Daily Crunch: Amazon buys self-driving startup Zoox

Amazon makes an autonomous driving acquisition, Microsoft closes its retail stores and health insurance startup Oscar raises $225 million.

Here’s your Daily Crunch for June 26, 2020.

1. Amazon to acquire autonomous driving startup Zoox

According to Amazon’s announcement, Zoox will continue to exist as a standalone business, with current CEO Aicha Evans continuing in her role, along with CTO and co-founder Jesse Levinson. The Financial Time reports that the deal is worth $1.2 billion.

Amazon has been working on its own autonomous vehicle technology projects, including its last-mile delivery robots. The company has also invested in autonomous driving startup Aurora, and it has tested self-driving trucks powered by self-driving freight startup Embark.

2. Microsoft is closing all of its retail stores for good

As other retailers begin the slow process of reopening, Microsoft has announced that it will be permanently shutting down the vast majority of its retail stores. The remaining locations — in cities like London, New York City and Sydney, as well as on Microsoft’s Redmond campus — will become “Microsoft Experience Centers,” rather than standard retail stores.

3. Oscar’s health insurance platform nabs another $225 million

Oscar’s insurance customers have the distinction of being among the most active users of telemedicine in the United States, according to the company. Around 30% of patients with insurance plans from Oscar have used telemedical services, versus only 10% of the country as a whole.

4. Luckin Coffee will unluckin’ly delist from Nasdaq following fraud allegations

An investigation by the company’s board found that Luckin had inflated sales by essentially having affiliated companies buy large orders of coffees that never got delivered. And of course, that’s fraud when you put it on a 10-K form and submit it to the SEC.

(Also, it’s very important to me that you know: I did not write this headline.)

5. Four perspectives: Will Apple trim App Store fees?

Given its massive reach, is it time for Apple to change its terms? Will the company allow its revenue share to go gently into that good night, or does it have enough resources to keep new legislation at bay and mollify an increasingly vocal community of software developers? (Extra Crunch membership required.)

6. Google finally brings group calling to the Nest Hub Max

Video chat has long been one of the chief selling points of smart screens like the Amazon Echo Show and Google’s Nest Hub Max (the regular Hub doesn’t have a camera). But until yesterday, the latter only offered users the option to have one-on-one calls.

7. Amazon really just renamed a Seattle stadium ‘Climate Pledge Arena’

One more Amazon story to close out the week: The company is buying the rights to Seattle’s KeyArena, an aging stadium currently under redevelopment. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said, “Instead of calling it Amazon Arena, we’re naming it Climate Pledge Arena as a regular reminder of the urgent need for climate action.”

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