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ByteDance Offers to Forgo Complete Stake in TikTok to Save US Deal, Says Report

ByteDance Offers to Forgo Complete Stake in TikTok to Save US Deal, Says Report

The move came after President Donald Trump said he had decided to ban the popular shortvideo app, two people familiar with the matter said.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: August 1, 2020, 7:45 PM IST

China’s ByteDance has agreed to divest the U.S. operations of TikTok completely in a bid to save a deal with the White House, after President Donald Trump said on Friday he had decided to ban the popular short-video app, two people familiar with the matter said on Saturday.

ByteDance was previously seeking to keep a minority stake in the U.S. business of TikTok, which the White House had rejected. Under the new proposed deal, ByteDance would exit completely and Microsoft Corp would take over TikTok in the United States, the sources said. Some ByteDance investors that are based in the United States may be given the opportunity to take minority stakes in the business, the sources added.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on whether Trump would accept ByteDance’s concession. ByteDance in Beijing did not respond to a request for comment

Under ByteDance’s new proposal, Microsoft will be in charge of protecting all U.S. user data, the sources said. The plan allows for another U.S. company other than Microsoft to take over TikTok in the United States, the sources added.

Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor



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Tech

Indian Smartphone Market Likely to See 40% Recovery in Second Half of 2020: Report

After going through disruptions in supply chain and curtailed domestic production, the India smartphone market is now showing encouraging signs of revival that sets it on a potential course for market recovery for over 40 per cent in the second half this year, according to a new report. Over the short-term, the mobile market will improve in mid-Q3, spurred by early online sales festivals, setting the smartphone market on a potential path to recovery towards the all-important festive season.

During this period, smartphone brands will focus on showcasing their consumer-centric value propositions, focusing more on hyperlocal delivery models, and launching more 5G-ready smartphones, according to market research firm CMR’s ‘India Mobile Handset Market Review Report.’ CMR’s current estimates point to better performance for the India smartphone market in H2 2020, with the market anticipated to recover by more than 40 per cent in comparison to the first half.

“As a consequence of the pandemic, Q2 2020 was, in essence, a lost quarter. While the mobile handset industry faced multiple challenges with respect to their supply and demand-side dynamics, the industry looks set on the path to a potential recovery in the coming months,” said Amit Sharma, Manager-Industry Intelligence Group, CMR. The initial consumer demand in the unlock phase was driven predominantly through online channels and driven by a need for urgent replacements.

“Facing up to the pandemic, smartphone brands debuted innovative hyperlocal delivery models, some of which have the potential to gain permanence,” Sharma added. The path to potential recovery will be led by pent-up consumer demand, driven by a need for upgrades. In the run-up to the festive season, consumers will seek to go for meaningful value propositions that bring devices and compelling content ecosystem offerings, together.

“This, coupled by smartphone brands bringing more value for money offerings and backed by aggressive messaging, will potentially drive the market,” said Sharma. Thus far, a key challenge for the smartphone market in India to grow has been the inability to offer value propositions that will help feature phone users to migrate to smartphones. “We believe recent announcements, such as the Jio-Google deal, augur well for the future of the mobile handset industry in India, and in potentially enabling the migration of feature phones to smartphone users, with its focus on driving affordability,” said analyst Anand Priya Singh.


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Tech

Google to Extend Work From Home Policy for Employees Until July 2021 Amid Covid-19 Pandemic: Report

Image for Representation (Reuters)

Image for Representation (Reuters)

Google is the first tech company to extend its work from home policy to next summer due to the Covid-19 crisis.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: July 27, 2020, 7:43 PM IST

Alphabet Inc’s Google will keep its employees home until at least next July, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai made the decision himself last week after debate among an internal group of top executives that he chairs, as per the report by the Wall Street Journal.

Google did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Google had earlier said it would begin reopening more offices globally as early as June this year, but most Google employees would likely work from home until the end of this year.


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Increase in AI Adoption by One Unit Will Boost India's GDP by 2.5 Percent: Report

One unit increase in Artificial Intelligence (AI) intensity by Indian firms can result in a 2.5 per cent increase in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the immediate term, a study by Google, IT industry body Nasscom and think tank ICRIER revealed on Monday. AI intensity is measured as the ratio of AI to total sales of the firm, said the report titled “Implications of AI on the Indian Economy”.

In the absence of a direct measure of AI at the firm level, the model uses investments in software, databases and computer machinery as a proxy for AI. “This is a seminal report, estimating a 2.5 per cnet growth in India’s GDP if India adopts AI in a sustained way,” Sanjay Gupta, Country Head and Vice President, Google India, said in a statement.

The research, however, found that the current rate of growth in AI investments is unlikely to increase the levels of AI intensity adequately. In order to trigger a positive growth shock, AI intensities should be sharply increased, it added. “India is in the midst of a once-in-a-generation disruption driven by AI. AI has become a strategic lever for economic growth across nations and will continue to be one of the most crucial technologies of the future,” said Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, in a special address. “By integrating new technologies like AI and ML into various sectors, we can radically leapfrog and catch up with advanced economies.”

The suggested policy measures required to support AI’s wider adoption in India include identifying a nodal agency for the development and diffusion of AI; building collaborative frameworks for engagement between governments, industry and academia; building an all-encompassing data strategy for India; addressing India’s skill gap in AI; and promoting the development of AI safety standards.

“In hopes to accelerate growth and pave a path towards innovation, AI has a definite role to play in empowering industries, infrastructure and the society at large,” said Debjani Ghosh, President, Nasscom. “With sheer enthusiasm, we are now fostering investments in the new generation of digital natives to elevate industry growth trajectory and further boost productivity levels.”


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Tech

India Set to Contribute 2.2 Percent of World's Digital Payment Market by 2023: Report

Representative image. (Illustration: Shutterstock)

Representative image. (Illustration: Shutterstock)

the report added that home-grown platform to reach nearly 59 billion transactions in volume by 2023, owing to its high P2P type of transaction penetration.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: July 24, 2020, 10:35 AM IST

With the rise in usage of digital modes of transactions and the growing market of digital payment services, India is likely to contribute around 2.2 per cent to the sector by 2023, said a report by the Payments Council of India and PWC. The report titled ‘Empowering payments: Digital India on the path of revolution’ said that with global transaction value for digital payments expected to reach $12.4 trillion by 2025, India is expected to contribute 2.2 per cent of the world’s digital payment market by 2023 alone.

Underlining UPI is among the largest real-time payment systems in the world, the report estimates the home-grown platform to reach nearly 59 billion transactions in volume by 2023, owing to its high P2P type of transaction penetration.

“Clocking over 1 billion transactions every month, the platform has witnessed a CAGR of 785 per cent in volume and 570 per cent in terms of value from financial year FY 2017 to FY 2020,” it said. As per the report, India is one of the fastest-growing countries in the world, showing rapid progression in the transformation of digital payments, largely due to its large population and demographics.

It has been attracting significant investments from private equity and venture capital firms and other international payment companies that want to enter India in the near future. According to the report, India has been identified as a leader across parameters — regulation of costs of payment systems, laws in place, availability of alternate payment systems, the share of e-money in payment systems among others.

With the sharp rise in demand for contactless payments increasing amid the pandemic, businesses are looking at integrating their online and offline channels to provide an omnichannel experience to its customers. From the statistics of UPI, BBPS and NETC for the months of February to June 2020, the report suggested that a V-shaped recovery in the digital payment sector is being prompted.


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Tech

iPhones to Reportedly Feature Periscopic Telephoto Cameras in 2022, Says New Report

Representative Image. (Source: MacRumours)

Representative Image. (Source: MacRumours)

The report added that two strongest lens suppliers in Korea and China, Sunny Optical and Semco will join Apple’s lens supply chain later this year and at the beginning of next year respectively.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: July 22, 2020, 5:12 PM IST

Apple is reportedly planning to introduce periscope telephoto cameras into its iPhone lineup in 2022. A periscope lens offers optical zoom capabilities not otherwise possible in a smartphone camera, allowing for 5x or even 10x optical zoom. Periscope lenses have already seen their way into some smartphones including the OPPO Find X2 Pro and the Huawei P40 Pro Plus.

A new research note from Ming-Chi Kuo claims that the two strongest lens suppliers in Korea and China, Sunny Optical and Semco will join Apple’s lens supply chain later this year and at the beginning of next year respectively, reports The Verge. Kuo said that Semco will begin shipping iPhone lenses, including periscope motors, telephoto lenses in 2022 and a periscope telephoto lens, as well as a voice coil motor technology which will ship in 2022.

The iPhone maker is expected to launch four new iPhones under the iPhone 12 series in September this year which would include two premium variants. The iPhone 12 Pro will come in 6.1-inch or 6.7-inch sizes. The rear camera module on the device will house four sensors with a LiDAR scanner which was introduced in the recently launched Apple iPad Pro. All four iPhone models are expected to feature OLED displays and 5G support.


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Tech

Cybercriminals Are Ramping Up Attacks on Routers By Finding Their Loopholes, Says Report

Image for representation.
(Image: Reuters)

Image for representation.
(Image: Reuters)

Cybercriminals know that a vast majority of home routers are insecure with default credentials and have ramped up attacks on a massive scale, the report further said.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: July 16, 2020, 5:08 PM IST

Increase in attacks targeting and leveraging routers will continue as cybercriminals are able to easily monetise these infections in secondary attacks, warns a new report by global cybersecurity company Trend Micro. The research revealed an increase from October 2019 onwards in brute force log-in attempts against routers, in which attackers use automated software to try common password combinations. The number of attempts increased nearly tenfold, from around 23 million in September to nearly 249 million attempts in December 2019. As recently as March 2020, Trend Micro recorded almost 194 million brute force logins.

“With a large majority of the population currently reliant on home networks for their work and studies, what’s happening to your router has never been more important,” Jon Clay, Director of Global Threat Communications for Trend Micro, said in a statement. “Cybercriminals know that a vast majority of home routers are insecure with default credentials and have ramped up attacks on a massive scale. For the home user, that’s hijacking their bandwidth and slowing down their network. For the businesses being targeted by secondary attacks, these botnets can totally take down a website, as we’ve seen in past high-profile attacks.”

Another indicator that the scale of this threat has increased is devices attempting to open telnet sessions with other Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Because telnet is unencrypted, it’s favoured by attackers — or their botnets — as a way to probe for user credentials. At its peak, in mid-March 2020, nearly 16,000 devices attempted to open telnet sessions with other IoT devices in a single week, said the report titled “Caught in the Crossfire: Defending Devices From Battling Botnets”. This trend is concerning for several reasons. Cybercriminals are competing with each other to compromise as many routers as possible so they can be conscripted into botnets.

These are then sold on underground sites either to launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks or as a way to anonymise other attacks such as click fraud, data theft and account takeover, said the report. To avoid such attacks, Trend Micro suggested several measures. It said that users should make sure the router is running the latest firmware. Moreover, it is important to use a strong password and change it from time to time. The company urged users to check logs to find behaviour that does not make sense for the network. Users should only allow logins to the router from the local network, it said.


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Tech

Apple MacBook Pro Shipments to Reportedly Increase by 20% in Q3 2020: Report

Apple is reportedly planning to significantly increase its new MacBook Pro orders in the late third quarter and will see its overall MacBook shipments rise over 20 per cent sequentially in the third quarter, DigiTimes reported on Monday. The Cupertino-based tech giant shipped 3.2-3.5 million MacBooks in the second quarter this year and the volumes are expected to grow to around four million units in the third quarter.

In fiscal Q2, Macs contributed $5.4 billion of Apple’s $58.3 billion in overall revenue. Famed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who closely tracks the company has said that the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro similar to the current 13.3-inch device is likely to be the first Mac to get an Arm-based silicon chip designed by Apple.

In a research note with TF International Securities, Kuo said the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Apple silicon chip will go into mass production in the fourth quarter. Kuo also predicted that Apple fans would see an Arm-based MacBook Air either in Q4 this year or in the first quarter of 2021. In addition, Apple suppliers are reportedly getting ready to manufacture the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops with mini-LED displays starting from 2021.


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Tech

ISIS-Linked Accounts, Propaganda Still Evading Detection on Facebook, Report Claims

Image for Representation
(Image: Reuters)

Image for Representation
(Image: Reuters)

In the last two years, Facebook’s transparency reports have shown that the company is detecting and deleting 99 per cent of terrorism-related posts.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: July 14, 2020, 11:11 AM IST

Despite Facebook’s efforts to make the platform free of terrorist propaganda, pro-Islamic State (ISIS) accounts have found ways to survive on the platform, says a new report from non-profit Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) released on Monday. In the last two years, Facebook’s transparency reports have shown that the company is detecting and deleting 99 per cent of terrorism-related posts before they were reported to the social network.

But this does not mean that the platform is completely free of terrorist propaganda. The new ISD report, titled The Propaganda Pipeline: The ISIS Fuouaris Upload Network on Facebook” is based on an investigation that delved into the inner workings of a pro-ISIS account network on Facebook. The researchers examined the behaviours of a network of pro-ISIS Facebook accounts which branded itself the “Fuouaris Upload”, a term used for referring to medieval Islamic warriors. The investigation that included ethnographic monitoring lasted from April 7 to July 30.

This monitoring revealed 288 pro-ISIS accounts. Many of the accounts had followings in the thousands, according to the ISD report. About a third accounts were controlled by one user named Luqmen Ben Tachafin, which comprised the core of the network. The investigation revealed that by May 21, the network had shared 50 pieces of video content and had collectively garnered more than 34,000 views. During the three months of analysis, ISD researchers found that the Fuouaris Upload network expanded to other platforms, namely SoundCloud, where it currently controls 18 branded accounts that have seeded 91 pieces of ISIS audio content.

“While 70 percent of the Fuouaris Upload accounts were taken down during the monitoring period, these decentralised networks demonstrated considerable resilience,” said the report. While 62 of the core accounts were removed, 28 identical accounts remained, highlighting the uneven nature of moderation, it added.

“As individual accounts were taken down, ISIS users mocked Facebook moderators for not understanding the scale of their presence across the platform,” said the report. The researchers identified several tactics that allow these accounts to survive, sidestep, and continue to seed ISIS content across the platform. These tactics deployed by pro-ISIS accounts included hijacking accounts from other users and content masking.

According to a report in BBC, Facebook said it had “no tolerance for terrorist propaganda”. “We had already removed more than 250 accounts referenced in ISD’s report and are reviewing the remaining 30 accounts against our policies,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying to ISD. “We have no tolerance for terrorist propaganda on our platform, and remove content and accounts that violate our policy as soon as we identify them.”


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Over 60% Smartphone Users in India Consider Battery Life as Most Important Feature: Report

Representative image. (Photo: Telenor)

Representative image. (Photo: Telenor)

In terms of swift charging, consumer satisfaction was highest with OPPO (95 per cent), followed by OnePlus (93 per cent) and Samsung (91 per cent), the report further said.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: July 8, 2020, 3:19 PM IST

With smartphones becoming the primary device for work, streaming and gaming, seven in every eight smartphone users in India feel innovation in the fast-charging technology is the key and long battery life is what matters the most, a new survey revealed on Wednesday. When it came to satisfaction with battery life, OPPO users scored the brand the highest (94 per cent), followed by Samsung (92 per cent) and Realme (91 per cent).

In terms of swift charging, consumer satisfaction was highest with OPPO (95 per cent), followed by OnePlus (93 per cent) and Samsung (91 per cent). When asked about the importance of smartphone features, 61 per cent respondents cited battery life as a key consideration, just behind the camera, according to the ‘Insights On the Go’ survey by CyberMedia Research (CMR).

“Whether it be an endless stream of work-related calls or catching up with family and friends, smartphone battery life plays an essential role. For consumers, a long battery life, as well as quickly amping up the battery juice – both are critical,” said Prabhu Ram, Head- Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR. Consumers are so much concerned about battery life that they turn down screen brightness (70 per cent), turn-on battery saver mode (66 per cent), close battery-consuming apps (63 per cent) and, in extremely critical circumstances, even turn off Wi-Fi (56 per cent) and location services (50 per cent).

The findings showed that seven in every eight users charge their smartphone at least once in a day and average duration of charging in a day is 66 minutes. When it comes to satisfaction with battery life, OPPO users scored the brand the highest (94 per cent), followed by Samsung (92 per cent) and Realme (91 per cent). In terms of swift charging, consumer satisfaction is highest with OPPO (95 per cent), followed by OnePlus (93 per cent) and Samsung (91 per cent).

The six-city survey involved 2,000 smartphone users in the 18-30 age group. “While smartphone brands push newer technological innovations, consumer priorities are equally centred around the basics, such as smartphone battery. So much so that the battery is a key factor in smartphone purchase priorities,” said Satya Mohanty, Head- Industry Consulting Group (ICG), CMR.