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

Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm TECH 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. The Echo Auto, a similar offering from Amazon saw over 1 million pre-orders before it  recently began shipping image : Amazon   A recent survey from voice tech publication indicate

The New BMW 7 Series In Pictures

New BMW 7 Series image : BMW A new BMW 7 Series edition recently made its premiere in China, a location underlining the significance of the Chinese market where 44% of global BMW 7 Series sales were made in 2018. BMW CEO Harald Krüger spoke at the event where he underlined the importance of the Chinese market, the company's largest single sales market since 2013. This year, 25 new BMW models will be launched in China where the new edition recently made its debut. In pictures, the new BMW 7 Series is shown below: image : BMW image : BMW image : BMW image : BMW image : BMW image : BMW image : BMW image : BMW image : BMW image : BMW image : BMW Features of the new BMW 7 Series include : Newly designed, slim and precise looking headlights A 40% larger single-piece kidney grille Newly designed bonnet with more precisely sculpted contour lines A wider exhaust tailpipe trim 35 mm slimmer, three-dimensional LED re

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

image : Apple 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. Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf Photograph by Jordan Curet/Fortune Brainstorm Tech 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.  The Apple

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

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg Photograph by Stuart Isett for Fortune Most Powerful Women 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 wh

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

image : Apple 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. Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf P

DJI Uncovers Corruption Cases Leading To $150 Million Loss

Friends make use of a DJI Osmo Pocket camera image : DJI Drone maker DJI has discovered several cases of corruption and expects 2018 losses of over 1 billion yuan ($150 million) as a result, the company said on Friday. It says the cases came to light during routine quality control last year and has kicked off investigation, handing a number of employees to authorities already. 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. A man hand launches a DJI Spark drone image : DJI “A number of corruption cases have been handed over to the authorities, and some employees have been dismissed,” I

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

image : Tesla 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. image : Tesla But of current, its most affordable vehicle is the mid-range (264 mile) Model 3 with premium sound and interior at $44,000 with the need for a lower priced variant a key one for stability. On the 1st of July, a tax credit for Tesla vehicles is fully phasing out and will make its vehicles $1,875 mo

Square Outs Debit Card To Provide Real-Time Access To Funds For Its Users

image : Square Square has unveiled a debit card for users to have real-time access to funds processed on its payment platform, eliminating the time between making a sale and having the cash available for spend for businesses. Users of the new Square Card also get an instant 2.75% discount on purchases made at other sellers who utilize a Square point-of-sale system. They'll be able to make payments wherever Mastercard debit cards are accepted, view purchase activity on a Square dashboard, access reporting features that separate business and personal expenses, export transaction data in downloadable formats for accounting purposes and withdraw funds at ATMs. The card is already available for sellers to pickup to begin use.

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

image : Fossil Group 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. Google CEO Sundar Pichai image : Google “Fossil Group has experienced signif

Cisco's Chuck Robbins Warns Higher Tariffs Will Lead To Lesser R&D Spend

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm TECH In a recent Bloomberg interview, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins cautioned U.S. officials against increasing tariffs on Chinese goods, saying it would take place at the expense of American innovation due to lesser research & development budgets which companies would put in place to absorb costs of higher tariffs. Robbins said his view represents that of several tech giants including Dell, Juniper Networks and Hewlett Packard. Cisco spent over $4 billion on R&D in 2017, being a top spender among companies including Amazon, Samsung, Apple, Alphabet, Intel, General Motors, Ford and Oracle. Find more statistics at Statista  "If we go to the next wave in tariffs, tech companies in the U.S. will have to absorb that and cut back in R&D when what they want us to do is lead in innovation,” Robbins said in the Bloomberg interview. Cisco, like many other top R&D spenders manufacture hardware

Snoop Dogg Takes Minor Stake In Sweden's Klarna

Snoop Dogg performs at the 2011 Maquinaria Festival image : Super 45 on Flickr Rapper Snoop Dogg has taken a minor stake in Swedish payments unicorn Klarna and is now the face of its "Smooth Dogg" ad campaign, a name chosen in reference to its ambition to enable "smooth" payments. This marks another investment for Snoop Dogg (real name Calvin Broadus) whose other bets include commission free trading app Robinhood and legal cannabis delivery service Eaze. “So we were wondering who is the smoothest person alive, that was really the background of how the name Snoop Dogg popped up in our heads. When we started speaking to Snoop Dogg, he was very keen to learn more about the tech industry, fintech, all these things, so we connected very well.” Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski told Forbes who first reported of Snoop Dogg's investment. Klarna co-founder and CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski speaks during a TechCrunch Disrupt event. Photo by John Phillips/G

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

Tinder co-founder and former CEO Sean Rad Photo by Eóin Noonan/Web Summit via Sportsfile Match Group, the Dallas based online dating company behind popular services including Tinder, OkCupid and PlentyOfFish and its parent firm IAC has filed a lawsuit against Tinder co-founder and ex CEO Sean Rad alleging theft of company files and other proprietary files. The lawsuit filed in a Manhattan state court on Tuesday claims $250 million in damages. 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. IAC chairman Barry Diller image : John Koetsier on Flickr IAC is now alleging that Rad in violation of an employment agreement, created backups of internal e-mails, directly copied company files that include “highly sensitive, non-public information concerning his employers’ bus

DoorDash Now Available In All 50 U.S. States

DoorDash co-founder and CEO Tony Xu Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch Food delivery service DoorDash is now live in Alaska, Montana, and South Dakota, its 48th, 49th and 50th states respectively marking it as the first on-demand delivery platform to operate in all states in the U.S. The company has also launched in new cities across North Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming, making its service available in more regions across America. The new cities DoorDash has gotten into are shown below: Alaska: Anchorage Montana: Billings, Bozeman, and Missoula  North Dakota: Fargo  South Dakota: Sioux Falls  West Virginia: Morgantown and Huntington  Wyoming: Cheyenne DoorDash CEO Tony Xu (left) and Sequoia Capital partner Alfred Lin, Lin sits on the boards of DoorDash, Houzz, Airbnb and Stella & Dot. Photograph by Fortune Brainstorm Tech  Customers in these regions can now order between the hours of 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. local time from restaurants

Infor Raises $1.5 Billion Ahead Of Potential IPO

Infor CEO Charles Phillips image : Oracle Infor, the cloud software company led by former Oracle president Charles Phillips has announced $1.5 billion in funding from Koch Equity Development (KED) and Golden Gate Capital, nearly two years after KED invested over $2 billion in the New York based company. Infor inked over $3 billion in 2018 revenues, having garnered more than 9,500 customers in 110 countries for its CloudSuites core products. In total, it counts over 68,000 customers in 170 countries which include 8 out of  top 10 global luxury brands, 19 of the top 20 automotive suppliers, 18 of the 20 largest U.S. cities and 18 of the 25 largest U.S. healthcare delivery networks according to a press statement. Infor chief technology officer Soma Somasundaram image credit : Infor It employs 17,300 people worldwide and says it has invested approximately $2.5 billion in product design and development over the last five years with 475 new products, 1,870 integrations,

HomePod To Be Available In China Starting Friday

Apple HomePod image : Apple Apple's wireless smart speaker, the HomePod will become available in in mainland China and Hong Kong markets starting Friday, January 18 as recently announced by the company. Residents in the country will now be able to use the wireless speaker designed for voice control with an array of six microphones and access over 40 million songs from Apple Music streamed directly to the speaker. The HomePod features Airplay 2 enabling users to stream music and other audio content from local services like QQ Music, iHuman Music, Penguin FM and Dragonfly FM in mainland China and Spotify, KKBOX, JOOX and Podcast in Hong Kong. Inside the Apple HomePod image : Apple The speaker can also be used for functions like checking the weather and latest sport scores, setting reminders and alarms, making and receiving phone calls and monitoring of HomeKit enabled smart home accessories such as door locks, security cameras, lights and air quality monitors.

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

Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm TECH 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. Airbnb co-founder and chief product officer Joe Gebbia Photo: Bret Hartman / TED 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 L

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

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg image : Sit With Me on Flickr Facebook has announced it's investing $300 million over three years on local news partnerships and programming globally, allotting investments to expand memberships and subscription accelerators. It has already distributed $16 million among various journalism non-profits and organizations including the American Journalism Project, Community News Project, Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund, Report for America and the Pulitzer Center as part of this effort. It's investing the same amount allocated for a similar project last year by Google, the ‘Google News Initiative’ through which the company gives out money to “help stimulate innovation in digital journalism” among European publishers. The company last year shifted its News Feed algorithm in favor of more “meaningful interactions” and less Page/news content, This evolved to focus on trusted local news for its users indicating efforts in this space.

Walgreens And Microsoft Establish Partnership For Healthcare Services

Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Stefano Pessina (left) and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella image : Microsoft   Walgreens and Microsoft have announced a partnership centered on development of "new health care delivery models, technology and retail innovations to advance and improve the future of health care". Both companies will combine use of Microsoft Azure, Microsoft’s cloud and AI platform, investments and new retail solutions to "make health care delivery more personal, affordable and accessible", A joint press release says. This partnership will involve a multiyear R&D investment including provision of funding, subject-matter experts, technology and tools to build healthcare solutions and exploration of potential to establish joint innovation centers in key markets. This year, Walgreens is also piloting up to 12  “digital health corners”, locations in its stores that will sell health-care related devices and hardware to its customers. Microsoft Azu

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

A Ford self-driving vehicle image : Ford 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.” Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess (left) and Tennessee governor Bill Haslam at the North American International Auto Show. image : Volkswagen 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

Zoox Names Former Intel Executive Aicha Evans As CEO

Zoox's new CEO Aicha Evans Photograph by Fortune Most Powerful Women Autonomous vehicle startup Zoox has named Intel's former Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Aicha Evans as its CEO, joining Zoox after 12 years at the chipmaker and nearly one year on its board. Prior to serving most recently as the Chief Strategy Officer, she led its Communication and Devices Group, overseeing a team of 7,000 people across multiple continents responsible for driving wireless engineering for multi-comm products and Intel platforms. Her hire comes months after a sudden ouster of Zoox co-founder Tim Kentley-Klay as CEO for unspecified reasons. Zoox co-founder and former CEO Tim Kentley-Klay Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm Tech “Our team has made incredible progress since we started in 2014,” Zoox co-founder and CTO Jesse Levinson said. “We believe now more than ever that the full realization of autonomous mobility is a radical departure from last

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