Daily Crunch: Verizon buys videoconferencing company BlueJeans

Verizon makes a move into videoconferencing, Jeff Bezos discusses a plan to test Amazon employees for COVID-19 and Apple is reportedly working on new over-ear headphones. Here’s your Daily Crunch for April 16, 2020.

1. Verizon is buying b2b videoconferencing firm BlueJeans

TechCrunch’s parent company is buying veteran videoconferencing platform BlueJeans Network — shelling out less than $500 million on the acquisition, according to the Wall Street Journal. (A Verizon spokeswoman confirmed that the price-tag is sub-$500 million but did not provide a more exact figure.)

“Customers will benefit from a BlueJeans enterprise-grade video experience on Verizon’s high-performance global networks,” the company said in a statement. “In addition, the platform will be deeply integrated into Verizon’s 5G product roadmap, providing secure and real-time engagement solutions for high growth areas such as telemedicine, distance learning and field service work.”

2. Bezos details Amazon’s COVID-19 testing plans in shareholder letter

Jeff Bezos dropped Amazon’s annual shareholder letter today, which includes more information on the Amazon-built testing labs that were announced last week. Bezos said the company is considering “regular testing of all Amazonians, including those showing no symptoms.”

3. Apple said to be working on modular, high-end, noise-cancelling over-ear headphones

Bloomberg reports that Apple is developing its own competitors to popular over-ear noise-cancelling headphones like those made by Bose and Sony, but with similar technology to that used in the AirPod and AirPod Pro lines.

4. Unicorn layoffs keep piling up as the economy gets worse

Yesterday, news broke that a trio of well-known, heavily-backed unicorns — Carta, Zume and Opendoor — were cutting staff.

5. Punitive liquidation preferences return to VC — don’t do it

VC Pascal Levensohn says that several of his current portfolio companies have recently proposed “emergency bridge” convertible note financings of between $5 million and $15 million, each featuring a painful feature for non-participants. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

6. DoD Inspector General report finds everything was basically hunky-dory with JEDI cloud contract bid

While controversy has dogged the $10 billion, decade-long JEDI contract since its earliest days, a report by the Department of Defense’s Inspector General’s Office concluded that the contract procurement process was fair and legal.

7. Google Play adds a ‘Teacher Approved’ section to its app store

All apps found in this section are vetted by a panel of reviewers, including more than 200 teachers across the U.S., and meet Google’s existing requirements (around government regulation and advertising) for its “Designed for Families” program.

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