TechSummit Rewind 118

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

Twitter discontinuing Vine mobile app in “coming months”


Twitter is discontinuing Vine, the short-form video app that it hoped would complement its flagship text network.

For now, Vines that have been posted won’t be deleted.

“We value you, your Vines, and are going to do this the right way. You’ll be able to access and download your Vines. We’ll be keeping the website online because we think it’s important to still be able to watch the incredible Vines that have been made.”

-Twitter, in a Medium post

Twitter Q3 2016 earnings: Revenue of $616M, 317M MAUs

The reception desk at Twitter's San Francisco headquarters. (Image: Aaron Durand/Twitter)
The reception desk at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters. (Image: Aaron Durand/Twitter)

Meanwhile, the San Francisco-based company got a tad bit of good news in its Q3 earnings. Twitter reported earnings of $0.13/share and revenue of $616 million, with the service growing to 317 million monthly active users.

“To capture this large opportunity, and drive daily active usage across the millions of people at the top of our funnel each day, we’re refining our core service in four key areas: onboarding, the home timeline, notifications, and Tweeting. We’re rapidly iterating across these four areas and encouraged by the direct benefit we’ve seen from recent product improvements that are driving results in Q3, following the inflection in Q2.”

-Twitter, in a statement

“While our efforts are beginning to drive growth in audience and engagement, we believe there is still significant opportunity ahead. To get a better sense of the size of this opportunity: consider that each day there are millions of people that come to Twitter to sign up for a new account or reactivate an existing account that has not been active in the last 30 days.”

-Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO

However, Twitter also announced that they were laying off nine percent of its staff as part of restructuring. Most of the cuts are targeted at sales, marketing, and partnerships, according to the company.

Qualcomm acquiring NXP Semiconductors for $47B


Qualcomm will acquire NXP Semiconductors for $47 billion ($110/share) in cash. The deal will be funding with cash on hand along with new debt.

“If you look at our growth strategy, it’s to grow into adjacent markets at the time that they are being disrupted by the technology of mobile.”

-Steven Mollenkopf, Qualcomm CEO

Mollenkopf claimed that he’ll aim to combine the two companies and their products as quickly as possible and make sure that the company’s combined management has representatives from both sides.

Samsung Q3 earnings: Profit plummets 30% after Note 7 recall

Samsung CES 2014 booth

Samsung’s operating profit plunged 30 percent compared to last year as the Galaxy Note 7 recall made its financial presence known.

Samsung announced operating profit of $4.6 billion for the third quarter of 2016, down a third from this time last year. Revenue came in at $42.03 billion, down 30 percent from last year.

“Regarding the mobile business, the company will focus on expanding sales of new flagship products with differentiated design and innovative features, as well as regaining consumers’ confidence.”

-Samsung, in a statement

Facebook launches Halloween-themed masks for live video


Facebook is beginning to roll out its answer to Snapchat’s animated lenses to its live streaming service. The masks will be available within the Facebook app and the Mentions app for verified users.

The feature allows you to add animated overlays to your livestreams, and will be periodically swapped out for different styles (the initial set are Halloween themed).

Masks are starting to roll out now to iOS users in the U.S., U.K., and New Zealand, and will hit Android and additional countries “in the coming months.”

The company is also rolling out “limited edition” Halloween-themed reactions to its app and website, swapping out the standard icons for those inspired by the spooky season like a ghost and pumpkin.

Uber adds surge pricing to UberEats in select cities


UberEats, the ride-hailing company’s food delivery service, will be applying surge pricing to food deliveries in times of high demand when couriers are in short demand.

The exact surge amount will appear above the menu, according to Uber, and as a separate line item before checkout and on the order receipt.

“The extra money from these orders goes toward financial incentives for delivery partners as well as our other operational costs. These partner incentives look at past patterns and aim to predict where and when there will be high demand and to encourage more people to get on the road in these locations.”

-Ben Dreier, UberEats product manager

The first cities to get the increase are Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Washington, Miami, and Atlanta (sadly).

MIT launches The Engine incubator with $150M first fund


MIT wants disruptive entrepreneurs to remain in its hometown of Boston. Accordingly, the university has started The Engine, an innovation network designed to support startup companies with the potential to change the world, according to an MIT News Office report.

The Engine will provide space, funding, and expertise to scientific and technological innovation startups that can have “transformative societal impact.”

“If we hope for serious solutions to the world’s great challenges, we need to make sure the innovators working on these problems see a realistic pathway to the marketplace. The Engine can provide that pathway by prioritizing breakthrough ideas over early profit, helping to shorten the time it takes these startups to become ‘VC-ready,’ providing comprehensive support in the meantime, and creating an enthusiastic community of inventors and supporters who share a focus on making a better world. We believe this approach can offer exponential growth to regions that pursue it successfully – and we want Greater Boston to lead the way.”

-Rafael Reif, MIT president

The Engine hopes to find a “steady state” of supporting 60 local startups in the innovation incubator for 12 months. The Engine will have 26,000 square feet at its headquarters in Cambridge, Mass with plans to expand to over 200,000 square feet in adjacent neighborhoods.

MIT is investing $25 million as a limited partner and is seeking another $125 million in a related venture capital fund. The capital will be used to provide long-term support to assist startups transitioning from initial concept phases to commercial success. According to MIT, the Engine’s venture arm will keep more equity with the company’s founders.

The enterprise will also provide access to a network of resources to support and lend expertise and connections to startup companies with the goal to keep them in the Boston area.

“We want highly disruptive entrepreneurs to stay in Greater Boston. This is where the boldest ideas in the world should find their home.”

-Israel Ruiz, MIT executive vice president & treasurer


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