ByteDance Buys Startup Pico, Virtual Reality Headset Maker

TikTok parent company ByteDance has acquired startup Pico, which, according to IDC, was the third largest virtual reality headset manufacturer worldwide in Q1 2021, with shipments growing 44.7. percent year-over-year. The purchase marks ByteDance’s first step into virtual reality and the company said that Pico’s “comprehensive suite of software and hardware technologies, as well as the talent and deep expertise of the team, will support both our entry to the VR space and long-term investment in this emerging field.” Continue reading ByteDance Buys Startup Pico, Virtual Reality Headset Maker

Discovery Revenue, Subs Rise with Olympics, Discovery Plus

In Q2 of this year, Discovery Communications’ revenue rose 21 percent year-over-year to $3.06 billion, with earnings per share at $1.01, exceeding Wall Street predictions of $2.97 billion in revenue and 85 cents earnings. The company also revealed that, at the end of Q2, it had 17 million direct-to-consumer customers that increased to 18 million last Tuesday after airing the Olympics in Europe. Its Q2 U.S. ad revenue also rose 12 percent year-over-year while international ad revenue skyrocketed 70 percent, ahead of 2019 levels. Continue reading Discovery Revenue, Subs Rise with Olympics, Discovery Plus

Comcast Adds Record Q2 Broadband and Cable Customers

Comcast posted Q2 results that beat Wall Street expectations: revenue of $28.55 billion versus the $27.18 billion predicted by Refinitiv, and adjusted earnings per share of 84 cents, versus Refinitiv’s prediction of 67 cents. Comcast said its NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock is now at 54 million subscribers. Meanwhile, Comcast’s high-speed Internet service added 354,000 customers (its highest ever for Q2), versus StreetAccount’s estimate of 270,000. Comcast also had its second best Q2 for total customer relationships, adding 294,000. Continue reading Comcast Adds Record Q2 Broadband and Cable Customers

European Union to Conduct Antitrust Investigation of Google

The European Union has launched a formal antitrust investigation into Alphabet’s Google, after the European Commission, its main antitrust enforcer, probed the issue informally since at least 2019. The formal investigation will examine numerous allegedly anticompetitive practices involving how the tech giant brokers ads and shares user data with advertisers across websites and mobile apps. In addition to reviewing issues covered by U.S. states, such as Google favoring its own ad-buying tools, the probe will cover new territory. Continue reading European Union to Conduct Antitrust Investigation of Google

Amazon Debuts Wellness Program to Curb Workplace Injuries

With the goal of lowering workplace injuries 50 percent by 2025, Amazon introduced its WorkingWell safety and injury prevention program. Chief executive Jeff Bezos has long focused on common warehouse manual labor injuries, especially MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders), most recently in his annual letter to shareholders. WorkingWell will offer employees with physical, mental and nutritional support in every U.S. operation by the end of 2021. The program, which comes as Amazon looks to hire 75,000 new workers, targets “recordable incident rates,” an OSHA measurement for worker injury and illness. Continue reading Amazon Debuts Wellness Program to Curb Workplace Injuries

South Korea Invests Big to Build Out Advanced Chip Industry

South Korea plans to invest about $450 billion in semiconductor manufacturing over the next decade in an effort to establish dominance in this key technology sector. One hundred fifty-three companies will follow a national blueprint devised by President Moon Jae-in’s administration, led by Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, which raised their investment to 510+ trillion won in semiconductor research and production from now until 2030. The U.S., China and Europe are all building up their semiconductor manufacturing capacity. Continue reading South Korea Invests Big to Build Out Advanced Chip Industry

ByteDance’s TikTok Tests E-Commerce and Job Search Tools

In Europe, TikTok is working with streetwear label Hype and other brands to test in-app sales, a first step towards competing with Facebook in the e-commerce arena. Parent company ByteDance’s China-only app Douyin did $26 billion in e-commerce in its first year of operation. Sources reported that TikTok is already working with vendors in various European markets including the United Kingdom. TikTok is also working on another pilot program to connect people hunting for jobs with companies looking for employees. Continue reading ByteDance’s TikTok Tests E-Commerce and Job Search Tools

Google Plans to Swap Cookies for Another Targeted Ad Tech

Google is making its first moves to adopt the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) tracking system by 2022. FLoC allows advertisers to target ads without exposing individuals’ personal data but, instead, groups people by similar interests, such as football fans, retired travelers or truck drivers. Google group product manager, user trust and privacy Chetna Bindra explained that, “this approach effectively hides individuals ‘in the crowd’ and uses on-device processing to keep a person’s web history private on the browser.” Continue reading Google Plans to Swap Cookies for Another Targeted Ad Tech

Netflix Tops 200 Million Subs in 2020, Lifted by the Pandemic

By the end of 2020, Netflix signed up a record 37 million new subscribers for a total of 203.7 million users, driven by the home-bound people eager for more entertainment during the COVID-19 pandemic. This latest bump in subscriber numbers took place in an increasingly competitive environment with new streaming services, including Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max and Comcast’s Peacock. Unlike other TV networks, Netflix has been able to offer more new content during the pandemic, with 500+ new titles in post production or ready to air. Continue reading Netflix Tops 200 Million Subs in 2020, Lifted by the Pandemic

Internet Task Force Pushes CDN Routing Security Measures

The Internet’s Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), its universal routing system, has always had design weaknesses. Now, a global initiative known as Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) — supported by the Internet Society and a consortium of Internet infrastructure companies — has established a task force to assist content delivery networks (CDNs) and other cloud services in hardening security. Although MANRS already focused on improving security for network operators and their physical hardware, this task force focuses on bringing the process to the cloud. Continue reading Internet Task Force Pushes CDN Routing Security Measures

Huawei, Apple Drop in Rankings of Top Global Phone Makers

After attaining a position as No. 1 in global smartphone shipments in Q2, Huawei Technologies ceded that position to Samsung Electronics in Q3, according to International Data Corporation. IDC added that Huawei’s global shipments fell by 22 percent, a sign that U.S. efforts to disrupt its supply chain are having an impact. All vendors without a license from the U.S. Commerce Department have been banned from selling chips and other components to Huawei since September 15. Huawei’s domestic sales also fell 15+ percent in Q3. Continue reading Huawei, Apple Drop in Rankings of Top Global Phone Makers

Netflix Raises Monthly Prices of Its Standard, Premium Plans

As Netflix faces a growing collection of competing video services, the company is raising the monthly subscription cost of its most popular standard plan from $12.99 per month to $13.99, its first increase since January of last year. While the entry-level basic plan will remain $8.99 per month, the premium plan will increase from $15.99 to $17.99 per month. Yesterday, the company announced that price changes will go into effect immediately for new subscribers, while current subscribers should expect a fee adjustment within the next two months. Subscribers will receive a warning of the increase 30 days prior to the change. Continue reading Netflix Raises Monthly Prices of Its Standard, Premium Plans

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

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

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

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