Verizon strike update
1. Verizon has cancelled medical coverage for the thousands of employees who have been on strike for more than two weeks now. The company told the union last week that the employees’ healthcare coverage would stop at the end of April if they remained on strike. The Communication Workers of America offers some health benefits to members, but the union is encouraging members to limit healthcare expenses at this time. The union is telling employees not to use their days off work to schedule well checks or dental visits this month.
Late last week Verizon gave the CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers its “final” contract offer, saying it was offering “great jobs with outstanding compensation and excellent benefits as we continue to work together in an exceptionally competitive environment.” The IBEW said the offer did not address the union’s demand that Verizon stop sending so many jobs overseas.
2. Intel is abandoning its LTE chipsets in order to focus more effort on 5G. The news comes from analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights, who spoke with the company’s senior management team following Intel’s announcement that it plans to cut as many as 12,000 jobs. Even though 5G is not yet fully defined and scalable deployments are still three to four years away, Intel has decided to focus on getting an early lead, and will stop trying to catch up with ARM, Qualcomm, MediaTek and Samsung in the LTE chip market. The company is cancelling its SoFIA and Broxton chip development efforts.
3. Cobalt Holdings said it will buy the assets of World Wi-Fi Network as part of its plan to become a dominant wireless service provider in the Caribbean. World Wi-Fi Network operates Wi-Fi hotspots on cruise ships. Cobalt said that cruise ships transport up to 30 million people a year, and that it wants to expand the Wi-Fi network to ports as well. Cobalt is also working to acquire spectrum for LTE service, as well as fiber beneath the Caribbean.
4. Oracle is preparing for the day when more electric meters will be part of the Internet of Things. Today the software giant said it is buying a company called Opower in a deal that Oracle says will make it the largest provider of cloud services to utilities. Opower may have looked like a bargain to Oracle; the stock had lost about half its value between summer of 2015 and spring of 2016. Oracle is buying Opower for $10.30 a share.
5. A Los Angeles judge has ordered a criminal suspect to use her fingerprint to unlock her iPhone. The woman had pleaded no contest to charges of identity theft, and authorities believed she had links to other suspects. Legal experts are split on whether forcing someone to unlock a phone with a fingerprint constitutes self-incrimination.
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