Apple’s Innovative Chips Ready to Lead in AR, AI, Wearables

The new iPhone X offers several new features, but none of them more innovative than the neural engine that is part of Apple’s new A11 Bionic SoC processor. Artificial neural networks, which excel at processing images and speech, are behind the phone’s ability to recognize the user’s face to unlock it, transfer facial expressions onto Animoji (animated emoji), and other, as-of-yet unspecified features. As Apple moves into augmented reality and image recognition, the neural engine will likely be central to these endeavors. Continue reading Apple’s Innovative Chips Ready to Lead in AR, AI, Wearables

Drop in Profits and Stock Price Follow Amazon’s Hiring Surge

Amazon is ramping up hiring, which is why it posted a 51 percent increase in general and administrative costs and one reason why its stock price dropped more than 3 percent. The company consistently hires for warehouse positions, and hopes to add 50,000 more workers at an August 2 job fair. The growth rate of salespeople for its AWS cloud computing and advertising businesses is also accelerating faster than the 42 percent company average, and Amazon says it will continue to spend on growth, meaning lower profits will also continue. Continue reading Drop in Profits and Stock Price Follow Amazon’s Hiring Surge

Morgan Stanley Values Netflix Content Assets at $11 Billion

According to Morgan Stanley, as of March 2017 the net value of Netflix content was valued at $11 billion, significantly higher than the content assets of many top media companies. “At the same time, however, the revenue Netflix generates on that base of content trails traditional TV and film conglomerates,” reports Variety. “Netflix pulls in about $1 of revenue per dollar of net content value, versus $2-$4 among old-school entertainment companies.” There is no guarantee that Netflix, which just earned 92 Emmy nominations, can monetize its content similarly to traditional television networks, especially since it does not sell advertising. Regardless, Morgan Stanley analysts wrote “Netflix is building a much larger profit pool than the market understands.” Continue reading Morgan Stanley Values Netflix Content Assets at $11 Billion

Snap Inc. Preps for Public Offering, Embarks on Investors Tour

Snap Inc. revealed that it expects to be valued at as much as $22.2 billion in its upcoming public offering. Share prices are expected to land between $14 and $16, the midpoint of which would value the company at $20.9 billion. All of these figures are significantly higher than the $16.5 billion Snap valued itself at in late 2016, and the final pricing of the new shares, and the company’s overall valuation, could still change. First Snap executives will launch a two-week tour of investors across the country. Continue reading Snap Inc. Preps for Public Offering, Embarks on Investors Tour

Amazon and Google Look to Turn Home Speakers into Phones

Both Amazon and Google are thinking about turning their respective home speakers — Echo and Google Home — into home telephones. Knowledgeable sources say the tech giants could introduce the feature this year, with the goal of gaining yet more control over consumers’ home lives. But the companies are also finding that it’s not so simple, facing issues related to privacy, telecom regulations and emergency services — as well as the potential that consumers will be wary that their conversations are being recorded. Continue reading Amazon and Google Look to Turn Home Speakers into Phones

Amazon: Prime, Other Subscription Services Earn $6.4 Billion

For the first time, Amazon is revealing earnings from its Prime membership program as well as other subscription services, in a 77-page document. Up until now, the company has been tight-lipped on such numbers, leaving investors to wonder how these important services are faring. The last time Amazon revealed numbers, in April 2015, it detailed the profitability of its Amazon Web Services, resulting in analysts and investors bumping the company’s value upwards. Since then, shares in Amazon have more than doubled. Continue reading Amazon: Prime, Other Subscription Services Earn $6.4 Billion

Fiat Chrysler/Waymo Self-Driving Vehicle a Collaborative First

At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Google unveiled a self-driving minivan built by Fiat Chrysler and featuring sensors and vision systems from Waymo, the company that spun off from Google parent Alphabet. The van is the first major collaboration between a Detroit car manufacturer and a Silicon Valley behemoth, and is an example of Waymo’s strategy of partnering with automakers that may not want to fully shoulder the financial burden of building a self-driving car from scratch. General Motors and Ford Motor are building their own autonomous cars. Continue reading Fiat Chrysler/Waymo Self-Driving Vehicle a Collaborative First

High Profile Snap IPO Could Push Other Startups to Go Public

Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. has confidentially filed for its IPO, according to sources familiar with the matter. The four-year old messaging app could go public as early as March 2017, in what is expected to be one of the highest-profile stock debuts in years, and one that could potentially convince other tech startups to test public markets. The Venice, California-based company is looking to raise as much as $4 billion, with a valuation in the $25 billion range, which could make it the largest U.S.-listed tech offering since Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba went public in 2014. Continue reading High Profile Snap IPO Could Push Other Startups to Go Public

Netflix Scores Emmy Noms, Reaping Value Per Dollar Spent

Netflix has scored big with 54 Emmy nominations, compared to last year’s 34 nominations. The number of nominations puts Netflix in third place, behind HBO (94 nominations) and FX Networks (56 nominations). Its long-standing series “House of Cards” continued to garner nominations, as did new series “Bloodlines” and “Narcos.” Netflix is also besting its competitors in terms of how it creates value for the money it spends on productions, with efficiencies an estimated three-times better than Amazon and Hulu. Continue reading Netflix Scores Emmy Noms, Reaping Value Per Dollar Spent

Google Report Answers Music Industry’s Copyright Complaints

The tension between Google’s YouTube and the music recording industry still roils. Google says that YouTube has made payments topping $3 billion to the music industry, but the music industry claims that YouTube’s rates are lower than those paid by SoundCloud and Spotify, both ad-supported. Music is important to YouTube, but YouTube — with its enormous audiences — is also important to the music industry. They need each other, but neither will budge. Now a Google report spells out its point of view. Continue reading Google Report Answers Music Industry’s Copyright Complaints

Comcast, Netflix Ink Deal to Stream Videos on X1 Set-Top Box

Comcast just announced that it will allow Netflix to stream videos onto its X1 platform. According to a statement, both companies say they still have “much work to do” before they will be able to rollout the new service to consumers before the end of the year. Sources say that the deal will ultimately be similar to those that Netflix has created with smaller cable services across the country. In those arrangements, the Netflix app is seen on the platform, making it easier for users to sign in and access it. Continue reading Comcast, Netflix Ink Deal to Stream Videos on X1 Set-Top Box

Microsoft Announces Deal to Purchase LinkedIn for $26 Billion

Microsoft just announced that it plans to acquire professional social network LinkedIn for $26.2 billion ($196 per share) in an all-cash deal expected to close this year. The merger will enable Microsoft to offer services to LinkedIn’s 433 million users. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner is slated to remain head of the LinkedIn unit and join the new parent company’s senior leadership team. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the deal will be “key to our bold ambition to reinvent productivity and business processes” as the tech giant continues its push toward becoming a vital enterprise hub. Continue reading Microsoft Announces Deal to Purchase LinkedIn for $26 Billion

Pandora Taps Westergren as Chief Exec, Moves to Streaming

Pandora Media, which has been a major player in online music for the last decade, is in the midst of reinventing itself. As competition in the online music space has grown fierce, particularly as Spotify and Apple Music have transformed streaming music, Pandora’s numbers of monthly users and its stock has fallen. This week, the company announced it was replacing its chief executive with one of its founders, Tim Westergren, who had been serving on the board. Pandora has also reportedly examined the possibility of a sale. Continue reading Pandora Taps Westergren as Chief Exec, Moves to Streaming

Walmart Reinvents Its Digital Operations to Overcome Amazon

Walmart Stores, with chief technology officer Jeremy King leading the charge, is in the midst of a dramatic overhaul of its digital operations. The goal is to create a digital presence as powerful as its brick-and-mortar one and, in the process, break Amazon’s record of successfully squelching most traditional retailers online. To do so, Walmart has invested serious resources into its effort: 15 acquisitions, 3,600 new hires and billions of dollars in the project code-named Pangaea, named after the pre-historic supercontinent. Continue reading Walmart Reinvents Its Digital Operations to Overcome Amazon

Studies Show Listeners Still Turn to Radio for Music Discovery

Despite the rise of online streaming music services, the “local nature” of radio makes it the most popular platform for music discovery. According to Nielsen, some 243 million people still tune in to radio each week and 51 percent of listeners use radio to discover new music. That’s more than the number of people that find new music on services like YouTube or Spotify, but many music consumers use a combination of both traditional radio and online services to listen to their favorite tunes. Continue reading Studies Show Listeners Still Turn to Radio for Music Discovery

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