Facebook’s Plans for Innovation Hub in China Hits Roadblock

Facebook has been planning an “innovation hub” in Hangzhou, China — home to Chinese Internet leader Alibaba Group — to support that nation’s startups and developers as well as increase its own presence in the country. However, the approval that was briefly listed on a Chinese government database has now disappeared and, according to one source, the approval has been withdrawn. Facebook has been blocked in China since 2009, spurring the company to find other ways to position itself there. Earlier this year, it inked an agreement with Xiaomi to build a VR headset for the Chinese consumer market. The company planned to provide training and workshops through the proposed hub.

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Amazon Hits 100M Prime Subscribers, Inks Deal with Best Buy

For the first time, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos revealed the number of Amazon Prime subscribers: 100 million people. In 2015, the company last hinted about the number, saying there were “tens of millions” of Prime members. With this revelation, Bezos is letting shareholders know that Prime is healthy, and that the large number of subscribers will allow the company to continue to invest in technology and thrive. Bezos also recently announced that Amazon is teaming with Best Buy to sell Amazon Fire TV-powered sets. Continue reading Amazon Hits 100M Prime Subscribers, Inks Deal with Best Buy

Broadcom’s Bid for Qualcomm Blocked Over Security Issues

Citing national security concerns, President Donald Trump has put the brakes on Singapore-based Broadcom’s attempt to acquire rival chipmaker Qualcomm. The companies were ordered to abandon the $117 billion acquisition bid and dismiss any proposals for Broadcom’s candidates to run for seats on Qualcomm’s board. Had it been approved, the purchase would have marked the largest tech deal of its kind. Broadcom says it “strongly disagrees that its proposed acquisition of Qualcomm raises any national security concerns.” Continue reading Broadcom’s Bid for Qualcomm Blocked Over Security Issues

U.S., China Grapple Over Dominance in Critical Technologies

The U.S. and China are locked in a battle over technology, which went public over Singapore-based Broadcom’s hostile bid to buy the U.S.-based Qualcomm. Should Broadcom succeed, it will make that company a major influence in computer chip development. But a U.S. Treasury official, in calling for a review of the deal, wrote that, “China would likely compete robustly to fill any void left by Qualcomm.” Under president Xi Jinping, China has made no secret of its plan to dominate tech industries including artificial intelligence and supercomputers. Continue reading U.S., China Grapple Over Dominance in Critical Technologies

Uber Reaches Deal With Benchmark, Loses Ruling in London

Former Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick and major investor Benchmark reached an agreement over board seats, paving the way for a multi-billion dollar investment led by SoftBank Group. This investment will give Uber resources to fend off its global rivals. Until recently, Kalanick and Benchmark were in a stalemate; the new agreement will add six directors and change voting in a way that will limit Kalanick’s power on the board. These changes are the aftermath of scandals that led the board to force Kalanick out. Meanwhile, Uber is facing setbacks in the U.K. regarding the status of its drivers. Continue reading Uber Reaches Deal With Benchmark, Loses Ruling in London

Broadcom Offers $103 Billion in Unsolicited Bid for Qualcomm

Broadcom has made a move to acquire rival Qualcomm, the San Diego-based chipmaker making headlines this year due to its ongoing legal battle with its biggest customer, Apple. In January, Apple filed a federal lawsuit against Qualcomm, claiming the company unfairly blocks rivals and charges steep patent royalties. Qualcomm is now suing Apple for failing to abide by its software license. Broadcom’s unsolicited $103-billion offer marks the largest attempted takeover for the tech industry and is expected to face regulatory hurdles. Continue reading Broadcom Offers $103 Billion in Unsolicited Bid for Qualcomm

Google Debuts Developers Launchpad Studio for AI Startups

To help AI and machine learning startups succeed, Google introduced a Developers Launchpad Studio, a six-month program that will gift participants with $50,000 in financial support without a quid pro quo for Google equity. Benefits also include product credits for Google Cloud and other services, product validation assistance and introductions to AI investors. The program will also make Google director of research Peter Norvig and Israel-based Google R&D Research Center head Yossi Matias available for feedback and advice. Continue reading Google Debuts Developers Launchpad Studio for AI Startups

SEC Rules That Blockchain Tokens Are Regulated Securities

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ruled that blockchain tokens sold through token sales are to be classified as securities, a ruling that was anticipated and that will have a powerful impact on projects looking to fundraise from U.S. investors. The ruling follows an investigation of The DAO, which raised a record-breaking ICO (Initial Coin Offering) last May and then lost one-third of it in a hack. As a result, part of the Ethereum community executed a rollback transaction of the DAO fundraising; The DAO has since been delisted. Continue reading SEC Rules That Blockchain Tokens Are Regulated Securities

Verizon Merges Yahoo, AOL Into Oath, With 1.3 Billion Users

Verizon completed its $4.48 billion purchase of Yahoo’s Internet business, which it will combine with Internet pioneer AOL. The two merged companies form Oath, a new division led by AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong that will serve about 1.3 billion monthly users. Verizon executive Marni Walden says the strategy is to place the same content in multiple locales to reach the biggest audience possible. “There is a tremendous opportunity to increase viewership of some of these brands,” she said.  Continue reading Verizon Merges Yahoo, AOL Into Oath, With 1.3 Billion Users

Panel Weighs Possibility of a Single Global Drone Regulation

A CES 2017 panel on drones and regulation, led by CTA vice president of tech policy Doug Johnson, brought together representatives from the U.S., U.K., Mexico and Singapore. By the time the session was over, Jaime Reyes Robles, secretary of innovation, science and technology for the state of Jalisco in Mexico, had exchanged cards and the possibility for meetings with Federal Aviation Administration’s Marke “Hoot” Gibson and Amazon vice president for global innovation policy and communications Paul Misener. Continue reading Panel Weighs Possibility of a Single Global Drone Regulation

AIG Report on Global Data Sharing: Benefits Outweigh Risks

AIG executive vice president/chief executive of commercial Rob Schimek described some of the data contained in the company’s 2017 global survey on data sharing. AIG’s first report, in collaboration with CEA (now CTA), was published in 2015, followed by a 2016 report on case studies of large companies. The 2017 report, says Schimek, which includes a foreword by Mike Abbott of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, looks at data sharing innovation, technology and risk. “We’ve seen the benefits outweigh the costs and risks,” said Schimek. Continue reading AIG Report on Global Data Sharing: Benefits Outweigh Risks

Equinix Offers AWS Direct Connect Cloud Service via LA Hub

With Amazon Web Services Direct Connect now available in Equinix’s Los Angeles data centers, the company has bumped up its number of metros offering the AWS cloud service to 12 (five of which are located in North America). Direct Connect enables companies to safely integrate their infrastructure with public cloud services to benefit performance, network consistency and overall costs. The Equinix LA campus features four IBX data centers connected via Metro Connect, providing a scalable and secure system for digital content and entertainment companies. Continue reading Equinix Offers AWS Direct Connect Cloud Service via LA Hub

Amazon Plans to Launch Portable, Lower Cost Version of Echo

Since Amazon had a surprise hit with its tabletop, voice-controlled Echo speaker, released in November 2014, competitors have stepped into the space. Amazon is fighting back with another, smaller, portable and lower-cost version, code-named Fox, expected to debut in a few weeks. Echo, which costs $180, must be plugged into an outlet; its Alexa software answers questions, creates shopping lists, plays music and can control connected lights. Originally a voice activation experiment, Echo has become a popular personal assistant. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Launch Portable, Lower Cost Version of Echo

CEO Launches Netflix in 130 Countries During CES Keynote

Netflix turned on the world, adding 130 new countries, during the time its CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings delivered the opening day keynote at CES in Las Vegas. The addition of these new markets grows Netflix’s global footprint from 60 to 190 territories as the company reimagines itself as a global television network. Hastings and chief content officer Ted Sarandos covered many of the technological, economic, business and creative innovations driving their success in a world where Hastings observed, “Tune in has been replaced by personal choice.” Continue reading CEO Launches Netflix in 130 Countries During CES Keynote

BBC Turns to Parrot Analytics AI to Measure Show Demand

BBC Worldwide has recently employed artificial intelligence to analyze global demand for specific TV shows. In the most notable case, the BBC turned to New Zealand company Parrot Analytics’ AI and data science to learn that Germany, China, India and Singapore had high demand for its contemporary “Sherlock” series. After extensive testing, the BBC has again used Parrot’s data for several other shows, to find territories and platforms where demand exists. Parrot’s research includes multiple screens and markets. Continue reading BBC Turns to Parrot Analytics AI to Measure Show Demand

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