Daily Crunch: Tech giants take steps to fight coronavirus

Tech companies are donating supplies and adjusting priorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, an activist investor takes three seats on the Box board and aircraft taxi company Lilium raises $240 million. Here’s your Daily Crunch for March 23, 2020.

1. Amazon, Apple and Microsoft CEOs detail their companies’ efforts to combat coronavirus pandemic

Over the weekend, the CEOs of Amazon, Apple and Microsoft all shared updates regarding some aspects of their companies’ ongoing COVID-19 efforts, which range from donations of medical supplies and personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers to software projects that help track and analyze the global spread.

For example, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared on Twitter that the company has been attempting to source necessary supplies that are needed for healthcare workers both in the U.S. and Europe, and that the company is providing “millions of masks” for this purpose. Meanwhile, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the company’s warehouse and logistics operations will now focus on essential items, including daily household staples, baby and medical supplies.

2. Activist investor Starboard Value taking three Box board seats as involvement deepens

At the same time, two long-time Box investors and allies, Rory O’Driscoll from Scale Venture Partners and Josh Stein from DFJ, will be retiring from the board and not seeking re-election at the annual stockholder’s meeting in June.

3. Lilium raises another $240M to design, test and run an electric aircraft taxi service

Lilium, a Munich-based startup that is designing and building vertical take-off and landing aircraft with speeds of up to 100 km/h, eventually plans to run in its own taxi fleet. It is deploying its latest round of funding to continue developing its aircraft and to start building manufacturing facilities for an expected launch date in 2025.

4. Uber, Ola suspend all rides in India’s capital

The companies have suspended all ride operations in Delhi until March 31. They said the move was in compliance with the local state government’s lockdown order in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

5. Corporate venture business strategies that work

Bill Taranto, president at Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, lays out four business strategies that he says have ensured the firm’s scale and staying power. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

6. The CDC launches a ‘coronavirus self-checker’ bot called Clara for people in the United States

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention introduced a bot over the weekend to help people make decisions about what to do if they have potential symptoms of COVID-19. Called Clara, the “coronavirus self-checker” was created in partnership with CDC Foundation and — speaking of Microsoft — the Azure Healthcare Bot service.

7. This week’s TechCrunch podcasts

Social distancing isn’t stopping the TechCrunch team from cranking out podcasts. Equity has a full episode about fundraising during a recession and a Monday news roundup that discusses a new $116 million funding round for Cazoo. And on Original Content, we’ve got episodes reviewing Hulu’s “Hillary” documentary and the Apple TV+ reboot of “Amazing Stories.”

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

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