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Huawei Overtakes Apple In Smartphone Rankings, Twitters Suspends 468 Accounts, And More: News From The Tech And Startup World [August 27-September 2]

Huawei Overtakes Apple In Smartphone Rankings, Twitters Suspends 468 Accounts, And More: News From The Tech And Startup World [August 27-September 2]

US-based handset maker Apple has announced that all apps, including those still in testing, will be required to have a privacy policy

Twitter may add updates like 'Presence' to help people know who's online and 'Threading' to help users easily read conversation threads

Google may have signed a secret deal with Mastercard in order to track retail sales using transaction data

We’ve kept you updated on the happenings in the Indian startup ecosystem. With the week coming to a close, it’s time to catch up on the important updates in the tech and startup ecosystem around the world.

Last week, with a view to bringing on-demand autonomous ride-hailing service to the market, global cab hailing company Uber raised $500 Mn from Japan-based automaker Toyota.

According to both the companies, as part of this deal, Toyota’s Sienna minivans will be equipped with self-driving technology by Uber and will also be deployed on the ride-hailing company’s network.

Further, as the push for electric vehicles (EVs) intensifies globally, China-based automaker Byton (founded by former BMW and Infiniti executives) has produced the first 10 prototypes of its tech-centric, all-electric SUV. Some of these will be sent to the US before the year ends.

The company also plans to produce another 100 prototypes of the SUV, which is named as M Byte, by the end of 2018.

Meanwhile, venture capital Firms Cleo Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners are working to raise funds.

Sarah Kunst, managing director of Cleo Capital, is planning the fundraise to support female entrepreneurs who will act as scouts. The scouts will look for viable early stage startups for VC firms to invest in and will even receive a cut of the profits on the investments.

Also, California-based early stage venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners is aiming to raise $1.6 Bn for its 10th flagship fund.

Another interesting update last week was that China-based smartphone maker Huawei claimed the second position in the global smartphone rankings for the second quarter this year, overtaking Apple in the smartphone market, according to a recent report by Gartner.

Further, the data showed that sales of smartphones to end users grew by 2% in the quarter, reaching 374 Mn units.

In Inc42’s weekly rundown of international stories to educate and entertain you and keep you informed about the startup landscape across the globe, we bring you the important developments from the week gone by. Here are some more:

Google Signs Secret Deal With Mastercard To Track Offline Purchases

Tech giant Google may have signed a secret deal US-based global payments and technology company Mastercard in order to track retail sales using transaction data, according to four people with knowledge of the deal, three of whom worked on it directly.

The deal gave select Google advertisers access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to sales at a physical store in the US.

According to a report, all the transaction details of MasterCard are encrypted and sent to Google, which is paying the former “millions of dollars” for the data. As part of the deal, Google will not get access to individual transactions but will be allowed to extract relevant information, the sources said.

A Mastercard spokesperson declined to comment on the deal but said that Mastercard shares transaction trends with merchants and their service providers to help them measure “the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns.”

However, the deal is likely to raise privacy concerns as most of the 2 Bn Mastercard holders aren’t aware of this clandestine tracking.

Apple’s Attempt at Self-Driving Meets With An Accident

Apple’s secretive self-driving vehicle programme has disclosed its first accident — a low speed one — which occurred on August 24. As companies test self-driving technologies, accidents have been on the rise, with more than 40 accidents involving self-driving cars being reported to the California Department of Motor Vehicles this year (CA DMV).

An Apple test car under its self-driving vehicle programme was attempting to merge onto an expressway near the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. The car was reportedly travelling at about 1 mile per hour, when it was hit by a Nissan Leaf, according to a report filed with the CA DMV.

There were no injuries from the accident and both the parties reported moderate damage to their vehicles.

Apple Mandates Privacy Policy By Apps

US-based handset maker Apple has announced that all apps, including those still in testing, will be required to have a privacy policy by October 3 this year.

The company has been targeting apps that do not inform their users how is their personal data being used.

Apple will hold platforms on which the apps are hosted accountable for any instances of data misuse that may occur during use of mobile applications due to the policies of these apps.

Twitter May Add New Features While Continuing Account Suspensions

In line with previous account suspension by social media giants Twitter and Facebook for users “engaging in coordinated manipulation”, Twitter last week announced the suspension of 486 accounts for the same reason.

According to Twitter, while many of the accounts suspended earlier appeared to have originated from Iran, this time the batch of accounts it removed included accounts mainly from the US.

At the same time, Twitter head Jack Dorsey hinted that the platform may offer new updates such as ‘Presence’ to help people know which users are online and ‘Threading’ to enable users easily read conversation threads.

Following this report, several people commented and expressed their concern over the ‘Presence’ feature.

China’s Didi Chuxing Suspends Carpool Service

Chinese ride-hailing service, Didi Chuxing suspended its Hitch carpool service after a murder incident in which a driver allegedly killed a 20-year-old female passenger in the city of Wenzhou.

Didi also fired Hitch’s general manager and customer service vice-president.

The company also said that the suspect had no previous criminal records; however, female passengers had previously lodged complaints against him.

Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Tesla Over Model 3 Production

A shareholder lawsuit claiming that Tesla had made false statements about Model 3 production was dismissed last week. Tesla asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit in May.

The lawsuit, filed in October 2017, had alleged that California based multinational corporation Tesla Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk had shareholders about the progress being made on the full-scale production of Model 3, the company’s first mass-market vehicle.

Tesla’s lawyers argued that the company and Musk, in the same SEC filings and phone calls cited by the petitioner, had “bluntly warned of the many challenges of Model 3 production in stark terms.”

The case has however not been completely closed as the presiding judge granted “leave to amend”, which will allow the complainant to consider the judgement and file an adjusted complaint by September 28.

Facebook Watch To Be Rolled Out Worldwide

The Watch Tab — the video-on-demand service by Facebook — was launched in August 2017 but was made available only in the US over the past year.

Now, the social media giant is making the service available globally. It is also offering its ‘Ad Breaks’ feature to more publishers to enable them to insert advertisements by themselves or use Facebook’s automated ad insertion features for the purpose.

Further, the company is also globally launching Creator Studio, using which pages can manage their entire content library and business.

Air Canada Confirms Data Breach Via App

Canadian Airline service Air Canada confirmed a data breach that may have affected nearly 20,000 people, who constitute 1% of the total 1.7 Mn people who use the Air Canada application.

According to the company, it “detected unusual log-in behavior” between August 22-24. In an email sent out to its customers, the airline said that the attackers may have accessed their profile data such as name, address, etc, and also certain sensitive data that they had included in their app profiles.

Yahoo Scans Emails For Tailoring Ads

It has come to the fore that Internet giant Yahoo conducts email scans in order to refine its ad-targeting effort to display the most relevant ads.

The massive email scanning operation is carried out by Oath, a Verizon-owned subsidiary that’s the combined business of AOL and Yahoo. In this scanning process, more than 200 Mn AOL and Yahoo inboxes are scanned and the information collected is sold to advertisers.

Major email service providers such as Google had banned their scanning programme owing to security issues.

Stay tuned for the next week edition of Around The Tech And Startup World!