News Roundup: Trump blocks Broadcom & Qualcomm merger
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News Roundup: Trump blocks Broadcom & Qualcomm merger

A roundup of the week’s technology news including IoT mousetraps, illegal satellites, and Amazon Banking.

 

Broadcom & Qualcomm: Trump says no

The biggest technology deal in history is off. Broadcom has officially withdrawn its offer to acquire Qualcomm after the White House said it would block any such move.

This week President Donald Trump signed an executive order prohibiting any deal between the two companies, saying Broadcom “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States”.

Broadcom said it was “disappointed with this outcome”.

One company likely to be happy with the order is Intel, which was reportedly eyeing up its own bid for Broadcom to prevent it becoming the dominant play in the chip space. And now former Qualcomm Chairman Paul Jacobs is reportedly looking to take his former company private.

President Trump, meanwhile, is looking to impose more tariffs, this time focusing on China and the technology and telecommunications sectors.

 

Security

 

M&A

Chinese investment in technology is slowing down in the US and speeding up in Latin America. Not a massive surprise given President Trump’s anti-China moves lately.

McAfee has acquired TunnelBear, Apple has bought Texture, Salesforce has got its hands on CloudCraze, Nutanix has snapped up Netsil, Palo Alto now owns Evident.io, Cloudian has purchased Infinity Storage, CyberArk has snaffled Vaultive, and Grab has taken over Uber’s Southeast Asia business.

 

Another week, another new industry for amazon

And this week Amazon’s wheel of disruption lands on… banking. The tech conglomerate is reportedly looking to offer checking accounts to customers. A brief from Bain & Company estimates an ‘Amazon Bank’ could accrue 70 million customers in the US within five years, putting it level with the likes of Wells Fargo. Amazon this week also launched a debit card in Mexico as a way to spur eCommerce in places where customers may not have access to credit and debit cards.

Meanwhile, Walmart is also potentially looking to expand in pastures new. The retail giant recently filed a series of patents based around automated farming. These include drones for pest control, and robotic bees for pollination.

 

Open Source

A Kickstarter project to create an Open Source version of XenServer surpassed its funding goal. The XCP-ng raised over €38,000 against a €6,000 target.

GitHub has released a tool called Git-Sizer for measuring the size of a Git repository. Google’s Flutter framework for building apps with a unified codebase, is available in Beta. Microsoft has Open Sourced its Service Fabric.

 

Alexa laughs at you

What’s the creepiest thing a voice-enabled smart speaker can do? Laugh at random intervals. Users on social media were posting that their Alexa-enabled devices were laughing without being prompted. Which is obviously weird, and the laugh itself is pretty creepy. Amazon has fixed this issue, which it said was caused by Alexa thinking it heard the command, ‘Alexa, laugh’.

 

Luddites vs Autonomous vehicles

Surveys have long shown people are a little bit wary about the idea of driverless cars. But this wariness is apparently devolving into pure Luddite-like aggression. The Guardian is reporting that people are not only attacking the cars in person but purposely crashing their own cars into self-driving vehicles. I guess it all makes for good training data, right?

 

The Claw

As fun as Virtual Reality can be, the immersion is often ruined by poor controls. Microsoft Research has come up with a new controller called ‘The Claw’. It provides haptic feedback depending on what the user is doing in-game. It can provide the feel of textures, resistance when grabbing objects, and even recoil for VR guns.

 

Satellites in Spaaace (but without permission)

I firmly stand by the dystopian vision of the future wherein any and all space activity is run by tech companies. Need proof? The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is accusing a startup called Swarm Technologies of launching satellites into space without permission. This is the first ever recorded case of unauthorized launching of commercial satellites. Who needs rules when you’ve got VC money and a vision?

 

IoT mousetraps

You know what doesn’t need internet connectivity? Mouse traps. You know what now has internet connectivity? Mouse traps.

 

Robots can jive

Happy Friday everyone. Here’s a video of a robot dancing to music.

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect. Writes about all manner of tech from driverless cars, AI, and Green IT to Cloudy stuff, security, and IoT. Dislikes autoplay ads/videos and garbage written about 'milliennials'.  

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