with audiences,” one expert told Protocol’s Nick Statt.

Read Nick’s full story here.

— Nat Rubio-Licht

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People are talking

Samsung’s Roh Tae-moon said people are ditching other phone providers for the company’s foldable phones:

  • “This is about switchers from other brands, not Samsung Galaxy device users switching to another Galaxy device.”

Beating proximity bias in a hybrid workplace can be as simple as turning your camera on, Prezi’s Jim Szafranski said:

  • “If you have cameras off, there's no participation. That’s somebody talking at people.”

Making moves

Peloton’s cutting jobs and raising prices. The company’s laying off about 800 workers and outsourcing some delivery and support jobs.

Ted Stedem is Gopuff’s new CFO. He previously worked in the same role at Panera.

Steven Cliff is leaving the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after three months leading the organization. He’ll head up CARB, California’s powerful air pollution regulator.

Coming this week

The World Cyber Security Summit starts today at the Ritz-Carlton in Amman, Jordan.

LA Tech Week also starts today. Panels, meetups and parties held by startups and VCs will be hosted in various locations in West LA.

Ai4 2022 begins tomorrow in Las Vegas and will feature AI and machine learning leaders.

Code PaLOUsa is Wednesday in Louisville. Software engineering leaders from Microsoft, VMware and others are expected to speak.

In other news

DoorDash and Facebook Marketplace are partnering on local deliveries in a push to get younger people using Facebook again.

Apple and Facebook didn’t need to go to war over privacy. Prior to Apple’s tracking decision, the companies discussed making an ad-free, subscription-based version of Facebook, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Elon Musk said Tesla made 3 million cars total, and the company's Shanghai factory has made a third of them.

ByteDance and other Chinese tech giants shared details of their algorithms with Beijing for the first time, and the watchdog published a list describing each platform's secret sauce.

YouTube wants to launch a video streaming marketplace as soon as this fall. The platform's been talking with entertainment companies about getting on board.

The European Space Agency is in talks with SpaceX for temporary use of its launchers after the conflict in Ukraine blocked its access to Russian rockets.

The House gave final approval for a landmark climate, tax and health care bill, which includes $370 billion for environmental and energy programs.

A security researcher hacked the Zoom installer on macOS to gain access to the entire operating system. Zoom says it fixed the bug, but the researcher said the patch was incomplete.

Pumping the brakes

A Tesla driver wanted to put the car’s Full Self-Driving Beta to the test to prove that it actually works and doesn’t run over children, though it’s unclear who he was trying to prove it to. Nonetheless, he put out a call on Twitter, asking for a child volunteer.

Yes, he found a child, and yes everyone apparently went through with it. In the end, nobody got hurt — the car’s brakes kicked in — but, uh, please don’t do this. Proving a point isn’t worth running over a child, no matter who you’re trying to prove it to.

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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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