Tech 2.0 for Friday, February 28, 2014
The Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange in Tokyo filed for bankruptcy protection, acknowledging that a significant amount of the virtual currency had gone missing. The exchange's CEO Mark Karpeles appeared before Japanese TV news cameras Friday, bowing deeply for several minutes. He said a weakness in the exchange's systems was behind the massive loss of the virtual currency. Speaking in Japanese at a Tokyo court, he apologized for the troubles he had caused so many people. Kyodo News said debts at Mt. Gox totaled more than 6.5 billion yen ($65 million), surpassing its assets. The exchange's unplugging this week drew renewed regulatory attention to a currency created in 2009 as a way to make transactions across borders without third parties such as banks.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is still trying to convince shareholders that the iPhone maker remains a step ahead in the race to innovate, even though recent performance of the company's stock lags behind other technology trendsetters. In making his case Friday, Cook touched upon familiar themes during Apple's annual shareholder meeting at the company's Cupertino, Calif. headquarters. As he often does, Cook promised Apple Inc. is working on new gadgets that will expand the company's product line-up beyond smartphones, tablets, music players and personal computers. Cook tantalized the crowd at one point when he told them he planned to provide a glimpse at the upcoming products, but it turned out to be just a tease. He said he was only joking and didn't provide a timetable for the products' release.
Google is donating nearly $7 million to allow San Francisco to continue providing free bus and other transportation services to low-income city kids. City officials announced the donation on Thursday and said it will cover an additional two years of the free transit program. The program is currently funded by a regional transportation agency through June 2014. The donation comes as Google and other technology companies face criticism over private buses they use to pick up employees in San Francisco. Technology workers are also accused of driving up rents and gentrifying the city. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said the donation shows Google is a true partner in addressing San Francisco's affordability crisis for lower and middle-income families.