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Showing posts from December, 2018

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…

Netflix Said To Hire Outgoing Activision CFO

Netflix is reportedly hiring Activision CFO Spencer Neumann who the company says it’s planning to let go of for unspecified reasons in an SEC filing. Reuters reports this hire citing a source familiar with the matter, stating Neumann who has been placed on paid leave at Activision will take helm as CFO at Netflix early 2019.

According to Activision’s filing, It intends to terminate Neumann  “for cause unrelated to the company’s financial reporting or disclosure controls and procedures.”  A hire won’t come as a surprise as current Netflix CFO David Wells made known this August of his intention to step down after a long 14 years at the company.

Netflix is expected to make an official announcement of this hire in the next few days, Reuters says, also noting that the company wants its next chief financial officer to be based in the Los Angeles area with a focus on production finance. Prior to Activision Blizzard, Neumann held roles at private equity firms Summit Partners and Providence E…

IP Disputes Can Now Be Taken To The Chinese Supreme Court

Intellectual property cases can now be taken to the Chinese Supreme Court, the government said this Saturday, marking a step to strengthen protection of IP amid complaints from U.S. along with the European Union of low enforcement of intellectual property rights in the country.

With China and the U.S. in talks to come to terms on a trade dispute which has led to tariffs placed on imported goods from both sides, This move likely counts as one related to this as displaying seriousness about U.S. concerns count as a step towards this.


Even with this, Deputy chief justice Luo Dongchuan has dismissed suggestions that this move was influenced by the U.S. side. “China has for many years followed international regulations and international treaties to protect intellectual property rights,” Luo said. “So it’s not because of the demands by foreign countries that we’ve stepped up protection [efforts]. This is an integral part of our own development.”

"China is already the world's secon…

Epic Games Said To Have Banked $3 Billion Profit This Year

Fortnite developer Epic Games made $3 Billion in profit this year according to TechCrunch which cites a source with knowledge of its business.

If this stands true, it'll mark a very successful year even more than previously estimated for the Fortnite maker. Several analyst predictions estimated the company was in line to make $2 Billion in gross profits for 2018.


Fortnite has proved to be a money making machine with its 125 million players spending lots of cash on in-game items for the free to play title. Epic has not released any revenue statistics for any of its games, In addition to Fortnite, it also makes money from other games like Battle Breakers, Robot Recall, Spyjinx and game development platform Unreal Engine.




Dell Returns To Public Markets After 5 Years In Private Hands

Dell has begun trading on the public stock market after listing on the NYSE this Friday under the symbol 'DELL', a move achieved through a buyback of shares that tracked financial performance of VMware, a firm it holds a majority stake in.

The buyback deal involved cash and stock, worth nearly $24 billion and allowed it to sidestep a traditional listing process which would likely have seen scrutiny from investors concerning Dell's debt pile. Dell has been leveling down its debt, majority of which was issued for its 2015 $67 billion purchase of EMC.


Dell is trading at around $45 (as of writing) on the New York Stock Exchange, It opened at $46 and hit a low of $44.77 during trading today. According to the Wall Street Journal, Silver Lake Partners, a key backer in Dell's 2013 buyout is retaining its 24% stake in the company.


Tesla Adds Larry Ellison And Walgreens Executive Kathleen Wilson-Thompson To Board

Tesla has made two new additions to its board with the appointment of Oracle chairman Larry Ellison and Walgreens Executive Vice President and Global Chief Human Resources Officer Kathleen Wilson-Thompson as independent directors. This appointment took effect as of December 27 2018.

Tesla's board, led by its Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee made this appointment after conducting "a thorough, expansive process in searching for its new independent directors, considering candidates with a wide range of skill sets from across the globe who also hold a strong personal belief in Tesla’s mission of accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy." The company said in its statement.


“In conducting a widespread search over the last few months, we sought to add independent directors with skills that would complement the current board’s experience. In Larry and Kathleen, we have added a preeminent entrepreneur and a human resources leader, both of whom have …

Apple Will Reportedly Start Assembling Top-End iPhone Models In India Next Year

According to a Reuters report, Apple supplier Foxconn will begin assembling high-end iPhone models in India, potentially taking its business in the country to a higher level and likely as a way to sidestep tariffs that may arise from a U.S.-China trade war.

The report says work will begin at Foxconn’s plant in the town of Sriperumbudur with a 25 billion Indian rupees ($356 million) investment set for expansion of the manufacturing facility. This may create as much as 25,000 jobs in the Indian market, it added.


A move like this makes much sense for Apple as in addition to avoiding potential tariffs from the Chinese side where it assembles the bulk of its products, India has also placed high tariffs on imported smartphones in recent years, making Apple's products more expensive and unable to compete with cheaper models from the likes of Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo and Micromax who lead the country's smartphone market.

Apple has already begun assembling lower-cost iPhone SE and 6S mod…

Amazon And Walmart Face Tough Rules In Indian Market

E-commerce leaders Amazon and Flipkart are facing tough rules from the Indian government aimed at preventing predatory pricing and deep discounts that pose threat to its local retail market. The rule, effective from the 1st of February require that all vendors be treated equally on the same terms and that cash back provided must be fair and not affect the price of goods and services.

The Indian government has also barred e-commerce services from coercing sellers to feature products exclusively on their platforms. E-commerce companies will have to present a certificate confirming compliance to these rules along with an auditor's note to the Reserve Bank of India by the 30th of September every year for the preceding financial year.


Highlights noted in the government's statement include :

E-commerce companies no longer permitted to offer products made by companies which they hold equity in or have control of its inventory.Name, address and other contact details of the seller shou…

White House Reportedly Mulling Executive Order To Ban Purchase Of Huawei And ZTE Equipment

According to Reuters, U.S. President Donald Trump is considering an executive order in the new year that will bar use of telecom equipment made by China's Huawei and ZTE for U.S. companies, a move that will mark the latest by the Trump Administration to cut Huawei and ZTE from the U.S. market following concerns its equipment could be used to spy on American citizens.

Reuters says the executive order which has been in consideration for over 8 months could be issued next month and would direct the United States Department of Commerce to prevent U.S. companies from purchasing equipment from foreign manufacturers that pose national security risks.





The order might unlikely name Huawei and ZTE in a direct manner but would be interpreted as authorization to restrict spread of equipment made by the two companies. An order like this may affect rural operators in the U.S. who make use of equipment made by foreign manufacturers that would cost lots of money and time to replace.

Telecom gian…

Citron Predicts Facebook Stock Could Hit $160 Next Year

Activist short seller Citron Research has predicted Facebook, trading at around $134 (as of writing) may hit $160 next year as it maintains revenues and user base with little impact even in the midst of several data scandals and privacy issues.

After years of growth, for the first time ever, Facebook is trading at a discount to the S&P and is at its lowest multiple ever, in part to data scandals including a most recent issue involving sharing of user data with several tech giants like Spotify, Apple, Microsoft and Yahoo, it defended itself arguing this only happened with user permission granted.


"Despite Facebook’s massive $9.5B R&D Budget, it is inevitable that the system will somehow be abused or exploited." Citron said in its report. "What excites Citron the most is not the: live streaming, 3d photos, integration of platforms, or augmented reality. We believe investors will be rewarded by the shift of user behavior to Instagram shopping and the personalizati…

Amazon Inks A Record Holiday Season With "More Items Ordered Worldwide Than Ever Before"

Amazon has announced it had a record holiday season with customers purchasing millions more Amazon Devices this season compared to last year, best-selling devices for this period include the new Echo Dot smart speaker, The Echo and the Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote.

The company also said "tens of millions of people" globally began trials or paid memberships for its Amazon Prime subscription bundle, with over a billion items shipped for free this holiday in the U.S. Its Ring and Blink product lines also had more sales this holiday season than ever before, as per its statement.


Other highlights noted by the company for this holiday season include :
Customers requesting nearly 3x as many recipes on Alexa than normal.Alexa setting over 100 million timers.Customers requesting Alexa to turn on their holiday lights tens of millions of times, the number one request being “Alexa, turn on the Christmas tree.”“All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey being the top re…

Despite Turbulence, Huawei Sold Over 200 Million Smartphones This Year

Huawei has announced that it exceeded 200 million sold smartphones this year despite turbulence relating to bans of its telecom equipment and the recent arrest of its CFO Meng Wanzhou who is currently on bail in Canada.

The 200 million sales came about with strengthened sales of the Honor 10, P20 and Mate 20 models which account for a significant percentage of this figure. According to Huawei, within two months of release, The Mate 20 series had shipped over 5 million units while the popular Huawei nova series sold over 65 million units units year.


8 years ago, Huawei inked a little 3 million annual sales, now growing to over 200 million in 8 years, indicating high growth for the Chinese company. It says its smartphones are being used by more than 500 million countries in over 170 countries as of current.

"Looking to the future, Huawei's consumer business will focus on the core concept of 'consumer-centric', and will dare to keep innovating, and make every effort to …

Here Are All The Retail Locations Apple Opened This Year

Beginning January this year, Apple launched new retail spots across the globe, spanning countries from Japan to Thailand, France and others. On the 26th of January, it opened its first official store in South Korea featuring 140 employees including 18 Koreans who worked in stores around the world before heading home.

Here are all the stores the company launched around the globe throughout this year:
Apple Garosugil in Seoul, South Korea - The company launched its first ever store in the country on the 26th of January to thousands of customers who braved sub-freezing temperatures to witness the event attended by Apple's senior vice president of Retail Angela Ahrendts.




Apple Kärntner Straße in Austria - Shortly after a South Korea launch, Apple opened its first store in Austria on the 22nd of  February. It's located on a famous pedestrian shopping street between St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Vienna State Opera, housing 150 employees who speak 44 languages.




Apple Shinjuku in Toky…

Most Read Posts

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…

Lehmann Shows Us Postmates' Cute Little Robot

Amid tittle-tattles of Postmates shopping itself to several buyers, CEO Bastian Lehmann appeared at a recent Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference [video] to talk about the delivery company and the gig economy on the whole. Lehmann addressed acquisition rumors with a casual statement of "..I can’t comment" although he later said the "..plan is to take it public". Postmates confidentially filed for an IPO earlier this year but hasn't [soon-after] followed up with an official S-1 filing as conventionally done.

Shortly after the Fortune conference, Lehmann also penned an op-ed on CNN that pushed for improvement of workforce conditions for gig economy workers and corporation with labor unions. "...Gig companies don't have a long history of working with organized labor, but the way forward depends on us viewing unions as working partners, not sparring partners." Lehmann wrote in his op-ed. "Our business models may be new, but labor organizers have g…

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…

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…

Cisco Reportedly In Talks To Acquire Signal Sciences

Cisco has been a keen buyer of several startups and well-established companies alike. Just some days ago, the networking company scooped up optical tech supplier Acadia Communications for $2.6 billion. A month before that, Cisco acquired french IoT company Sentryo. Now it seems the company is eyeing another acquisition, with news from The Information [paywall] stating that Cisco is looking to acquire Signal Sciences, a Los Angeles-based cybersecurity startup.

Signal Sciences is one of many startups lurking in the cybersecurity industry. It develops software that protects apps running on cloud providers and on data centers from malicious attacks. Signal Sciences has courted many top tech companies as customers, to name some; DoorDash, Betterment, Remitly, Adobe, WeWork, Glossier, Cisco's Duo Security, One Medical, Yelp, PlanGrid, Procore, Postmates, Tenable and SendGrid. Overall, Signal Sciences protects more than 10,000 applications.

Signal Sciences already has some relations wit…

GM Cruise Raises $1.15 Billion At $19 Billion Valuation

GM Cruise has secured $1.15 billion in funding from a group of investors including Honda, Softbank Vision Fund and parent company General Motors who are existing investors, and funds advised by T. Rowe Price. Cruise made this known via a press release that was tweeted on Tuesday. The investment valued GM Cruise at $19 billion, up from $14.6 billion after a $2.75 billion investment commitment by Honda October last year.

"Developing and deploying self-driving vehicles at massive scale is the engineering challenge of our generation," Cruise CEO Dan Ammann said in the tweeted press release. "Having deep resources to draw on as we pursue our mission is a critical competitive advantage." This investment comes not so long after Uber's Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) raised $1 billion from Toyota, Denso, and Softbank Vision Fund (notably a participant in this round for GM Cruise.)


The Softbank Vision Fund earlier this year also invested $940 million into Nuro, anoth…

Tencent And BMW Collaborate On Self-Driving Tech

Tencent and BMW have reached an agreement to work together on a platform that'll be used to develop self-driving technologies and products. Both companies signed an agreement at a ceremony that held in Beijing on Friday, 19 July. The platform they'll work on is called the "BMW Group China High Performance D³ platform", an IT platform that'll be used for safety validation of Level 3 autonomous driving and early studies of Level 4 in BMW vehicles. BMW plans to begin production of cars equipped with Level 3 self-driving tech by 2021.

Post 2021, the "D³" platform will aid post-production development of Level 3 models and research into Level 4 self-driving tech. Thanks to this partnership, Tencent will provide IT architecture, platforms and tools required for self-driving research and development. The Chinese tech giant will also provide security expertise to ensure both parties comply with Chinese laws and regulations on data security, prevent security ris…

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…

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 …

Forbes Predicts The Next Billion Dollar Startups

Every year, popular media publication Forbes dishes out a list of startups they predict will be the next to hit billion dollar valuations and join some roughly 360 startups that are currently in that position. Forbes has been quite good with its predictions, having predicted billion dollar valuations for many unicorns now widely recognized [to name some; Docker, Tanium, Looker, Outreach, Sonder, Opendoor, Deliveroo, Vlocity, Plaid, Segment, Flexport, DoorDash, AwayLemonade, KeepTruckin and more.

Forbes recently debuted its predictions for this year, selecting some 25 venture-backed startups that it foresees as the next billion dollar startups. The startups selected by Forbes are listed below;

Next Trucking: Next Trucking is an El Segundo, California-based startup that connects shippers and truck carriers in the $800 billion U.S. trucking industry. Next Trucking focuses on drayage [moving goods from ports to warehouses], which is its distinction from similar services like Uber Freigh…