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outcome health offers voluntary buyouts to employees

outcome health, a prominent chicago advertising startup facing fraud allegations from some of its investors, on friday took steps to cut more staff, offering voluntary buyouts to employees.the buyout offer comes after partners including harvard health publishing and the american medical association recently suspended their relationship with the company.outcome,...





tesla plays the long game with semi truck

tesla inc. chief executive elon musk is taking on the commercial truck market with an approach that defies conventional expectations: an all-electric vehicle capable of traveling for hundreds of miles on a single charge.commercial truck makers trying electrification initiatives have largely focused on smaller trucks for short-run duties, arguing the battery range, weight and cost of long-haul electric trucks makes them impractical. with the semi, unveiled this week and due out in 2019, mr. musk is promising a vehicle that can travel 500 miles on a single charge—enough to cover most regional freight deliveries—and is cheaper to operate than diesel trucks. some potential customers said they are willing to give tesla a try. retailer wal-mart stores inc. said friday it has preordered 15 tesla trucks to test. j.b. hunt transport services inc. also placed a reservation for “multiple” semis, but only to deploy in short-run service such as to and from west coast ports and truck-to-train transfer yards.fleets that move cargo thousands of miles across the country may be less eager. the semi is aerodynamic, but the likely weight of the battery and its 500-mile range may hurt its ability to compete against heavy-duty diesel trucks can run for 800 to 1,000 miles between refills.“the limited 500-mile range of the tesla truck hinders our ability to be an early adopter,” greg hirsch, a senior vice president at truc...





tesla plays the long game with semi truck

tesla inc. chief executive elon musk is taking on the commercial truck market with an approach that defies conventional expectations: an all-electric vehicle capable of traveling for hundreds of miles on a single charge.commercial truck makers trying electrification initiatives have largely focused on smaller trucks for short-run duties, arguing the battery range, weight and cost of long-haul electric trucks makes them impractical. with the semi, unveiled this week and due out in 2019, mr. musk is promising a vehicle that can travel 500 miles on a single charge—enough to cover most regional freight deliveries—and is cheaper to operate than diesel trucks. some potential customers said they are willing to give tesla a try. retailer wal-mart stores inc. said friday it has preordered 15 tesla trucks to test. j.b. hunt transport services inc. also placed a reservation for “multiple” semis, but only to deploy in short-run service such as to and from west coast ports and truck-to-train transfer yards.fleets that move cargo thousands of miles across the country may be less eager. the semi is aerodynamic, but the likely weight of the battery and its 500-mile range may hurt its ability to compete against heavy-duty diesel trucks can run for 800 to 1,000 miles between refills.“the limited 500-mile range of the tesla truck hinders our ability to be an early adopter,” greg hirsch, a senior vice president at truc...





even with beijing pushing, electric cars prove hard to start

electric vehicles aren’t yet living up to the hype, auto makers in china are finding, as they churn out more evs than they can sell—even with generous government subsidies—to satisfy beijing’s directives.





axios raises $20 million to fund newsroom expansion

to fund the expansion, axios has raised $20 million, according to axios co-founder and president roy schwartz. the funding round, axios’s second, was co-led by venture-capital firms greycroft partners, e.ventures and lerer hippeau ventures. greycroft and lerer hippeau both participated in axios’s initial $10 million round last year. other backers from last year also increased their investment, including nbcuniversal, laurene powell jobs’s emerson collective and wal-mart chairman greg penner. wndrco, a media-and-technology firm founded by hollywood executive jeffrey katzenberg, is a new investor in the round.axios plans to use some of the financing to expand its capacity for data analysis, product development and audience growth, as well as developing new coverage areas, said mr. schwartz, politico’s former chief revenue officer. by the end of 2018, axios plans to have roughly 150 staffers, up from its current staff of 89.when axios made its debut in january, mr. vandehei said the company would introduce a high-end paywall, help fix what he called a “broken” media business, and create smart, short content and newsletters aimed at corporate executives and other professionals. the axios website resembles facebook’s news feed, with a chronological stream of concise articles on technology, politics, busi...





electronic arts pulls microtransactions from ‘star wars battlefront ii’ after fan backlash

electronic arts inc. halted in-game sales of virtual goods in its high-profile sequel to “star wars battlefront” on the eve of the game’s launch, bowing to pressure from walt disney co. as well as customers who fear big spenders could gain an unfair edge over other players.on the eve of the videogame’s launch, electronic arts said it was turning off such microtransactions for now and that they would be restored at an unspecified later date....





electronic arts pulls microtransactions from ‘star wars battlefront ii’ after fan backlash

electronic arts inc. halted in-game sales of virtual goods in its high-profile sequel to “star wars battlefront” on the eve of the game’s launch, bowing to pressure from customers who fear big spenders could gain an unfair edge over other players.the company said it was turning off such microtransactions for now, and that they would be restored at an unspecified later date.“we’ve...





despite big push from beijing, electric cars struggle in china

guangzhou—electric vehicles aren’t yet living up to the hype, auto makers in china are finding, as they churn out more evs than they can sell to satisfy government directives.beijing tempts buyers with subsidies and the construction of a vast charging network—and pushes consumers to buy electric cars in crowded cities. the policies have made china a driving force in world-wide development of evs, and left foreign auto makers scrambling to keep up. ...





vanu bose found ways to bring cellphone service to unserved areas

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reddit ceo cracks down on abusive content to protect users, attract advertisers

reddit made a name for itself as the self-proclaimed “front page of the internet,” with user-generated forums that allow people to anonymously share everything from funny animal memes to conspiracy theories and edgy political opinions. but the website—the eighth-most trafficked in the world, according to website ranking firm alexa—has recently been ramping up its efforts to stamp out the darker fringe of the platform as it hopes to encourage users, publishers and advertisers it’s a safe home for their content. with the help of a recent round of funding, reddit is increasing its investment in human content checkers, investigating whether russian entities used its platform to interfere with the 2016 u.s. presidential election and preparing a redesign that will, among other benefits, give more tools to its thousands of moderators to make their job of policing the site easier.in an interview at the web summit trade show in lisbon, reddit co-founder and chief executive steve huffman said the violent clashes between white nationalists and protesters in charlottesville, va., in august were a wake-up call. a rallygoer plowed his car into a crowd of people demonstrating against the white nationalists, killing one woman and injuring 19 people. mr. huffman and reddit co-founder alexis ohanian had both studied there at the university of virginia in the early 2000s. “i grew up an hour away, so that’s my home, and then we saw people on reddit celebrating that violence and we ...





axios raises $20 million to fund newsroom expansion

other backers from last year also increased their investment, including nbcuniversal, laurene powell jobs’s emerson collective and wal-mart chairman greg penner. wndrco, a media-and-technology firm founded by hollywood executive jeffrey katzenberg, is the only new investor in the round.axios plans to use some of the financing to expand its capacity for data analysis, product development and audience growth, as well as developing new coverage areas, said mr. schwartz, politico’s former chief revenue officer. by the end of 2018, axios plans to have roughly 150 staffers, up from its current staff of 89.when axios made its debut in january, mr. vandehei said the company would introduce a high-end paywall, help fix what he called a “broken” media business, and create smart, short content and newsletters aimed at corporate executives and other professionals. the axios website resembles facebook’s news feed, with a chronological stream of concise articles on technology, politics, business and health care. more from cmotoday, there’s still no paywall. mr. vandehei says that has been put off until late 2018, in part to allow the company to continue to build its audience with the free site. advertising and audience growth have beat expectations, the chief executive said, so “we’d be insane not to pour all of our effort into building that a...





despite big push from beijing, electric cars struggle in china

guangzhou—electric vehicles aren’t yet living up to the hype, auto makers in china are finding, as they churn out more evs than they can sell to satisfy government directives.at the guangzhou auto show, companies are reckoning with the challenge of attracting buyers—and generating profits—while meeting beijing’s requirement that electric vehicles account for roughly 3% to 4% of their total output in 2019....





tesla reveals semi truck with 500-mile range, new roadster car

hawthorne, calif.—tesla inc. chief executive elon musk on thursday revealed the company’s first all-electric semitrailer truck and a $200,000 super car, his latest attempt to stir excitement for his vision to upend transportation as the company struggles to mass-produce an affordable sedan. the semi, due out in 2019, is designed to go 500 miles on a single charge, mr. musk said. it is also equipped with tesla’s semiautonomous driving system that will assist drivers and allow the trucks to travel autonomously in convoys with...





stitch fix prices shares at $15 apiece in ipo

fashion startup stitch fix inc. priced its initial public offering below its target range and sold fewer shares than planned, another setback for a hot startup looking to cash in on its private-market success. the company priced its shares at $15 apiece, according to people familiar with the deal, compared with the $18 to $20 it had targeted in a regulatory filing. concerns about competition and the company’s long-term growth prospects put pressure on the ipo pricing, according to people familiar with the deal. during the...





buzzfeed set to miss revenue target, signaling turbulence in media

digital publisher buzzfeed is on track to miss its revenue target this year by a significant amount, the latest sign that troubles in the online-ad business are making it tough for new-media upstarts to live up to lofty expectations.buzzfeed, one of several digital-media outfits that have grown quickly in recent years, had been targeting revenue of around $350 million in 2017 but is expected to fall short of that figure by about 15% to 20%, people familiar with the matter said. buzzfeed said in a statement that it would still...





wal-mart posts strongest u.s. sales in years, powered by groceries, e-commerce

wal-mart stores inc. is holding its ground against amazon.com inc.the world’s biggest retailer on thursday posted its strongest quarterly u.s. sales growth in nearly a decade, boosted by a big jump in e-commerce and increased store traffic at a time when many traditional retailers are struggling.wal-mart shares rose nearly 11% on thursday...





how to survive a robot apocalypse: just close the door

robots may enslave us all someday. in the meantime, if one of them goes berserk, here’s a useful tactic: shut the door behind you. one after another, robots in a government-sponsored contest were stumped by an unlocked door that blocked their path at an outdoor obstacle course. one bipedal machine managed to wrap a claw around the door handle and open it but was flummoxed by a breeze that kept blowing the door shut before it could pass through.robots excel at many tasks, as long as they don’t involve too much hand-eye coordination or common sense. like some gifted children, they can perform impressive feats of mental arithmetic but are profoundly klutzy on the playground. the machines stumble over tasks requiring even toddler-level balance, like kicking a ball, getting out of a car or climbing stairs. grasping objects of varying size and weight is also perplexing. at a research lab in san francisco recently, a robot tried to pick up a block of wood from a table. one engineer joked the machine had a 50-50 chance. the robot rammed the table instead.robots are unwieldy, says jonas schneider, head of engineering for robotics at openai, a nonprofit artificial-intelligence research firm where the robotic-arm flunked the block test. at first, he confesses, he and his team thought, “how hard can it be?”that was before another one of their clasper machines had to be put under wraps. sunlight coming through a window shifted, disorienting its ca...





digital pills that talk to your doctor are here

otsuka faces fundamental questions: whether patients and physicians want digital pills, and, if so, how much insurers are prepared to pay for them. photo: proteus digital health





baidu sends raven to bring artificial intelligence into chinese homes

beijing—in its push into artificial-intelligence technologies, chinese internet giant baidu inc. is entering the market for “smart home” products with an intelligent speaker and a personal robot.the company, which is best known as china’s leading search engine, announced at its annual baidu world conference on thursday that it will begin selling two home assistants—similar to amazon.com inc.’s echo—that can execute commands such as playing songs or videos using voice recognition....





hotshot tech founders face a dilemma: lie low or live large?

alon cohen and adi tatarko, founders of online home renovation and design platform houzz, launched their company after running into difficulties remodeling their palo alto home in 2009.eight years later, though their company is valued at around $4 billion, the couple is still living in the same four-bedroom remodeled house.that may sound humble for the creators of a multibillion-dollar company, but there are reasons for hotshot chief executives to lay low. startup founders are under intense scrutiny these days as questions emerge about whether the private markets may be in for a correction following several lackluster tech ipos. mr. neumann has purchased homes in manhattan, the hamptons and in westchester. while work on his greenwich village townhouse is under way, mr. neumann and his family are renting a four-bedroom, 4,207-square-foot apartment at the condominium building 18 gramercy park. photo: theo wargo/getty images the ceos of tech “unicorns”—large, well-funded startups that are valued at over $1 billion—are under the microscope, since many raised money at ultrahigh valuations based on the promise of extreme growth that may, or may not, be realized.while not cheap, many homes of unicorn ceos aren’t mansions by san francisco standards, and hardly compare to the vast pacific heights residences owned by the likes of larry ellison. ben silbermann, ceo of pinterest, the $12.3 billion visual search service, lives ...