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EU Hands Qualcomm $271 Million Fine

The European Commission has imposed a fine of €242 million (around $271 million) on U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm for behavior it termed "predatory pricing". The EU is alleging Qualcomm at some time abused its market dominance in 3G baseband chipsets by selling them at below production cost with an aim to force competitor Icera out of the market. Such activity is illegal under EU antitrust law.

The EU alleges Qualcomm abused its market dominance between mid-2009 and mid-2011 by selling certain 3G baseband chipsets below production cost to Huawei and ZTE, claiming this was done with an aim of eliminating Icera, Qualcomm's main rival in the 3G baseband market as at that time. An investigation into Qualcomm was first launched by the European Commission in 2015.

The European Commission opened a formal investigation on the 16th of July 2015 and sent out a Statement of Objections [a document stating preliminary concerns of its investigation] on 8 December 2015. Another Statement of…

Apple introduces the Xs and Xs Max


At its launch event, Apple has unveiled 2 of its latest additions to the iPhone lineup, The iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max bringing the most advanced iPhones ever while taking its smartphone vision to a new level.

The new phones come with desirable features for its global customers while coming at a price of $999 and $1,099 for the Xs and Xs Max respectively. Both phones measure 5.8 inches and 6.5 inches respectively while also featuring Super Retina displays, an improved and faster dual camera system which offers stunning photo and video features, the first 7-nanometer chip ever featured in a smartphone and several other noteworthy features.


The A12 Bionic chip is bundled with a next-generation Neural Engine standing as one remarkable feature in addition to a faster Face ID, wider stereo sound and a beautiful new gold finish and introduction of Dual SIM to the iPhone.

Both phones are built on the all-screen design of the preceding iPhone X and comes with very sharp displays with the highest pixel density for any Apple device. Its Super Retina displays featuring a custom OLED design supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 along with having iOS system-wide color management for the best color accuracy in the smartphone scene.


The Xs and Xs Max offers a million-to-one contrast ratio with stunning brightness and true blacks while outputting 60 percent greater dynamic range in HDR photos. The Max delivers a higher-grade immersive experience with its over 3 million pixels for videos, movies and games standing as the largest display ever in an iPhone.

Its surgical grade stainless steel band now comes in gold joins finishes in silver and space gray. Its wider stereo playback offers a more immersive soundstage  along with a front and back glass design featuring the most durable glass ever in a smartphone with improved scratch resistance as stated by Apple.

It comes with water resistance of IP68 for up to 2 meters for 30 minutes guarding against everyday spills, It's glass back enables faster wireless charging with a 7-nanometer chip for the smartphone delivering industry-leading performance in a more power-efficient design.

The Apple-designed A12 Bionic chip comes with a six-core fusion architecture with two performance cores that are up to 15% faster, 4 efficiency cores offering 50% more efficiency, a four-core GPU, a powerful Apple-designed Image Signal Processor (ISP) and video encoder among other features.


Even with this high power, The Xs offers 30 minutes longer than iPhone X while the Max offers an hour and a half longer between charges. Its next-generation Neural Engine is made for machine learning in everything from photography to  AR with its new eight-core design allowing up to 5 trillion operations per second compared to 600 billion in the preceding A11 Bionic.

New capabilities such as faster plane detection for ARKit along with new features that use real-time machine learning empowering developers to create apps utilizing this unique feature. Other notable features of the 2 new additions including a better advanced camera, a faster secure facial authentication system and a bundle with the iOS 12 operating system being launched on September 17.

Both phones will be available for pre-order starting from Friday, September 14 with an imminent launch in Apple stores on the 21st of September.







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James Murdoch Said To Bet On VR Company

According to a new Bloomberg piece, James Murdoch -- a long-time media executive and heir to media mogul Rupert Murdoch -- has invested $20 million in The Void, a Lindon, Utah-based virtual reality company that offers immersive experiences at some 11 cities globally. Bloomberg reports Murdoch has also taken a board seat at the company.

Murdoch runs a VC fund called Lupa Systems that makes bets on tech and entertainment businesses. A $20 million investment would count as the largest yet for that fund, although Murdoch is said to be working on a potentially larger investment in Zee Entertainment Enterprises, an Indian publicly traded television network.

To state The Void's business in clear terms; the company lets customers participate in virtual interactive worlds for a roughly $35 fee. The Void combines VR technology, physical stages and multi-sensory effects to achieve this. The company has collaborated with top animation companies including Walt Disney Animation Studios and Mar…

Bird Reportedly In Talks To Acquire Scoot

According to a TechCrunch report, Bird -- the $2 billion valued Santa Monica-based startup known for its on-demand scooters -- is in talks to acquire Scoot, a competitor that has raised roughly $47 million in total funding, and was last valued at $71 million. TechCrunch says Bird has agreed to acquire Scoot although a deal is likely not yet closed. If it pulls through, this will be Bird's first full acquisition.

Scoot operates in the cities of San Francisco, Barcelona, and Santiago, with a fleet of manual kick scooters, electric scooters and electric bikes that users of its mobile app can access. The company has done more than 2.5 million total rides. Its backers include Vision Ridge Capital, India's Mahindra Partners, SunPower founder Tom Dinwoodie and Scout Ventures.

Bird -- led by former Uber and Lyft executive Travis VanderZanden -- on the other hand is much bigger, having raised $415 million in total funding according to Crunchbase data. Its backers include Accel, Ashton…

Amazon Reportedly Working On Alexa Robot

According to a recent report from Bloomberg, Amazon is working on a wheeled robot that can be controlled by Alexa commands, alongside a new Echo Speaker. Bloomberg reports both devices are being developed at Amazon Lab126, an R&D team based in Sunnyvale, California. The report says Amazon originally planned to unveil the robot as early as this year but hasn't yet gotten to a point of mass production readiness for the machine.

Although Amazon could choose to axe the project, Bloomberg reports the company has courted engineers from other projects to work on it -- an indication the company plans to sell it at some point. It remains unclear what tasks the robot may be used for. Bloomberg reports [citing unnamed people familiar with the project] prototypes that are about waist-high and move around with the help of several computer-vision cameras. An Amazon engineer was said to have summoned the machine with his voice at an internal demonstration.

Amazon has not made any public sta…

Toyota Taps CATL For Supply Of EV Batteries

Toyota has entered into a deal with China's CATL that'll see the latter supply electric vehicle batteries to the Japanese automaker. Discussions on new battery tech development, product quality improvements and the reuse and recycling of EV batteries have also commenced between both companies. This deal comes not long after Volvo, another top automaker, inked a similar deal with CATL and South Korea's LG Chem.

CATL is a top manufacturer of electric vehicle batteries, with a 41% market share and $4.4 billion in 2018 revenues. The Chinese company's battery output grew 261.1% from 630 MWh in 2017 to 2.274 GWh in 2018.

As a stable supply of batteries is essential to any automaker producing electric vehicles, having CATL [a top manufacturer that can fulfill huge orders] as a supplier is good for Toyota. Toyota and CATL are not just stopping at battery supplies but also intend to work on other joint battery-related systems and initiatives.

This agreement benefits the two, w…

Meet goPuff, A Low-key Delivery Company Worth $1 Billion

The food-delivery market is one with intense competition. The likes of DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, Deliveroo, Swiggy, Just Eat, Yelp Eat 24, and more are steadily competing for global market share while also raising huge funding. Just recently, Deliveroo raised $575 million in a round led by Amazon. DoorDash has also raised $600 million Series G funding at a $12.6 billion valuation.

Amid the intense battle, it turns out there's one hot startup that has stayed low key to avoid the eye of rivals, but it seems word is getting out. That low-key hot startup is goPuff, on-demand convenience store delivery app that was valued at $1 billion last November after a financing round, according to regulatory filings reviewed by The Information. goPuff ships products to customers from centrally located facilities -- as opposed to direct pickup from stores -- in 81 U.S. cities.

The company -- based in Philadelphia -- stocks more than 3,000 products at its facilities which it then ships to cu…

US Army To Test Armed Robotic Vehicles Next Year

The U.S. Army has said it'll begin testing the use of robotic combat vehicles (RCVs) by next year. A month-long operational test has been scheduled for March next year at Fort Carson, Colorado. The U.S. army says the test will provide input on next steps to take with the use of autonomous vehicles in military operations.

The next year test will be the first phase, with two more scheduled for late fiscal 2021 and mid-fiscal 2023. The RCVs [built on an M113 armored personal carrier] will be controlled from the back of modified Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Next year's test will involve two of such modified vehicles and four RCVs. Each modified vehicle will have a driver, gunner and four soldiers in its rear that'll control a pair of RCVs to conduct platoon-level maneuvers. The RCVs will be equipped with 360-degree cameras and a remote turret, which crew members will control with touchscreens.

There are three RCV variants adopted by the U.S. Army for this purpose -- light, medi…

Big Data startup Domo slashes its unicorn status ahead of upcoming IPO

image credit : Domo

Business Intelligence and Big Data startup Domo which was last valued at $2 Billion in its private round of funding just set the terms for its IPO as of recent and things don't really good for the company's filing.

The company filed for going public with an outstanding 24,953,806 shares priced between $19-22 each which implies an an IPO value of $546 million which is way lower than its $2 Billion unicorn status for the company which raised over $600 million from several investors including TPG, Bezos Expeditions, BlackRock, IVP and a slew of others.

This represents a loss for the company which currently operates under negative cash flow with operation costs of $148.7 million for the most recent fiscal year ended Jan 31 but with only $71.9 million cash at hand.

Domo booked $116 million in sales for the 12 months leading to April 30 2018 and is aiming to raise $189 million through the sale of 9.2 million shares in the upcoming public offering.

Domo will join …

Blue Apron Adds Beyond Meat Burgers To Menus

Blue Apron has announced it's adding plant-based products from Beyond Meat [a company popularly known for its plant-based burgers] to its menus beginning this summer. Recipes from both brands will be included on Blue Apron's Two-Serving Plan starting this August. The recipes will feature the Beyond Burger, a four once patty with 20 grams of plant-based protein that's made by Beyond Meat. The Beyond Burger contains no GMOs, soy, or gluten.

Blue Apron says it'll continue to feature Beyond Meat products on its menus as part of its partnership with the plant-based meat maker. In reaction to the announcement of its partnership, Blue Apron's stock soared more than 50% during afternoon trading. This isn't surprising given the recent buzz around Beyond Meat, which has soared nearly 600% from an IPO debut price of $25. As of writing, Beyond Meat trades at roughly $174 a share, with a $10.4 billion market cap.

On the other hand, Blue Apron has struggled on the public ma…

Recursion Pharmaceuticals Raises $121 Million Series C

Recursion Pharmaceuticals -- a Salt Lake City, Utah-based biotech that's leveraging AI for drug discovery -- has raised $121 million in Series C funding. The funding was led by Baillie Gifford and the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, with participation from other investors including Menlo Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, CRV, Two Sigma Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Regents of the University of Minnesota, Texas Tech University System and more.

According to Pitchbook data, Recursion was valued at $646 million with this investment. The Utah-based startup says the new funding will shore up the build-out of its machine learning-enabled drug discovery platform alongside some new capabilities. Recursion will also invest in its growing pipeline of pre-clinical and clinical assets, which includes clinical-stage programs for some rare diseases.

Recursion is one among several startups that's looking to input AI into the drug discovery process. According to Pitchbook data, investors poured…

Sequoia Stands To Win Big From Medallia's IPO

Medallia - a customer experience management software company valued at $2.4 billion after a $70 million round that included Sequoia Capital in February -- just officially filed with the SEC to go public. The San Mateo, California based company's filing showed annual revenues of $313.6 million but with losses amounting to $82.2 million.

Just like the VC firms that won big in Slack's recent public market debut, one blue-chip VC, Sequoia Capital, stands to reap good returns from Medallia's IPO. In addition to participating in Medallia's earlier $70 million round, Sequoia led a $150 million round for the company in 2015, on top of $105 million in earlier funding solely from the VC firm. So it's no surprise Medallia's SEC filing showed Sequoia Capital controls a 41% pre-IPO stake.

At a $2.4 billion valuation, Sequoia's current stake would be worth nearly $1 billion. But that's just calculating from Medallia's recent $2.4 billion valuation. The company h…