If there was ever a wild rumor for 2017, it would be that Apple is considering an acquisition of Disney - you know, the company that owns Marvel, LucasFilm, and Pixar - and is a giant on its own.
Apple is just as massive in the consumer electronics business, and with $200 billion in cash laying around, Apple could really stir up the entire world with an acquisition of Disney. With the largest cash reserver for a private company in history, Apple would own the rights to IP like The Avengers, Toy Story, Star Wars, Frozen, and so many more with an acquisition of Disney.
Now imagine all of that content having its parent company Apple, provide them with the rights to use their products like iPhones and Macs in their movies and TV shows - without the why-do-they-bother crappily made custom OS for a shot of a smartphone in a movie, or the fact that they're using an iPhone or Mac and they put tape over the logo. Imagine actual product placement, without it needing to be, and by a company as large as Apple - in movies as big as Iron Man, for example.
Since HMD Global started manufacturing Nokia-branded phones, it has become clear that the company has big plans for the once mega-popular brand.
Speaking in a recent interview, Tomislav Himbele, Head of Marketing for Eastern Europe at HMD Global, confirmed that the company has big plans. Answering the question where does HMD see themselves in the next three years, Himbele ambitiously responded: "In top three. Pushing out Apple or Samsung or Huawei...or all 3 of them."
Amazon is a leader in next-day and guaranteed 3-day delivery, but now eBay is joining in on the delivery market with their new "Guaranteed Delivery" service - where eBay will guarantee shoppers their products will be delivered within 3 days.
There will be over 20 million products offered under eBay's new Guaranteed Delivery program, and will roll out across the US starting in summer. With over 1.1 billion items on eBay on a good day, 67% of them ship for free while 63% of them are delivered within 3 days or less. The new "Guaranteed Delivery" items will see eBay offering refunds or a coupon if your delivery isn't on time.
eBay will soon let buyers filter their searches with 1-, 2-, and 3-day delivery items - while qualified sellers will enjoy new shipping tools that they can tweak to offer their customers more accurate delivery times. As Engadget points out, we're in a world where Amazon can offer 1-hour - not 1-day, deliveries - eBay needs to catch up, and offer the technological foundation for on-the-spot tracking for deliveries.
The company hasn't stopped with Guaranteed Delivery, eBay now rocks a new home page that is very Amazon-like. Instead of pushing consumers' buyers to sellers with products they prefer, it will instead be styled with stacked horizontal image carousels. You can arrange the rows into items viewed recently, or throw them on eBay's algorithm-driven watch lists - just like the way Netflix does it, but it's the second time in the last 5 years we've seen a big change to its UI. The new UI for eBay should roll through in mid-2017, so don't try pressing F5 just yet.
TSMC has teased that it will be shifting some of its manufacturing to the United States in the near future, but now the company has decided it won't make a decision on its shift to the US until next year.
TSMC boss Morris Chang said back in January that it was looking to the US as a new place for a manufacturing plant, but TSMC spokesperson Michael Kramer has now come out and said that the company will decide in the "first half of 2018" if it will invest over $16 billion in a new production facility in the United States.
Kramer told Reuters: "We won't make a decision until next year. We would sacrifice some benefits if we move to the States. But we have flexibility in Taiwan. If an earthquake happened for instance (in Taiwan), we could send thousands of people here as support, whereas it's harder in the States". Reuters points out that TSMC receives around 65% of its total revenue from the US, so building a manufacturing plant in the US makes a whole lot of sense.
We reported back in January that AMD was gunning after LG, Vizio, MediaTek, and Sigma Designs - but now the US International Trade Commission has agreed to begin an investigation in alleged GPU patent infringement.
The four companies have allegedly used visual processing in their various products, including smartphones, TVs, and mobile processors - that infringe on AMD's concepts for unified graphics shaders and parallel graphics pipelines. If AMD is victorious in the USITC's investigation, it could see product sales bans on LG devices, and Vizio TVs.
USITC uploaded a press release a few days ago alerting that it would investigate "certain graphics systems, components thereof, and consumer products containing the same' under 'section 337'. The USITC says that it has "identified the following as respondents in this investigation":
- LG Electronics, Inc., of Seoul, Republic of Korea;
- LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc., of Englewood Cliffs, NJ;
- LG Electronics MobileComm U.S.A., Inc., of San Diego, CA;
- VIZIO, Inc., of Irvine, CA;
- MediaTek Inc., of Hsinchu City, Taiwan;
- MediaTek USA Inc. of San Jose, CA; and
- Sigma Designs, Inc., of Fremont, CA.
They finish by saying: "The USITC will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time. Within 45 days after institution of the investigation, the USITC will set a target date for completing the investigation. USITC remedial orders in section 337 cases are effective when issued and become final 60 days after issuance unless disapproved for policy reasons by the U.S. Trade Representative within that 60-day period".
Uber has been experiencing some serious issues in the last few months, but now Recode is reporting that Uber President Jeff Jones is leaving his position, just 6 months after joining the ridesharing giant.
Uber has been fighting law enforcement, sexual harassment allegations, one of its self-driving cars running a red light in San Francisco, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick leaving Trump's newly-formed advisory council, and then Kalanick busted raging down one of his own drivers about rumors of reduced income for Uber drivers. This has all happened in the last few months, and it's now reaching boiling point where executives seem to be jumping ship.
And now... Uber President Jeff Jones leaving has an Uber spokesperson saying: "We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best". Jones arrived to Uber after leading Target's new business model, and was a big score for Uber. Right now, Uber is in huge trouble - leaving many wondering what their future now holds.
HTC has announced that the company has sold its phone manufacturing facility in Shanghai to boost their investment into their Vive virtual reality business.
A Chinese company, Xingbao Information Technology bought the factory for $91.17 million.
HTC said the sale of the Shanghai plant will not affect its mobile division. This also removes the liability of owning the factory and the depreciation of its value. HTC does still occasionally manufacture devices for other companies like the Google Pixel, but most of HTC's contract manufacturing days are over.
Qualcomm is redefining what the Snapdragon brand is, with an announcement of a "new naming structure" for Snapdragon. The move will see the entire hardware and software platform on a Snapdragon-powered device being referred to as Snapdragon, and not just the processor.
The company explains: "For decades, the semiconductor industry has used the term "processor" to mean the component that powers the most advanced devices. It's a word that Qualcomm Technologies has embraced over the years with our Snapdragon brand, or as we say-our Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. But the word is an inadequate representation of what the technology actually is, and the solutions that tens of thousands of Qualcomm Technologies innovators have worked on".
Qualcomm continues: "In truth, Snapdragon is more than a single component, a piece of silicon, or what many would misinterpret as the CPU; it's an anthology of technology, comprising hardware, software, and services that are not fully captured in a word like "processor." That is why Qualcomm Technologies is refining our terminology by referring to Snapdragon as a "platform" instead of a processor".
Qualcomm's new rebranding of Snapdragon will encompass the actual system-on-a-chips (SoC), Qualcomm's super-fast Quick Charge technology, digital-to-analog audio converters, Wi-Fi products, touchscreen controllers, and fingerprint sensors - as well as the software and drivers that make it all turn on and work.
It's a little confusing, as the new Snapdragon branding only applies to the higher-end models - with the Snapdragon 200-series processors (which aren't as popular as the Snapdragon 810/820/821 and the upcoming Snapdragon 835). The lower-end/mid-range Snapdragon range will be called Qualcomm Mobile, and not Snapdragon. The mid-range Snapdragon 400 and 600 products, as well as the Snapdragon 800 aren't singled out - so we should see things stay the same, and not shift into the muddy world of 'Qualcomm Mobile'.
GoPro has found itself in a curious position, with the third reduction in its workforce since the beginning of 2016 - with the action camera giant cutting another 270 jobs from its roster, hoping to save $200 million across 2017.
The new cuts include current staff, and open positions - after posting a $373 million loss in 2016, after production delays on the new Hero 5 cameras - as well as the recall of its Karma drone. GoPro stock took a big hit, hitting an all-time low this week, but went up 10% in after hours trading.
Back in January 2016, the company ditched 7% of its global workforce - but the November cuts were worse, with 15% of its staff being thrown out of a job. GoPro also completely closed its entertainment division, and lost ex-Skype boss and GoPro president Tony Bates. GoPro hasn't stated which areas the new cuts will affect, so I'm sure we'll hear all about that in the coming weeks, and whether it'll have lingering - or potentially disastrous repercussions throughout 2017.
Tesla Motors is looking to raise just over $1 billion, something the electric car maker will do soon as it ramps up towards the launch of its upcoming Model 3 electric vehicle - its new car priced at around $35,000.
The upcoming $1 billion injection will come from $250 million in secondary stock offerings, with another $750 million in convertible senior notes (as The Verge points out, it's "basically a loan"). There'll also be options for the underwriters to secure another 15% for each offering, while Tesla CEO and real life Tony Stark, Elon Musk, will buy $25 million in Tesla common stock as part of the deal.
Tesla will launch its new Model 3 electric car in 2018, starting from $35,000.