With the first quarter of 2018 coming to an end, even as the e-commerce and startup industries come to terms with the blockbuster news of Walmart’s acquisition of Indian e-commerce major Flipkart, yet another major acquisition was confirmed this month.
We’re are talking about Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub, a popular Git-based code sharing and collaboration service. The $7.5 Bn acquisition of a company valued at $2 Bn in 2015 has raised several questions, the biggest one being how did the deal come to be valued at 30 times the annual recurring revenue of GitHub.
Even though Microsoft’s push towards open source (expected from the deal) is highly appreciated at this point, the past experiences of Microsoft with the likes of Skype and Nokia has increased scepticism on the acquisition. However, Microsoft claimed that “GitHub will retain its developer-first ethos and will operate independently to provide an open platform for all developers in all industries.”
Meanwhile, the notorious Facebook continued to land itself into trouble over data security and privacy issues throughout the week.
In the latest data breach, Facebook notified 14 Mn users about a security lapse where a bug ‘accidentally’ changed the suggested privacy setting for status updates to the public from whatever users had set it to last. This has potentially caused them to share sensitive friends-only content with the whole world.
At the same time, a New York Times report claimed that Facebook had agreements which allow phone and other device manufacturers to access to users’ personal information, including that of their friends, without taking their explicit consent.
The report claimed that Facebook has entered into data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers, including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft, and Samsung, in the past decade.
On this, the company responded that it “disagrees with the issues they’ve raised about these APIs.”
“Contrary to claims by the New York Times, friends’ information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends. We are not aware of any abuse by these companies,” the company said in a blog statement.
In Inc42’s weekly rundown of international stories to educate and entertain you and keep you informed about the startup landscape across the globe, here are the important stories from the tech and startup world from the week gone by.
Facebook Monetises Marketplace, Preps For News
Facebook is ready to commercialise its Marketplace on its US Platform. Marketplace enables average users to pay to “Boost” their listing and enable more people to see their listings through the news feed. The buyers just need to set a budget and time for the ads. Further, there are no additional target options beyond showing the ads to age 18+ users in nearby ZIP codes.
The company also revealed its initial lineup for a news programme feature, which it has added to its original video content initiative — Watch. In a blog post, Facebook wrote that the first lineup of funded shows includes news publishers from broadcast to digital native, national and local like Fox News, Univision, ABC News and CNN, among others.
“The shows will be hosted by award-winning journalists as well as new faces, and the formats will vary from a mix of daily briefings, weekly deep dives, and live breaking news coverage. We will work closely with our publisher partners to experiment with these different formats to understand what works, and they will have full editorial control of their shows.”
Apple Introduces AI-Phone With IOS 12
During 2018 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple introduced an update to its operating system, IOS 12. With new Siri enhancements and features, Apple has introduced this “new AI iPhone” which will understand where you are, what you’re doing, and what you need to know right then and there.
After Uber, Amazon Faces Legal Trouble In UK
The GMB Union (General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union) in the UK is in works to file a suit on behalf of couriers employed with three delivery companies used by Amazon, accusing the suppliers of making bogus claims that the delivery drivers were self-employed, and thus denying them employment rights.
In a statement, the union claimed that “companies like Amazon and their delivery companies can’t have it both ways — they can’t decide they want all of the benefits of having an employee, but refuse to give those employees the pay and rights they’re entitled to. Guaranteed hours, holiday pay, sick pay, pension contributions are not privileges which companies can dish out when they fancy. They are the legal right of all UK workers, and that’s what we’re asking the courts to rule on.”
On this, the Amazon spokesperson said, “Our delivery providers are contractually obligated to ensure that drivers receive the National Living Wage and are expected to pay a minimum of £12 per hour, follow all applicable laws and driving regulations, and drive safely.”
After Delay, Tesla Refunds 23% Of Model 3 Deposits
After Elon Musk announced that there have been delays in the production of Model 3, a cheaper electric vehicle version of Tesla, the company has now been speculated to have returned nearly 23% of all the hundreds of thousands of $1K deposits it had started collecting in 2016.
After the revelation on blog Second Measure, it is to be noted that Tesla still has more than 450K reservations. Last quarter, it delivered just 8,180 Model 3s.
A spokesperson for Tesla claimed that the data on the Second Measure blog post does not align with its internal data, but didn’t specify the numbers.
Uber To Expand e-Bike Service In Europe, Invests In AI To Detect Drunk Drivers
global cab aggregator Uber aims to bring its Jump bike rental service to Berlin before the end of this summer, with other European cities to follow soon after. This comes after Uber acquired Jump in April, in line with its wider strategy to branch out beyond traditional taxi rides to include services such as food delivery and city travel in flying cars.
At the same time, CNN reported that Uber has filed a patent application to identify drunk riders and try to ensure better Uber drives. It has identified an artificial intelligence system that will detect a user’s drunken behaviour before they get into the cab.
LinkedIn Introduces Location-Based Features
Professional network company LinkedIn has now introduced ‘Your Commute’, which provides location data for all businesses where LinkedIn already has location information. At present, this is available on mobile, while the web feature will soon be introduced.
“When members save their location preferences in Career Interests, we’re able to provide more relevant job recommendations that fit exactly what they’re looking for in their next role,” senior product manager Dan Li said.
Bid Adieu To Yahoo Messenger On July 17
Yahoo Messenger will be shutting down on July 17 as the owner, Oath, continues to experiment and understand how and if it can have a relevant place in the messaging landscape in view of the domination of Facebook, WhatsApp, etc in the messenger space.
Even though the company has not broken out active users of Messenger for some time, cumulatively, over the last 20 years, hundreds of millions of people have used the service, the company said. Yahoo assured that the Yahoo ID would remain intact for other services like Mail and fantasy sports.
TicketFly Hack Exposed Data Of 27 Mn Users
After a digital attack on Thursday, events company TicketFly issued a statement saying, “In consultation with third-party forensic cybersecurity experts, we can now confirm that credit and debit card information was not accessed. However, information including names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers connected to approximately 27 million Ticketfly accounts was accessed.”
Watch this space for more news and happenings from around the tech and startup world!