5 things you should know about tech today

- May 15, 2020 3 MIN READ
Photo: AdobeStock

It’s Friday. Where did the week go?

Here’s the latest. And to anyone in NSW, enjoy your pub schnitty if you can get a seat among the lucky 10.

1. Google Australia pays more tax

Google Australia paid $133 million in tax in 2019, following on from an agreement with the ATO late last year to pay $481.5m in additional taxes for the decade dating back to 2008.

The tech giant filed its accounts with ASIC this week, revealing that advertising revenue increased by 16% to AU$4.3 billion for the calendar year. Total revenue was up $600 million to $4.8 billion. Net revenue, excluding some costs of sales rose $130 million to $1.2 billion.

Google Australia pre-tax profit was $134 million (down $22m on 2018) with a $59 million tax bill, but the ATO slugged the company for an extra $50m in an adjustment to 2018.

The ATO’s not the only one seeking a bigger slice of Google’s pie, with Nine chairman and former federal treasurer Peter Costello quoted in the AFR as estimating that Google and Facebook will be handing publishers around $600 million a year in compensation for using their content.

Competition watchdog the ACCC is currently developing a federal code that will require the US tech giants to pay local publishers for clicks Google receives via the media companies’ content and News Corp boss Michael Miller said in The Australian that he expects the bill to be higher.


2. Facebook’s French fait accompli

A plan to fine Facebook massive amounts of money if it fails to remove content ranging from sexual harassment to child porn, or promotes crime, terrorism, hate, or violence, passed into French law this week.

The company will have 24 hours to remove the material once notified, or just 60 minutes if it’s child pornography or terrorism related or cop a €1.25 million (AU$2.1m) fine. But it can get even tougher, with regulators able to fine the business 4% of its annual global turnover – think billions – if they conclude Facebook isn’t doing enough to address its legal requirements.

More here.


3. ASX tech float

It was looking like a potentially dour year for tech Initial Public Offerings (IPO) on the ASX in 2020 and it’s taken an Israeli-headquartered digital distribution platform provider, Gefen Technologies, to show the way announcing plans today to float by year-end.

Gefen’s tech enables companies to digitize agents and digitally distribute marketing and communication content through agents to end customers and is already used by some of the world’s leading insurance companies as well as the finance and real estate industries. They count TAL Life Insurance among their clients

Co-founder and co-CEO Orni Daniel says they’ve seen a significant spike in business globally thanks to covid-19. Founded in 2014, around US$15 million has already been invested in the business and Nash is hoping to raise a minimum AU$15 million from the IPO. Gefen will also launch a seed pre-IPO fundraising round to put towards accelerating growth into the IPO.

Daniel says they chose the ASX because they were impressed by the increase in high-quality techn companies listing there as well as the launch of the tech stocks index in February.

4. Uber drivers mask up

Uber drivers and delivery riders in many countries around the world – but not Australia – have been ordered to wear masks by the company from this Monday, May 18

The US, Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia are among the regions told to wear a mask and require passengers to sit in the back seat as countries start to open up again, but the number of passengers allowed in a standard ride will be reduced by one to three and wind down the windows during a ride (that last bit seems a bit weird to us, since wind blowing around the car is more likely to make the virus airborne and transferable, but hey…).

Drivers will be required to take a selfie wearing a mask before they start a shift, and verify and upload it and those who fail to could have their accounts deactivated the company said. They also need to confirm they don’t have any symptoms and confirm they’ve cleaned the car.

Uber boss Dara Khosrowshahi on Wednesday said the company put more than US$50 million ($A77 million) towards masks and sanitisers for drivers.

5. Diversity mentoring

Intertech Australia has launched a new remote mentoring program to support LGBTQI+ tech employees and is looking for mentees to join the program. The organisation was founded in 2017 by Atlassian, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Microsoft, to support and foster inclusivity for LGBTQI+ employees.

Spokesperson Luke Swetman said the new mentorship is designed to help LGTBQI+  tech workers embed diversity and inclusion in their company culture.

The program will consist of mentors from across the tech industry being paired with mentees to connect with each other and learn from those who’ve done it before. There will be one-on-one mentoring sessions, group networking webinars, and kickoff and completion events.

Applications for mentees are now open here. The program will run throughout the rest of 2020.


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