10 things in technology you need to know today, Thursday, December 16th

Hello. Today, we cover tech companies’ Covid-19 response and

Uber eats

‘first delivery to space.

Let’s dive down.

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An Apple store.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

1. Technology companies are struggling with Omicron’s concerns. As Covid-19 cases rise and concerns about the Omicron variant grow, some of the nation’s largest technology companies are implementing stricter rules – from masks to store closures to vaccine mandates.

  • Apple is once again closing some of its stores. The company has temporarily closed three of its retail stores – in Miami, Maryland and Ottawa, Canada – following a rise in Covid-19 cases and employee exposures. It comes just a day after Apple reintroduced its mask mandate in all stores across the country.
  • Some companies withdraw return-to-office plans. Google delayed its return until January 10, Lyft announced that it will let employees work remotely throughout 2022, and Meta told staff they can postpone their return to the office by three to five months. Why it may be time for companies to admit defeat.
  • Meanwhile, Nike is sticking to its plan to return on January 10th – but 54% of employees said it does not give them enough flexibility.
  • Employees who do not comply with Google’s vaccine mandate will lose their jobs. The company imposed a mandate that all employees must be vaccinated or show medical or religious exemption by December 3 – and those who do not will eventually lose their jobs. Get the full overview here.

In other news:

Amazon Web Services

Sopa pictures

Amazon Web Services experienced several issues yesterday. After experiencing a massive outage last week, the company reported several issues affecting






, and other sites, but resolved them quickly. What we know about connection problems.

3. Amazon quietly rolled out over 30 rural and “super rural” department stores this year. The e-commerce giant is seeking to take more delivery shares from UPS and US Postal Service. Here’s more about Amazon’s growing footprint.

4. David Chang’s fried chicken restaurant Fuku cut ties with ghost kitchen Reef. Following reports of food safety issues inside trailers operated by Reef, Fuku has announced that they will instead be working with startup competitor, Kitchen United. What we know so far.

Leaked documents reveal what Facebook and Instagram think of their rivals. The platforms see TikTok as their biggest concern, but less obvious platforms like


– and even text messages – pose a threat to Facebook and Instagram’s young audiences. From YouTube to LinkedIn, here’s what they think of their rivals.

6. Amazon created 599 million pounds of plastic packaging waste in 2020. A watchdog report found that an estimated 23.5 million pounds of this plastic ended up in the world’s oceans – but Amazon disputed the report, saying it is “more than 300% gone”. More on this here.

7. We outlined 55 technological startups you can bet your career on in 2022. As more people reconsider their careers in the midst of the great retirement, we have created a list of startups to join that have all the hallmarks of long-term success. From Maude, a sexual wellness company, to NowRx, which offers non-prescription same day delivery, these are our top picks.

8. Elon Musk says no other CEO cares as much about security as he does. Musk told The Financial Times that he has not misled or risked the safety of Tesla owners with the company’s self-propelled assistant software, and that no CEO in the world places as much emphasis on safety as he does. Here’s what he told the business otherwise.

9. Gen Zers and millennials would take a pay cut to move to a cheaper part of the United States. More than half of Americans ages 18 to 34 said they would accept a lower wage for a cheaper cost of living. New tech hubs were of particular interest, with men eager to move to Miami and women choosing Austin. More about young generations’ desire for an affordable lifestyle.

10. Uber Eats made its first ever delivery to space. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa supplied canned beef and cooked mackerel to astronauts aboard the International Space Station as part of his 12-day space trip. Uber’s CEO gave Maezawa a “thumbs up” for his delivery – even though it took more than 30 minutes to arrive.

What we see today:

  • Adobe and Rivian are expected to announce earnings today. Follow the earnings here.
  • Forbes Magazine is to publish its annual list of America’s best midsize companies.
  • A group of workers and advocates urges New York Governor Hochul to “hold Amazon accountable.”

Curated by Jordan Parker Erb in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email jerb@insider.com or tweet @jordanparkererb.) Edited by Michael Cogley in London.

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