Richard Adhikari

About the Author Richard Adhikari


Deals

Softbank Pumps $1B Into Global Web Access Race

Softbank has cut a check for $1 billion to OneWeb, which plans to build a constellation of satellites to provide Internet access to underserved parts of the world, the companies announced Monday. Helmed by satellite industry veteran Greg Wyler, OneWeb raised a total of $1.2 billion in its latest round of funding. The company will deploy 650 Ku band satellites into orbit at a height of 750 miles.

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Trends

Sales, Marketing Poised for AI Revolution

Artificial intelligence will revolutionize marketing in the next five years, according to a Demandbase survey conducted last month. Eighty percent of the 500 B2B marketers who participated in the online poll, conducted last month by Wakefield Research, said they expected an AI-fueled marketing revolution. However, only 26 percent were very confident they understood how AI was used in marketing.

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Transportation

Uber’s Self-Driving Fleet Takes On San Francisco

Uber on Wednesday rolled out a fleet of self-driving cars in San Francisco, the second U.S. city to participate in its pilot project. Pittsburgh was the first. Riders who request an UberX — the lowest-priced Uber vehicle — will be matched with one of the self-driving Volvo XC90 SUVs if one is available and if the customers are willing, according to Anthony Levandowski, head of Uber’s Advanced Technology Group.

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Customer Service

Salesforce Releases Texting Customer Service Chatbot

Salesforce has released LiveMessage, a chatbot that lets enterprises users engage customers through messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, SMS or MMS directly within its Service Cloud. Service agents can respond to customers on Facebook Messenger after accessing their records, for example, and the conversation automatically is appended and can be resumed later if necessary.

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Virtual Reality

Magic Leap Catches Flak Over Tricky Video

It turns out the awe-inspiring video Magic Leap unveiled last year is not a demo of its still-secretive mixed reality technology, but a bit of sleight of hand from special effects firm Weta Workshop, which is credited at the beginning and end of the clip. Magic Leap’s post — titled “Just another day in the office at Magic Leap” — claims the video shows a game being played around the office.

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Deals

LinkedIn Begins New Chapter Under Microsoft’s Wing

Microsoft last week closed its $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn. LinkedIn will remain a separate company and Jeff Weiner will continue as its CEO, but he now reports to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Integration of the companies’ products is under way. Among many other things, a user’s LinkedIn identity and network will be made available in Microsoft Outlook and the Office suite.

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Deals

Fitbit Pulls Pebble From Rock, Hard Place

Fitbit has announced an acquisition deal with smartwatch maker Pebble. It clearly has been struggling, having laid off 25 percent of its staff earlier this year, when CEO Eric Migicovsky acknowledged that money was tight. “Fitbit is acquiring certain assets of Pebble, including key personnel and intellectual property specific to software and firmware development,” a Fitbit spokesperson said.

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Consumer Protection

Bill Bolsters Legal Efforts of Wells Fargo Fraud Victims

U.S. lawmakers have introduced legislation to stop Wells Fargo from enforcing arbitration agreements with victims of fraud it perpetrated against them. Sen. Sherrod Brown, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and Rep. Brad Sherman, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced the Justice for Victims of Fraud Act of 2016.

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Social Networking

Tech Giants Team to Battle Terrorism Online

Facebook has teamed up with Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft to fight the proliferation of terrorist content on the Web. The tech giants will create a shared industry database of hashes for violent terrorist imagery, terrorist recruitment videos, or images they have removed from their services. They may use these shared hashes to help identify potential terrorist content on their platforms.

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Smartphones

iPhone Envy May Have Felled Galaxy Note7

Samsung’s desire to match the iPhone 7 Plus led it to implement an aggressive design and manufacturing approach that led to problems with its Galaxy Note7 — including some instances of the smartphones bursting into flames, Instrumental reported last week. Instrumental engineers tore down a Galaxy Note7, and found “tension between safety and pushing the boundaries,” CEO Anna Shedletsky revealed.

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Deals

Twitter Buys Yes for Product VP Talent

Twitter has purchased Yes and named the mobile app startup’s CEO, Keith Coleman, as its new VP of product — a challenging post. Coleman will be Twitter’s third VP of product this year and the fifth since 2014. Twitter’s main problems are monetization, which has plagued it since its founding; slowing user growth; and stiff competition. Coleman’s supporters cite his previous experience at Google.

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Social Networking

Facebook Videos Explain AI in a Nutshell

Facebook last week released six videos to educate people about artificial intelligence. AI will bring major changes to society, and will be the backbone of many of the most innovative apps and services of the future, but it remains mysterious, noted Yann LeCun, Facebook’s director of AI research, and Joaquin Candela, the company’s director of applied machine learning in an online post.

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