Daily Crunch: Facebook drops the Oculus Go

Facebook shifts its VR strategy, WhatsApp’s payment service hits a snag in Brazil and we look at how Trump’s visa ban will affect Silicon Valley.

Here’s your Daily Crunch for June 24, 2020.

1. Facebook kills off its cheapest VR headset

Just two years after launching the Oculus Go, Facebook announced that it’s discontinuing the headset — the least powerful and least expensive VR hardware the company sold.

The entry-level product was meant to hook consumers on the idea of VR and convince them to upgrade. Last year, however, Facebook released the $399 Oculus Quest, and it quickly became clear that the Quest was likely the best path forward for Oculus’ consumer ambitions.

2. Brazil suspends WhatsApp’s payments service

Speaking of Facebook, the new payment feature in its popular messaging app has been blocked in its second largest market. Brazil’s central bank said it was making the decision to “preserve an adequate competitive environment” in the mobile payments space and to ensure “functioning of a payment system that’s interchangeable, fast, secure, transparent, open and cheap.”

3. Trump’s worker visa ban will hit Silicon Valley hard

We’ve been regularly featuring immigration lawyer Sophie Alcorn’s column. But for this piece, editor Walter Thompson interviews Alcorn about President Trump’s executive order extending an existing ban on immigrant work visas. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

4. Stacy Brown-Philpot is stepping down as CEO of TaskRabbit

Brown-Philpot joined TaskRabbit seven years ago as the company’s chief operating officer and was promoted to CEO in the spring of 2016. In the fall of 2017, the company was acquired by Ikea for undisclosed terms in a stock deal and has continued to operate independently as a subsidiary of the company.

5. Olympus plans to sell its struggling camera division

After three straight years of operating losses, one of the world’s foremost camera makers is giving up the ghost. Olympus announced its intentions to sell off its imaging unit by the end of September 2020.

6. 11 top VCs discuss the future of New York startups

New York City was an initial U.S. hotspot for the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s also one of the most expensive cities in the world — so you might think startups would be anxious to leave. However, when we surveyed a number of New York-based venture capitalists, they seemed bullish about the city’s future as a startup and technology hub. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

7. Google updates its analytics tools for newsrooms

Google is introducing version 2.0 of both News Consumer Insights and Realtime Content Insights, while also adding a new feature called the News Tagging Guide. These efforts fall under the umbrella of the broader Google News Initiative, introduced in 2018 as a way for the search giant to fund quality journalism and find other ways to support the industry.

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