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Amazon To Control 49% Of US Ecommerce, Facebook Fined In The UK, And More: News From The Tech And Startup World [July 9-15]

Amazon To Control 49% Of US Ecommerce, Facebook Fined In The UK, And More: News From The Tech And Startup World [July 9-15]

A Curated Rundown Of News And Happenings From Around The Tech And Startup World

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.

To begin with, the process of companies being brought to book for data compromises seems to have now started in earnest. A UK data watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), fined Facebook $664K for the company’s failure to prevent key user data from being misused by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica that helped get President Donald Trump elected.

The ICO also said that several overseas regulators and agencies had requested for updates to help move their investigations on the matter forward.

This comes at a time when an indictment filed against 12 Russians accused of hacking the DNC and undermining Hillary Clinton’s campaign also noted that the alleged hackers paid for their activities through bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Another positive news came from global ecommerce company Amazon, which is expected to cross $258.22 Bn in US retail sales in 2018, according to eMarketer’s figures. This amounts to a 49.1% share of all online retail spend in the country and 5% of all retail sales.

At the same time, Electric vehicle maker Tesla has secured a deal with the Shanghai government to build a factory capable of producing 500K electric vehicles a year. Following this deal, the Shanghai government is ready to accelerate its efforts to cancel restrictions on foreign investment in the auto manufacturing sector.

Further, in the global innovation space, face recognition technology company Kairos has acquired EmotionReader, which uses algorithms to analyse facial expressions around video content. As part of the deal, EmotionReader CTO Dr Stephen Moore will run Kairos’ new Singapore-based R&D centre, allowing for the company’s upcoming APAC expansion.

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!

Microsoft Seeks Regulation On AI

After getting into trouble with the US government over a contract involving facial recognition, Microsoft has said it will be more careful while considering contracts in this area and urged lawmakers to regulate the use of artificial intelligence to prevent abuse.

The company said it would take steps to make its AI systems less prone to bias; develop new public principles to govern the technology; and will move more deliberately to sell its software and expertise in the area.

Apple Launches Cleantech Fund In China

Luxury phone maker Apple has announced a new fund to support cleantech in China. Apple and 10 suppliers will invest $300 Mn in the fund over the next four years.

With this fund, the company expects to finance multiple clean energy projects to enable production of 1 gigawatt of renewable energy in China. Further, it is partnering with DWS Group, a division of Deutsche Bank. DWS will also participate in the fund.

SoftBank Gets Nearly $1 Bn From Tiger Global

Believing and trying to assure investors that SoftBank’s shares are “meaningfully undervalued”, Tiger Global has poured more than $1 Bn into the SoftBank Group. Tiger Global believes that SoftBank can create an additional $73 billion of value before tax if its $100 Bn Vision Fund returns 2.5 times its original investment over the next seven years.

What’s New From Apple, Pinterest & Twitter

  • Twitter is set to make a lot more money from its trending topics with its new Promoted Trend Spotlight ads that enable advertisers to put out a big visual banner along with a GIF or image background on the ‘Explore’ tab for the first two times a user visits the tab in a particular day, before settling back into the Trends list. The first batch of such ads is coming from Disney in the US.
  • The commercial space vehicle from Jeff Bezos’ rocket company Blue Origin may charge $200K-$300K for a seat to space. The rocket is meant to take passengers to suborbital space to enable them to experience weightlessness and see the curvature of the earth. This is done autonomously; the rocket can hold up to six passengers. Parachutes will return the capsule back to the ground.
  • Apple is creating a new artificial intelligence/machine learning team that brings together its Core ML and Siri teams under one leader in John Giannandrea, who came to Apple this year after an eight-year stint at Google.
  • Pinterest will enable its users to collaborate across boards that are baked directly into the app. Group boards will have their own designated feed, where users will be able to communicate with others collaborating on that board and also get updates on new member additions or added pins.

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