Uber Being Probed by FBI Over ‘Hell’ Software to Interfere With Rivals

Uber Being Probed by FBI Over 'Hell' Software to Interfere With Rivals

HIGHLIGHTS

  • FBI is looking into Uber’s illegal competition intefering software
  • Uber’s software was being used to track the Lyft drivers
  • The investigation is being led by the FBI’s New York office

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing to see if Uber Technologies had used software to illegally interfere with its competitors, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The investigation is focusing on Uber’s program that could track drivers working for rival service Lyft, the WSJ said, citing people familiar with the investigation.

The investigation is being led by the FBI’s New York office and the Manhattan US attorney’s office, the Journal said.

Separately, Uber will cease using diesel cars in London by the end of 2019 and the vast majority of rides will be in electric or hybrid vehicles by then, the taxi app said on Friday.

At the moment the company says around half of all the journey miles completed in the British capital are undertaken with greener vehicles on the firm’s standard low-cost UberX service, which lets customers book journeys on their smartphone.

Several carmakers have announced plans in recent months to electrify a large proportion of their new cars, with Volvo becoming the first major carmaker to set a date for phasing out vehicles powered solely by the internal combustion engine.

Britain will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040, replicating plans by France and cities such as Madrid, Mexico City and Athens.

Uber, which has about 40,000 London drivers, will only offer electric or hybrid models on UberX by the turn of the decade and plans to do the same by 2022 nationwide.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Qualcomm Accused of Fresh Antitrust Violations by 4 Apple Contractors

Qualcomm Accused of Fresh Antitrust Violations by 4 Apple Contractors

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Contractors alleged that Qualcomm violated 2 sections of the Sherman Act
  • The allegations are part of broader dispute between Apple and Qualcomm
  • The lost licence revenue from Apple has been a hit to Qualcomm’s sales

iPhone chip supplier Qualcomm faces a fresh set of antitrust allegations from a group of four companies that assemble the iPhone and other products on behalf of Apple.

Foxconn parent Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, Wistron, Compal Electronics and Pegatron alleged that Qualcomm violated two sections of the Sherman Act, a US antitrust law.

The accusations, made in a filing late Tuesday in US District Court for the Southern District of California, are counterclaims to a Qualcomm lawsuit filed in May seeking to force the contractors to pay Qualcomm licence fees that Apple directed them to stop paying.

“Qualcomm has confirmed publicly that this lawsuit against our clients is intended to make a point about Apple and punish our clients for working with Apple,” Theodore J. Boutrous, a lawyer for the four companies, said in a statement. “The companies are bringing their own claims and defenses against Qualcomm.”

ALSO SEEQualcomm CEO Says Settlement Likely in Apple Dispute

The allegations are part of broader dispute between Apple and Qualcomm, which supplies so-called modem chip technology that lets iPhones connect to cellular data networks, over the nature of Qualcomm’s business model of linking the sale of chips and patent licences, which has come under scrutiny by regulators in South Korea, the United States and several other countries.

In January, Apple sued Qualcomm alleging that the company had withheld nearly $1 billion of patent licence rebates it owed Apple in retaliation for Apple’s cooperation with South Korean regulators. Apple told its contract manufacturers to withhold licence payments from Qualcomm while the dispute played out, which prompted Qualcomm to sue them in May.

“Despite Apple’s claims against Qualcomm, Apple suppliers remain contractually obligated to pay royalties to Qualcomm under their licence agreements with us, including for sales of iPhones to Apple,” Qualcomm President Derek Aberle said of the dispute on the company’s conference call in April.

Much of the language in the contractors’ allegations mirror Apple’s objections to Qualcomm’s business model. A senior Apple official confirmed that the company is helping to fund the contractors’ legal defense as part of an indemnification agreement among the firms. Apple has also formally joined the contractor case as a defendant.

The lost licence revenue from Apple has been a hit to Qualcomm’s sales. Analysts expect $5.2 billion (roughly Rs. 33,453 crores) in revenue for the June quarter, down from $6 billion a year earlier.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Renault Captur launch by Diwali, to take on Creta, XUV 500

While a launch date hasn’t been specified, the Renault Captur is expected to go on sale in India around Diwali in October. Photo: AFP

While a launch date hasn’t been specified, the Renault Captur is expected to go on sale in India around Diwali in October. Photo: AFP

Mumbai: French auto major Renault is planning to do an encore of its runaway success with the Duster and the small car Kwid, with its new premium SUV, the Captur that’s slated for Diwali launch.

Sumit Sawhney, managing director & chief executive of Renault India told PTI that the much-talked-about launch will take place in the December quarter, but refused to specify whether it could be a Diwali offering or not. The crossover SUV is also known as Kaptur in some global markets like Russia and Captur in Europe which is based on the Clio’s platform. But the Captur that’s coming to the domestic market is a crossover on the Duster platform and will be “positioned at a very premium over the Duster,” he said.

Sounding very bullish, he said Captur is a globally tested SUV having already sold over 1 million units. “We hope to repeat the same level of success here with the Captur”. According to industry analysts, the Captur will take on the Hyundai Creta and the top-end model may take on the Mahindra XUV500, the recently launched Tata Hexa and also Nissan’s Kicks expected by the end of the year.

According to analysts, the SUV may come in two engines options—a 1.6-litre petrol and a 2-litre diesel power train and may be priced around Rs12 lakh, which is the more or less same at that of the Creta. The compact SUV segment is the fastest growing cornering a fourth of the market pie. Launch is expected to cash in on this segment as Renault’s larger SUV, the Koleos, has failed in India therefore withdrawn now.

“The five-seater compact SUV with ‘cross-over DNA’ will be a very premium offering and much higher than the Duster. The new SUV will be rolled out from the company’s Chennai plant,” Sawhney said. The largest European car brand in the country with around 5% market share has primarily two models—the entry level SUV Duster and two variants of its small car Kwid-0.8 litre and 1 litre, which has been specially made for this market and the biggest volume grosser.

Despite media reports that Kwid is facing some headwinds, Sawhney said the “car is selling as per expectation, in fact exceeding our expectation of 8,000-10,000 units in all the seven months of 2017. In fact in most of the months, we have crossed 10,000 units. Together, we have sold around 58,000 units so far in 2017. We were the seventh largest carmaker here and still continues to be now.

“We have completed a little over five years but we are already the No. 1 European car brand here. We’ve a long-term commitment to this market and will continue to aggressively ramp up our network and build on our product offensive strategy to drive volumes. We still stick to our target of being the among the top five players by 2020,” he said.

In this regard he also said the company has already opened 300 outlets, making it the fastest network ramp-up in the country and will have 20 more by December. “Our network expansion is more focused on small towns. For instance we opened 10 outlets on a single day in Kerala taking the overall number 30 in the Southernmost state,” Sawhney added.

On the new launch he said, the Captur has a sensual crossover French design which is a unique vehicle class, clearly reflecting our new global design DNA. The Captur will have features like projector headlamps with C-shaped LED DRLs, large front grille and alloy wheels. Inside the cabin, the crossover will have a 7-inch touch screen compatible with Bluetooth, USB and AUX apart from steering mounted controls, automatic climate control and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.

[“Source-livemint”]

Trips App by Lonely Planet: Where Instagram Meets Google Photos

Trips App by Lonely Planet: Where Instagram Meets Google Photos

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Trips by Lonely Planet is available on iOS
  • It lets you create a curated version of your holiday
  • You can follow other people for travel ideas

Lonely Planet – well-known for its travel guidebooks – is stepping out into the social realm. Its new app, Trips, wants to help you share your travel experiences with fellow travellers, while being inspired by trips other people take. Essentially, it wants users to create their own guides for each other, and help foster a community in the process.

It’s not so much a social network in the traditional sense, but rather a curated way to present your travels. Sure, you could create a Facebook album for all to see, but it’d be buried amongst thousands of other pieces of content. Or like millions of others, you could put your vacation photos up on Instagram, and make use of its album feature for a slightly-more curated feel. The lack of easy navigation still persists with Instagram though, undercutting the experience.

Neither will give you what Trips attempts to offer. The Lonely Planet app creates a chronological feed out of your vacation pictures and videos, replete with headers, captions, text, location tags, and maps. Think of it as Instagram meets Google Photos albums, albeit minus the former’s size, and the latter’s AI-smarts.

At first start, Trips will recommend you to follow a bunch of fellow travellers, curated by Lonely Planet itself. Later, you can add your friends, or select from other strangers whose holidays appeal to your liking. Your home page will then be populated by trip cards, all of which are a virtual scrapbook in themselves.

lonely planet trips home discover Lonely Planet Trips

The home page and Discover tab of Lonely Planet’s Trips

Then there’s the Discover tab, which lets you pick from a variety of holiday types to browse through. There’s Adventure, Wildlife and Nature, Cities, Ruins, Road Trips, Festivals and Events, Art and Culture, and so forth. Each of these contain trips shared by the community or the Lonely Planet team, such as “The Wilds of Namibia”, “Crossing the Romanian Mountains”, or “A Week Around Iceland”.

To create your own trips, you select the blue-coloured plus symbol button in the middle, which takes you to your photo library. If you only use your iPhone to take pictures, this will suit you fine. But if you carry a professional camera with you, and those pictures are on Google Photos, Dropbox, or some other cloud service, you’ll need to import them yourself first. It’s a restriction baked in by Apple, one that will hopefully be lifted with the introduction of Files in iOS 11.

Once your pictures are in the app, Trips will attempt to sort them on its own, and use embedded geotags to create a map and name. It creates new sections whenever you change location, and then hands it off to you to make further additions, such as changing the title, adding an intro, and putting captions or tips in between your pictures.

lonely planet trips view Lonely Planet Trips

The opening page and inside look at a trip in Lonely Planet’s Trips

The option to collect your pictures in one place is what separates Trips from Instagram, while the ability to add captions is how it adds onto the Google Photos album experience. After you’ve finalised the look of your curated trip, you can choose it post it publicly, or share it privately with people you know.

This brings us to one shortcoming of Trips that people may not like. Although Trips allows you to view your well, trips, on a desktop, you can’t make any changes or create new ones from the browser. In fact, you can’t even view someone’s profile on a computer. By contrast, Google Photos is a full-fledged experience on both desktop and mobile. Plus, Photos’ map widget (below) – which creates two points and a dotted line to signify travel – is a lovely touch that helps visualise your journey.

In itself, Trips is a pretty way to browse through vacation ideas, glean some tips, and offer your own experiences. It’s a digital magazine that’s continuously updated, but it doesn’t do anything more that. You can’t edit your images inside the app, and you can’t leave comments on trips created by people you know.

lonely planet trips edit google photos Lonely Planet Trips

Map widget in Lonely Planet’s Trips, and Google Photos respectively

There’s some work to be done here, and it’s definitely worth the effort, considering the size of the travel market. Studies have shown that millennials are more interested in saving up for travel than in buying a house. At the same time, people spend 85 percent of their time with just five of the apps on their phones, so it’s going to take some convincing to make people choose Trips over Instagram.

The latter doesn’t offer the former’s level of curation, but it’s where all your friends and family are. And that counts for a lot.

Trips by Lonely Planet is now available on iOS.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]