Instagram Users Can Feature Popular Music in Their Stories

Instagram Stories, which currently touts 400 million daily users, now offers a new feature that enables users to add clips of popular songs to their photos and videos. The feature is initially available to Android and iOS users in six countries (including the U.S.), with plans to roll out to additional regions soon. Facebook’s recent deals with major and indie music labels will enable Instagram users to select up to 15 seconds of music from the likes of Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Demi Lovato and Maroon 5 to create soundtracks for each post. Continue reading Instagram Users Can Feature Popular Music in Their Stories

Apple and Samsung Settle Legal Battle Over Phone Patents

Apple and Samsung have settled their long-running patent dispute over allegations that Samsung had violated design and utility patents by copying various iPhone features. The seven-year battle began in 2011, initially resulting in a $1 billion ruling in favor of Apple. However, a number of appeals and countersuits sent the case to the Supreme Court and back, until yesterday when the two companies informed Judge Lucy Koh in a court filing that they had finally reached a settlement. Terms of the new agreement were not disclosed, but Samsung previously paid Apple $399 million for patent infringement. Continue reading Apple and Samsung Settle Legal Battle Over Phone Patents

Facebook Pulls the Plug on its Aquila Solar-Powered Aircraft

Facebook announced that it is grounding a solar-powered aircraft project it originally hoped would have used laser technology to help provide Internet access for underserved communities. In an effort to connect the nearly 4 billion people around the world who still do not have Internet access, the company has been working for several years from Bridgwater, UK on a high altitude platform station (HAPS) system called Aquila. Rather than continue to develop its own aircraft, however, Facebook has opted to partner with companies such as Airbus and close its facility in Bridgwater. Continue reading Facebook Pulls the Plug on its Aquila Solar-Powered Aircraft

Uber Wins Appeal, Regains its License to Operate in London

Uber won an appeal yesterday that will allow the company to operate in London for 15 months. A judge overturned a ban so that Uber will regain its taxi license, after agreeing to increased government oversight. Regulatory agency Transport for London withdrew the company’s license last fall and Uber has been unable to operate during the appeals process. Transport for London had accused Uber of showing a “lack of corporate responsibility” regarding “public safety and security.” The decision marks a victory for Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who replaced Travis Kalanick last year. Continue reading Uber Wins Appeal, Regains its License to Operate in London

ESPN to Cover More Than 500 Wimbledon Tennis Matches

For the first time, ESPN will have cameras on all 18 courts at Wimbledon to offer complete coverage of more than 500 matches, including this week’s four days of qualifiers. Tennis fans can stream coverage from the All England Club on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPN+ via the ESPN App. The sports network is also planning to televise about 140 hours on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. Additionally, the network will offer daily highlights, weekly reviews, press conference feeds, social buzz, related specials, and a marathon of notable matches on ESPN Classic. Continue reading ESPN to Cover More Than 500 Wimbledon Tennis Matches

Gray Television, Raycom Media to Merge in $3.6 Billion Deal

Gray Television and Raycom Media jointly announced plans to combine their companies in a $3.65 billion cash-and-stock deal. Gray will acquire Raycom for $2.85 billion in cash, $650 million in a new series of preferred stock, and 11.5 million shares of Gray common stock. After spinning off nine stations, the combined company will operate 142 stations in 92 markets. Raycom president and CEO Pat LaPlatney will become Gray’s president and co-CEO, while Gray’s current chief Hilton Howell will serve as executive chairman and co-CEO.

Continue reading Gray Television, Raycom Media to Merge in $3.6 Billion Deal

ARM to Enhance IoT Management With Purchase of Stream

ARM announced that it has acquired Stream Technologies in a deal that will bring Stream’s connectivity management capabilities to ARM’s Mbed IoT Device Management Platform. The integration of Stream tech is expected to provide customers with greater efficiencies and cost savings while managing connected devices regardless of location or network (Stream supports connectivity across wireless protocols including cellular, satellite and LoRa). ARM also recently announced a new processor designed to prevent attacks and tampering with IoT devices. Continue reading ARM to Enhance IoT Management With Purchase of Stream

Social Media Continues Growth Across Developing Markets

A new report from the Pew Research Center notes that social media growth has stalled across developed markets but continues to expand in the developing world — good news for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his plan to bring Internet access to emerging markets. Internet use and smartphone ownership has also plateaued in developed markets over 2015-2017, while expanding in emerging economies. Pew Research polled more than 40,000 citizens of 39 countries during February to May in 2017 to create its report. Continue reading Social Media Continues Growth Across Developing Markets

New Version of Alexa Coming to Hotels With Echo Speakers

Amazon introduced Alexa for Hospitality this week, a new version of its virtual assistant designed specifically for the hotel industry. Alexa for Hospitality will initially be offered on an invitation basis to locations such as hotels and vacation rentals. The voice assistant will be customized per hospitality location so that customers can interact with an Echo smart speaker to easily adjust room controls, order room service, request housekeeping, ask location-specific questions, contact the front desk, check out, and more. Continue reading New Version of Alexa Coming to Hotels With Echo Speakers

Google Plans to Invest $550 Million in China Retailer JD.com

As part of its efforts to expand in Asia and compete with Amazon, Google is investing $550 million in Chinese e-commerce platform JD.com. The partnership will include the Google Shopping advertising platform promoting JD.com products, which should help the Beijing-based Jingdong (formerly 360buy) reach beyond China and Southeast Asia markets to the U.S. and Europe. Google has been ramping up investments across Asia. The company recently invested in Indonesian ride-hailing company Go-Jek, and is reportedly considering an investment in Indian e-commerce upstart Flipkart. Continue reading Google Plans to Invest $550 Million in China Retailer JD.com

Foxconn Selects Wisconsin for North American Headquarters

Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group announced that it has acquired a seven-story building in downtown Milwaukee that will serve as the company’s North American corporate headquarters. The new facility will employ 500 people and also house an innovation center that will focus on display technology. Foxconn, which purchased the downtown building from Northwestern Mutual, is additionally planning a major manufacturing complex about 30 miles south of Milwaukee in Racine County, expected to open in 2020. Continue reading Foxconn Selects Wisconsin for North American Headquarters

Samsung Could Launch Foldable Galaxy X Phone Next Year

After working on foldable displays for years, multiple reports suggest that Samsung may be ready to introduce its first flexible smartphone in 2019 (possibly in time for Mobile World Congress in February). Dubbed the Galaxy X, the phone could cost as much as $1,850, according to Kim Jang-yeol of Golden Bridge Investment. Components needed to produce the new phones have reportedly already been ordered by the South Korean company, and in its end-of-2017 financial report Samsung addressed plans to “differentiate its smartphones by adopting cutting edge technologies, such as foldable OLED displays.” Continue reading Samsung Could Launch Foldable Galaxy X Phone Next Year

Apple Closing Loophole That Lets Authorities Hack iPhones

Since Apple’s publicized showdown with the FBI following the San Bernardino shooting in 2015, after the company refused to unlock a suspected killer’s iPhone, law enforcement agencies have been turning to third parties in order to access information from iPhones. Now Apple has indicated an upcoming software update, designed to enhance security, will block access to an iPhone’s Lightning port one hour after it is locked. Some authorities believe the update also impacts their ability to access phone data in criminal investigations, which could reignite the privacy debate that followed San Bernardino. Continue reading Apple Closing Loophole That Lets Authorities Hack iPhones

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of AT&T-Time Warner Merger

Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court in Washington has approved the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner, despite the Justice Department’s claim that the deal would stifle competition. Judge Leon ruled the Justice Department did not prove that AT&T’s $85.4 billion takeover of Time Warner would result in fewer consumer choices and higher prices for Internet and TV services. While AT&T aims to move forward with the transaction, the DOJ is reportedly considering its options. The decision is expected to impact the future of media and telecom industries, and spur additional mergers and related deals. Continue reading Federal Judge Rules in Favor of AT&T-Time Warner Merger

Highlights From Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends Report

Noted venture capitalist and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Mary Meeker recently released her annual Internet Trends report at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Among the 294 slides, Meeker explained that smartphone shipments did not grow in 2017, and Internet user growth slowed to 7 percent (more than half the world is already online). However, people are spending more time online. Of the 5.9 hours per day that U.S. adults spent on digital media last year, 3.3 were spent on mobile, which is leading the charge in digital media consumption. Continue reading Highlights From Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends Report

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