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Massachusetts first state to tax Uber, Lyft

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: 1 day, 15 hours ago

Massachusetts, USA is introducing a first of its kind tax on ride hailing services like Uber and Lyft, a portion of which will be funneled into the taxi industry. It's said the money will help the industry adopt "new technologies and advanced service, safety and operational capabilities", as well as develop the workforce.

 

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The tax will be 20 cents per trip and will be sourced from the ride hailing companies themselves; 5 cents will go toward taxi companies, with 10 going to cities and towns, and 5 toward state transportation. Currently, Uber and Lyft alone account for 2.5 million rides per month in the state, so raising millions per year is plausible.

 

The move is part of Republican Governor Charlie Baker's plan to regulate the industry with a broad package, which ride services aren't happy with.

Continue reading 'Massachusetts first state to tax Uber, Lyft' (full post)

Twitch acquiring Curse for undisclosed sum

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: 1 week ago

Twitch is all set to acquire Curse, the company behind the Curse client, which offers streaming tools, text and voice chat, an in-game overlay, and various other functions. As Twitch is itself owned by Amazon, this will make Curse a subsidiary of a subsidiary.

 

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Logic says Twitch will likely use the acquisition to offer its own client to streamers, as opposed to now where users are required to use external programs like Xsplit, OBS, and so on in order to stream. I'd expect integrated live chat and other functionality as well.

 

"We've long been fans of Curse, which is an innovator in the games industry with a strong culture built around its offerings-from Curse Voice and Curse Client to Gamepedia," said Emmett Shear, CEO of Twitch. "While it's still early days for Twitch and Curse, we're kindred spirits in many ways and are looking forward to working together to enhance our users' gaming experience."

Apple to begin work on an R&D center in China this year

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: 1 week ago

Apple has announced it has plans to build a new R&D center in China by the end of this year, and while the company didn't elaborate on the plans, it's part of an "overall increased investment in Apple's second-largest market," reports Engadget.

 

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China regulators haven't been happy with large investments in companies like local ridesharing giant Didi Chuxing merging with Uber in a $35 billion deal, who have been outright banning services, and aren't sold on large American companies coming in and doing big business in their country. Apple is trying something new here with the R&D center plans for China, where it can show the country that it can create jobs in China, and discover new talent in the country.

 

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi is known as the 'Apple of China' so you can just imagine that they won't be pleased with this news, especially with the IDC estimating that Xiaomi had a 38.4% year-over-year decline in smartphone shipments.

Intel acquires AI startup Nervana, competes with NVIDIA

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: 1 week, 5 days ago

Intel is now set to compete against NVIDIA in the deep learning and AI arena, acquiring AI startup Nervana. Nervana specializes in processor-based "deep learning as a service" through technology like its upcoming Nervana Engine, a dedicated AI hardware accelerator due out in early 2017.

 

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Intel wants to utilize Nervana's expertise to help its AI performance on its Xeon and Xeon Phi processors, as it sees AI as a big future for the company. NVIDIA is already knee deep in deep learning, with self-driving cars, AI, and more.

 

NVIDIA could face serious competition in the deep learning and AI space if Nervana can help Intel tune its processors for machine learning tasks. Whatever happens, it's an exciting time to be alive! To my future Skynet overlords: please make Half-Life 3 a reality with your AI brains.

NVIDIA posts record Q2 results, riding its Pascal wave

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: 1 week, 6 days ago

NVIDIA will surely be popping open bottles of champagne after it has posted record results for Q2 2016, exceeding revenue guidance and seeing strong demand for its new products, reports The Wall Street Journal. We also just found out that NVIDIA's next-gen GPUs will be made on the 14nm process, with Samsung securing the manufacturing contract.

 

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NVIDIA projects revenue of $1.68 billion (plus or minus 2%), for its Q3 results, with the company pushing into new sectors that it will dominate in the future, such as VR and self-driving cars. NVIDIA boss Jen-Hsun Huang said: "Strong demand for our new Pascal-generation GPUs and surging interest in deep learning drove record results".

 

The company saw revenue increase 24% to $1.43 billion, while its gaming platform made $781 million in revenue, up 18%. NVIDIA's professional visualization revenue was up 22%, hitting $214 million while the automotive revenue from infotainment modules and product development contracts rose 68% to $119 million.

Continue reading 'NVIDIA posts record Q2 results, riding its Pascal wave' (full post)

Airbnb raises $850 million, now valued at $30 billion

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Aug 7, 2016 10:31 am

Airbnb is now valued at a mammoth $30 billion, after its latest funding round secured $850 million, according to reports from Bloomberg.

 

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Last year, Airbnb was valued at around $25.6 billion, but with the latest funding round it has bounced up to $30 billion. Since Airbnb opened up shop in 2008, it has raised $2.39 billion, and the new $850 million funding round pushes that up to just over $3.2 billion.

 

Airbnb is preparing to allow members rent out or book each other's rooms or homes when traveling, which is a new direction for the company.

Apple reportedly acquires AI startup for $200 million

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Aug 7, 2016 6:21 am

Apple has reportedly acquired an artificial intelligence startup for a swift $200 million, with Turi based in Seattle, and working on various AI technologies.

 

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Turi has some interesting technology its developing, with apps that use machine learning to model patterns, and they combine advanced machine learning which can be deployed in various scenarios that range from production to server data management.

 

The work that Turi uses on data analysis could have had Apple interested, and under Apple's wing, a great piece of AI could be used in various ways. If Apple were to combine the AI goodness from Turi into its Siri and iCloud, it might help iOS users through everyday tasks. The issue is now, Google is worlds ahead in terms of its software and services line-up, while Apple is now playing catch-up. Maybe it has acquired Turi so it can ask an AI how to beat their competitors?

$50 billion earned by iOS developers so far

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Aug 5, 2016 1:32 pm

Apple has announced that App Store developers have earned $50 billion so far, with company CEO Tim Cook revealing the news on Twitter.

 

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Cook added that July was a record-breaking month for the App Store, with the highest-ever monthly billings and money paid to iOS developers. Apple takes a nice cut of those profits, so the iPhone giant is laughing all the way to the bank. Apple reported a quarterly revenue of $42.4 billion, with a net income for the quarter of $7.8 billion.

 

Apple CFO Luca Maestri said: "Our Services business grew 19 percent year-over-year and App Store revenue was the highest ever, as our installed base continued to grow and transacting customers hit an all-time record".

Bitcoin stock takes dive after hackers steal $65 million

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Aug 3, 2016 9:32 pm

After hackers stole approximately $65 million worth of Bitcoins this week, Bitfinex's price plunged 15 percent. Though the losses have since been erased, customers are still suffering.

 

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"We will look at various options to address customer losses later in the investigation," Bitfinex wrote in a blog post. "We ask for the community's patience as we unravel the causes and consequences of this breach."

 

The US dollar is confirmed to have not been affected.

Continue reading 'Bitcoin stock takes dive after hackers steal $65 million' (full post)

HTC posts $133 million loss for Q2 2016, even with strong Vive sales

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Aug 3, 2016 9:31 am

HTC has just posted its Q2 2016 financials, with the Taiwanese giant bleeding another $133 million for the quarter, even with strong Vive and HTC 10 smartphone sales.

 

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Compared to the same quarter of 2015, HTC's sales are down 42.7%, but not as bad as the quarter that just passed, where HTC sales plummeted by 64%. This is the fifth quarter in a row that HTC has had troubles financially, but when the company saw that it was going to have a hit with the Vive headset, it creates its own subsidiary company known as HTC Vive Tech Corporation in order to manage it.

 

The company received a $100 million fund to expand the Vive ecosystem, and sales from this division count towards HTC's overall earnings. HTC has been shy on revealing the amount of Vive headsets that it has shipped, which would be nice to know right about now.

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