Welcome to this week’s edition of “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
This week we cover Microsoft’s layoffs, Yahoo’s new daily fantasy sports games, and Waze’s carpooling initiative.
Microsoft will lay off 7,800 employees
Microsoft continues to transform itself and will cut 7,800 jobs and write down $7.6 billion related to its 2013 Nokia acquisition. Most of the lost jobs will be in the phone hardware department.
This does not bode well for Windows Phone at all.
In the past couple of years, Microsoft has pushed Windows Phone hard yet only managed to capture less than 3% of the market, with Android and iOS running away from the pack. Now that there will be fewer resources dedicated to Windows Phone, many believe this might spell the end of days for the mobile initiative.
CEO Satya Nadella has made many organizational changes with the hopes of focusing Microsoft on becoming a mobile- and cloud-first productivity company. We have a feeling more change will come.
Yahoo jumps into daily fantasy
Daily fantasy sports games are hot, with market leaders FanDuel and DraftKings raising money at valuations around $1 billion. Now Yahoo wants a piece of the pie.
Yahoo Sports, the leader in traditional fantasy sports with over 57 million players this year, just launched its own version of daily fantasy games with monetary payouts. Instead of the typical season-long contests that Yahoo hosts, the company will now offer daily games, starting with Major League Baseball, with other sports being rolled out as their seasons start. The games will be available on the Yahoo Fantasy mobile app and on web browsers across any device.
Yahoo will take 10% of contest fees and pay out winnings within 48 hours via PayPal.
Yahoo has arguably been the best place for traditional fantasy games and now will try to dominate daily games as well.
Waze launches ridesharing service in Israel
Google-owned mapping company Waze is joining the ridesharing craze by launching carpooling service RideWith in Israel.
You’re probably thinking, “We already have Uber and Lyft, do we need another ridesharing platform?” Well, RideWith is different, as it’s focusing on those who commute to and from work only.
RideWith will limit drivers to two rides per day, primarily during the busy commuting hours, so they won’t be able to make a living from driving. Payments will only cover gasoline and normal vehicle wear and tear, which will be based off of standard indices. Google will take a cut of the fares, though how much has not been determined.
Google and Uber are quickly becoming frenemies in the ridesharing space. Google Ventures is an investor in Uber but has now shown that it has ridesharing aspirations of its own. Uber heavily depends on Google Maps for its driver and rider navigation, but has recently acquired Bing’s map assets to minimize this dependency. And both have been working on driverless cars.
The race to dominate the future of transportation is on.
What do you think of these stories? Have you read other interesting mobile and technology stories this week that are worth mentioning? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.