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Google CEO Testifies At Trial Of Collapsed Startup Ozy Media And Founder Carlos Watson

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In a brief Friday testimony at the federal financial conspiracy trial involving buzz-to-bust startup Ozy Media, Google CEO Sundar Pichai refuted founder Carlos Watson’s charges that the search giant had previously attempted to acquire Ozy.

Pichai told jurors that Google considered offering Watson a high-level news executive position in 2021 and investing $25 million in Ozy in an attempt to lure him away.

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Google | AP news Image

Google CEO Testifies At Trial Of Collapsed Startup Ozy Media And Founder Carlos Watson

“We were thinking about investing in Ozy Media to make the transition easier because Mr. Watson was an important part of the company,” he said.

However, prosecutor Dylan Stern inquired if you had ever made an offer to buy Ozy Media for $600 million.

“No,” Google and parent Alphabet Inc. CEO Pichai said.

According to him, Watson was first introduced to him at a conference and later in a video interview for a prospective Google position coordinating with news sources. The $25 million investment and the hiring have yet to materialize.

Prosecutors claim that Watson later informed another potential investor that Pichai had bid nine-figure to acquire Ozy. Before dissolving in fall 2021 over allegations that it had blatantly overstated its audience reach, deals, and finances, the Mountain View, California-based company produced TV shows, podcasts, and a music-and-ideas festival.

In an email statement on Friday, Ozy Media attorney Shannon Frison said that Watson’s claim that Google had made a $600 million bid is “unequivocally untrue.”

“He never had such a conversation with Google and never told anyone that he did,” Frison stated.

Watson and Ozy Media have entered not-guilty pleas on allegations, including fraud conspiracy. He claims he founded a strong, legitimate business, didn’t defraud anyone, and is being singled out for prosecution for what he calls, at most, “mistakes in business.”

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Google | AP news Image

Google CEO Testifies At Trial Of Collapsed Startup Ozy Media And Founder Carlos Watson

Defense attorneys claim Ozy co-founder Samir Rao is to blame for any misrepresentations. They claim Rao is falsely accusing Watson in an effort to get out of jail. Rao is awaiting sentence after entering guilty pleas to identity theft and fraud conspiracies.

Earlier in the trial, he said that ambition, desperation to keep the business afloat, and “Carlos’ deep belief that failure was not an option and we had to do whatever it took” had thrown his “moral compass.”

In a February 2021 conversation, Rao famously pretended to be a YouTube executive, even using a phone app to hide his voice, to support Ozy to Goldman Sachs investment bankers.

“It was one of the most disturbing calls that I have ever been on in my career,” Goldman executive Hillel Moerman said in court on Friday, describing the incident as “a surreal experience.”

Rao said he pulled the phony stunt to support a fabrication that YouTube was sponsoring Watson’s talk show. During the call, Rao said Watson was with him, texting him with instructions. One text displayed to jurors said, “I am a big fan of Carlos, Samir and the show.”

According to defense attorney Ronald Sullivan Jr., Watson entered the room during the call, saw that “a live train wreck” was taking place, and attempted to get Rao to halt the conversation.

Among other indicators that tipped off the Goldman bankers, Moerman noted Friday, was the alleged YouTube executive’s voice, which sounded blatantly “off.”

Google CEO Testifies At Trial Of Collapsed Startup Ozy Media And Founder Carlos Watson

Soon after, one of his coworkers called the real YouTube executive, which is owned by Alphabet. The trick fell apart, as did the possibility of an investment by Goldman.

“We had been misled,” Moerman told the Brooklyn federal court jury.

Rao testified that after the incident, Goldman Sachs continued advertising with Ozy.

Watson reported to the board of Ozy and Goldman that Rao had experienced a mental health crisis. Rao informed the jury that although he was taking antidepressants at the time, he was not on a mental health vacation.

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Employees at Boeing will vote on whether to authorize a Possible Strike.

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(VOR News) – In the event that ongoing contract negotiations fail, tens of thousands of hourly Boeing employees were summoned to a vote in Seattle on Wednesday. It is expected that the vote will ratify a potential walkout.

“What can you do to get a good contract?” Local 751 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) poses this query on its website. “Attend strike sanction vote on July 17th!”

In the Seattle, Washington, region, Boeing employs more than 32,000 individuals, with approximately 30,000 of them employed at its facilities in Everett, where the 777 is manufactured, and in Renton, where the 737 is assembled. In the event of a strike, operations at both factories would cease.

The parties initiated negotiations on a new contract in March to replace a 16-year-old agreement. The agreement will conclude at midnight on September 12.

Union members are not permitted to view the proposed contract until Wednesday’s vote. If the contract is rejected by members, a second ballot would be required on September 12 in order to proceed with a strike.

Boeing says Wednesday’s vote is simply a “procedural” measure.

“We remain confident we can reach a deal that balances the needs of our employees and the business realities we face as a company,” according to a statement issued by Boeing.

In addition to a “substantial” pay increase of at least 40%, Jon Holden, the president of Local 751, has requested guarantees for health care, retirement, and job security.

Despite “massive inflation,” Holden has declared that a substantial wage increase is required after eight years of providing workers with minimal cost-of-living assistance.

In a Senate hearing last month, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun declared that employees “will undoubtedly receive a raise.”

The union is also requesting that Boeing ensure the production of its next generation of aircraft in the Seattle area, which is expected to occur around 2035.

Holden maintains that the assurance of the next plane’s production in the Northwest guarantees “job security for the next 50 years.”

In recent weeks, discussions have largely stagnated, according to the IAM. The union is anticipating a substantial attendance on Wednesday in order to effectively communicate its message to Boeing.

The event will be held at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, the home of the Seattle Mariners baseball franchise. The stadium has the capacity to hold up to 48,000 spectators. The IAM is coordinating a motorcycle procession on Wednesday, which will feature more than 800 vehicles.

Boeing’s solidarity, according to the IAM’s local website, is the goal.

In its report, the local reported that the factory would remain silent, and that this was intended as a “message to take our proposals seriously and a reminder of the consequences of rejecting a substandard offer and voting to strike in September.”

Boeing declared that it would permit employees to arrive late or depart early on Wednesday to accommodate “reasonable” travel time.

“We respect and support the right of our employees to take part in the July 17 vote,” according to Boeing. “Partial time away from work will be excused and not counted for attendance purposes.”

The IAM has stated that the early strike authorization vote will give union officials legal notice to prepare for the payment of strike pay to workers in the event of a cessation.

Striking employees are entitled to $250 per week in pay from the third week of a strike.

The IAM has also requested at least one seat on Boeing’s board of directors, despite the fact that it is considered a long chance.

On Wednesday, the 1,200 Boeing employees in Oregon who are part of the IAM’s W24 district will vote, in addition to the workers in Washington.

Given Boeing’s current problems, the union is seeking permission to negotiate any changes to quality management that could potentially affect the production system.

“We never proposed those things in the past but it’s our reputation, it’s our jobs, it’s our livelihoods,” Holden asserted.

SOURCE: UN

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Google Is Close To Making Its Biggest Acquisition Ever

2024 | Hacker Group Claims It Leaked Internal Disney Slack Messages Over AI Concerns

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Google Is Close To Making Its Biggest Acquisition Ever

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Google's Latest Spam Update Met with Widespread Criticism Amidst a Year of Turbulent Changes

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is in advanced talks to buy fast-growing cybersecurity startup Wiz for around $23 billion, a person familiar with the situation confirmed to CNN.

A takeover of Wiz, which provides cybersecurity software for cloud computing, would be Google’s largest cybersecurity acquisition to date.

According to the source, the talks between Google and Wiz began after the business raised $1 billion from venture capital investors earlier this year.

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Google | CNN

Google Is Close To Making Its Biggest Acquisition Ever

According to the source, the terms of a potential deal have not been completed, and negotiations may fail.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the Wiz talks.

Neither Google nor Wiz responded to CNN’s requests for comment.

The transaction would likely beat Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola almost a decade ago, the company’s largest buyout in history. Only two years later, Google sold Motorola for a huge loss.

Wiz’s $23 billion price tag roughly quadruples the startup’s $12 billion valuation from its most recent fundraising round.

In March 2022, Alphabet paid $5.4 billion to acquire cybersecurity firm Mandiant as part of its attempts to help businesses better confront cyber risks and grow its cloud computing business.

Cloud is critical to the company’s efforts to diversify revenue streams beyond its main search advertising business. Despite increased cloud revenues, it has yet to compete with similar services like Microsoft and Amazon.

Buying Wiz would be a “shot across the bow” at Microsoft and Amazon, demonstrating Google’s “major bet on the cyber security space to complement its flagship offering in the cloud,” Dan Ives, managing director and senior equity research analyst at Wedbush, wrote in a note to clients on Monday.

Cloud security has grown increasingly critical recently as businesses have extensively moved data to cloud systems. Last week, AT&T disclosed that virtually all of its wireless customers’ call and text records were compromised in a huge breach caused by an “illegal download” on a third-party cloud platform.

The Wiz acquisition talks came despite intensified antitrust investigation of internet titans by the Biden administration.

However, if Trump retakes the White House, that antitrust vigilance might be turned back slightly, Ives said, making the Federal Trade Commission “much weaker” and sparking an “accelerated merger and acquisition environment to take place for Big Tech.”

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Google | Wiki Image

Google Is Close To Making Its Biggest Acquisition Ever

If the acquisition is confirmed and completed, it will be a big departure for Wiz and its founders, Assaf Rappaport, Ami Luttwak, Yinon Costica, and Roy Reznik. The four executives first met when enlisted into Unit 8200, the Israel Defense Forces’ cyber intelligence branch.

In New York City, Wiz has experienced rapid development since its inception in March 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, the organization claims that 40% of Fortune 100 corporations are its clientele.

Notable customers include BMW, Slack, and Salesforce, and it collaborates with major cloud providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.

SOURCE | CNN

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2024 | Hacker Group Claims It Leaked Internal Disney Slack Messages Over AI Concerns

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An activist hacker group claimed to have exposed hundreds of Disney’s internal message channels, including details on unreleased projects, raw photos, computer codes, and even logins.

Nullbulge, a “hacktivist group,” claimed responsibility for the breach and stated they exposed approximately 1.2 gigabytes of data from Slack, a communications platform. In an email to CNN on Monday, the group said it got access from “a man with Slack access who had cookies.” The email further stated the group was based in Russia.

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Disney | CNN Image

Hacker Group Claims It Leaked Internal Disney Slack Messages Over AI Concerns

According to the mail, “The user was aware we had them. He tried to kick us out once but let us walk right back in before the second time.”

CNN could not independently verify the claims.

In a statement issued Monday, Disney stated it “is investigating this matter.” the entertainment empire encompasses various divisions and enterprises, from ESPN to Hulu, Disney+ to ABC News.

The group also declared that it wishes to defend artists’ rights and pay for their work, particularly in the age of artificial intelligence.

“Disney was our target due to how it handles artist contracts, its approach to AI, and its pretty blatant disregard for the consumer,” the hacking group stated via email.

Nullbulge had hinted at the massive release on social media for several weeks. For example, in June, the organization released visitation, booking, and income data from Disneyland Paris on X.

Artificial intelligence was a major stumbling block in negotiations during the Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild of America strikes. Writers are anxious that ChatGPT can produce screenplays in their place, while performers are concerned that computer-generated imagery, or CGI, would completely replace them.

The hackers claimed they leaked the material because making demands on Disney would be pointless.

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Disney | Wired Image

Hacker Group Claims It Leaked Internal Slack Messages Over AI Concerns

“If we announced, ‘Hello, we have all your Slack data,’ they would immediately shut down and attempt to take us out. “In a duel, you better fire first,” the email read.

In 2014, a massive cyberattack at Sony Pictures attributed to North Korea sparked an international crisis by disclosing emails from corporate officials, celebrity aliases, social security information, and full movie scripts.

SOURCE | AP

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