Daily Crunch: Samsung’s vice chairman receives presidential pardon for bribery conviction

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Last night was a full moon, somehow it’s already halfway through August, and did you know there’s a Beach Plum LaCroix flavor? The world’s gone topsy-turvy, but at least it’s time for the weekend.

What did you do this week that made you feel alive? Can you do more of that next week? And that concludes our microtherapy session. Now, let’s get on with the news.  — Christine and Haje

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Pardon me: A presidential pardon is restoring Samsung’s vice chairman Jay Lee’s ability to take the company’s helm. Lee had been convicted on bribery charges in 2017, and the pardon will erase it, Kate writes.
  • 5G begets 4G: Yeah, you read that right. Amazon launched AWS Private 5G so companies can build their own 4G networks…for now, Paul writes. This is something that has been in the works since late 2021, and the company said eventually there will be capabilities for 5G networks.
  • Location obliteration: Natasha L explains how Google was fined $40 million by Australia’s government, which found the tech giant had misled consumers about its Android location tracking settings.

Startups and VC

Don’t miss Brian’s Actuator newsletter, which is usually all about the state of hardware and robotics, but today is mostly about Amazon and iRobot.

And for your daily dose of levity, don’t miss Amanda’s excellent piece of satire: FWD: fwd: From the CEO: BeCareful while you BeReal!

A few more highlights:

What does the future look like for e-commerce aggregators?

Man figure consisting of glowing pixels runs through darkness

Image Credits: iLexx (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

In the video game Katamari Damacy, players control an avatar who rolls a sticky ball that captures anything it touches. The goal: create a sphere large enough to become a star or moon.

E-commerce aggregators work in much the same way by purchasing smaller brands, then optimizing their manufacturing and sales channels to boost market share.

This model was effective in a prevaccine era when consumers stopped visiting stores, but is the brand-rollup model still viable today?

“Decreased consumer confidence, inflated brand value and a freeze in investment capital are creating a perfect storm,” says David Wright, co-founder and CEO of e-commerce accelerator Pattern. “Unless aggregators change how they operate, their future is bleak at best and nonexistent at worst.”

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

Have you seen these ransomware group members? The U.S. government is offering $10 million in exchange for information leading to the identification and location of members of the Russia-based Conti ransomware operative, Carly writes.

Speaking of alleged fraudulent behavior, Manish writes about India’s anti-money-laundering agency freezing $46.4 million in assets belonging to Singapore-based crypto exchange Vauld while it looks into the company’s business practices.

Meanwhile, Brian looks into what’s happening over at Boston Dynamics after being acquired by Hyundai in 2020, which includes a new artificial intelligence and robotics institute buoyed by $400 million.