Intel to Sponsor Olympics, Showcase VR, AI and Drone Tech

Intel has inked a partnership with the International Olympic Committee through 2024 to showcase its virtual reality, 360-degree video, artificial intelligence and drone technologies. Intel has already been using its VR and other technologies for baseball, basketball and football games, and the deal could help heighten its profile in sports. An internal group started exploring deals last fall. Because TV ratings for the Olympics have been falling, a technology sponsor could help the Games reach a younger demographic. Continue reading Intel to Sponsor Olympics, Showcase VR, AI and Drone Tech

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

Netflix Inks Licensing Deal with Chinese Online Video Platform

Streaming video giant Netflix will finally enter the Chinese market, via a newly inked licensing deal with iQIYI, one of that country’s streaming platforms. When Netflix launched its efforts to go global a year ago, it failed to make deals in only a few countries, among them China, Iran and North Korea. Although not many details of the new arrangement have been made public, what is known is that Netflix content will be available on a day-and-date or near-simultaneous basis, as with other global territories. Continue reading Netflix Inks Licensing Deal with Chinese Online Video Platform

China and Others Vie for Top Scientists in Race to Dominate AI

When Chinese company Baidu was able to lure Andrew Ng away from his position leading Google Brain, that company’s deep-learning project, it seemed like a good omen for China’s prospects in AI. Now, however, Ng has left Baidu, and China’s ability to compete with U.S. companies is in question. That’s in part because Chinese tech firms rely on free-agent talent to lead research, and Ng’s departure makes it unclear whether they can retain foreign talent. But even U.S. firms are vying for top talent in the burgeoning field. Continue reading China and Others Vie for Top Scientists in Race to Dominate AI

Amblin and Alibaba Ink Mutually Beneficial Moviemaking Deal

Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment just inked a deal with Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group to produce, finance and distribute movies. The relationship gives Alibaba an entrée into the Hollywood moviemaking industry, and Amblin a pipeline to distribution in China. Although the financial details of the deal were not disclosed, Alibaba will now have a minority equity stake in Amblin and a seat on its board, and Amblin will have access to the Chinese company’s massive database on consumers there. Continue reading Amblin and Alibaba Ink Mutually Beneficial Moviemaking Deal

The Wait Is Over: Verizon Will Acquire Yahoo for $4.83 Billion

Verizon announced it would acquire Yahoo’s core operating business in a $4.83 billion cash deal expected to close in the first quarter of next year. Yahoo will join Verizon’s growing stable of digital properties, including AOL, which it purchased last May for $4.4 billion. The deal should help Verizon ramp up its mobile efforts and combine AOL’s ad tech with Yahoo’s online sites and services. AOL chief Tim Armstrong and Verizon exec Marni Walden spearheaded the deal. “This culminates a rigorous, thorough process over many months, and yields a great outcome for the company,” wrote Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer in a letter to her employees. Continue reading The Wait Is Over: Verizon Will Acquire Yahoo for $4.83 Billion

Yahoo Announces it No Longer Plans Spin Off of Alibaba Stake

Yahoo has abandoned its plans to sell its $31 billion stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, reportedly due to tax concerns. Instead, Yahoo’s board of directors has decided to sell off other company assets. According to the press release: “In the reverse spin off, Yahoo’s assets and liabilities other than the Alibaba stake would be transferred to a newly formed company, the stock of which would be distributed pro rata to Yahoo shareholders resulting in two separate publicly-traded companies.” The company notes the deal could take up to a year or more. Re/code suggests that “Yahoo’s plan to spin off Yahoo will also be a plan to sell off Yahoo.” Continue reading Yahoo Announces it No Longer Plans Spin Off of Alibaba Stake

China President Seeks Commercial Ties with U.S. Tech Firms

During a visit with U.S. tech leaders, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized cooperation between Chinese and U.S. technology sectors, and highlighted opportunities for U.S. commercial relations in light of China’s “relatively high” growth over a long period of time. Although recent research has tied Chinese hacks to a military unit there, Xi protested that both countries are victim of cybertheft and all hackers are subject to international law. He vowed to ease issues creating friction between the two countries. Continue reading China President Seeks Commercial Ties with U.S. Tech Firms

Alibaba Sets World IPO Record After its First Day of Trading

While Apple had a big weekend selling more than 10 million new iPhones, it wasn’t the only tech giant breaking records. Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. closed its first day of trading on Friday at $93.89 per share, a 38 percent increase from its IPO price, and the biggest first-day jump for an IPO of at least $10 billion. The IPO became the largest ever at $25 billion, after underwriters exercised a greenshoe option to increase the deal size by 15 percent based on strong demand. Continue reading Alibaba Sets World IPO Record After its First Day of Trading

Alibaba Raises $21.8 Billion in IPO: Ready to Take On Google

The Alibaba Group, China’s leading e-commerce operator, raised nearly $21.8 billion in its initial stock sale yesterday. While not the biggest initial public offering to-date, Alibaba did have one of the strongest stock sales on record, surpassing those for Facebook and General Motors. When it begins trading today on the New York Stock Exchange, it is poised to become one of the world’s most impressive Internet powerhouses, a compelling blend of Amazon, eBay, Google and other tech giants. Continue reading Alibaba Raises $21.8 Billion in IPO: Ready to Take On Google

Snapchat Mobile App Plans to Add News Content and Sell Ads

Snapchat, the mobile app that creates vanishing messages and currently touts 27 million users, may soon become a service for distributing television and movie clips, news videos and articles, and advertisements. According to people familiar with the matter, the startup has met with advertisers and media companies in recent weeks about a service to launch in November called Snapchat Discovery. At least a dozen newspapers, magazines and TV networks have reportedly discussed providing content. Continue reading Snapchat Mobile App Plans to Add News Content and Sell Ads

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