Hashtag Trending March 31 – Apple faces lawsuit; Activision Blizzard’s harassment settlement approved; Tech employees in China get laid off with a congratulations note

With files from Samira Balsara

Apple faces a hefty lawsuit from a Dutch foundation, a judge approves Activision Blizzard’s harassment settlement, and big tech companies in China are sending congratulations notes to employees they lay off.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Thursday, March 31st, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

Apple is facing a multi-billion dollar lawsuit from the Netherlands over its app store. The Dutch Consumer Competition Claims Foundation has hit Apple with a lawsuit over the App Store’s developer fees, seeking 5.5 billion euros in damages for what it claims is monopolistic behaviour. In a press release, the foundation stated it was filing a “collective claim” for damages, on behalf of any iPhone or iPad users in the EU who have downloaded a paid app or made purchases within an app, reports Engadget. Apple has faced problems with Dutch authorities in the past. Apple hasn’t complied with a January order from Dutch regulators that requires the company to provide third-party payment options for dating app customers. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets is fining Apple 5 million euros every week it doesn’t follow through with the order.

Source: Engadget

A judge has approved Activision Blizzard’s $18 million settlement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Activision Blizzard has faced serious scrutiny following California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing filing a harassment lawsuit in July alleging the company fostered a culture of “constant sexual harassment.” As part of the consent decree, the company will establish an $18 million settlement fund which will be used to compensate victims of harassment and discrimination. Employees who worked at Activision Blizzard between September 1st of 2016 and March 29th, can submit a claim for “sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, or related retaliation.” According to The Verge, Activision Blizzard will require all supervisory employees to attend training on harassment and discrimination and will offer more mental health resources available to all employees.

Source: The Verge

Have you ever received congratulations after being laid off? It’s pretty unlikely but some tech giants in China are laying off workers and congratulating them on their job loss. Business Insider reports that last week e-commerce giant JD.com was axing workers. Some social media users in China began sharing images of a cheery note titled “Graduation notice” reportedly issued by the company’s human resources department. The note reads: “Happy graduation! Congratulations on having graduated from JD.com! Thank you for the companionship!” Reports of a similar note being sent out by video streaming site Bilibili surfaced with the title “Bilibili Graduation Day.” Both notes then go on to list what the recipients can expect to facilitate their departure from their respective ex-employers.

Source: Business Insider

Walgreens is enlisting robots to help fill prescriptions. Inside a large facility in Dallas, the robots fill thousands of prescriptions for customers who take medications to treat high blood pressure, diabetes or other conditions. CNBC reports that each robot can fill up to 300 prescriptions in an hour. According to the company, that’s about the same number that a typical Walgreens pharmacy with a handful of staff may do in a day. Pharmacists will continue to fill time-sensitive medications and controlled substances at local stores as the company expands its use of robots. For the filling process, workers feed robot pods containers of pills. Each medication gets its own canister and pill counter. A yellow robotic arm will grab a labeled pill bottle and hold it up to the canister, which dispenses pills like a vending machine. In the Dallas facility, the robot pod dispenses about 900 different medications.

Source: CNBC 

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at Channel Daily News. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at [email protected].

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