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Dropbox Has Reportedly Acquired HelloSign For $230 Million

Dropbox co-founder and CEO Drew Houston image : Sportsfile (Web Summit) According to a CNBC report , Dropbox, which went public in 2018 has acquired electronic signature startup HelloSign for $230 million in cash, its largest acquisition yet and its 25th so far. Neither Dropbox nor HelloSign have officially confirmed the news as of yet. HelloSign, a YCombinator alum, has raised $16 million in funding according to Crunchbase . Backers include Greylock Partners, Khosla Ventures, Foundry Group, Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo and Gusto CEO Joshua Reeves. Dropbox co-founder Arash Ferdowsi image : Dropbox In November, HelloSign announced two new integrations with Dropbox - the “HelloSign Dropbox Extension” and the “HelloFax Dropbox Extension” - that allows users to complete eSignature flows and send faxes from the Dropbox web interface. Both companies are already partners, making an acquisition quite plausible. The company also integrates with Salesforce, Oracle, Gmail, Box, Eve

The Mercedes-Benz V-Class Launches In India

Mercedes-Benz V-Class image : Mercedes-Benz Just recently, The Mercedes-Benz V Class launched in India in an event witnessed by around 100 media reps and other guests. It's now available for order in the country immediately, launching a few years after it made its debut in Japan and China. The V-Class debuted in Japan in 2015 and China in 2016, and is now entering another major Asian market with its Indian debut. A few features of the V-Class model are listed below: Eight person seating  Temperature-controlled cupholders A large panoramic sliding sunroof Ambient lighting (three colours and five dimming levels) Three output levels to choose from: 100 kW (136 hp), 120 kW (163 hp) and 140 kW (190 hp) CO2 emissions of 149 g/km Eleven driver assistance systems Basic locking torque of approximately 50 Nm between the front and rear axle Permanent all-wheel drive image : Mercedes-Benz image : Mercedes-Benz The Mercedes-Benz V-Class is currently available in

GM Is Spending $22 Million On Spring Hill Manufacturing Plant For Advanced Engine Tech

Entrance to the Visitors Center at General Motors’ Spring Hill Manufacturing complex in Tennessee image : General Motors General Motors has announced it's spending $22 million for advanced engine technology for its Spring Hill, Tennessee manufacturing complex to enable it build 6.2L V-8 engines with the company's advanced Dynamic Fuel Management technology. With this investment, The Detroit headquartered company has now put in more than $2 Billion in the manufacturing facility since 2010. GM is also completing a previously announced $300 million investment in the complex for production of the new Cadillac XT6 vehicle. More than 200 jobs will be added for the production of the new, three-row vehicle at the facility. A GM employee works on the Chevrolet Traverse along the assembly line at the GM Spring Hill plant image : General Motors The nearly three decade old complex currently employs about 3,800 people, out of over 4,000 GM employs in the state of Tenne

HMD Partners With Three Wireless Carriers To Sell Phones In U.S. And Canada

Nokia 3.1 Plus image : HMD Global Finnish mobile company HMD, the manufacturer of Nokia branded phones, has announced partnerships with three wireless providers - Cricket Wireless, Verizon and Rogers Communications - to sell its phones in U.S. and Canada. The company would offer its smartphones through Cricket Wireless and Verizon in the U.S. and Rogers Communications in Canada, branching into the large North American smartphone market. The Nokia 3.1 Plus is now directly available in Cricket Wireless stores while the Nokia 2.1 smartphone is set for arrival in Verizon and Rogers stores, thanks to this partnership. The Nokia 2.1 Verizon model (sale begins January 31) will be re-branded as Nokia 2 V while that of Rogers will begin selling through its subsidiary, chatr at an unspecified date. Nokia 2.1 image : HMD Global This partnership adds to the current ones made by HMD across fields including imaging (Zeiss Optics), software, manufacturing and retail. Nokia phone

Google I/O 2019 Will Hold From May 7-9 At The Shoreline Amphitheatre

Lego wall space at the Google office image : Google This year's Google I/O annual developer conference will hold from the 7th to 9th of May as fished out by a Swiss based developer who goes by the name Till Kottman on Twitter. The date was revealed through a shortcut accidentally hidden in a Google puzzle tweeted this morning, with relevant information concealed in a JSON code snippet. Yup, they figured me out, they also removed the dummy tweet. I still have a screenshot of the json 😋 pic.twitter.com/4tqt1YchTM — Till Kottmann (@deletescape) January 25, 2019 Users like Kottman were able to get sight of an earlier tweet from a now deleted dummy account dubbed @internaltest189 that contained the dates hidden in plain text. The Google I/O conference has been held in May for four years straight so this date doesn't come as quite a surprise. Last year's conference held from May 8-10 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre, The same outdoor location with an over 20,000

Naspers Pays $1.16 Billion To Increase Stake In Russia's Avito

OLX co-founder Fabrice Grinda. Naspers took ownership of OLX in 2014 and is purchasing an additional 29.1% stake in Avito through the OLX Group. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch South African media giant Naspers has increased its stake in Russian classifieds platform Avito, paying $1.16 billion for an additional 29.1% stake, placing its stake in the company now at 99.6% on a fully diluted basis. The remaining 0.4% stake is held by current Avito management. Naspers first invested in Avito in 2013 with the company having grown since then to 10.3 million daily unique visitors, a large portion of the Russian internet population.  Avito recorded revenue of $162 million in the first half of its fiscal 2019 year, a 31% growth from last year driven by strong vertical traction and enhanced product features. Naspers made a hit as an early investor in Chinese internet giant Tencent and has parlayed its winnings into several big investments in technology c

Mastercard Says It Still Plans To Secure China License

Mastercard CEO Ajay S. Banga image : World Economic Forum / Benedikt von Loebell New York headquartered payments company Mastercard has said it still plans to apply for a bankcard clearing license in the Chinese region and was in “active discussions” to prospect different solutions. “China remains a vital market for us and we look forward to working with the Chinese government and local partners in growing and developing the overall payments ecosystem in the long-term.” Mastercard Asia-Pacific co-president Ling Hai said in a statement. The company said “it hopes to be able to present another application for the bankcard clearing license in the very near future”. According to newspaper Beijing News, Mastercard had sumbitted application documents in 2017 but voluntary withdrew its application June last year, citing a source at China's central bank. image : Mastercard American Express got a shot at China's large payments market in November, gaining approval to c

Facebook Reportedly Planning To Integrate WhatsApp, Instagram And Messenger Services

image : Facebook According to a New York Times report , Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is planning to integrate the company's messaging services - WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger - citing four people involved in the effort. It also says Zuckerberg has ordered all of the apps to incorporate end-to-end encryption, a move that will protect messages from being viewed by anyone save for the participants in a conversation. Stitching the apps' infrastructure together will increase the utility of the social network, keeping its users highly engaged in its ecosystem and fending off competition from rival sources, the people involved said, according to NYT. It'll also likely provide the company with a chance to build up its advertising business or add new ways to make money. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg image : Guillaume Paumier on Flickr The report says Facebook is still in the early stages of this effort and plans to complete it by the end of this year

Sonos Reportedly Working On High-End Headphones That Could Be Launched Next Year

image : Sonos Sonos is said to be planning on expanding beyond manufacturing of wireless speakers and home sound systems into the high-end headphone market. Bloomberg reports the company which went public in 2018 is working on wireless, over-the-ear headphones that could be launched by next year. It says the company is targeting a price range close to $300 or more, an average cost for several high-end headphones in the market and is focusing on audio quality and the ability to work with multiple digital assistants and music services. Bloomberg also reports the company has begun reaching out to overseas manufacturers for production of the headphones. Sonos CEO Patrick Spence image : Sonos Sonos is one of the few consumer hardware producers to have partnered with most leading tech companies including Amazon, Apple and Google, making an integration with multiple music services and digital assistants more plausible. The company debuted on the public markets August last yea

OpenX Inks $110 Million Cloud Deal With Google

Urs Hölzle, SVP Cloud Infrastructure, Google Cloud image : Google Ad exchange OpenX has announced a five-year deal with Google Cloud amounting to over $110 million which will see the programmatic advertising company move its entire exchange into the cloud with Google Cloud Platform (GCP), becoming the first ever major exchange to move its workload into the cloud according to the company's statement. Work on integrating this five-year collaboration between both companies kicked off in 2018 with a completion of the full transition to the cloud expected by the end of Q2, 2019. According to OpenX's statement, benefits of moving to the Google Cloud Platform include speed, scalability, global-reach, future-proofing and people based marketing. Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian, he formely held various executive positions at Oracle where he stayed for more than two decades image : Oracle The transition to the cloud will free up resources for new growth areas, such as

Adobe Acquires French 3D Design Software Provider Allegorithmic

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm TECH Adobe has announced an acquisition of Allegorithmic, the French company behind 3D design software Substance with a diverse customer base including BMW, Ikea, Louis Vuitton, Ubisoft and Electronic Arts. Deal terms for the 100+ employee company founded by Sébastien Deguy in 2003 were not disclosed. Allegorithmic's Substance is the industry-leading software suite for creation of customizable 3D textures and materials. It's used by clients in industries ranging from video gaming to architecture, product design and fashion. Adobe has made several digital media acquisitions in the past including Sayspring, Kylebrush, Mixamo, Fotolia, Typekit, Behance and Mettle's Skybox Suite. Behance founder and Adobe Creative Cloud chief product officer Scott Belsky Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch “We are seeing an increasing appetite from customers to leverage 3D technology

Tesla Lessens Production Hours For Model S and X Vehicles

Tesla Model S image : Tesla Tesla is lessening production hours for the Model S and Model X vehicles, the company said on Wednesday, days after it announced it's laying off 7% of its staff while it focuses on boosting Model 3 production. Earlier this month, CEO Elon Musk said that the company would no longer take orders for the 75kWh version of the Model S and X in order to streamline production. With a tax-credit phaseout inbound, Tesla faces a choice of hiking prices which may lead to loss of customers or cutting costs by thousands of dollars per vehicle to keep up. Its most affordable vehicle is the mid-range (264 mile) Model 3 with premium interior and sound which goes for $44,000, The company is working towards the goal of offering a standard range (220 mille), standard interior Model 3 for $35,000. Tesla Model X image : Tesla “As a result of this change and because of improving efficiencies in our production lines, we have reduced Model S and X production

Bing Search Blocked In China

Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Web Summit via Sportsfile Microsoft's Bing search engine has been blocked in China, the company revealed on Wednesday, marking it as the latest foreign service to be blocked in the country. But according to Bloomberg , this is due to a technical error as opposed to an attempt at censorship. It says the government had no intention to block Bing although it's unclear when the service would be re-activated citing two people with knowledge of the matter. Other popular  websites blocked in China include Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Slack, GitHub, Dropbox, Twitter, Blogspot, Vimeo, The New York Times, Scribd, Tumblr and Netflix. On Thursday, China's cyber watchdog said it deleted nearly 8,000 mobile apps including a video game from China's own Tecent which it dubbed as 'malicious'. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Image by Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media The Cyberspace Admini

Amazon Unveils Fully-Electric Autonomous Delivery Robot, "Scout"

Amazon Scout image : Amazon Amazon has unveiled a fully-electric delivery robot - Amazon Scout - comparable to the size of a small cooler that will roll along sidewalks at a walking pace. The company says it will begin delivering packages to customers in a neighborhood in Snohomish County, Washington. Customers in this neigborhood will be able to order from Amazon just like they normally would and get their packages delivered by either an Amazon partner carrier or the Amazon Scout. Amazon is starting with six of these robots, delivering packages Monday through Friday during daytime. The robots would autonomously follow their delivery route but will initially be accompanied by an Amazon employee, the company says. The Amazon Scout was developed at the company's research and development lab in Seattle, a place also home to research labs of Microsoft and Facebook. Another company with a recently unveiled delivery robot is Postmates, which unveiled an autonomous delivery

Desktop Metal Raises $160 Million Round Led By Koch Subsidiary KDT

image : Desktop Metal Massachusetts based 3D printing technology provider Desktop Metal has raised $160 million in new funding led by Koch Industries subsidiary Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), boosting the total raised by the company to $438 million and marking it as the most funded private company in the 3D printing industry. Desktop Metal founded in 2015 by experts in advanced manufacturing, robotics and metallurgy produces a 3D printing system dubbed 'Studio System' which the company says "is the world’s fastest metal printing press for mass production with over 400 percent productivity over the closest binder jet alternatives and more than 100 times faster than laser powder bed fusion systems in the market". Desktop Metal CEO Ric Fulop image : World Economic Forum / Boris Baldinger The Studio System is designed to print and sinter parts in an office environment, capable of printing a broad range of alloys including reactive metals like titanium

Boeing Completes First Test Flight Of Autonomous Flying Vehicle

Boeing's passenger air vehicle (PAV) prototype image : Boeing Boeing has successfully completed the first test flight of its autonomous passenger air vehicle, the company announced on Wednesday. Boeing NeXt, the unit responsible for its 'urban air mobility' efforts, resorted to Aurora Flight Sciences - the aviation and aeronautics research subsidiary it acquired in October 2017 - for design and development of the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and says it will go ahead with testing to advance safety and reliability. During the flight, the passenger air vehicle (PAV) prototype completed a controlled takeoff, hover and landing which tested its autonomous functions and ground control systems, Boeing says. Future flights will test forward, wing-borne flight and the transition phase between vertical and forward-flight modes. The transition phase typically is the key challenge involved in development of any high speed vertical takeoff and landin

Johnson & Johnson Reportedly Pursuing An Acquisition Of Surgical Robotics Firm Auris Health

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Johnson & Johnson, the world's number one producer of healthcare products is pursuing an acquisition surgical robotics firm Auris Health, Bloomberg reports , looking to acquire the firm at a premium to its valuation pegged at about $2 billion according to a source. Such an acquisition would mark one of the largest for the New Jersey based healthcare giant, but quite less than its $30 billion acquisition of Actellion Pharmceuticals in January 2017. Auris Health founded in 2007 has raised some $730 million in funding according to Crunchbase data. Investors include Lux Capital, Wellington Management, D1 Capital Partners, Viking Global and  Peter Thiel's Mithrial Capital Management. The company produces robotic surgical scopes operated by a device similar to a video game controller which are steered into a patient's lungs where they can be used to identify cancerous tumors. No final agr

Munchery Crunches, After Raising $125 Million And A $300 Million Valuation

image : Munchery San Francisco based food delivery service Munchery - one that raised $125.4 million in funding according to Crunchbase with a $300 million valuation from a previous round according to the Wall Street Journal - has announced its shutting down after nearly a decade of operation. The company made this known this in an e-mail sent to customers on Tuesday, stating that outstanding orders will be cancelled and refunded. “Since 2010, we have been committed to bringing fresh, local, and delicious meals into your homes along with all our customers across the country, We’ve been delighted to work with world-renowned chefs, experiment with diverse and unique ingredients and recipes, and be a part of your holiday feasts and traditions. We have also enjoyed giving back to our community through meal donations, volunteer service, and so much more…We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to share our dream with you – it has been truly wonderful. Happy Eating!” Munchery&

Apple Pay Set To Launch In Target, Taco Bell, Hy-Vee, Speedway And Jack In The Box

image : Apple Apple has announced five new merchants that will begin accepting Apple Pay, the world leading contactless payments system that enables customers transact through the iPhone and Apple Watch. Target, Taco Bell, Hy-Vee supermarkets, Speedway convenience stores and Jack in the Box are the latest to begin supporting Apple Pay, spreading the service to now 74 of the top 100 merchants in the U.S. and 65% of all retail locations in the country. A roll-out in Target stores has kicked off with availability in all 1,850 locations in the U.S. expected in coming weeks. Apple Pay can now be used at over 245 Hy-Vee stores in the Midwest and inside the store at all of Speeway's locations across the Southeast, East Coast and Midwest.  A roll-out to over 7,000 Taco Bell and 2,200 Jack in the Box locations will also happen in the next few months. image : Apple Last  year, Costco, CVS and 7-Eleven began supporting Apple Pay, These new retailers are joining a league includ

Logitech Inks Record Q3 Sales and Ups Full Year Guidance Following Strong Gaming Growth

image : Logitech Logitech has increased its full-year profit guidance, following strong growth in its gaming hardware business that enabled it surpass third quarter expectations. In its third quarter of fiscal year 2019, it recorded sales of $864 million, up 6% from last year and cash flow of $273 million compared to $256 million for the same period last year. Its full year profit guidance has now been raised to between $340 and $345 million, up from between $325 million and $335 million, on an annual sales outlook of 9 to 11 percent growth . July last year, Switzerland based Logitech raised its profit guidance following a rise in sales of accessories used in gaming, video collaboration and for computer tablets. The company recorded net income of $112.8 million for the third quarter ended December 31, beating various analyst estimates. Logitech CEO Bracken Darrell Photo by Cody Glenn / RISE / Sportsfile Logitech offers products via brands including its own name, Jaybird

Sheryl Sandberg Admits To Facebook Shortcomings, Saying It Needs "To Do Better"

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg Photograph by Krista Kennell/Fortune Most Powerful Women Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg speaking at the DLD conference in Munich on Sunday recognized the company's shortcomings in protection of user data stating the company needs "to do better" to protect its users' data amid series of controversies for the company. “At Facebook, these last few years have been difficult,” Sandberg said. “We need to stop abuse more quickly and we need to do better to protect people’s data. We have acknowledged our mistakes”. Facebook has also announced a partnership with the Technical University of Munich to create an "Institute for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence" supported by an initial funding grant of $7.5 million over five years. Facebook's London office image : Facebook “We have to [take action] because so many people use technology for good,” Sandberg said, stating that the company was “far fro

Facebook Is Adding 1,000 Jobs In New Dublin Campus By Year End

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg image : Facebook Facebook has announced its adding 1,000 jobs at its international headquarters in Ireland, a second major jobs announcement from a U.S. multinational in a matter of days. The social networking giant began work last year on a new campus in the Irish capital of Dublin which it said would increase its footprint by 4 times in the city and enable it double its current headcount of over 4,000. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said the new roles would be principally assigned to crackdown of abuse taking place on its site. “Facebook has had a hard time these last few years, and that is because we need to do a better job keeping people safe on our platform,” She said at a speech in Dublin. Facebook's Dublin Office image : Facebook “We’re not the same company we were, even a few years ago, and that is something we have to prove. We have massively ramped up investment in safety and security. This means jobs. We do a lot of that

LG Will Reportedly Supply Gesture-Reading System For Mercedes-Benz

image : Mercedes Benz LG is said to be the supplier of a motion-detection system that can read a driver's gestures for control of some automobile functions, to be put in place in an unspecified Mercedes-Benz model. Bloomberg reports this citing people with knowledge of the matter. It says a camera installed on the car's ceiling will read hand gestures and control fuctions like adjusting music volume and turning on cruise control, with LG envisioning a system capable of more complex functions like shifting gears. At CES earlier this month, Mercedes showcased  a feature dubbed MBUX Interior Assist which allows drivers of the Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupe control functions through hand gestures. The Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupe interior image : Mercedes It's possible it plans to debut a similar system in an upcoming vehicle, like its competitor BMW which has already deployed a comparable function for its 7 Series sedans using technology from Sony's Softkinetic. I

WhatsApp Sets Limit On Text Forwards To Combat Fake News

Facebook's WhatsApp has set a limit on text forwarding, with forwarding to more than five individuals or groups at a time no longer allowed under a new rule rolling out globally to its 1.5 billion monthly users. This move is aimed at combatting “misinformation and rumors”, company executives said on Monday at an event in Indonesia, Reuters says. “We’re imposing a limit of five messages all over the world as of today,” WhatsApp vice president for policy and communications said at the event. A five limit rule was initially imposed in India after a series of vigilante killings stirred by misinformation on the messaging platform were blamed on the company. A higher limit of 20 recipients was set globally at the time. WhatsApp is also reported to be working on new features including fingerprint lock on Android and a new re-designed section for transfer of audio files. This report comes from WABetaInfo citing a submitted update on the Google Play Beta Program . Starting Monday,

Disney Lost $1 Billion On Streaming Efforts In Fiscal Year, Filings Show

image : Hulu A Friday filing made by Disney indicates its investment in streaming service Hulu as primary contributor to a $580 million equity loss and an additional $469 million loss mainly from BAMTech, the streaming technology provider responsible for ESPN+ and its upcoming entertainment service Disney+ which it acquired a controlling stake in for a total of $2.58 billion split in two deals. This loss indicates more than $1 billion associated to streaming in the fiscal year ended September 30 even before launch of its Disney+ streaming service later this year. Disney is set to launch the service in the U.S. in September 2019 to better compete with Amazon and Netflix, the two largest streaming offerings in the U.S. Disney CEO Bob Iger image : Thomas Hawk on Flickr The media company is set to gain a 60% ownership of Hulu following completion of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox (it currently owns 30% and will gain Fox's 30% ownership after acquisition)

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