Microsoft Unveils New surface Book 3; VW Readying Sale of New EV- ID.3; Uber Laying off 3700; Disney + Posts Big Subscriber Number

Microsoft has rolled out its latest hardware…but via blog post instead of the usual splashy presser in New York City. Zdnet.com reports that Redmond showed the new Surface Book 3, the Surface Go 2, Surface Dock 2, Surface Earbuds, and Surface Headphones 2. In addition to all that, Microsoft has added a new USB-C Travel Hub to the collection. Orders for all can be put in today, and most will ship next week. The Surface Go 2, Microsoft’s “more affordable and portable” 2-in-1 at 10.5 inches, is slightly larger than the original Surface Go and features smaller bezels. It starts at $399 tablet only…no keyboard, and is available May 12th. The Surface Book 3 is touted as MS’s most powerful laptop. They are claiming it is 50% faster than the Surface Book 2, and has up to 17.5 hours of battery life. The base model starts at $1599 and is available on May 21st. The new Surface Earbuds are $199 as expected, and have ‘all day battery life’ and…like other earbuds…a wireless charging case. The Surface Headphones 2 sport up to 20 hours battery life, ear cup rotation of 180 degrees, and will come in either black or platinum. They are out May 12th for $249.

Next month, Volkswagen will launch its ID.3 electric vehicle. According to techcrunch.com, customers who had preordered the Golf-sized hatchback can start putting in actual orders by June 17th. VW has banked 37,000 reservations for the first edition, which will be limited to 30,000 units. Orders for right hand drive models will open in July. VW is shooting for selling a million electrics per year by 2025. The ID.3 is a Europe only model, but VW says they will sell other models under the ID brand in North America. The ID.3 has an estimated range of 260 miles, and will sell for 30,000 euros in Germany.

We had previously reported that Uber was looking hard at layoffs with the drop in ride sharing. Earlier, Lyft sent 1,000 packing. Now, engadget.com says Uber is laying off 3700 full time employees, amounting to about 14% of its 26,900 person work force. Airbnb has announced it would lay off 1900. California is still moving forward with a lawsuit that alleges that Uber and Lyft misclassify drivers…who the state claims under a recent law qualify as employees. The companies, and others such as Doordash, are fighting the suit.

Although Disney is hurting from the closure of theme parks and cruise lines, etc due to the coronavirus, steaming is a bright spot. CNBC.com reported that they had 33.5 million Disney + subscribers as of the end of March, but as of Tuesday, has 54.5 million! Hulu jumped 27% from last year and now has 32.1 million, and ESPN is now up to 7.9 million subscribers. Disney had been predicting they would have between 60 million and 90 million Disney + subscribers by the end of 2024! The company did warn that viewership would drop off once shelter in place orders are lifted.



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