Google- Work From Home; Amazon Web Services Cancels SF Conference; iOS 14 Launch Even if No WWDC; EU Presses for Right to Repair

Google parent Alphabet has expanded its recommendation about employees working from home. CNN reports that now, they want all North American employees who are ‘in a role that allows’ to do so until April 10th because of coronavirus. There hasn’t been a number released on how many workers this would affect, but Alphabet employs around 120,000 full time workers. Amazon. Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple had all asked employees who can to work from home in both the Seattle and San Francisco Bay Areas earlier, as had Google. Some 200+ colleges and universities have also told students to finish the term from home via online…with exceptions for lab classes, art, performing groups, and the like. Google has also set up a COVID-19 fund to help temp staff and vendors to work from home and be paid their normal hours if they can’t come in due to the infection.

Amazon Web Services has cancelled its Summit San Francisco conference, which was scheduled for the Moscone Center on April 14th. According to businessinsider.com, they will hold a digital event in its place. This is on the heals of a couple of attendees at the RSA cyber security conference testing positive for COVID-19 earlier.

No announcement as yet, but it looks like Apple will punt its World Wide Developers Conference, scheduled for June 3rd through the 7th in San Jose. Santa Clara County presently has a ban on any gatherings of over 1000 people, and that may be extended through June. Bgr.com says that even if the event is cancelled or somehow rescheduled, Apple will likely roll out iOS 14 and the next versions of macOS, tvOS, and WatchOS. It’s possible that Apple may do an online event as is being planned by a number of other tech companies in place of the large in-person gatherings. Apple normally announces WWDC in Mid March, and has been thought to be planning a March event to show off the new, smaller iPhone 9 or whatever it will be called. That is probably not going to happen now. There may be an online rollout of some devices, but they may hold off on the iPhone model until later.

A commission of the European Union has floated plans for new ‘right to repair’ rules that would cover phones, tablets, and laptops by 2021 According to theverge.com, the EU argues that the devices need to remain useful for a longer period before being recycled or ending up in landfills. The rules are part of a set of product initiatives keyed on sustainability, and covering textiles, plastics, packaging, and food, with an aim of helping the EU to be climate neutral by 2050. Less e-waste will be a part of that if the initiative is passed by the European Parliament and becomes law.



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