In today’s Bulldog wrapup of technology and life science news:
- A Polish company unveils a car-sized jet
- It’s Apple vs. music industry in royalty battle
- ChannelAdvisor expands Amazon support
- Uber scores a victory in New York City
- Who will be the next CEO at Twitter?
- When cars fly … ?
Sick of traffic-clogged commutes or island-hopping via slow ferries? Travelers may soon be able to fly their own single-seat private jet, small enough to fit in a garage.
At the Paris Air Show last week, Polish company Metal Master showcased its single-engine Flaris jet, an experimental plane that weighs just 700 kilograms (1,540 pounds), less than half of an average car. It’s about the size of a car but rings up at 1.5 million euros ($1.7 million).
Test pilot Maciej Peikert said the company expects the jets will “commute between areas where the infrastructure is relatively poor, or between islands or in mountains.”
The plane’s glass cockpit fits a single pilot and it flies below the normal cruising height of regional commercial altitudes. It requires no more than a 600-meter (650-yard) grass airstrip to take off.
Many companies are working on similar models, but few have begun making deliveries. Aircraft companies including Cessna and Eclipse, both in the United States, and Brazil’s Embraer have released small jet aircraft onto the market.
- Apple’s about-face reveals cracks in music industry
Apple’s abrupt about-face on paying royalties for songs during a three-month free-trial period for its new music service was a symbolic victory for superstar Taylor Swift and other artists, and a shrewd business move by Apple. This comes at a time when the streaming phenomenon is causing major changes in the music industry.
The olive branch extended by Apple comes as music is increasingly being consumed on streaming services like Spotify and Deezer – to the detriment of album sales and iTunes downloads – heightening tensions between artists, labels and service providers over who gets paid and how much.
Apple had already agreed to share revenue from the new Apple Music service once users start paying a $10-a-month subscription fee for the service, which it plans to launch June 30. But the technology giant wasn’t planning to pay artists and labels directly for the use of their music during the free, 90-day trial period that it’s offering to get fans to try the service.
That changed quickly Sunday, after Swift posted an open letter to Apple opposing the lack of royalties during the free period, and declaring she’d be withholding her latest album “1989” from Apple Music because of it.
- ChannelAdvisor expands Amazon support
E-commerce services provider ChannelAdvisor, which is based in the Triangle, is expanding its support of Amazon with backing for Amazon Business, a new marketplace designed for businesses, or B2B.
“Unlike AmazonSupply, Amazon Business is open to third-party sellers that want to grow their B2B sales,” said Scot Wingo, ChannelAdvisor executive chairman. “Buyers on the marketplace can expect large selection, and they can purchase from an online channel that is integrated with top systems for accounting, work flows and approval systems. B2B sellers can also set exclusive prices for these customers.”
- NYC taxi commission OKs new rules for app-based car services
New York City’s taxi regulatory agency on Monday approvednew rules governing how Uber and other app-based car services operate within the five boroughs.
Part of the proposal unanimously passed allows the companies to update their apps without approval from the regulators — a change from the initial proposed rules — a small but important shift that Uber, the multibillion-dollar ride-hailing app that has exploded in New York City in recent years, hailed as a victory. It ensures riders will have the most up-to-date-versions, an Uber spokesman said Monday after the agreement was reached.
“What that means is that every New York City rider would have had a worse version of the app than anywhere else in the world,” spokesman Matt Wing said.
The initial proposed rules would have required companies like Uber and competitor Lyft to submit app updates to the Taxi and Limousine Commission for approval. Uber updates its app regularly and Wing said the proposed rules would have held up even the smallest changes. The proposal drew ire throughout the tech world and sparked an open letter from tech lobbyists representing Google, Amazon and Uber over fears therules would stifle innovation, cause headaches for New York City riders and ultimately hurt business.
The commission, which licenses and regulates more than 50,000 vehicles and approximately 100,000 drivers, is grappling with how to regulate the booming app-based services. Uber has about 26,000 riders in New York City and is the biggest ride-booking service in a pool that includes competitors Lyft and Gett. Lyft markets itself as the more fun competitor to Uber while Gett doesn’t charge surge pricing during peak times.
- Dorsey would have to give up Square to be Twitter CEO
Jack Dorsey would have to give up his post at Square if he’s to become CEO of Twitter.
The company he helped found and now leads on an interim basis said Monday that it is only considering candidates who can make a “full-time commitment to Twitter.”
Dorsey was named interim CEO after Dick Costolo stepped down effective July 1 amid criticism over Twitter’s disappointing financial performance and share price decline. Costolo had been Twitter’s CEO for five years and led the company through a successful stock market debut in 2013. But Twitter has yet to make a profit and there are concerns about its ability to grow its user base.
Peter Currie, chair of Twitter’s search committee, says the company is looking for a “bold thinker and proven leader.”
While some analysts expect Dorsey to be hired to the permanent post, this would mean giving up his job at Square, the payments startup, and Dorsey has not indicated that he would do this. He said in June when he accepted the CEO post that he will continue to lead Square.
“We have built a very strong company from top to bottom, and I am as committed as ever to its continued success,” Dorsey said in a statement on June 11.