TechSummit Rewind 115

This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

The New York Times buying The Wirecutter for over $30M

The New York Times is building consumer guide The Wirecutter for over $30 million.

“The New York Times is the perfect home for The Wirecutter because of our shared love and commitment to reader service and public good through rigorous reporting. And more important, we’re thrilled to have the chance to help Times readers find great gear that can improve their lives.”

– Brian Lam, The Wirecutter founder


“We’re very excited about this acquisition on two fronts. It’s an impressively run business with a very attractive revenue model and its success is built on the foundation of great, rigorously reported service journalism. Their service-focused guides align with our commitment to creating products that are an indispensable part of our readers’ lives.”

– Mark Thompson, The New York Times Company president & CEO

Microsoft hikes U.K. enterprise pricing by up to 22 percent due to Brexit

Microsoft is increasing pricing on some of its products in the U.K. by over 20 percent as the British pound continues to weaken in the aftermath of the June Brexit vote.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, “most” of Microsoft’s enterprise cloud services will get a 22 percent price hike to “realign close to euro levels,” with enterprise software seeing a 13 percent increase.

“We periodically assess the impact of local pricing of our products and services to ensure there is reasonable alignment across the region, and this change is an outcome of this assessment. These changes are similar to the recent harmonization adjustments to pricing in Norwegian krone and Swiss franc we made in April 2016.”

– Sergejs Cuhrajs, Microsoft social media marketing manager

Businesses that operate in additional currencies will still be able to pay with those currencies. Also, Redmond isn’t increasing prices for consumer products.

America’s biggest banks take on Venmo with Zelle



America’s biggest banks announced Zelle, a money-transfer app that they hope will compete against PayPal, Venmo, and Square Cash, Sunday at the Money20/20 payments conference.

The app is built on a bank-owned payment system connecting banks including Chase, Citi, and Bank of America. Users can send money with their phones to recipients who will get the funds immediately.
Zelle will launch next year.

Samsung promises Korean Note 7 owners 50 percent discount on Note 8

Samsung is offering Korean Note 7 owners the chance to upgrade to a Note 8 for half the price when the handset launches next year. The company announced the deal as part of an ongoing exchange program for the phablet in its home country.

TD Ameritrade, Toronto-Dominion buy Scottrade for $4B

scottradeTD Ameritrade and Toronto-Dominion Bank have agreed to buy Scottrade for $4 billion, combining two of the largest online brokerages and expanding the U.S. arm of Canada’s second-largest lender.

TD Ameritrade will acquire Scottrade’s brokerage operations for about $2.7 billion in cash and stock, according to the company. Meanwhile, Toronto-Dominion agreed to purchase Scottrade’s online bank for $1.3 billion in cash.

The deal is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2017, with clearing operations moving to TD Ameritrade systems by 2018. About 28 million Ameritrade shares will be issued to Scottrade shareholders and Toronto-Dominion will purchase another 11 million shares. The companies expect $450 million in annual cost savings, with a quarter of that coming in the year after the close.

“This combination will allow us to leverage our strengths, increase our scale, and further accelerate our asset gathering capabilities.”
– Tim Hockey, Ameritrade CEO

T-Mobile earnings: Revenue up 18%, 929K new postpaid customers, net income up to $366M

T-Mobile raised its forecast for customer additions for the year thanks to heavy discounted.

The Bellevue, Washington-based carrier now expects to add 3.7-3.9 million branded postpaid customers on a net basis this year, compared with previous forecasts of 3.4-3.8 million.

The company added 969,000 postpaid customers in the third quarter that ended Sept. 30, up from 890,000 in the second quarter.
According to the company, the Uncarrier benefitted from the iPhone 7’s launch and an increase in branded prepaid customer migrations to postpaid plans.

However, churn (the rate users switch to other networks) increased slightly to 1.32 percent from 1.27 percent in the quarter before.

T-Mobile’s net income rose to $366 million ($0.42/share) in the third quarter from $138 million ($0.15/share) a year ago. Net income in the quarter included after-tax spectrum gains of $122 million.

Total revenue rose 17.8 percent to $9.2 billion.

Paxata raises $33.5M to further develop machine learning for information management


Paxata has announced that it raised $33.5 million to bolster the machine learning and semantics analysis foundations of its enterprise information platform. Led by Intel Capital, the investment brings the Redwood City, Calif.-based company’s total capital to $61.5 million.

Microsoft Ventures, Cisco Investments, Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners, and AirTree Ventures joined the round as new co-investors. Existing investors EDBI, In-Q-Tel, and Accel also participated.

Apple releases iOS 10.1 with Portrait Mode

Apple has released iOS 10.1, the first significant update for iOS 10, to users over-the-air in the Settings app or by plugging your device into iTunes.

The main story here is the iPhone 7 Plus’ Portrait mode, which takes advantages of the 7 Plus’ two lenses to create some background blur. Apple uses these lenses to detect nine levels of depth. Then, software blur is added to the background layers. Portrait mode is still considered a “beta” feature.

Android Pay expands reach with new partnerships with Visa, Mastercard

Google has announced two strategic partnerships with Visa and MasterCard aimed at expanding the reach of Android Pay. Pay users who are shopping online from smartphones will soon be able to make payments on hundreds of thousands of sites where either Visa Checkout or Masterpass are accepted at checkout.

According to Google, merchants won’t have to make any changes on their end when Android Pay support goes live as their buttons will update automatically.

To use Android Pay with the credit card services, customers will first have to link their accounts in the Android Pay app. Once set up, you can use Android Pay at checkout with your preferred authentication method.
The integration will roll out in early 2017, according to the company, beginning in the US with plans to expand to all Android Pay territories (the UK, Singapore, Australia, and Hong Kong).

PayPal payments, notifications coming to Facebook Messenger

facebook-messenger-paypalPayPal is now rolling out as an additional payment option within Facebook Messenger, which also supports payment from debit cards.

Available only to some users in the U.S. initially, PayPal customers wil now be able to link their PayPal and Messenger accounts, and they’ll also receive payment notifications directly within the Messenger app.

“We will continue to execute on our vision of offering PayPal in more places where people shop online, in app, and in store by partnering with companies who share our desire to create meaningful products that benefit both consumers and merchants.”
– Bill Ready, PayPal exeucitve vice president & COO


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