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Qualcomm-NXP deal still waiting for China nod: sources
June 15, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China is yet to approve U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc’s (QCOM.O) proposed $ 44 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors (NXPI.O), three people close to the talks said, dismissing an earlier media report that said Beijing had already greenlit the deal.

FILE PHOTO: A sign on the Qualcomm campus is seen in San Diego, California, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Chinese clearance would remove a long-running roadblock to the deal that has become entangled with broader trade tensions between the United States and China. The acquisition has already got a nod from eight of the nine required global regulators, with China being the only hold-out.

Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Friday morning that China had given its go-ahead to the deal, citing people with knowledge of the matter, driving up shares of the U.S. firm in extended trade.

FILE PHOTO: A man works on a tent for NXP Semiconductors in preparation for the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 4, 2015. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo

But Reuters sources, who are close to the Qualcomm-NXP deal, said they were not aware of any Chinese approval. One of them said planned U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods expected to be unveiled later in the day could impact the process.

Qualcomm did not have an immediate comment on Friday, while NXP did not respond to a request for comment.

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation, the regulator which reviews merger deals, did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.

Qualcomm met with regulators in Beijing last month in a bid to secure a clearance, but sources at the time said an approval would depend on the progress of broader bilateral talks and the U.S. government lifting a crippling supplier ban on telecoms equipment maker ZTE Corp (000063.SZ)(0763.HK).

Washington and Beijing have struck a deal to help ZTE back into business. However, trade talks remain in the balance with U.S. President Donald Trump expected to unveil “pretty significant” tariffs on Chinese goods on Friday.

Analysts said a Chinese approval would be significant as it would remove the last major barrier to the NXP deal, which is seen as key for Qualcomm to diversify its business and make a push into new areas like smart cars.

Qualcomm initially announced its bid for Dutch semiconductor company NXP in October 2016.

Reporting by Michael Martina and Matthew Miller in BEIJING, Adam Jourdan in SHANGHAI and Nikhil Subba in BENGALURU; Editing by James Dalgleish, Grant McCool and Himani Sarkar


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Space Photos of the Week: Light a Candle for Hubble, Still Gazing Strong
April 21, 2018 6:01 pm|Comments (0)

This isn’t just any Hubble photo of the Lagoon Nebula; this is a special birthday photo celebrating the Hubble Space Telescope’s 28 years in orbit. The Lagoon Nebula, seen here in dazzling color, is 4,000 light years away and is gargantuan as star nurseries go: 20 light years high and 55 light years wide.

This is a gorgeous photo and one you might not recognize of a famous astral body, called the Lagoon Nebula. The Hubble Space Telescope took this photo in infrared light, which reveals different elements of the nebula not seen in the visible spectrum. The bright star in the center is called Herschel 36 and is only 1 million years old—a fledgling in stellar terms.

Mars is covered in craters and while typically thought to be a “dead” planet, it’s actually quite active. Earth’s red neighbor has wind, although not strong enough to kill The Martian’s Mark Watney. This impact crater (a relatively new one by Mars standards) is called Bonestell crater, located in the plain known as Acidalia Planitia. The streaks in the image are caused by winds blowing down into the crater.

This photo of the Sun was taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory some weeks ago. The dark regions are called coronal holes—openings in the Sun’s magnetic field—and when open, they spit highly charged particles into space. When these particles run into Earth’s magnetic field, they create spectacular displays of aurora near our northern and southern poles.

Hello deep space! This galaxy cluster has a name that is rather difficult to remember—PLCK G308.3-20.2, but it’s way cool. Galaxy clusters like this contain thousands of galaxies, some just like our own. They’re held together by gravity, making them one of the largest known structures in space affected by this invisible force.

Ready to shoot the moon? The new administration in Washington is setting its sights on some lunar adventures. Among the various reasons why people want to head back to the moon: There’s a decent amount of water frozen around our cratered satellite, and also the views from there aren’t too shabby.


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Uber still believes autonomous vehicles have a future, says CEO
April 11, 2018 6:10 pm|Comments (0)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said on Wednesday that the ride-sharing company still believes in the prospects for autonomous transport after one of its self-driving vehicles was involved in a fatal crash in Arizona last month.

FILE PHOTO – Dara Khosrowshahi, Chief Executive Officer of Uber Technologies, attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 23, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Picture

A 49-year-old woman was killed after being hit by an Uber self-driving sports utility vehicle while walking across a street in Phoenix, leading the company to suspend testing of autonomous vehicles.

Khosrowshahi declined to say when the company might resume testing or what might have gone wrong. He said the company was cooperating with federal investigators and dealing with the incident “very seriously.”

The accident has raised questions about the lack of clear safety standards for such vehicles.

But, speaking at a transport forum, Khosrowshahi said Uber was still betting on the technology in the long-term.

“We believe in it,” he said, adding that Uber considered autonomous vehicles “part of the solution” and in the long-term key to eliminating individual car ownership.

“Autonomous (vehicles) at maturity will be safer,” he said.

The company’s interest in investing in bike sharing and public transit should not be interpreted as a move away from self-driving cars, he added.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the incident.

“They are a neutral party,” said Khosrowshahi. “They understand this.”

“We’ll figure out what we do afterwards.”

Arizona’s governor suspended Uber’s ability to test self-driving cars on public roads in the state following the crash. Arizona had been a key hub for Uber’s autonomous project, with about half of the company’s 200 self-driving cars and a staff of hundreds.

Governor Doug Ducey last month called a video of the incident “disturbing and alarming” and the crash “an unquestionable failure.”

NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt on Tuesday told Reuters he had no update on the investigation.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Susan Thomas and Rosalba O’Brien


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Here’s Why Analysts Are Still Frustrated With Twitter Despite It Reporting Its First Profit
February 8, 2018 6:05 pm|Comments (0)

Twitter surprised investors and followers Thursday with revenue gains and its first profit, but some analysts say the company is still withholding vital information.

Twitter (twtr), on its earnings conference call, declined to give hard daily active user (DAU) statistics, simply saying it achieved its fifth consecutive quarter of double digit DAU growth, with a 12% year-over-year increase. That’s all well and good, say analysts, but without actual numbers, it’s a relatively meaningless boast.

“The DAU growth metric is literally the FIRST THING in their shareholder letter,” said Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter via Twitter. “Their excuse that they won’t disclose is lame. If they can’t tell us the numbers, why brag about growth? It’s either important (and should be disclosed) or not (and should be ignored).”

Pachter’s frustration grew as the call went on.

And he wasn’t the only critic.

Relying on percentage growth figures without giving any sort of base is an old trick of corporations. The reigning king of this strategy is Amazon, which has yet to give hard numbers regarding Amazon Prime members, though it has regularly touted the service’s membership growth.

While Twitter won’t disclose the number of daily users, it did, however, shed some light on monthly active users. That number was roughly the same as the prior quarter at 330 million, a lower-than-projected total that the company attributed in part to stepped-up efforts to reduce spam, malicious activity, and fake accounts.


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Blake Griffin May No Longer Be a Clipper, But He's Still a Comic Talent
February 2, 2018 6:39 pm|Comments (0)

On YouTube, NBA all-star Blake Griffin is his own comedic genre. A cursory search for his funniest moments generates 271,000 results, an aggregate of humor and oddball spirit that includes videos like “Blake Griffin Does Stand Up Comedy – Actually FUNNY!” “Chris Paul Says D*ck, Blake Griffin Cracks Up,” and “Top 10 Blake Griffin Funny Commercials.” Griffin has yet to record in such prolific strides, but the videos do point to some of his most enduring work throughout his 10 seasons as a Los Angeles Clipper: that of small-screen thespian.

But 10 seasons do not a lifer make. This week, the power forward was traded to the Detroit Pistons in an overnight deal that stunned the league. During his time in LA, Griffin had become a leading figure on a team that excelled on paper, but chronically sputtered out in the early rounds of the playoffs. Griffin’s brilliance, though, was at times even brighter off the basketball hardwood. Infrequent and strangely commanding, he’d made a noticeable mark in commercials and TV shows that tested the limits of his comedic craftsmanship. Over time, spanning one-off roles and web sketches, Griffin managed to become not just a adept line reader, but an innovator of the form.

Not since Shaquille O’Neal’s tenure with the Lakers has a local player exuded such natural potential for Hollywood. A collection of his most abiding bits were for Kia Optima, the untrendy economy car that Griffin made feel moderately chic. (LeBron would follow suit, though unsurprisingly endorsing the manufacturer’s king-size luxury sedan.) Over the years, as the company spokesperson, he embraced the texture of his eccentricities: there was Blake as the poised superhero (Griffin Force!); Blake as the blustering Roman emperor; Blake as the celestial being who lives in an otherworld known as “the zone”; Blake as the military pilot who believes the Optima to be a formidable combat weapon. (“The bad guys are expecting me to be in a fighter jet, not a midsize sedan,” he theorizes in a kind of half-baked logic, fully confident. “I’ll fly in under the radar.”)

In a series of commercials that took on an anthology format, Griffin journeys back in time, at infrequent points of his adolescence, and offers advice to his younger self. In one, he travels to 1997 and finds Young Blake in the middle of a flag football game. Without hesitation, he steals the ball, kicks it out of the frame, and declares with deadpan precision: “Wrong sport.” He then advises: “Stop wearing jean shorts. Just trust me.”

In 2016, Griffin landed his biggest role yet: a guest spot (as himself) in an episode of Broad City, Comedy Central’s hit series about the quirks of modern womanhood. For his part, Griffin participated in a nude sex scene in which he danced, cradled, played games, and drank tea with Ilana in a hotel room. For decades professional athletes have satirized their identities in film and television—poking fun at yourself has become all but a career prerequisite—but Griffin has an uncanny gift for short-form comedy; it’s as if he’s all but redefined the relationship athletes have to the genre.

When I spoke with him in 2010, during his injury-plagued first season on the Clippers (he sat out all 82 games due to a stress fracture in his left knee that later required surgery), Griffin said his hope was to “change the culture” in LA. He never won a championship with the Clippers, but it’s possible he changed the culture in other, less obvious modes. An early flash of genius, and a favorite of mine, came in 2011 in a hoax commercial inspired by the NBA Lockout. Alongside Kevin Love and Ron Artest, Griffin promotes various services for hire—carpentry, welding, crime-solving, DJing. The bit is awkward and takes on the veneer of a cheap infomercial, but you can see Griffin slowly coming into himself. Even back then he knew what we later would: he was his own best punchline.

The WIRED World of Sports

-With Ball in the Family, Facebook Watch finds a new niche: counter-programming for embattled public figures.

-When Russell Westbrook became the NBA’s Most Valuable Player last year, it was a case of humanity outpacing science.

-Why Instagram has become the platform for sports highlights.


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Nokia still reviewing options for undersea cables unit: CEO
October 26, 2017 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Nokia is still reviewing its options for its undersea cables unit, a business that underpins the global Internet, chief executive Rajeev Suri said on Thursday.

Rajeev Suri, Nokia’s President and Chief Executive Officer, walks on stage to deliver his keynote at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Paul Hanna

Reuters reported in May that Nokia was planning to sell the ASN division, which is one of the top suppliers of undersea cable networks in the world and is valued at 800 million euros ($ 944 million).

“We are still in the middle of our strategic review which we have set for ASN, so there’s no update,” Suri told a conference call.

Some analysts had expected a decision on the unit alongside the release of Nokia’s interim report released on Thursday.

The unit was bought by Nokia last year as part of its 15.6 billion-euro ($ 17 billion) acquisition of Franco-American rival Alcatel-Lucent.

($ 1 = 0.8471 euros)

Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl, editing by Terje Solsvik

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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The Doomsday Vault Isn’t Flooded But We’re All Still Going to Die
June 11, 2017 8:20 pm|Comments (0)

It was a story that was too good to pass up. The Svalbard ‘doomsday’ seed vault had flooded because of global warming-induced high temperatures melting the surrounding permafrost. But according to one of the vault’s creators, the reports are pretty overblown and everything’s fine. Well, the vault’s fine. The…

Read more…


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Why we still fear working in the cloud
May 19, 2017 3:10 am|Comments (0)

But, why do we still fear cloud computing when it’s been around for so many years now and in actuality, the Internet itself is the Cloud! Even so, when …


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Motorola explains why the Moto 360 display still isn’t a perfect circle
September 2, 2015 8:15 pm|Comments (0)

moto 360 flat tire

Motorola unveiled the next generation of its Moto 360 smartwatch line today, and much to the frustration of Android fans, the gadget’s screen still doesn’t fill the face of an otherwise perfectly round watch.

That gap, loving called a “shelf” by Motorola, and angrily called a “flat tire” by some consumers, existed in the first generation Moto 360 and will live on in the second — though Motorola tells us it would like to get rid of it, eventually.

During a pre-launch press event yesterday, we asked Jim Wicks, a Motorola executive leading consumer design, about the flaw, to which he called it “the right decision.”


VentureBeat: How do you react to criticism of the shelf? Through the leaks, people have reacted negatively about what you’re calling the shelf at the bottom of the watch.

Jim Wicks: We could move the shelf out. You’d have a round display and you’d have a thicker bezel or a bigger watch, and we don’t want to do that. We could have done that in the first one and we chose not to. Um, so we really think this 46mm diameter and the 42mm are really important. That shelf, what it’s doing, is it’s hiding some really important sensors — the proximity sensor and other sensors — it’s also where we fold over the display, the display drivers, and by doing that we can keep a very simple, very thin bezel.

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…You see some designs that are rectangular, or have some metal coming out, that are really to cover that. We didn’t do that for the reasons I said. We wanted to have the best fit. The most display for the body … So we look at all of that, we decided that having the shelf was the best design decision.

VentureBeat: Is the goal to have both though?

Wicks: Overtime, it would be great, yeah. But we don’t want to sacrifice the fit. ..It’s kind of nice, when you’re scrolling down to have the hard edge there, but it’s really those other factors that drove it.

That’s why we did it. We own that. We believe it’s the right decision.

Wicks’ argument isn’t bad, but it reads like a rationalization of the 360 development team’s limitations. LG’s G Watch is round and doesn’t feature this design flaw (though its bezel is considerably thicker), and Motorola’s own marketing team — or whoever made this commercial — appears to dislike it. Ultimately Motorola aims to eliminate it, if we’re interpreting Wicks’ comment correctly, and that’s a good sign long-term.

If you can tolerate the shelf in the meantime, you can preorder the 360 today.

VB’s research team is studying web-personalization… Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.


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