Every day we wake up, drink some coffee, get ready for work and check on the latest tech. So here’s a handful of stories from around the tech world condensed to fit into that first cup. These are things you need to know before you step foot out of your door (or in front of a webcam) and into the real world this morning.
Sequoia splits China and India arms from US mothership
Sequoia, one of the most influential venture capital firms in the world, has announced that it will split into three separate entities by March 2024. The move is aimed at addressing the growing complexity and confusion of running a global investment business across different markets and sectors.
The three entities are: Sequoia Capital, which will focus on the US and Europe; Peak XY Partners, which will cover India and Southeast Asia; and HongShan, which will operate in China. The firm said that each entity will have its own brand, team, strategy, portfolio and governance.
The decision comes amid the rising geopolitical tension between the US and China, which has affected the flow of capital and technology between the two countries. Sequoia has been a major investor in China’s consumer internet sector for two decades, but has slowed down its pace in recent years due to regulatory crackdowns and economic slowdown.
The firm also said that the split will help avoid portfolio conflicts and market confusion among its global companies, some of which have become leaders in their fields. Sequoia has backed iconic startups such as Apple, Google, Airbnb, ByteDance, Flipkart and Grab.
Reddit users and mods protest against API pricing that threatens third-party apps
Reddit, the popular social media site, is facing a backlash from its users and moderators over its plan to charge third-party apps for API access.
The pricing scheme, which will take effect on July 1, is so high that many of the apps will have to shut down or switch to a subscription model. Some of the most popular third-party apps, such as Apollo, Reddit is Fun, and Narwhal, have announced that they cannot afford the fees, which are much higher than other sites like Imgur.
Reddit’s official app, which shows ads and blocks adult content, is seen as inferior by many users who prefer the third-party alternatives.
To protest against the move, over a thousand subreddits will go dark for 48 hours on June 12, affecting millions of subscribers. The protesters are demanding that Reddit lower its API pricing by a factor of 15 to 20 and allow third-party apps to show ads.
macOS Sonoma leaves many Intel Macs behind
Apple has announced macOS Sonoma, the next major update for its desktop operating system. However, many Intel Mac users will not be able to enjoy the new features, as Sonoma drops support for all Macs made before 2018 or without an Apple T2 chip in them.
This includes the 12-inch MacBook, the 2017 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, and the 2017 iMac. The only exception is the iMac Pro, which was the first Mac to include the T2 chip. According to Ars Technica,
Apple has been dropping support for Intel Macs more quickly in the Apple Silicon era than it did in the past. The company has completed its transition to its own M1 and M2 chips, which offer better performance and efficiency than Intel processors.
Users with unsupported Macs will still receive security updates for two more years, but they will miss out on the latest improvements and enhancements that Sonoma brings.
NASA panel: No convincing evidence for extraterrestrial life connected with UAPs
A NASA panel of experts has concluded that there is no convincing evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial life connected with unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs), also known as UFOs.
The panel reviewed the recent report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) on UAPs, which acknowledged that some of the sightings by military personnel and civilians remain unexplained.
However, the panel found that the report lacked sufficient data and analysis to support any definitive conclusions about the nature and origin of UAPs. The panel also noted that the report did not address the possibility of natural phenomena, human-made objects, or optical illusions as potential explanations for UAPs.
The panel recommended that NASA should continue to monitor and study UAPs, but not prioritize them over other scientific endeavors.
Coinbase faces SEC lawsuit over securities violations
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has sued Coinbase, the largest domestic cryptocurrency exchange, for securities laws violations. The suit comes after the SEC also sued Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange, for similar charges.
The SEC alleges that Coinbase and its founder, Brian Armstrong, artificially inflated trading volumes, misled investors about market surveillance controls, and failed to restrict U.S. customers from its platform. The SEC also claims that Coinbase secretly controlled customers’ assets and diverted funds.
Coinbase has denied the allegations and said it intends to defend its platform vigorously. The company argues that the crypto market deserves a tailored package of rules, not the existing securities law.
The lawsuits have caused a sharp decline in the value of cryptocurrencies and crypto-related stocks. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Coin, and Coinbase shares have all dropped significantly since the news broke.