Biden Administration to Review Semiconductor Supply Chain

President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order for a 100-day review by the National Economic Council and National Security Council on the manufacturing and packaging of semiconductor chips, with a focus on supply chain blockages that have created shortages. The government review will also examine supply chain issues for other critical goods including minerals, medical supplies and high-capacity batteries. Later this year, supply chain assessments for other critical products will be conducted. Continue reading Biden Administration to Review Semiconductor Supply Chain

Australia Plans Law That Would Make Big Tech Pay for News

Microsoft is urging the United States to adopt Australia’s proposal that Big Tech companies pay newspapers for content, in direct opposition to the positions of Google and Facebook. In Australia, that proposal is before a parliamentary committee. Google, which is responsible for 95 percent of searches in that country, has threatened to pull its search engine should the proposal become law. Microsoft is betting that, especially if the Australians pass the law, other countries will join in demanding payment for publishers. Continue reading Australia Plans Law That Would Make Big Tech Pay for News

Shopify Shop Pay to Roll Out on Instagram, Facebook Shops

Social commerce platform Shopify is coming to Instagram and Facebook Shops, enabling users to complete purchases via Shop Pay, which has 60 million global users. Shop Pay stores credit card and shipping information to speed online checkout, Until now, it has only been available on Shopify clients’ e-commerce stores. Shop Pay also lets users track packages or pay in installments. Facebook currently also offers PayPal, which has 377 million active accounts, including 16 million added in the most recent quarter. Continue reading Shopify Shop Pay to Roll Out on Instagram, Facebook Shops

White House Names Official to Lead Probe of Expansive Hack

In December, suspected Russian hackers compromised SolarWinds Corp., a small software vendor, leveraging it to infiltrate the U.S. departments of Commerce, State and Treasury, as well as numerous private companies. An in-depth investigation revealed that the hack’s scope was larger than first known, with about one-third of those hacked having no direct connection with SolarWinds. Now, the Biden administration has selected White House National Security Council senior official Anne Neuberger to lead the response. Continue reading White House Names Official to Lead Probe of Expansive Hack

Top EU Privacy Regulator Calls for Total Ban on Targeted Ads

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Wojciech Wiewiórowski, the European Union’s top privacy regulator, called for a complete ban on targeted advertising. That’s a harsher recommendation than that of the European Commission, which simply suggested increased transparency on political ads and limits to micro-targeting and psychological profiling. Wiewiorówski’s proposal was in response to a request for EU lawmaker consultation on the Commission’s Digital Services Act (DSA) introduced in December. Continue reading Top EU Privacy Regulator Calls for Total Ban on Targeted Ads

Facebook Developing a Product to Rival Chat App Clubhouse

According to sources, Facebook is developing an audio chat product to compete with Clubhouse, a social networking app that has gained popularity with young people who gather and chat about various topics. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, reportedly interested in audio products, has appeared on Clubhouse to chat about augmented reality and virtual reality. Facebook is also known for cloning popular products. Facebook’s audio product is, added the sources, in an early stage of development. Continue reading Facebook Developing a Product to Rival Chat App Clubhouse

Huawei Appeals FCC Edict Naming It a National Security Risk

Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecommunications company, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit asking for a review of last year’s FCC ruling that found it a national security risk. As a result of the FCC’s ruling, U.S. telecommunications operators were blocked from buying Huawei’s 5G equipment. Huawei has previously challenged numerous actions taken against it in recent years. The Trump administration blocked Huawei from accessing U.S. technology and encouraged allies to do the same. Continue reading Huawei Appeals FCC Edict Naming It a National Security Risk

Twitter Experiences Subscriber Growth and Plans Expansion

Since Twitter banned former president Trump, the company said daily users rose to 192 million from Q3’s 187 million, including one million in the U.S. In January, the social platform gained more daily users than the average month in the last four years. Twitter chief exec Jack Dorsey revealed that 80 percent of its user base is outside the U.S., adding that it is “not dependent upon just news and politics.” The company is looking to expand and continue development of a decentralized social network. With regard to banning Trump, chief finance officer Ned Segal said the decision was well received by advertisers. Continue reading Twitter Experiences Subscriber Growth and Plans Expansion

EA Acquires Game Developer Glu Mobile in $2.4 Billion Deal

Electronic Arts plans to boost its mobile game business by purchasing game developer Glu Mobile in a deal valued at $2.4 billion, one of the highest prices ever paid for a video game studio. Glu Mobile’s creations include, among others, “Diner DASH,” “Disney Sorcerer’s Arena,” “WWE Universe,” “MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2020” and “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.” According to Glu Mobile, the company’s games earned $1.32+ billion in bookings last year. EA is particularly interested in Glu Mobile’s experience in sports and casual games. Continue reading EA Acquires Game Developer Glu Mobile in $2.4 Billion Deal

U.S. and China Already in an Arms Race for 6G Technologies

Although most people do not have access to 5G networks yet, the U.S. and China are already in a race to be the first nation to develop and patent 6G, expected to be up to 100 times faster than 5G’s peak speed. Experts note that 6G is currently a “theoretical proposition” and the technology is at least 10 to 15 years away. However, the possibility that 6G can usher in “the next industrial revolution” — from flying taxis to real-time holograms — has made it a potent focus of a geopolitically-influenced race. China is currently considered the leader in 5G. Continue reading U.S. and China Already in an Arms Race for 6G Technologies

Twitter Considers New Strategies for More Revenue Streams

The majority of Twitter’s revenue comes from targeted advertising, but the company is now developing a subscription product that it has considered for years to create a new revenue stream. According to eMarketer, Twitter’s portion of the global digital ad market remains at 0.8 percent and has grown at a slower pace than those of Facebook and Snap. Its U.S. user base has also leveled off. The COVID-19 pandemic and pressure from investors to drive growth are other factors influencing Twitter’s decision to move forward. Continue reading Twitter Considers New Strategies for More Revenue Streams

Reddit Receives New Funding and Doubles Valuation to $6B

Community-based social site Reddit raised $250+ million in a new round of funding, doubling its valuation to $6 billion from the $3 billion it was valued after a February 2019 round. Led by Vy Capital, the latest funding included Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital and Tencent Holdings, all previous investors. The social media company, launched in 2005, hosts topic-based message boards, including WallStreetBets, the message board that recently encouraged amateur investors to drive up the stock price of companies shorted by Wall Street investors. Continue reading Reddit Receives New Funding and Doubles Valuation to $6B

Linux Foundation to Host Open-Source Magma Project for 5G

In 2019, Facebook developed open-source network software Magma to help in the speedy, efficient buildout of mobile networks. Now Magma is poised to bring together the software and hardware sides of 5G. Magma provides a software-centric distributed mobile packet core and tools for automating network management that integrates with the existing back end of a mobile network. Importantly, it also meshes with new 5G networks as well as existing LTE networks, which makes it easier to enhance and build mobile networks at scale. The Linux Foundation will now work with groups to host the next stage of Magma’s evolution using a vendor-neutral governance framework. Continue reading Linux Foundation to Host Open-Source Magma Project for 5G

New Meta-Optic Lens Tech Enters Commercial Development

Massachusetts-based startup Metalenz, just out of stealth mode, is readying the debut of an entirely new lens system for smartphones. Its single flat lens system, based on optical metasurfaces, reportedly produces an image of the same or better quality as traditional lenses, while enabling brighter photos by collecting more light, and offering new forms of sensing. The company just announced a $10 million investment that will enable it to scale production and speed up development of miniature optics and a new lens system targeting smartphones, consumer electronics and applications in the automotive and healthcare industries. Continue reading New Meta-Optic Lens Tech Enters Commercial Development

Chip Shortage Affects Electronics, Gaming, Vehicles, Aviation

Qualcomm chief executive Cristiano Amon has announced a serious shortage of semiconductor chips impacting a range of industries. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers of electronics and vehicles first drastically cut back their demand for chips but then reversed course and demand skyrocketed. Amon is just one of several industry leaders warning of the shortages and highlighting manufacturers’ reliance on outsourcing chip production to companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Samsung Electronics. Continue reading Chip Shortage Affects Electronics, Gaming, Vehicles, Aviation