Square Will Purchase Afterpay Credit Company for $29 Billion

Square announced it will acquire Australia-based financial tech company Afterpay in an all-stock deal worth about $29 billion, with Square chief executive Jack Dorsey stating that the two companies “have a shared purpose.” Afterpay appeals to a younger demographic that mistrusts traditional credit companies; its technology lets a consumer pay for goods in four interest-free installments and receive the goods immediately. Customers only pay a fee if they miss an automated payment, which also locks their account until the balance is repaid. Continue reading Square Will Purchase Afterpay Credit Company for $29 Billion

Netflix Battles New Rivals, Cracks Down on Password Sharing

Netflix, with 207.6 million global subscribers, still dominates streaming video. But the growing number of rivals, including Disney+, HBO Max, Paramount+, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, is beginning to chip away at its position. Netflix reported four million new subscribers in Q1 2021, below the six million it predicted; it expects only one million new customers in the current quarter. It is also cracking down on password-sharing, but co-chief executive Reed Hastings said the process won’t be aggressive. Continue reading Netflix Battles New Rivals, Cracks Down on Password Sharing

CES: Identifying Consumer Trends Shaping the New Normal

The Harris Poll’s CEO John Gerzema and Mastercard’s EVP of North America marketing and communications Cheryl Guerin presented data from their recent joint market research study of COVID-19’s impact on digital commerce. They grouped their findings around four key trends: The Touchless Revolution, The Betterment Boom, The Rise of Revenge Spending and The Uncalendared Year. The presentation was followed by a 30-minute discussion with panelists Julia Hammond of MDC Partners, DyShaun Muhammad of Uber, Lou Paskalis of Bank of America and Katie Riccio Puris of TikTok. Continue reading CES: Identifying Consumer Trends Shaping the New Normal

Kuaishou, Rival to ByteDance’s Douyin, Plans Hong Kong IPO

Although the Ant Group suspended its high-profile IPO last week, Kuaishou Technology, a popular short-video and streaming media platform founded in 2011, is moving ahead. According to sources, the company, whose platform competes with ByteDance’s Douyin (TikTok in China), aims to raise about $5 billion and reach a valuation of about $50 billion by filing for an initial public offering in Hong Kong as soon as January 2021. The company was founded by engineers Su Hua, formerly at Google China, and Cheng Yixiao, a Hewlett Packard veteran. Continue reading Kuaishou, Rival to ByteDance’s Douyin, Plans Hong Kong IPO

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

IBM Advocates for Confidential Computing Security Standard

IBM and others are advocating the adoption of Confidential Computing, a standard that they state will provide deeper levels of security and privacy in the cloud. With encryption that can only be unlocked by keys held by the client, Confidential Computing guarantees that the company hosting data and applications can’t access the underlying data, regardless of whether it is stored in a database or passing through an application. That prevents hackers from accessing encrypted data when it moves to the application layer. Continue reading IBM Advocates for Confidential Computing Security Standard

Microsoft Will Offer Free Digital Training for 25 Million People

To help fight the unemployment created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft and LinkedIn (which Microsoft acquired in 2016) plan to offer free online classes and job-hunting resources to 25 million people around the world by the end of 2020. The two companies have identified 10 booming occupations — including data analyst, digital marketer and help-desk technician — that require digital skills they aim to teach. These professionals also pay relatively well, even for those without a college degree. Continue reading Microsoft Will Offer Free Digital Training for 25 Million People

Amazon and Facebook to Lease More Space in Manhattan

Less than a year after Amazon pulled out of a deal to build its second headquarters (HQ2) in Manhattan, it inked a lease for 335,000 square feet in the neighborhood to house more than 1,500 employees. Facebook is also reportedly in talks to lease 700,000 square feet in a nearby neighborhood. If that plan goes through, the social media platform, which has other real estate holdings in the city, would become one of its largest corporate tenants, which include JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. Continue reading Amazon and Facebook to Lease More Space in Manhattan

PayPal Monetizing Venmo, Which Now Has 40 Million Users

PayPal Holdings’ Q1 earnings report revealed that 40 million people used its digital money transfer service Venmo in the last year, making it one of the most popular financial apps in the United States. Venmo is also growing dramatically in overall volume with the total number of payments made on its platform skyrocketing 73 percent to $21.3 billion in Q1 2019. Most Venmo transactions are between two people, with the company swallowing the processing fee. But PayPal prizes the app since a younger, more active cohort favors it. Continue reading PayPal Monetizing Venmo, Which Now Has 40 Million Users

Accounting, Finance Industries Demand Explainable AI Tools

As artificial intelligence-based tools become more widespread in the business industry, cloud service companies are debuting tools that explain the artificial intelligence algorithms they use to provide more transparency and assure users of their ethical behavior. That’s because regulated industries are demanding it. Capital One and Bank of America are just two such companies interested in using AI to improve detection of fraud, but want to know how the algorithms work before they implement such tools. Continue reading Accounting, Finance Industries Demand Explainable AI Tools

Amazon in Talks on Bank Product with JPMorgan, Capital One

According to sources, Amazon is currently in discussions with JPMorgan Chase and other banks about creating a product similar to a checking account aimed at a younger demographic. These early stage talks may not result in anything tangible, and are not intended to turn Amazon into a bank. What the product would do is further integrate Amazon into its customers’ lives, from Whole Foods, Kindle, Alexa and its website. The new product would also potentially cut fees Amazon currently pays to banks and provide more customer data. Continue reading Amazon in Talks on Bank Product with JPMorgan, Capital One

Twitter Pursues Advertising Revenue With Sponsored Moments

Get ready for more ads to appear on Twitter. The social platform is introducing sponsored Moments, which will bring brand sponsorship to its Moments publisher feature. Sponsored Moments are collections of tweets that are purposely packaged around an event or theme, such as an awards show or sports championship. Brands can run promoted tweets inside the collection and add branding to the cover image. For example, Bank of America recently sponsored a collection of tweets from Bloomberg about the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Continue reading Twitter Pursues Advertising Revenue With Sponsored Moments

Google, Microsoft Develop New Ways to Compete with AWS

Amazon currently is the dominant cloud computing service; according to Amazon Web Services chief executive officer Andy Jassy, the company has several times as much business as the industry’s next busiest 14 providers combined. In the No. 2 and No. 3 spots are, respectively, Microsoft and Google, and both of them attempt to leverage their strengths and exploit perceived weaknesses of AWS to boost their own market share. Both companies see some strengths in AWS — its self-service model, for example — as vulnerabilities. Continue reading Google, Microsoft Develop New Ways to Compete with AWS

As Threats to Cybersecurity Grow, So Does Cyberinsurance

Increasingly pervasive threats to cybersecurity have jumpstarted the cyberinsurance business to reach beyond technology companies, its core customers. Covering financial loss, including theft of data and ransomware, cyberinsurance is reportedly the fastest-growing coverage among U.S. companies; cyberinsurance firms provide competing tools to distinguish their offerings in the marketplace. Insurance is not in lieu of good security practices, but the idea of cyberinsurance is appealing even though it is largely untested. Continue reading As Threats to Cybersecurity Grow, So Does Cyberinsurance

Apple, Microsoft, Uber Turn to New Data Privacy Technology

Apple instituted a privacy technology, called differential privacy, that enables its software to understand users without spying on their activities. Now, Microsoft and Uber are also trying out the same technology. While differential privacy reportedly can keep data anonymous, experts warn that it’s becoming easier than ever to identify people from anonymous data sets. That includes biometrics; Citigroup has abandoned a project begun in 2015 to allow customers to scan their irises to access their accounts at an ATM. Continue reading Apple, Microsoft, Uber Turn to New Data Privacy Technology

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