Nike Buys Co That Makes NFT Sneakers; Labor Dept. Opens Apple Investigation; Amazon Will Expand Grocery Delivery; Google Working on ‘Augmented Reality OS’

Not to be satisfied with selling the world overpriced sneakers, now Nike can sell you overpriced sneakers that don’t even exist! The giant shoe maker has snapped up RTFKT Studios, which ‘makes’ NFT sneakers, and claims to be “a leading brand that leverages cutting edge innovation to deliver next generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming.” Back in February, the brand sold 600 pairs of NFTs in 6 minutes, and made $3.1 million, according to theverge.com. For those wondering what the hell NFTs are, NFTs allow you to buy and sell ownership of unique digital items and keep track of who owns them using the blockchain. NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” and it can technically contain anything digital, including drawings, animated GIFs, songs, or items in video games. An NFT can either be one-of-a-kind, like a real-life painting, or one copy of many, like trading cards, but the blockchain keeps track of who has ownership of the file. No price was disclosed by Nike for their acquisition of RTFKT.

The Labor Department has opened an investigation into Apple’s treatment of employees and workplace conduct. Cnet.com reports that the department didn’t say what prompted the inquiry, but former Apple engineering manager Ashley Gjovik had complained about a hostile working environment in August, and had told the NY Times she filed a complaint “to ensure Apple knows they cannot get away with retaliating against me for exercising my federally and state-protected rights.” The Labor Department hasn’t responded to requests for comments, and of course, neither has famously tight-lipped Apple.

Instacart had better be preparing to take on Goliath. Amazon may soon be directly competing with them in the grocery delivery game. Engadget.com says Amazon has been trialing Amazon Fresh Marketplace in the UK for about a year now. In a statement, Amazon said “Our focus is on providing Amazon customers the best possible experience when it comes to grocery delivery whether that is from Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, or one of our local stores like Bartell’s in Seattle, Morrison’s in London, or Monoprix in Paris. Partnerships with other grocers enable more customers to shop online and allow us to provide Amazon Prime members with more choice, value and convenience while our partners benefit from increased visibility for their selection and service.” 

After the bust and backlash of Google Glass (i.e. the wearers in public quickly being branded ‘Glassholes,’ Google has been pretty quiet about augmented reality lately…as plenty has leaked out or been released about Apple and Facebook AR future products. Now, 9to5google.com reports that Google is actively hiring to create an ‘Augmented Reality OS for an innovative AR device.’ They have already put into place Mark Lucovsky as heading up the Operating System team for Augmented Reality at Google. Lucovsky previously was General Manager for Operating Systems at Oculus VR (Facebook/Meta.) Before that, he had a 16 year stint at Microsoft, and was at Google previously….back from 2004 to 2009. One of the jobs listed gives a pretty big hint at what’s in store: ‘Our team is building the software components that control and manage the hardware on our Augmented Reality (AR) products. These are the software components that run on the AR devices and are the closest to the hardware. As Google adds products to the AR portfolio, the OS Foundations team is the very first software team to work with new hardware.’



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