The trial into the now-defunct blood testing startup Theranos has begun, with founder Elizabeth Holmes facing several charges of criminal fraud.
Prosecutors alleged Holmes “lied and cheated” for money and fame during the first day of one of the most closely watched trials of a U.S corporate executive in years.
The former Silicon Valley star is accused of deceiving investors and patients, by claiming Theranos technology could detect common illnesses using just a few drops of blood from a finger prick.
The company collapsed in 2015 after it emerged the blood-testing devices did not work, and had instead been operating commercially available machines made by other manufacturers.
“Significant problems brewing”
Prosecutors claimed that Holmes and other executives turned to fraud in 2009 after big pharmaceutical firms refused to back Theranos and the company faced bankruptcy.
Holmes lied about tests and exaggerated the company’s performance to secure millions of dollars of investments between 2010 to 2015.
This included false claims that the tests had been processed by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, and that the technology was being used in the field by the U.S military.
Defence tells court Holmes is “no villain”
At the centre of Holmes’ defence is the argument she never intended to commit fraud.
Instead, they argue, Theranos is a high-profile example of a startup that simply did not work, much like thousands of other failed business ideas.
They told jurors that Holmes is not a villain, but rather a hard-working, young and naive businesswoman, who poured much of her life into the company.
“Failure is not a crime. Trying your hardest and coming up short is not a crime,” defence attorney Lance Wade said.
“In the end, Theranos failed and Ms Holmes walked away with nothing,” he told the jury.
Former executive and romantic partner also charged
Ex-Theranos executive Ramesh Balwani – who was romantically involved with Holmes for years, faces the same charges, but will be tried separately.
He has pleaded not guilty.
According to court documents released to the public, Holmes has accused Balwani of years of emotional and psychological abuse – allegations which Balwani denies.
Holmes’ lawyers have indicated she is highly likely to take the witness stand and testify about the effect her relationship with Balwani had on her mental state.
Court case the culmination of ill-fated saga
Holmes’ story is one which has peaked public interest.
After founding Theranos in 2003, aged 19, Holmes was fast-tracked for Silicon Valley success – she was at one point dubbed the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire and the “next Steve Jobs”.
Theranos “dazzled” large firms such as Walgreens and pharmacy companies into agreeing testing partnerships, as well as securing investments from high-profile figures like media mogul Rupert Murdoch and former U.S secretary of state Henry Kissinger.
Her story has become the subject of documentaries, podcasts and books. A TV miniseries and a film based on her life are in the works.
A tumultuous story will now culminate in a decision made in a California courtroom, with the case expected to last months.
If guilty, Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison.
Apple exec fired over crude TikTok video
Apple’s vice president of procurement, Tony Blevins, has been fired from the company after his crude remarks in a TikTok interview went viral
Apple has fired its vice president of procurement, Tony Blevins for making crude comments in a viral TikTok video.
It all started with an interview that went horribly wrong. Creator Daniel Mac posted a video where he asked Blevins what he does for a living, and Blevins response didn’t reference anything respectable.
“I race cars and play golf and fondle big-breasted women. But I take weekends But I take weekends and major holidays off,” Blevins replied.
The video has been viewed over 1.3 million times.
The video didn’t identify Blevins by name and didn’t reference his position at Apple, though Blevins does note that his job offers “a hell of a dental plan.”
But Apple moved quickly to fire Blevins, saying the comments don’t align with their values and respect of women.
Apple is known for being a family-friendly company, so it’s no surprise that they wouldn’t want an employee making crude jokes on TikTok.
This just goes to show that you should be careful what you say on social media.
Apple downgrade signals broader tech problem
Apple’s downgrade by Bank of America sparked a selloff in tech stocks, sending shares of Alphabet and Microsoft to one-year lows.
The move came as investors rotated out of growth stocks and into more defensive assets to deal with higher interest rates and get ahead of a possible recession.
Apple’s stock fell sharply after the downgrade, while shares of other major tech companies also tumbled.
The selloff in tech stocks weighed on the broader market, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both falling sharply.
The market’s declines were broad-based, but the tech sector was hit particularly hard.
The Nasdaq Composite Index fell more than 3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both declined more than 2%.
The market’s sell-off was sparked by a downgrade of Apple’s stock by analysts at Bank of America.
The downgrade came as investors are increasingly worried about the outlook for the tech sector.
Shares of Apple have fallen sharply this year, and the stock is now down more than 30% from its highs.
Other major tech stocks have also been under pressure, with shares of Alphabet, Facebook, and Amazon all down significantly from their highs.
The market’s sell-off on Thursday was a continuation of the recent trend of investors rotating out of growth stocks and into more defensive assets.
The rotation out of growth stocks has been driven by concerns about higher interest rates and a possible recession.
Investors have been flocking to safe-haven assets such as gold and government bonds.
The market’s sell-off on Thursday also came as oil prices fell sharply, with West Texas
Stadia gaming goes in Google cost-cutting
Google’s digital gaming service Stadia is shutting down, the latest casualty in the company’s ongoing cost-cutting efforts.
Launched in 2019, Stadia ran on phones and the Chrome browser but failed to gain traction with users. In a blog post Thursday,
Google says the company had made “the difficult decision to begin winding down our Stadia streaming service.”
It’s is not the first time Google has shuttered a gaming project.
In 2016, the company closed down its Nexus Player game console. And in 2019, it stopped selling its Stadia controllers and canceled a planned cloud gaming service for smartphones.
With the closure of Stadia, Google becomes the latest company to abandon the cloud gaming market, after a difficult year for the industry and tech stocks.
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