AT&T, Magic Leap Strike Exclusive Mobile Distribution Deal

AT&T inked an exclusive partnership with Magic Leap to distribute its augmented reality glasses. Later this year, potential buyers will be able to try them out at stores in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Magic Leap, which promises a “more practical” AR experience, is reportedly debuting a Creator Edition version later this year. With the deal, AT&T, which is making an equity investment in the company, will offer wireless service and content, most likely from existing partners such as the NBA. Continue reading AT&T, Magic Leap Strike Exclusive Mobile Distribution Deal

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

Chinese Tech Giant Tencent Buys 12 Percent Stake in Snap

Less than one day after Snap Inc. posted disappointing quarterly results and its stock subsequently plunged, the company revealed that Chinese Internet titan Tencent Holdings recently purchased a 12 percent stake in Snap. Chinese tech companies such as Tencent, Alibaba Group and Baidu have been investing in U.S. firms. According to Morningstar analyst Ali Mogharabi, Snap’s main problems include declining user growth and competition from the more established Instagram. Disappointing ad revenue is reportedly also disappointing investors. Continue reading Chinese Tech Giant Tencent Buys 12 Percent Stake in Snap

Cynora’s New OLED Tech Garners Samsung, LG Investment

Samsung Ventures, the South Korean company’s investment unit, and LG’s Display division has invested €25 million ($30 million) in Bruchsal, Germany-based OLED display firm Cynora, founded in 2008. Cynora calls itself a leader in TADF (thermally activated delayed fluorescence) technology and is also developing a new type of organic high-efficiency blue OLED emitting material. With the rising popularity of OLED displays, several companies are working on new OLED emitter materials that will last longer and not use heavy metals. Continue reading Cynora’s New OLED Tech Garners Samsung, LG Investment

Sprint Buys One-Third of Jay Z’s Troubled Tidal Music Service

Sprint bought a one-third stake in Jay Z’s streaming music service Tidal, after beginning discussions in April 2015. Sprint has not offered details on how much it paid or what the partnership entails, although it says that its subscribers will now have access to Tidal content and that Tidal and its artists will create content specifically for them. Jay Z has stated that he and Sprint share the view of allowing artists to connect directly with fans. Sprint chief executive Marcelo Claure will join the Tidal board of directors. Continue reading Sprint Buys One-Third of Jay Z’s Troubled Tidal Music Service

Foxconn to Build Flat Panel Factory and Make Advanced LCDs

Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn Technology Group, announced plans to build an $8.8 billion flat panel TV factory in Guangzhou, China, where the Taiwanese company will manufacture advanced liquid-crystal displays with tech from Sharp Corp. (Foxconn acquired the Japanese electronics brand in 2016). The investment “will be made by Sakai Display Products Corp., which is mostly owned by Gou personally,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Gou has sometimes taken on riskier investments for Foxconn under his personal portfolio, saying it was safer for Foxconn shareholders. The new Guangzhou facility is expected to begin production of 10.5-generation 8K displays, smart TVs and electronic whiteboards in 2019.” Continue reading Foxconn to Build Flat Panel Factory and Make Advanced LCDs

Salesforce Passes on Twitter, SoftBank Could Be Next in Line

Salesforce has been rumored for some time to be contemplating the purchase of Twitter. But now, Salesforce — like Google and Disney before it — has decided not to buy the digital platform, leading to a 5 percent drop in the value of the company’s stock. With Salesforce no longer interested, some have reported Twitter’s “suitor pool has apparently winnowed to zero.” Now, some believe that Japan’s SoftBank — which has previously expressed interest — could be next in line to make an offer to the social media platform. Continue reading Salesforce Passes on Twitter, SoftBank Could Be Next in Line

SoftBank Signals Major Ambitions with $100 Billion Tech Fund

Japan’s SoftBank Group, led by chief exec Masayoshi Son, is partnering with a Saudi sovereign-wealth fund to establish a multibillion-dollar tech investment fund. SoftBank is an ambitious tech investor, as evidenced by its recent deals with China’s Alibaba Group, mobile carrier Sprint and chip designer ARM Holdings. Today, the company “plans to invest at least $25 billion over the next five years through a fund dubbed the SoftBank Vision Fund,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund may contribute an additional $45 billion over the next five years as the fund’s lead partner.” SoftBank is in talks with additional global investors, who could “push the new fund up to $100 billion to become the world’s ‘biggest investor’ in technology over the next decade.” Continue reading SoftBank Signals Major Ambitions with $100 Billion Tech Fund

Could Twitter Better Serve Communities as a Social Nonprofit?

While Twitter has shown its potential as a communication and news-sharing platform, and continues to experiment (for example: streaming deals with the NFL and a SoundCloud partnership), the company has struggled to turn a profit and satisfy investors. With all the recent hype surrounding a possible acquisition, NPR asks if “it’s worth pondering the idea of Twitter getting out from under the pressures of Wall Street and turning itself into a nonprofit.” Rather than bending to the relentless pressure of competing for growth and profit, pursuing ad revenue and adjusting how its algorithms sort tweets, the platform could possibly prove most useful to journalists, politicians and grassroots movements if it was “free of investor pressure.” Continue reading Could Twitter Better Serve Communities as a Social Nonprofit?

Snapchat Parent Preparing IPO, Valuation Could Exceed $25B

Snap Inc., the newly named parent company of messaging service Snapchat, is readying an initial public offering that could value the company at more than $25 billion. Snap is reportedly prepping “for an IPO with a view toward selling the shares as early as late March,” explains The Wall Street Journal. “There is no guarantee the four-year-old Venice, California, company will proceed with a share sale in that time frame, and there is no guarantee it will achieve a valuation of $25 billion or more.” However, if the company does reach that value, “it would be the biggest company to go public on a U.S. exchange since 2014″ when China’s Alibaba Group Holding made its debut. Continue reading Snapchat Parent Preparing IPO, Valuation Could Exceed $25B

Disney, Major League Baseball Partner for Streaming Sports

The Walt Disney Company just invested $1 billion for a 33 percent stake in BAMTech, Major League Baseball’s streaming division, with an option to buy “a controlling interest” in the future. BAMTech, which also handles streaming for HBO among other media entities, will be Disney’s partner in creating an ESPN subscription streaming service that will most likely debut by the end of the year, according to Disney chief executive Bob Iger, and offer baseball, hockey, tennis, cricket and college sports. Continue reading Disney, Major League Baseball Partner for Streaming Sports

Silicon Valley Still Dominates Tech Startup Culture and Power

In the Industrial Revolution, ideas were more portable than machines, helping to spread change globally. Not so with today’s high-tech startups. Although U.S. cities as far-flung as Denver, Austin, Chattanooga and Washington, DC boast startup centers, Silicon Valley is far and away the biggest for new technology companies, offering experienced talent and more capital. Even as other cities evolve, Silicon Valley grows faster, leaving startups elsewhere at a competitive disadvantage. Continue reading Silicon Valley Still Dominates Tech Startup Culture and Power

Twitter Reaches Out to Music Fans with its SoundCloud Deal

Twitter chief exec Jack Dorsey confirmed that his company invested about $70 million in streaming music service SoundCloud through Twitter Ventures earlier this year. SoundCloud is a popular online outlet for new music and “a favorite of musicians and fans, attracting what it says are 175 million users worldwide,” reports The New York Times. The site struggled earlier with copyright issues, but has since signed licensing deals with publishers and record companies. In March, SoundCloud debuted “subscription service SoundCloud Go, making a catalog of more than 125 million songs available to people at $10 a month, with a free version supported by advertising,” notes NYT. Continue reading Twitter Reaches Out to Music Fans with its SoundCloud Deal

Intel Makes a Major Investment in Quantum Computer Research

Chip giant Intel recently threw its hat into the quantum computer ring when it announced plans to invest $50 million in Netherlands-based QuTech, an institute launched in 2013 by Delft University of Technology and the Dutch Organization for Applied Research. The investment is part of a planned 10-year collaboration with QuTech. Researchers from leading tech companies such as Google, IBM and Microsoft have been looking to apply quantum physics to computing for a long time. Continue reading Intel Makes a Major Investment in Quantum Computer Research

Microsoft Reportedly Plans to Invest Significant Sum in Uber

Unnamed sources report that Microsoft has agreed to invest in Uber. Although details are not yet public, the company is expected to invest a significant portion of the upcoming $1 billion funding round that values Uber at around $51 billion. That new funding round — and the valuation — makes Uber one of the most highly valued private companies ever, along with startups such as Xiaomi, a Chinese electronics company valued at around $45 billion and Airbnb, valued at more than $24 billion. Continue reading Microsoft Reportedly Plans to Invest Significant Sum in Uber

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