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Spotify Said To Be Planning Release Of A $100 Voice-Controlled Car Music Player

Spotify is working on the release of a $100 voice-controlled in-car music player this year, The Financial Times says, marking its first foray into hardware. FT says the company has been working with electronics manufacturer Flex to build out the device which would come cheaper than most brand-name car stereo systems if a $100 price stands firm.

Rumors of hardware ambitions for Spotify first emerged June last year after the company registered with the Federal Communications Commission, a move towards getting approval to sell wireless hardware in the U.S. Spotify also introduced a new "car view" mode for its Android app just this week, signalling a focus on the automotive market.


A recent survey from voice tech publication Voicebot.ai indicate that some 77 million U.S. adults use voice assistants in their cars, compared with 45.7 million using them on smart speakers. Cars are arguably a best use for voice technology as drivers might prefer voice control rather than touchscree…

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

image : Epic Games/Hasbro

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.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney

image : Game Developers Conference 

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.




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Leaked E-mails Show Apple And Qualcomm May Have Fallen Out For Another Reason

Apple and Qualcomm are in the midst of a legal battle regarding licensing and royalty payments for use of the latter's chips, a business method Apple is pushing against which has led to a fallout between both companies. The ongoing suit has seen Apple COO Jeff Williams testify that Qualcomm refused to supply chips for 2018 iPhones and Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf argue that its push to become the sole supplier of iPhone chips, one that regulators term as anti-competitive conduct was in response to a $1 billion "incentive payment" demanded by Apple.

But leaked e-mails between Williams and Mollenkopf seen by Bloomberg suggests that both companies may have cut ties over a software dispute. "In my wildest imagination of some evil intention of Apple, I have trouble coming up with a real scenario where anything of significant value could be leaked based on this code," Williams penned in September 2017.


"I just hope the licensing dispute doesn’t cloud good judg…

Google Acquires Unspecified Smartwatch Technology From Fossil Group For $40 Million

Google has entered an agreement with Fossil Group to purchase $40 million worth of smartwatch technology and a portion of its research & development team, the technology being unspecified and what Wareable says is a “new product innovation that’s not yet hit the market,” as told by Fossil’s executive vice president of chief strategy Greg McKelvey.

“Wearables, built for wellness, simplicity, personalization and helpfulness, have the opportunity to improve lives by bringing users the information and insights they need quickly, at a glance. The addition of Fossil Group’s technology and team to Google demonstrates our commitment to the wearables industry by enabling a diverse portfolio of smartwatches and supporting the ever-evolving needs of the vitality-seeking, on-the-go consumer,” vice president of product management for Google WearOS Stacey Burr said in a statement.


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VW Not Yet Committed To Collaborating With Ford On Self-driving Cars

Volkswagen, set to announce an alliance with automaker Ford this Tuesday has not yet decided to collaborate with the company on self-driving cars, Its CEO Herbert Diess said, speaking to reporters in a roundtable at the North American International Auto Show.

“There’s still a lot of hype” about driverless vehicles and "a lot of money flowing in, but I think it’s still a long way to go until we really get the first paybacks,” Diess said. “There’s one alternative, which could be joining forces with Ford. It’s not yet decided. But it’s still a long way to go, many millions to be poured in and probably some setbacks to expect.”


In November, Volkswagen was reported to be considering an investment in Ford's Argo AI self-driving unit and also looking to share electric vehicle technology with Ford, tapping into the high amounts it has committed for battery powered vehicles.

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Tinder Owner IAC Sues Co-Founder Sean Rad Over Company Documents

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It comes six months after Rad and other Tinder co-founders filed a $2 billion lawsuit against IAC, alleging it manipulated data to lessen Tinder's valuation and rob them of stock options, and that former CEO Greg Blatt engaged in sexual harassment.


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Apple Ordered By German Court To Halt Part Of Press Release In Qualcomm Case

Apple has been ordered by a German court to stop use of part of a press release stating all iPhones would be available for purchase in the country through resellers and carriers after being banned from selling the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models in the country following a patent dispute with Qualcomm, a copy of a filing examined by Reuters show.

“The press release ... is misleading as it contains statements that are at least potentially deceptive about the availability of the goods, namely the iPhones affected by the ruling,” A three-judge panel penned in the latest ruling. Qualcomm obtained this injunction against Apple on Thursday after a similar move in China.


At the time, Apple said it would no longer sell the iPhone 7 and 8 at its 15 retail locations in Germany but the models would remain available through over 4,300 carriers and resellers in the country.

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Airbnb Profitable For Two Years Straight As It Heads For Public Markets

Airbnb today announced a number of milestones which include being profitable for a second year on an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) basis in 2018. This counts as a plus as the company heads for an IPO reported to be taking place this year.

It also says it's on track to hit 500 million guest arrivals on its platform by the end of Q1 this year. While specific figures are not provided, the company exceeded its 2017 projections with $93 million in profit on $2.6 billion in revenue, Bloomberg says with CEO Brian Chesky promising a public offering before 2020 when some employee stock grants expire.

This month, longtime Amazon executive Dave Stephenson joined the company as chief financial officer, a key role in preparation for an IPO after its previous CFO Laurence Tosi left last year amid a disagreement with Chesky.

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U.S. Regulators Reportedly Mulling Fine Against Facebook For Privacy Violations

According to The Washington Post, the Federal Trade Commission is considering imposing a 'record-setting' fine against Facebook for violation of a legally binding agreement to protect the privacy of its users' data, citing three people familiar with the case. The Post says the fine is expected to be much higher than the record $22.5 million fine imposed against Google in 2012 for a similar issue.

It says the FTC's exact findings in a probe that began last year against Facebook has not been finalized with a plan to issue a formal recommendation for a fine expected soon. Facebook has faced lots of backlash and probes regarding handling of user data ranging from the Cambridge Analytica saga that affected 87 million of its users to reports of data scraping on Android users and even a hiring of opposition research firm Definers Public Affairs, targeting financier George Soros who has criticized the company's privacy practices.

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According to state-run China Securities Journal citing an internal report, more than 40 people at the consumer drone manufacturer had been investigated on this issue. This counts as a minority for the company which employed 12,000 people as of 2018 end. “DJI condemns any form of corruption strongly and has set up a high-level anti-corruption task force to investigate further and strengthen anti-corruption measures,” DJI said.


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Facebook To Invest $300 Million In News Partnerships And Programming Over Three Years

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Tesla To Lay Off 7% Of Staff And Focus On Model 3 Production

Just after SpaceX, Elon Musk's Tesla has announced it's cutting its full-time employee headcount by 7% while it focuses on increasing the Model 3 production rate and improving manufacturing, two crucial points it says it requires to produce the standard range (220 mile), standard interior Model 3 at $35k and still stand as a viable company.

Tesla touts 2018 as its most successful year in history, having delivered almost as many cars as it did in all of 2017 in the last quarter alone and as many last year as it did in all of its prior years of existence combined. The Model 3 also became the best-selling premium vehicle in the U.S for the year.


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