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Pentagon Evaluating Potential Conflicts Of Interest For $10 Billion Cloud Contract Bid

Amazon Web Services (AWS) General Manager of Deep Learning and AI, Matt Wood image : Nvidia Corporation The US Department of Defense as revealed in a court filing made public on Friday, is evaluating potential conflicts of interest surrounding new information about Deap Uhbi, a former employee at a high level technology unit in the organization, who formerly worked at Amazon Web Services (AWS). This comes after Oracle filed a complaint in August last year, protesting the decision of the contract, worth up to $10 billion to be awarded to a single vendor. The cloud contract was opened for bidding in July last year, with Amazon considered as a top contender, having previously inked a $600 million cloud deal  with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The Pentagon says it's reviewing "possible personal conflicts of interests" related to the contract procurement process, raising the chance that the 18 month long exercise could be restarted. Amazon Web Services

Intel Expects 5G Modem Chips To Not Appear In Phones Until 2020

Sandra Rivera, senior vice president and general manager of the Intel Network Platforms Group image : Intel Intel executives, on Friday, said its 5G modem chips will not be bundled with mobile phones until 2020, raising chances that its biggest customer, Apple will be over a year behind rivals in making a device that's compatible with 5G network. Apple rival Samsung recently unveiled a 5G version  of the new Galaxy S10 with China's Xiaomi following suit . Apple was previously reported to be waiting till at least 2020 before the launch of a 5G smartphone. Several analysts have argued that a wait could leave room for other smartphone makers to grab market share which would have been maintained by Apple, But Apple is said to be analysing that newly deployed networks and first versions of 5G smartphones may see problems like spotty coverage which would make consumers less willing to switch. An Intel 5G modem image : Intel Such decision might also be related t

Wayfair Stock At Record High As Sales Soar

A mixed-reality Wayfair shopping experience, powered by Magic Leap image : Wayfair Wayfair, the popular online retailer for home furnishings and décor items, has seen its stock climb to a record high since its 2014 IPO, following a surge of more than 40% in fourth quarter sales, beating several Wall Street estimates. However, net loss in 2018 more than doubled from the previous year. Wayfair stock rose as much as 34% on Friday, now trading at $150 - as of writing. The company's market cap stands at around $13.6 billion (as of writing). In October 2014, Wayfair debuted on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), raising $300 million at a stock market value of around $2.4 billion. image : Wayfair For 2018, Boston, Massachusetts based Wayfair recorded net revenue of $6.8 billion, up more than 40% from $4.72 billion a year earlier. But net loss recorded for the year was $504.1 million, a more than 100% jump from $244.6 million year earlier. This stems from the compa

Egypt Lifts Ban On Uber And Careem Operations

image : Uber Egypt's top administrative court has lifted a ban on operations by ride-hailing services Uber and Careem, which have met opposition from traditional taxi drivers. The decision made by Egypt's supreme administrative court overrules that of a lower court that ordered Uber and Careem to halt their activities in the country. In March 2018, a lower administrative court withdrew the permits of Uber and its Middle East rival Careem after 42 drivers filed suit against both companies. The local taxi drivers accused both of violating Egyptian traffic laws by enabling the use of private vehicles for commercial purposes. image : Uber Uber has faced legal hurdles around the world, even in the US where it's based, from traditional taxi operators who have seen their operations disrupted by the emergence of ride-hailing services. Just recently, the San Francisco based company took New York City to court over a limit placed on the number of ride-hailing drivers a

Several Microsoft Employees Protest $480 Million HoloLens Deal With US Army

image : Microsoft Some Microsoft employees have demanded that the company cancels a  $480 million contract with the US Army that involves supply of its HoloLens brand of augmented reality headsets for use in combat training and missions. Up to 94 Microsoft employees signed a petition calling on the company to cease developing “any and all weapons technologies.” "We are alarmed that Microsoft is working to provide weapons technology to the U.S. Military, helping one country's government "increase lethality" using tools we built. We did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used". The petition said. Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition image : Microsoft The employees are demanding that Microsoft cancels the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) contract with the US Army and "appoint an independent, external ethics review board with the power to enforce and publicly validate compliance with its

Twitter's Evan Williams To Step Down From Board

Twitter co-founder and former CEO Evan Williams Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch Twitter co-founder and former chief executive Evan Williams is stepping down from the company's board at the end of this month, as made known in a new SEC filing . “It’s been an incredible 13 years, and I’m proud of what Twitter has accomplished during my time with the company. I will continue rooting for the team as I focus my time on other projects.” Evan Williams said in the filing. Williams - who is currently CEO of Medium, the popular online publishing platform he launched in 2012 - launched Twitter in 2007 with its current CEO Jack Dorsey and entrepreneur Biz Stone. He has served as both CEO and chairman at the company, stepping down as CEO in 2010. Williams sent out some tweets after news of his step-down from Twitter's board came to light. I'm very lucky to have served on the @Twitter board for 12 years (ever since there was a board). It's bee

The Galaxy S10+ vs The Galaxy S9+

A woman holds the Samsung Galaxy S10 image : Samsung Samsung recently debuted the Galaxy S10 series, along with new wearables and a foldable smartphone . The new Galaxy S10 series consists of four models - the Galaxy S10e (a budget version priced at $750), the Galaxy S10+ (a higher-end version priced at $1000), the Galaxy S10 5G (in preparation for roll-out of 5G technology) and the S10 itself (priced at $900). Here, we are comparing the specs of the higher-end version, the Galaxy S10+, with that of the preceding version, the Galaxy S9+. In comparison the specs of both phones are listed below : Samsung Galaxy S10+ image : Samsung Galaxy S10+ 6.4-inch curved Dynamic AMOLED display 8GB / 12GB RAM  128GB / 512GB/ 1TB storage microSD (up to 512GB) 4,100 mAh battery Wireless charging ( also capable of power sharing) Android 9.0 OS LTE Cat.20 (network) Fingerprint (ultrasonic) and face scanners Audio - surround sound with Dolby Atmos technology (Dolby

Uber Reportedly In Talks To Exit Indian Food Delivery Business To Swiggy

Starbucks products get delivered via Uber Eats image : Uber/Starbucks Uber is in discussions for a tactical exit of its Uber Eats food delivery business in India, according to a report from The Economic Times . The media outlet says Uber is in talks with Swiggy - an Indian food delivery startup that raised $1 billion in December - to absorb its Uber Eats operations in India, in exchange for an about 10% stake in the company. Swiggy was last valued at a said $3.3 billion from the December round. Uber is not new to such arrangement, having done something similar with Grab in Singapore and China's Didi Chuxing. In August 2016, Uber merged its China operations with Didi Chuxing in a massive $35 billion deal , and also merged its Southeast Asia operations with Singapore based Grab in exchange for a then 27.5% stake in the company. Grab, then already valued in the billions, has gone on to raise billions more at a higher valuation. An Uber Eats courier takes delivery of

DoorDash Raises $400 Million At $7.1 Billion Valuation

A Chipotle Bacon Bowl. DoorDash has delivery partnerships with popular restaurant brands like Chipotle, Wingstop, Dennys and Portillo's. image : Chipotle DoorDash has announced $400 million in Series F funding co-led by Temasek and Dragoneer Investment Group with participation from existing investors DST Global, Coatue Management, Y Combinator, Sequoia Capital, GIC and Softbank Vision Fund. This round values the company at $7.1 billion valuation, up from a $6 billion valuation it was reported to be raising at. DoorDash says its growth rate has increased from more than 250% year-over-year - as at the time of the company's last financing in August last year. - to 325% in 2019. Over the last 12 months, it has broadened its coverage to more than 3,300 cities, becoming the first on-demand service to operate in all 50 states in the U.S. DoorDash also says its adding more than 30,000 customers each week and that the new funding will enable it reach new consumers across the

Pinterest Has Confidentially Filed For IPO : WSJ

Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm Tech Pinterest - a long touted IPO contender - has confidentially filed for that, according to the Wall Street Journal . This comes just after Lyft was reported to be heading for an IPO by March end. The Journal says Pinterest - known for its platform for online image searches, with over 250 million monthly users - is targeting a valuation of $12 billion or more, a range close to its $12.5 billion valuation from a 2017 round. Other companies said to be preparing to go public include  Cloudflare , Bitfury , CrowdStrike ,  Palantir  and Grindr . Pinterest's reported filing signals an example of a hurry to the public markets by large and highly valued tech companies. 2018 was a hot year for IPOs, with companies like Eventbrite, Nio, Funding Circle, Spotify, Aston Martin, Farftech , Elastic, Domo, Xiaomi, Opera, Bloom Energy, SurveyMonkey and Sonos debuting on the public markets.

Juul Reportedly Expecting $3.4 Billion In 2019 Sales

Juul co-founder and chief product officer James Monsees Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch According to a Bloomberg report , Juul - the company known for electronic cigarettes that has drawn controversy regarding use by teens  and an investigation by the FDA - is expecting some $3.4 billion in 2019 revenue, an indication of high sales even as the company faces scrutiny and backlash . Citing a person briefed on the numbers, Bloomberg says Juul posted 2018 fourth quarter revenue of $424 million and $70.4 million adjusted loss, compared with $17 million profit in the prior quarter. In November, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) placed restrictions on sales of flavored e-cigarettes. It banned sales of most flavored electronic cigarettes at most conventional retail outlets like convenience stores, leaving buyers only with the option of purchasing at age-restricted stores or via online merchants that make use of age verification checks. Juul pods

Lyft Said To Be Planning Nasdaq Debut Next Month

Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer image : Michael Bloomberg on Flickr On the heels of a report  of Lyft founders -  Logan Green and John Zimmer - looking to create a class of shares that'll give them majority voting control after an IPO, a Wall Street Jounal report  says Lyft is preparing to make its confidential IPO filing public as early as next week and list its shares on the Nasdaq by next month end. This could mean Lyft, in a race with Uber which has also privately filed for an IPO, would be the first in the ride-hailing industry to test the public markets, and indicate investor interest in this space, one that'll also soon see the debut of on-demand delivery company Postmates and collaboration software company Slack . Lyft's John Zimmer (left) and former General Motors president Dan Ammann. Ammann - who now heads GM self-driving unit Cruise - joined Lyft's board after General Motors invested $500 million in Lyft in early 2016. He stepped down

Samsung Debuts A Foldable Smartphone

Samsung Galaxy Fold image : Samsung Samsung has debuted the Galaxy Fold, a highly anticipated foldable device that's kicking off a new mobile category. The new smartphone features a 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display that folds into a compact device with a cover display, combining the display of a smartphone and tablet into one gadget. The Galaxy Fold is Samsung's largest-ever smartphone display, made with a polymer layer Samsung says is around 50% thinner than conventional displays. The Korean company introduced several new features with the Fold, including a hinging mechanism with multiple interlocking gears, a fingerprint scanner now found on the side and an engraved hinge with the Samsung logo. Features of the Galaxy Fold include : 7.3” QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED main display 4.6” HD+ Super AMOLED cover display 10MP Selfie Camera (cover camera) 10MP Selfie Camera and 8MP RGB Depth Camera (front dual camera) 16MP Ultra Wide Camera, 12MP Wide-angle Camera and a

Samsung Debuts A New Smartwatch, Activity Tracker And Wireless Earbuds

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active image : Samsung Samsung has debuted a new line-up of wearables - the Galaxy Watch Active smartwatch, Galaxy Fit/Galaxy Fit e activity tracker and Galaxy Buds (wireless earbuds). Samsung also stole the show with the debut of the Galaxy Fold , a foldable smartphone that combines the display of a mobile phone and tablet in one device. Galaxy Watch Active : This new smartwatch sports features such as blood pressure monitoring (available in only 5 countries), a stress tracking app and the ability to be controlled by voice. Compatible with both Android and iOS devices, its features include : 360 x 360 AMOLED display A 20mm (interchangeable) strap 230mAh battery 768MB RAM + 4GB internal memory Wireless charging The Tizen -based Wearable OS 4.0 Exynos 9110 Dual core 1.15 GHz (wireless access point)  Its available in Silver, Black, Rose, Gold and Sea Green colors. Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Fit e From left-right - Samsung Galaxy Watch A

Tesla General Counsel Dane Butswinkas Departs After Just 2 Months

image : Tesla Just two months after taking the job as General Counsel at Tesla, Dane Butswinkas is leaving the role as announced by the company, returning to his previous role as Tesla's external counsel at law firm Williams & Connolly. Butswinkas previously replaced Todd Maron who had been with Tesla for more than five years, before his departure in December. He will be replaced by Tesla's vice president of legal department, Jonathan Chang, effective immediately. Butswinkas' departure is the latest in a series of executive exits at Tesla that includes its chief financial officer Deepak Ahuja, head of global security Jeff Jones, chief people officer  Gabrielle Toledano, vice president of manufacturing Gilbert Passin and chief accounting officer Dave Morton. image : Tesla Since September, Seven top executives have departed  the electric vehicle manufacturer. Tesla is facing increased competition from new market entrants like Rivian  and recently reduced

Plant Based Food Startup Just Said To Be Raising $200 Million

image : Just Just Inc - formerly known as Hampton Creek, a San Francisco based startup that makes plant-based products like egg-less mayonnaise and a vegan egg, is said to be raising $200 milllion in new funding as it tries to step ahead of inquiries about sales and product quality. Bloomberg reports this, citing persons with knowledge of the matter. Bloomberg says the company has gotten some initial interest from Chinese investors. CLSA, the foreign arm of Chinese investment bank Citic Securities, is said to be working on the fundraising. Just has already raised some $220 million according to Crunchbase data , from investors including Khosla Ventures, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, WP Global Partners and Italian businessman Jean Pigozzi. image : Just The company is not without its own hassles though. Just, then known as Hampton Creek, was caught in 2016 buying its own products as stores like Kroger, Costc

Nissan's New Concept Powers Camping Trips With Recycled EV Batteries

The Nissan x Opus concept camper image : Nissan Nissan has unveiled a new concept in collaboration with camp trailer manufacturer Opus: a camper powered by the Nissan Energy Roam , a new portable power pack that harnesses EV battery technology, which is set for release April this year. The new power pack has a storage capacity of 700Wh and a power output of 1kW, made possible by recycled lithium-ion cells recovered from Nissan electric vehicles. With the concept camper, Nissan says persons can go on camping trips without having to worry about power for up to seven days. When the power pack becomes exhausted, it can be removed from where it's housed within the camper and recharged anywhere via a standard 230v domestic socket, or by plugging it into a solar panel accessory. The battery pack's storage capacity of 700Wh, although small, is capable of powering electronics like USB sockets, lighting, fridges, portable entertainment systems, microwaves and more. Accordi

Ex Smart Lock Startup CEO Joins Apple's Home Division

image : Apple Sam Jadallah, a former Microsoft executive also known for leading now shuttered smart lock startup Otto, has joined Apple where he'll be leading its smart home initiatives, according to a CNBC report . Jadallah has also confirmed a move to Apple via his LinkedIn profile , which lists his role at Apple as "working on Home". Just recently, Apple purchased PullString , an AI voice startup that specializes in voice enabled tech. Coupled with Jadallah's hire, it could signal big plans by the company to cement a hold in the smart home market. Apple already has several products targeted at the home, including HomeKit, its software service that enable users set up iOS devices to control compatible smart home appliances, and the HomePod, a smart speaker that competes for market share with the Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers. The Otto smart lock, Otto was launched by Sam Jadallah, a former Microsoft VP who has landed at Apple, now working on its s

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Pokémon Go Creator Niantic Raises $300M, Valued At $9B

Niantic , an augmented reality (AR) company whose products include the famous  Pokémon Go game, has raised a big new round of funding. It's raised $300mn in funding at a valuation of $9bn. All the funding came from just one investor; Coatue , a New York-based hedge fund famous for investing in many blue-chip tech startups. With its new funding, Niantic says it'll invest in current games and new apps and expand its AR developer platform called Lightship . The company says it's set on building the "real-world metaverse," jumping on the bandwagon popularized by Facebook's parent firm, Meta.  The base for Niantic's metaverse vision is the Lightship developer platform which it launched this month. It's a platform for developers to build augmented reality apps and experiences, drawing from Niantic's tools that helped create its hit  Pokémon Go game. To draw creators to Lightship, Niantic has also set up a $20mn venture fund to invest in AR startups

Deal: Workday Buys Ohio Startup Vndly For $510M

Workday (NASDAQ: WDAY), the famous HR/finance software vendor, has made a big new acquisition to support its platform. The company will acquire Vndly , a software platform for companies to manage contract workers. Vndly fits in well in Workday's overall software suite, and the rationale behind the purchase is clear. Vndly is an Ohio-based startup. Workday will pay $510mn to buy it, marking one of Ohio's biggest startup exits this year. Vndly has raised roughly $60mn from VCs, so a $510mn exit is very lucrative and more so for a startup founded just four years ago .  Before now, Vndly and Workday were already close allies. Vndly's platform is integrated with Workday's, with official certification to go. The Mason, Ohio-based startup is part of Workday's global network of endorsed software partners, so Workday didn't even have to look far to snatch its latest acquisition.  Vndly was founded in 2017 by two entrepreneurs,  Shashank Saxena and Narayana Surabhi .

Amazon, Apple Fined $230M For Reseller Collusion In Italy

Tech giants Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) have been handed sizeable fines by the Italian government following an investigation into alleged reseller collusion between both companies. Amazon was fined €135mn ($151mn) and Apple  €69mn ($78mn), totaling $229mn .  The fine was levied by the  Italian Competition Authority . According to the agency, Apple and Amazon had a contractual agreement to allow  select resellers to sell Apple and Beats products on Amazon's Italian marketplace. The agency said that the selection was applied in a "discriminatory" way that violated European Union rules and affected price competition. According to the  Italian Competition Authority, at least 70% of local consumer electronics purchases are made on Amazon, making it a dominant retailer. This dominance, therefore, demands a "level playing field" for retailers that sell on Amazon's marketplace, the agency said. This is the nth time Amazon is getting in the cr

Antitrust: US DOJ Sues To Block Major Sugar Industry Merger

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Alt-Meat Maker Impossible Foods Raises $500M In Fresh Funding

A leading maker of plant-based meat substitutes, Impossible Foods , has obtained a fresh cash infusion from VCs. It has  raised $500mn in new funding, bringing the total amount of funding it has raised since inception to $2bn.  The latest round was provided entirely by existing investors doubling down on Impossible Foods.  Mirae Asset Global , a Korean investment firm, led the round and was joined by other unnamed existing investors.  It's evident that investors are longing for Impossible Foods, a leading brand in the nascent market for plant-based meat substitutes. There's clearly huge potential for plant-based meat substitutes, driven by an increasing vegan population and the appeal to lower the carbon footprint that spurs from meat consumption. To that end, Impossible Foods is growing rapidly. Its products can now be found in more than 20,000 retail stores, compared to 150 as of March 2020, and 40,000 restaurants globally. Over the past year, Impossible has launched in ne

Deal: KKR Makes $37B Buyout Offer For Telecom Italia

Private equity giant KKR (NYSE: KKR) has ventured into Italy for its latest buyout deal. The firm has offered to buy Telecom Italia (BIT: TIT), the largest telecom provider in Italy, in a deal worth  €33bn ($37bn), including debt. KKR offered 0.505 Euros in cash for each outstanding  Telecom Italia share, a 46% premium to the last closing share price before the offer. That sums up to  €10.7bn ($12bn) in cash to be paid for Telecom Italia, and including the telecom firm's large net debt of €22.5bn ($25bn) sums up to $37bn in total.  KKR's offer is non-binding and must be approved by Telecom Italia's board members and majority shareholders before the deal goes through. Approval must also come from the Italian government, which was veto power over the takeover of the formerly state-owned telecoms firm.  Telecom Italia gave no indication that it'll approve the deal. If approval is given, it'll mark one of the biggest buyout deals of a European company by an America

Earnings: Nvidia Is On A Tear

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Cyber: Apple Sues NSO Group Over Spyware Hacks

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Markets: Retail Giant Authentic Brands Scraps IPO Plans

Authentic Brands Group , a New York-based retail conglomerate, has suspended its plans for an initial public offering (IPO) after already filing an S-1 document with the US SEC. The company has instead opted to raise private funding to fund expansion in the main time. Authentic Brands Group's portfolio retail brands include apparel retailer Forever21 , men's suit maker Brooks Brothers , and department store chain Barneys New York . The company is akin to an old people's home where once-vibrant retail brands go to stay after they've gone past their peak. Authentic buys these befallen retail companies and makes money from what's left of them through licensing deals.  Over the years, Authentic has relied on hefty venture funding to assemble its constellation of old-guard brands. An IPO was supposed to raise even more money for expansion but has been set aside in favor of private funding.  Authentic is  rather selling  equity stakes to private equity firm CVC Capital

Markets: IoT Startup Samsara Files For IPO

The latest tech startup to board the IPO train is Samsara , a VC-backed startup that makes internet-of-things (IoT)-based fleet monitoring hardware and software for logistical operators. It has unveiled an S-1 filing with the US SEC, showing its intention to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Samsara has raised nearly $1bn from VCs including Andreessen Horowitz, Tiger Global, and General Catalyst, with a valuation of $5.4bn from its last funding round. The company's co-founders sold a previous startup named Meraki to Cisco for $1.2bn . As expected, Samsara's S-1 filing gives a deep glimpse into the company's business with information not publicly disclosed before. The company has been rather secretive over the years, making this long-awaited information. We've extracted some important information so you don't have to, mostly the financial stuff. Samsara brought in $303mn in revenue in the nine months ended October 2021, compared to $174mn in the same