Gig Economy Companies Fight for California’s Proposition 22

DoorDash, Lyft and Uber executives had already pledged $90 million to back California Proposition 22, exempting them from a new state labor law requiring gig workers to be reclassified as employees. But, said sources, political strategists told them they needed to spend even more to have a chance of passing the measure. Now, as we get closer to the November 3 election, backers have spent almost $200 million. A UC Berkeley poll found only 39 percent of likely voters support the measure and 36 percent are opposed. Continue reading Gig Economy Companies Fight for California’s Proposition 22

Facebook’s WhatsApp Will Offer Business-Focused Services

Facebook purchased WhatsApp for $22 billion in 2014 but has not yet earned revenue from it. The encrypted messaging service, free to its 2+ billion global users, now has a plan to monetize services. Rather than storing and handling customer data on their own, businesses will soon be able to do so via Facebook’s servers. In addition to hosting, businesses will also be offered options to market products through WhatsApp catalogs and Facebook shops and checkout carts, all for small fees. Continue reading Facebook’s WhatsApp Will Offer Business-Focused Services

Facebook Streams Free-to-Play Games via Its Cloud Service

After beta-testing with 200,000 users, Facebook debuted a cloud gaming service for Android and the web, providing smaller free-to-play games such as “Asphalt 9: Legends,” “PGA TOUR Golf Shootout,” “Solitaire: Arthur’s Tale” and “Mobile Legends: Adventure.” Over time, the social media giant plans to add more games, which can be found in its Gaming section. In conjunction and to remind people about the new games, Facebook is also introducing “cloud playable ads,” derived from games’ native code. Continue reading Facebook Streams Free-to-Play Games via Its Cloud Service

U.S.-China Cold War Hits Semiconductor, Telecom Industries

The tech Cold War between the U.S. and China is doing more than disrupting manufacturing: it’s costing a fortune, particularly for the telecommunications and semiconductor industries, in which President Trump has blocked leading companies from both countries from doing business with one another. Chinese companies can no longer do business in the U.S. and U.S. companies are blocked from exporting to Chinese companies. Lost business and the need to replace gear are likely to cost billions of dollars. Continue reading U.S.-China Cold War Hits Semiconductor, Telecom Industries

Huawei Produces 5G Base Stations, Phones Despite U.S. Ban

In anticipation of the Trump administration’s sanctions, Huawei Technologies spent months stockpiling critical radio chips so Chinese carriers could continue to roll out 5G, through at least 2021. In late 2019, its partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) boosted production of Huawei’s 7nm Tiangang communication chips, used in 5G base stations, shipping more than two million of them ahead of sanctions taking effect. Under these conditions, Huawei unveiled its new Mate 40 series smartphones. Continue reading Huawei Produces 5G Base Stations, Phones Despite U.S. Ban

The Coalition for App Fairness Draws More Developer Interest

The Coalition for App Fairness, debuted last month by Epic Games, Match Group, Spotify and others t0 combat what they claim are excessive commission payments to Apple, is experiencing a sharp increase in membership. Thirteen members founded the group, which has grown to 40 members with more than 400 requests to join. Smaller developers that are dependent on the Apple App Store for survival have, until now, been too intimidated to speak up. Microsoft voiced support for the Coalition and adopted its recommendations for its own store. Continue reading The Coalition for App Fairness Draws More Developer Interest

Adobe Beta-Testing New Tool to Detect Manipulated Images

Adobe released a beta version of a Photoshop tool that will make it easier to determine if an image is real or has been manipulated. The so-called attribution tool, which will first be tested with a select group of people, enables photo editors to attach more detailed, secure metadata to images. In addition to including who created the image, the metadata will provide information on how it was altered and if AI tools were used to do so. Adobe said it will also be clear if the metadata has been tampered with. This could be a step toward combatting deepfakes. Continue reading Adobe Beta-Testing New Tool to Detect Manipulated Images

Intel Sells NAND Memory Business to SK Hynix for $9 Billion

Intel agreed to sell its memory unit to SK Hynix — which makes flash memory components in South Korea — for 10.3 trillion won (about $9 billion). The sale, which includes Intel’s solid-state drive, NAND flash and wafer business and a production facility in the Chinese city of Dalian, will occur in stages through 2025. The deal is expected to improve Hynix’s position in the chip industry, which has boomed after COVID-19, and rids it of one competitor. SK Hynix’s primary rivals are Samsung Electronics and Micron Technology. Continue reading Intel Sells NAND Memory Business to SK Hynix for $9 Billion

Apple Debuts 24-Hour Live-Streaming Music Video Channel

On October 19, Apple premiered Apple Music TV, a free 24-hour curated live stream of popular videos including what the company says are “exclusive new music videos and premiers, special curated music video blocks, and live shows and events as well as chart countdowns and guests.” The new service will, at first, be available to U.S. residents only on the Apple Music and Apple TV apps. The service launched with a countdown of the top 100 “most-streamed” songs in the U.S. and held an all-day Bruce Springsteen special event on October 22. Continue reading Apple Debuts 24-Hour Live-Streaming Music Video Channel

Netflix Growth Lags in Q3, Largely Due to More Competition

Netflix revealed it added 2.2 million subscribers in the third quarter, although it predicted in July it would add 2.5 million. The slowdown follows two quarters of growth that was much larger than anticipated and added 26 million net subscribers, nearly its entire subscription growth for 2019. On the news, shares fell 6.4 percent in after-hours trading. To boost growth, Netflix created a new promotion that will offer everyone in a country access to free service for a weekend; the promotion will first launch in India. Continue reading Netflix Growth Lags in Q3, Largely Due to More Competition

Sony Debuts Its Spatial Reality Display with Glasses-Free 3D

Sony introduced its Spatial Reality Display aimed at professional users in the content creation industry and potential future applications for consumers. The display looks like an ordinary computer monitor but is fixed on a 45-degree recline with a triangular frame and combines a 15.6-inch screen with micro optical lens coating and an eye-tracking camera. The display offers 4K resolution, with the pixels split into two 2K arrays for left and right eyes. It also offers 3D images without glasses. Continue reading Sony Debuts Its Spatial Reality Display with Glasses-Free 3D

Alibaba Buys Majority Stake in Big-Box Grocery Store Chain

Alibaba Group, China’s most valuable company with a market capitalization of $800+ billion, is paying $3.6 billion to gain more control of Sun Art Retail Group, which operates 480+ large supermarket stores. As in the U.S. and elsewhere, COVID-19 has seen many consumers shift to online shopping for food and other essentials. In 2017, Alibaba acquired a 36 percent stake in Sun Art for about $2.9 billion. With the latest purchase, Alibaba will own about 72 percent of the company and is positioned to compete with Walmart. Continue reading Alibaba Buys Majority Stake in Big-Box Grocery Store Chain

Universal Adopts a New Theatrical/Online Distribution Model

During the holiday season, to pump up motion picture theater attendance, Comcast’s Universal Pictures is trying a new distribution model — releasing more movies and making them available sooner for online rental. On December 4, it will release “All My Life” to U.S. theaters, the eighth film slated for domestic release by the end of 2020. That’s almost double its releases during the same period in 2019, and far more than other Hollywood studios. Meanwhile, AMC is offering its theaters for rent, starting at $99.

Continue reading Universal Adopts a New Theatrical/Online Distribution Model

EU Regulators: IAB Europe Is Not in Compliance with GDPR

Belgian investigators are scrutinizing the Belgian-based Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Europe, which they say is responsible for how its members buy, sell and use individuals’ data in digital ads. According to their internal report, Google and other major online advertisers are violating Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation in its auctions. The investigation was prompted by complaints against the use of personal data in the real-time bidding (RTB) component of programmatic advertising. Continue reading EU Regulators: IAB Europe Is Not in Compliance with GDPR

European Union Alliance Aims to Compete in Cloud Services

In the European Union, 25 countries pledged to provide up to €10 billion over the next seven years to build a cloud computing service to compete with Alibaba, Amazon and Google. Dubbed the European Alliance on Industrial Data and Cloud, the partnership will draw funding from existing EU programs and debut by the end of 2020. EU internal market commissioner Thierry Breton stated the declaration is a “foundation stone for the establishment of European cloud technology.” Cyprus and Denmark are the only two EU holdouts. Continue reading European Union Alliance Aims to Compete in Cloud Services

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