Amazon is making its second-biggest acquisition ever — the smartphone-connected video-doorbell startup Ring. Amazon is paying between $1.2 billion and $1.8 billion for Ring, which gives it another tool as it begins to deliver packages inside consumers’ homes. Its biggest acquisition is, of course, last year’s $14 billion purchase of Whole Foods. [Theodore Schleifer and Jason Del Rey]
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Uber’s culture fixer-upper, Frances Frei, is leaving the company after less than a year. Frei was hired last June as SVP of leadership and strategy, with the express goal of fixing Uber’s broken culture and putting its controversial CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick on the right path. She’s moving on to a new leadership development program for companies, aimed at women and underrepresented minorities, before returning to Harvard Business School. Meanwhile, here’s an unforeseen use case for Uber and Lyft: Sick people are increasingly using ride-hail services to get to the emergency room, putting drivers at risk and exposing them to legal liability. [Kara Swisher / Recode]
Visual search company Pinterest has hired its first-ever COO. Former Google and Square executive Francoise Brougher is a major hire for Pinterest, which appears to be close to an IPO. At Google, Brougher eventually led the global sales and operations teams for Google’s small-business advertisers; at Square, she essentially became the company’s COO, and helped solidify its business for its late-2015 IPO. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]
Former U.S. President Barack Obama isn’t happy with Facebook and Google. They’re not just incredibly profitable tech companies, he said, they are “public goods” with a responsibility to serve the public. Speaking at MIT’s Sloan Sports Conference last Friday, Obama said he wants the internet giants — he called them a duopoly — to rethink their business models and algorithms. Meanwhile, Facebook turned to Twitter to explain the recent Twitter-fueled controversy over the Trump campaign’s 2016 ad spend. [Peter Kafka / Recode]
Location, location, etc.: Ford settled on Miami as the home base for its autonomous ride-hail and delivery business. The company’s three-pronged approach includes a delivery pilot in partnership with Dominos and Postmates, testing self-driving cars around the city and setting up a dedicated fleet-management center. Meanwhile, T-Mobile and Sprint also selected several cities — including Dallas, LA and Washington, D.C. — for building out their 5G data networks; the first 5G-ready smartphones comes out next year. [Johana Bhuiyan / Recode]
Top stories from Recode
Square’s Venmo competitor — the Cash app — had more than seven million customers in December.
That’s … pretty big?
Here’s why Katie Couric left Yahoo.
”They hired some big names, and yet they were in the witness protection program,” Couric said on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher.
This is cool
The real Angry Birds of Finland.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.