Mixed emotions at Amazon HQ as layoffs begin | Stealthy space startup raises $20M

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Amazon employees at the company’s headquarters in Seattle shared mixed emotions about layoffs that could impact thousands of corporate and tech workers.

  • One worker in the devices organization said he was “scared,” while another in human resources wasn’t afraid of exploring a voluntary layoff option. Around the company’s campus, people seemed to be taking news of the cuts in stride. Read more.

Lockheed Martin and Microsoft are deepening their strategic relationship to help power the next generation of computing and communications technology for the Department of Defense.

  • Under the terms of an agreement announced this week, Lockheed Martin will become the first non-governmental entity to operate independently inside the Microsoft Azure Government Secret cloud. Read more
     



A stealthy space venture called Gravitics raised $20 million to build space station modules near Seattle.

  • As NASA makes plans to phase out the International Space Station in the 2030 time frame, Gravitics and its backers are betting on a rush to launch commercial outposts to low Earth orbit. Read more

Alexa ‘Built-In’ phones are losing hands-free access to Amazon’s virtual assistant. 

  • Amazon doesn’t have a smartphone platform of its own for native integration of Alexa. But the company has worked with some Android device makers in recent years to replicate the effect on what are known as “Alexa Built-In” phones. Read more

A student team working on tech to extract information from videos won the top prize at a University of Washington computer science research showcase. 

  • Their projects use technology that enables users to extract text-based information from large quantities of unlabeled information in videos. Read more.

Investors, regulatory experts, and CEOs from the medical device industry shared advice for entrepreneurs at a recent event near Seattle.

  • Among the tips: build connections with bigger companies, collect more data, connect with regulators, and use engineering talent thoughtfully. Read more

Seattle vaccine startup Curevo, which is developing a vaccine against shingles, raised $26 million.

  • Curevo raised a separate $60 million round earlier this year and is taking on pharma giant GSK. Read more

Generative AI can produce some impressive results with tools such as GPT and DALL-E. 

  • But there are numerous challenges with the nascent technology. Seattle-based Pioneer Square Labs detailed some of its tests and takeaways in a blog post this week.
Thanks for reading, and have a great day. — GeekWire managing editor Taylor Soper, taylor@geekwire.com, and GeekWire reporter Kurt Schlosser, kurt@geekwire.com.
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