Jeff Bezos’ phone was hacked through WhatsApp by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

[From the January 23rd, 2020 Wiretapped newsletter.]

This newsletter’s lead is a story that I never expected to write a headline for, but here we are. The Guardian released a report this week which details an incident where Jeff Bezos, the founder of and mad man behind Amazon, had his phone hacked by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman. The hack was done over WhatsApp, oddly enough, when the price sent Bezos a strange video file which contained Pegasus spyware. This allowed the prince to farm Bezos’ data, including photos and private messages.

I have to assume the whole debacle is over at this point, but Saudi Arabia’s US embassy is denying the report, so there may be some meat to this story. After all, a possible motive for the hack may have been his dislike for coverage of Saudi Arabia in The Washington Post, also owned by Bezos. The same can be said about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, so who’s to say how far the prince will go?

It’s worth reading The Guardian‘s full report on the matter, which you can check out here.

In other news…

Microsoft gives some insight into how apps will be handled on Surface Duo and Neo

Microsoft has released emulators and SDKs for developers to start working on apps compatible with the company’s upcoming Surface Duo and Neo devices. Alongside them, Microsoft also gave us some insight into how it hopes apps are handled on the hardware, with everything from mult-window support to video playback covered.

I don’t have time to go over all the details, but I’ve got an article coming this weekend that explains everything. Stay tuned.

Microsoft acts like a dictator, tries to force some Office 365 subscribers to use Bing in Google Chrome

Without going down a rabbit hole about how wrong this is, Microsoft thinks it can get more people to use its search engine by forcing it down some Office 365 subscriber’s throats. For businesses, Microsoft has Office 365 ProPlus, and a new version of its installer will bundle an extension that, when installed, will switch Google Chrome’s search engine over to Bing. Luckily, after it’s installed, you can switch right back to Google, but it’s still a super shifty move that, quite frankly, sounds illegal.

Amazon Music now has more than 55 million subscribers

Wrapping up today’s newsletter is another story from the world of Amazon. According to the company (via Financial Times), its music streaming service, Amazon Music, now has more than 55 million subscribers. This means it’s beginning to creep up on the likes of Spotify and Apple Music who have 248 million and 60+ million subscribers, respectively. With the amount of pricing tiers Amazon Music has, it doesn’t surprise me that they’ve been able to amass this amount of subscribers in recent history. Still, the service has a long way to go before it becomes a leading platform.

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