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.
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.
T-Mobile US Inc reported a better-than-expected 10.6 percent rise in quarterly revenue and raised its forecast for customer additions in 2016 as popular discounts aided the No.3 U.S. wireless carrier by subscribers attract more business.
T-Mobile has been offering cheaper leasing plans and free music and video streaming to lure customers away from larger rivals Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc.
T-Mobile, controlled by Deutsche Telekom, said it added 2.2 million customers on a net basis in the first quarter ended March 31.
That easily topped the average analyst estimate of 1.72 million, according to research firm FactSet StreetAccount.
The company said it expected to add 3.2 million to 3.6 million postpaid customers on a net basis in 2016, compared with its previous forecast of 2.4 million to 3.4 million.
T-Mobile’s 10.6 percent jump in quarterly revenue to $8.6 billion suggested its strategy to boost revenue was working. Analysts on average had expected revenue of $8.43 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
In comparison, market leader Verizon’s operating revenue rose just 0.6 percent to $32.17 billion.
AT&T is scheduled to report results later on Tuesday.
T-Mobile reported net income of $479 million, or 56 cents per share, for the first quarter, compared with a loss of $63 million, or 9 cents per share, a year earlier.
Qualcomm has buried the hatchet with LG after the smartphone vendor agreed to pay more for its chips.
LG said the dispute with Qualcomm has been completely settled, although it did not say how much it had agreed to pay. Earlier it had claimed Qualcomm had overcharged for the chips under a licensing contract.
The news about the lawsuit settlement emerged following Qualcomm’s profit forecast for the second quarter in January, which was below what Wall Street’s tarot readers had predicted.
The company expected its mobile chip shipment to fall by 16-25 per cent in the second quarter. Additionally, it expected 3G and 4G device shipment to decline by 4 to 14 per cent. As for the first quarter of 2016, Qualcomm’s chip shipment fell 10 per cent , with a drop in revenue by 21.6 per cent. Revenue from licensing declined 10.4 per cent, suggests a Reuters report.
An LG spokesperson said that this kind of dispute was “actually nothing” and was similar to the ones that the industries had in the past.
“Qualcomm has lowered its royalty rate to LG in return for LG’s guaranteed purchase of Qualcomm processors, which are currently being used in its flagship handsets and will be used in upcoming flagship models,” added the official.
Qualcomm might have been a little nervy. LG has invested millions to develop its own chipset, in an attempt to cut down its dependency on Qualcomm for mobile processors.
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 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.
Comments Off on Is Apple Trying To Rain On Intel’s Parade?
Intel’s cunning plans for computers that will recognize human emotion using its RealSense 3D camera, have been killed off in the short term by Apple.
RealSense is a mix of infrared, laser and optical cameras to measure depth and track motion. It can be used on a drone that can navigate its own way through a city block, but it is also good at detecting changes in facial expressions, and Intel wanted to give RealSense the ability to read human emotions by combining it with an emotion recognition technology developed by Emotient.
Plugging in Emotient allowed RealSense to detect whether people are happy or sad by analyzing movement in their lips, eyes and cheeks. Intel said that it could detect “anger, contempt, disgust, fear,” and other sentiments.
A few months ago the fruity cargo cult Apple acquired Emotient. Intel has removed the Emotient plug-in from the latest version of the RealSense software development kit.
It is not clear at this point if Apple told Intel that it invented the plug in and so it had to sling its hook, or if Intel did not want Jobs’ Mob anywhere near its technology.
The RealSense SDK has features that allow it to recognize some facial expressions, but it’s unclear if they’ll be as effective as the Emotient technology.
Qualcomm has thrown its hat into the virtual reality (VR) ring with the launch of the Snapdragon VR SDK for Snapdragon-based smartphones and VR headsets.
The SDK gives developers access to advanced VR features, according to Qualcomm, allowing them to simplify development and attain improved performance and power efficiency with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor, found in Android smartphones such as the Galaxy S7 and tipped to feature in upcoming VR headsets.
In terms of features, the development kit offers tools such as digital signal processing (DSP) sensor fusion, which allows devs to use the “full breadth” of technologies built into the Snapdragon 820 chip to create more responsive and immersive experiences.
It will help developers combine high-frequency inertial data from gyroscopes and accelerometers, and there’s what the company calls “predictive head position processing” based on its Hexagon DSP, while Qualcomm’s Symphony System Manager makes easier access to power and performance management for more stable frame rates in VR applications running on less-powerful devices.
Fast motion to photon will offer single buffer rendering to reduce latency by up to 50 percent, while stereoscopic rendering with lens correction offers support for 3D binocular vision with color correction and barrel distortion for improved visual quality of graphics and video, enhancing the overall VR experience.
Stereoscopic rendering with lens correction supports 3D binocular vision with color correction and barrel distortion for improved visual quality of graphics and video, enhancing the overall VR experience.
Rounding off the features is VR layering, which improves overlays in a virtual world to reduce distortion.
David Durnil, senior director of engineering at Qualcomm, said: “We’re providing advanced tools and technologies to help developers significantly improve the virtual reality experience for applications like games, 360 degree VR videos and a variety of interactive education and entertainment applications.
“VR represents a new paradigm for how we interact with the world, and we’re excited to help mobile VR developers more efficiently deliver compelling and high-quality experiences on upcoming Snapdragon 820 VR-capable Android smartphones and headsets.”
The Snapdragon VR SDK will be available to developers in the second quarter through the Qualcomm Developer Network.
The launch of Qualcomm’s VR SDK comes just moments after AMD also entered the VR arena with the launch of the Sulon Q, a VR-ready wearable Windows 10 PC.