Uber’s self-driving unit valued at $7.25 billion in new investment

Uber’s autonomous vehicle unit has raised $1 billion from a consortium of investors including SoftBank Group Corp, giving the company a much-needed funding boost for its pricey self-driving ambitions on the eve of its public stock offering.

Amazon Now Offering Free Ad-Supported Music to Alexa Users in the United States

Earlier this week, rumors suggested Amazon would launch a free, ad-supported music service, and today, Amazon indeed announced the debut of a free music option for Amazon Alexa users.

Alexa device owners in the United States who do not have a Prime membership or a subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited are now able to listen to an ad-supported selection of top playlists and stations at no cost with Amazon Music on the Amazon Echo and other compatible Alexa-enabled devices.



The new ad-supported service adds more utility for Alexa users who do not otherwise have access to a music subscription service.

Alexa users can ask Alexa to play stations based on songs, artists, eras, or genres, and can also ask to hear Amazon Music’s top global playlists.

Amazon’s free music offering is available alongside its Prime music service, which provides access to more than two million songs, and Amazon Music Unlimited, Amazon’s on-demand music service priced starting at $9.99 per month ($7.99 for Prime members). Amazon Music Unlimited allows users to access more than 50 million songs.

Given the limitations of Amazon’s new free ad-supported service for Alexa users, it does not appear that it will turn Amazon into a major Spotify competitor. Spotify has its own free ad-supported service and is one of the few music services to offer such an option.

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Big corporates back crypto ‘plumbing’ despite currency caution

Major finance and tech firms are pouring money into startups building technology to develop the crypto market, even though they’re steering clear of the volatile currencies themselves.

Facebook ‘unintentionally uploaded’ email contacts of 1.5 million users: report

Facebook Inc said it “unintentionally uploaded” the email contacts of 1.5 million new users since May 2016, Business Insider reported on Wednesday.

Apple Hit With Securities Fraud Lawsuit for Hiding iPhone Sales Drop

Apple is facing a class action lawsuit accusing the company of securities fraud for making false statements and failing to disclose adverse information regarding its business prospects. These actions allegedly led to an artificially inflated stock price.

Specifically, the lawsuit claims that Apple was not initially forthcoming about a drop in demand for the iPhone due to poor sales in China and the 2018 battery replacement program, both of which contributed to lower than expected iPhone sales in the first fiscal quarter of 2019.



Apple is also accused of hiding the fact that production orders from suppliers had been slashed and prices had been cut, Apple’s decision not to provide unit sales for iPhones and other hardware is also cited as a method Apple used to cause stock prices to rise to $209 per share.

When Apple did reveal the dip in iPhone sales and announced that it would not make its quarterly revenue forecast, Apple’s stock fell $15 per share from $157.92 on January 2 to $142.19 per share on January 3. According to the lawsuit, Apple knew its iPhone sales weren’t on track months before the information was shared.

The lawsuit, filed by the City of Roseville employees’ retirement fund, is aiming to recover damages on behalf of people who purchased Apple stock between November 2, 2018 and January 2, 2019. Tim Cook and Luca Maestri are both named as defendants.

Tag: lawsuit

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CarPlay Makes First-Ever Debut in 2020 Toyota Highlander, Nissan Versa, and All-New Hyundai Venue

Ahead of the annual New York International Auto Show, several automakers have announced new vehicles with first-time support for CarPlay, including the 2020 Toyota Highlander, 2020 Nissan Versa, and 2020 Hyundai Venue.

2020 Toyota Highlander with wide 12.3-inch touchscreen in Platinum model


CarPlay will be a standard feature in the 2020 Toyota Highlander, equipped with a wide 12.3-inch touchscreen display on the highest-end Platinum trim and an 8-inch display on all other trims. Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, Waze, SiriusXM, and Wi-Fi connectivity through AT&T in the U.S. also come standard.

CarPlay and Android Auto come standard in the 2020 Hyundai Venue, the Korean automaker’s all-new subcompact crossover SUV. All trims of the vehicle are equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen display.

Nissan is making CarPlay and Android Auto available as upgrade options in its 2020 Versa, equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen display.

CarPlay is wired in all three vehicles, with USB ports for connecting an iPhone via Lightning cable, providing convenient access to frequently used iPhone apps such as Phone, Messages, Apple Maps, Google Maps, Waze, Apple Music, Spotify, and those from the MLB and NHL directly from the dashboard.

Fully gas 2020 Highlander models will arrive at Toyota dealerships in December 2019, followed by hybrid models in February 2020. Hyundai says the 2020 Venue will arrive at dealerships in the fourth quarter of this year, and the 2020 Nissan Versa goes on sale in summer 2019. No prices were disclosed.

The New York International Auto Show opens to the public Friday.

Related Roundup: CarPlay

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Apple Removes Video Sharing App TikTok From Indian App Store to Comply With State Demand

Apple has removed TikTok from its App Store in India to comply with a government demand to block downloads of the video sharing app over child safety concerns.



TikTok, developed by China-based Bytedance Technology, lets users create and share short-form videos enhanced with digital effects, a formula that has proved a huge hit in India. The app has been downloaded more than 240 million times in the country, according to a report from app analytics firm Sensor Tower in February.

However, on April 3 a court in southern Tamil Nadu state asked the federal Indian government to ban the app on grounds that it encouraged pornography, and warned that sexual predators could target child users. Citing an IT ministry official, Reuters reports that the federal government sent a letter to Apple and Google requesting that the companies abide by the state court’s order by pulling TikTok from their respective app stores.

As of this morning, the title is no longer available for download on either platform in the country. In a statement, Google didn’t mention the app by name but said it complied with all local state laws. Apple has yet to comment.

Last week, Bytedance challenged the ban order in India’s Supreme Court, arguing that it went against freedom of speech rights in India, but when the case was referred back to the state court a judge rejected the request to put the ban order on hold. Bytedance has been asked to give written submissions in the case, which is scheduled to have its next hearing on April 24.

This isn’t the first time a country has taken action against TikTok. In February, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission fined the app’s developers $5.7 million to settle allegations of child privacy law violations, after TikTok was accused of collecting personal data from users under the age of 13 without seeking parental consent.

Tag: India

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China’s Sina to temporarily suspend some apps due to violations: regulator

Chinese internet firm Sina Corp will temporarily suspend its news app, blog platform and other products after it was found to have violated the country’s internet regulations, Chinese authorities said on Wednesday.