Daniel Ek, co-founder of Swedish music streaming service Spotify which boasts the largest paid subscriber base in the world, said on Thursday he had no intention of selling the company.
While investors believe privately owned Spotify is probably heading for a public listing, some industry analysts see the loss-making company as a takeover target for a larger tech giant with deeper pockets.
“My selfish ambition with Spotify is just trying to show … that we can create one of those super companies here in Europe,” he told journalists at the symposium Brilliant Minds, which aims to bring artists and musicians together with the tech community.
Asked if that meant he was not up for selling the firm, Ek said: “I’m not going to sell, no.”
Spotify, founded in 2006, pays more than 80 percent of its revenue to record labels and artists and has not yet shown a profit as it spends to grow internationally. It competes in a business crowded with formidable rivals such as Apple Music, Google Music and YouTube.
Many other European tech start-ups have been swallowed up by bigger Silicon Valley competitors.
Ek said Silicon Valley got an earlier start in building up its tech giants but that Europe finally has the right conditions to support its own entrepreneurs.
“For the first time now there’s an ecosystem around it with capital and experience that can actually help guide entrepreneurs,” he said.
“The number one advice I tell everyone is ‘don’t sell’, because that’s the biggest problem we have. All these things could grow gigantic if you just kept the course and kept doing what you’re doing,” he added.
Last year Spotify made an operating loss of 184.5 million euros ($205 million), widening from 165.1 million in 2014.
Spotify, whose investors include Northzone, DST Global and Accel, does not disclose details about its ownership but the co-founders no longer own a majority, having sold off stakes.
Movies like “Mario Kart” and “The Legend of Zelda” may possibly be making it to the big screen soon.
Nintendo Co Ltd is holding discussions with several global production companies about expanding its video content business, including making movies, said Tatsumi Kimishima, president of the Japanese videogame maker.
The move is aimed at strengthening Nintendo’s character business and expanding the global gaming population, he told the Asahi newspaper in an interview published Monday.
“We’re talking with various partners. I think we’ll be able to decide something in the not-too-distant future,” Kimishima told the Japanese daily.
Kimishima declined to say when any projects would be announced but said it would not be as far off as five years. He would not say which of Nintendo’s popular characters were being considered for use.
A Nintendo spokesman told Reuters that Kimishima’s comments referred to “video content” but did not deny the possibility of making movies.
Nintendo is diversifying its operations to counter a shrinking console business. It has entered the fast-growing mobile game segment and reached a deal with NBCUniversal to develop theme-park attractions.
In fact, Nintendo already allows film companies to use its characters through licensing agreements, such as for the “Pokemon” franchise. There was also a Hollywood live-action movie based on “Super Mario” in 1993 but it was a box office and critical bomb.
But Kimishima told the Asahi that this time, Nintendo would like to do things itself as much as possible, rather than just licensing out its content, and said it was unlikely to be live-action.
In 2014, “Super Mario” creator Shigeru Miyamoto screened a 3D short-animation film based on Nintendo’s Pikmin characters at the Tokyo International Film Festival, and in an interview with Reuters left the door open to future film projects.
Comments Off on Is Qualcomm Facing Another Security Flaw?
FireEye has found a vulnerability in Qualcomm software packages which are under the bonnet of hundreds of Android phone models.
Google announced this week that it released an Android update to patch shedloads of vulnerabilities, but the advisory mentioned an information disclosure vulnerability in the Qualcomm tethering controller (CVE-2016-2060) that allows a malicious application to access user information.
FireEye said that this vulnerablity is “high severity,” but Google noted that it does not affect Nexus devices. The patch for the issue is not in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository but might make it in the latest driver updates for affected devices.
The security outfit said that researchers informed Qualcomm about the vulnerability in January and the vendor developed a fix by early March, when it started reaching out to OEMs to let them know about the issue. Now it’s up to the device manufacturers to push out the patch to customers. So probably a long time then.
The flaw exists in an open source software package maintained by Qualcomm and is related to the Android network daemon (netd).
“The vulnerability was introduced when Qualcomm provided new APIs as part of the ‘network_manager’ system service, and subsequently the ‘netd’ daemon, that allow additional tethering capabilities, possibly among other things,” FireEye said.
The flaw has been confirmed to affect devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop and earlier, which currently account for roughly three-quarters of Android devices. Researchers noted that the affected Qualcomm software package is used in a variety of projects, including the popular CyanogenMod, and the vulnerable APIs appear to have been around since at least 2011.
The vulnerability can be exploited to escalate privileges to the built-in “radio” user, which has permissions that are normally not available to a third-party app. The most efficient way to exploit CVE-2016-2060 is via a malicious application that is granted the “ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE” permission.
Online entertainment company Rovi plans to purchase digital video recording firm TiVo for $1.1 billion in a stock and cash deal, the companies announced on Friday.
TiVo has cloud-based technology for integrating live, recorded, on-demand and Internet television into one user interface, with search, discovery, viewing and recording options from a variety of devices. Its technology has been deployed by operators including Virgin Media and Vodafone Spain.
Rovi announced in March that Sharp’s new Aquos TVs would include its G-Guide electronic programming guide.
The combined company is forecast to have more than $800 million in revenue in the current year. More than 10 million TiVo-served households are expected to be added to the current base of about 18 million homes that use Rovi guides. The new entity will serve nearly 500 service providers worldwide, the companies said.
The deal between Rovi and TiVo, besides creating a large media and entertainment technology company with complementary products and services, will also lead to the setting up of a company with a worldwide portfolio of more than 6,000 issued patents and pending applications worldwide.
The two companies have a strong licensing business and have also sued key players like Comcast for patent infringement in the past. The companies said they have more than $3 billion in combined IP licensing revenue and past damage awards.
The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter and the combined company will use the TiVo name. Tom Carson, CEO of Rovi will be the chief executive of the new company.
Every decade or so, a new era of computing comes along that influences everything we do. Much of the 90s was about client-server and Windows PCs. By the aughts, the Web had taken over and every advertisement carried a URL. Then came the iPhone, and we’re in the midst of a decade defined by people tapping myopically into tiny screens.
So what comes next, when mobile gives way to something else? Mark Zuckerberg thinks it’s VR. There’s likely to be a lot of that, but there’s a more foundational technology that makes VR possible and permeates other areas besides.
“I do think in the long run we will evolve in computing from a mobile-first to an A.I.-first world,” said Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, answering an analyst’s question during parent company Alphabet’s quarterly earnings call Thursday.
He’s not predicting that mobile will go away, of course, but that the breakthroughs of tomorrow will come via smarter uses of data rather than clever uses of mobile devices like those that brought us Uber and Instagram.
Forms of artificial intelligence are already being used to sort photographs, fight spam and steer self-driving cars. The latest trend is in bots, which use A.I. services on the back end to complete tasks automatically, like ordering flowers or booking a hotel.
Google believes it has a lead in A.I. and the related field of machine learning, which Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt has already pegged as key to Google’s future.
Machine learning is one of the ways Google hopes to distinguish its emerging cloud computing business from those of rivals like Amazon and Microsoft, Pichai said.
Comments Off on Verizon Emerged As Favorite Bidder For Yahoo
Verizon Communications Inc is the clear favorite in the fast approaching bid for Yahoo Inc’s core Internet business, according to Wall Street analysts, in large part because the telecommunications company’s efforts to become a force in Internet content have gone relatively well under the leadership of AOL Inc Chief Executive Tim Armstrong.
Verizon acquired AOL last June for $4.4 billion – its first big foray into the advertising-supported Internet business – and it is not yet clear how well the unit is performing financially. Subsequent moves, including the takeover of much of Microsoft Corp’s advertising technology business, a deal to buy Millennial Media for about $250 million and the recent launch of the mobile video service go90, are also too recent to assess.
Yet analysts have given the big phone company high marks for allowing AOL to operate independently and folding in other recent acquisitions without much drama. And they said Armstrong seems to be driving Verizon’s recent moves in go90 and recent acquisitions.
“The management puts a lot of faith in Armstrong,” BTIG analyst Walt Piecyk said.
That faith derives in part from the belief that Armstrong did a good job at left-for-dead AOL, especially in assembling a strong set of products to deliver targeted digital ads to customers.
Combining AOL and Yahoo, an idea that has come up many times over the years, could instantly make Yahoo a major player in Internet advertising, with Armstrong – one of the world’s top ad executives – at the helm, analysts said.
Armstrong “has good M&A experience, and a pretty solid ad tech stack,” B. Riley & Co analyst Sameet Sinha said.
Verizon’s hands-off approach that has worked with AOL, though, might not be suitable if the far-bigger Yahoo were taken over. With Yahoo’s struggling business, “the luxury of autonomy is simply not there,” Recon Analytics analyst Roger Entner said.
Verizon, AOL and Yahoo declined to comment.
Comments Off on FCC Votes To Tighten Broadband Providers Privacy Rules
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is moving toward major new regulations requiring ISPs to get customer permission before using or sharing their Web-surfing history and other personal information.
The FCC voted 3-2 last week to approve a notice of proposed rule-making, or NPRM, the first step toward passing new regulations, over the objections of the commission’s two Republicans.
The rules, which will now be released for public comment, require ISPs to get opt-in permission from customers if they want to use their personal information for most reasons besides marketing their own products.
Republican Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly complained that the regulations target Internet service providers but not social networks, video providers and other online services.
“Ironically, selectively burdening ISPs, who are nascent competitors in online advertising, confers a windfall on those who are already winning,” Pai said. “The FCC targets ISPs, and only ISPs, for regulation.”
The proposed rules could prohibit some existing practices, including offering premium services in exchange for targeted advertising, that consumers have already agreed to, O’Rielly added. “The agency knows best and must save consumers from their poor privacy choices,” he said.
But the commission’s three Democrats argued that regulations are important because ISPs have an incredible window into their customers’ lives.
ISPs can collect a “treasure trove” of information about a customer, including location, websites visited, and shopping habits, said Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. “I want the ability to determine when and how my ISP uses my personal information.”
Broadband customers would be able to opt out of data collection for marketing and other communications-related services. For all other purposes, including most sharing of personal data with third parties, broadband providers would be required to get customers’ explicit opt-in permission.
The proposal would also require ISPs to notify customers about data breaches, and to notify those directly affected by a breach within 10 days of its discovery.
Comments Off on iPhone SE Goes With Qualcomm Inside
Contrary to our previous reports we got a tip that iPhone SE will continue using Qualcomm modems and not change to Intel.
The tear downs will start happening soon but our sources very close to the matter said with high certainly that all iPhone SE come with an updated Qualcomm modem.
Intel is still in the run but apparently Apple still felt confident to continue using Qualcomm even for this generation of the phone. A few analysts did suggested that iPhone 7 and beyond might get Intel LTE hardware, but not with iPhone SE.
Back in December, when we originally wrote that Intel got the iPhone SE deal, our sources did suggest that Apple can still change its mind if it doesn’t feel that Intel modem is ready. This might be the case, but in the future, we are quite confident that Apple will get a second LTE supplier at some point, just as it did with different manufacturing fabs.
Having two suppliers will drive the cost down, and for Apple every dollar or cent they save of components means millions more in its pocket. Apple claims “LTE up to 50 percent faster than iPhone 5s,” but it doesn’t give a real number. The iPhone 5S uses MDM9615 that was first introduced in 2011. This modem is at the technology range of Cat 4, X5 modem that Qualcomm ships in its entry level SoCs or as an external component.
We will have to wait for the first teardowns to appear as it is not easy to get to “ LTE up to 50 percent faster than iPhone 5s.” You would need a modem that is capable of 225 Mbps and the next of potential candidates for the iPhone SE is the MDM 20nm 9×35. Qualcomm calls this modem X7 these days, it use to call it Gobi back in late 2014 and this is a Cat 6, 300 Mbit per second download and 50 Mbit per second upload capable chip.
The fact that Apple continues the exclusive deal with Qualcomm is bad news for Intel, but we are sure that the team blue will keep working on getting inside of iPhone.
In a sweeping change of course directed at a tightly controlled television industry, cable and satellite operators in the United States will now be obligated to let their customers freely choose which set-top boxes they can use, according to a proposal announced by the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday.
The move is expected to have wide-ranging implications for large technology companies looking to get their brand names into every consumer’s living room. For example, under the new rules, Google, Amazon and Apple would now be allowed to create entertainment room devices that blend Internet and cable programming in a way the television industry has until now resisted. Next-generation media players, including the Chromecast, Fire TV and Apple TV, would now be granted permission to line the backs of their devices with coaxial inputs and internal “smart access card” equivalents integrated right into device firmware with a simple subscription activation process.
As the Wall Street Journal notes, Senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut investigated the cable set-top box market last summer and found that the cable industry generates roughly $19.1 billion in annual revenue from cable box rentals alone.
Meanwhile, the cost of cable set-top boxes has risen 185 percent since 1995, while the cost of PCs, televisions and smartphones has dropped by 90 percent. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler admits that these economies of scale don’t need to remain so unbalanced any longer.
The FCC says its focus will be primarily on improving day-to-day television experience. In the past, the burdensome requirements of long-term contracts tethered to clunky, unsightly cable and satellite boxes has been a major source of customer complaints.
Wheeler has also said that access to specific video content shouldn’t be frustrating to the average consumer in an age where we are constantly surrounded by a breadth of information to sift through. “Improved search functions [can] lead consumers to a variety of video content that is buried behind guides or available on video services you can’t access with your set-top box today,” Wheeler says.
The FCC is expected to vote on the proposal on Thursday, February 18th. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s full statement on the commission’s new proposal can be found here.
Qualcomm has told the assorted throngs at CES about a new Snapdragon 820 Automotive family of products. It will come in two flavors – a standard 820A and an 820Am that adds an LTE modem.
The chip is designed for in-car navigation and infotainment systems running QNX, Linux, and Android. It has wireless capabilities and can connected to your phone. The LTE version will link to the Internet.
They can manage multiple displays to run the screen in your dashboard and an infotainment screen in the back seat. It also offers support for high-resolution 4K displays for when some company inevitably decides to cram a high-res, high-density screen into one of its cars.
The 820A chips are close cousins ofthe the Snapdragon 820 SoCs that will start shipping in phones later this year and use Qualcomm’s custom-made 64-bit Kryo CPU cores, an Adreno 530 GPU, a Hexagon 680 DSP all cooked up with a 14nm manufacturing process. They will also use the Snapdragon X12 LTE which can manage 600Mbps down and 150Mbps up when the wind is behind it and it is going downhill. There are all the usual 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other features.
Qualcomm said that it used a “modular approach” in designing the chip, which means that the cars infotainment system can be upgraded with hardware and software updates, thereby enabling vehicles to be easily upgraded with the latest technology.
Car makers could theoretically swap out the chip or the entire package without needing to worry about software changes. Qualcomm specifically mentions upgrading LTE connectivity over the lifetime of the car to keep up with the capabilities of cellular networks.
Qualcomm says the 820A family will begin sampling in Q1 of 2016.