TechSummit Rewind 167

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

LeEco calls off $2B acquisition of Vizio

Chinese electronics company LeEco is no longer buying television manufacturer Vizio. Today, the companies jointly announced that the merger agreement to acquire Vizio will “no longer proceed due to regulatory headwinds.” For now, Vizio will remain a privately-owned company based out of southern California.

Instead of pursuing an acquisition, LeEvo and Vizio have announced a partnership that’ll result in two things: LeEco’s Le app will be included on some Vizio products, and Vizio products will launch in China.

“We continue to believe that there is great synergy between the two companies.”

-LeEvo & Vizio, in a joint statement

Flipkart raises $1.4B from Tencent, eBay, Microsoft; acquires eBay India

Indian ecommerce company Flipkart has raised $1.4B from eBay, Microsoft, and Tencent in the single biggest investment in the company’s history, according to a statement. The investment values Flipkart at $11.6 billion.

“We have chosen these partners based on their long histories of pioneering industries and the unique expertise and insights each of them bring to Flipkart. This deal reaffirms our resolve to hasten the transformation of commerce in India through technology.”

-Sachin & Binny Bansal, Flipkart founders

eBay is also selling its Indian business to Flipkart, as part of its $500 million investment. The transaction is expected to close later this year. Flipkart will own and operate ebay.in, while the two companies will have an “exclusive agreement” that will see the two companies “jointly pursue cross-border trade opportunities.”

“The combination of eBay’s position as a leading global ecommerce company and Flipkart’s market stature will allow us to accelerate and maximize the opportunity for both companies in India. eBay is committed to winning in India in partnership with Flipkart. Our exclusive global trade partnership will allow eBay and Flipkart to reach even more consumers around the world.”

-Devin Wenig, eBay CEO and president

Chinese internet titan Tencent is also a notable backer, bringing its “experience in linking social networking and ecommerce” as part of its strategic investment.

“This strategic partnership enables Tencent to participate in the exciting opportunities in ecommerce and payments in India. We look forward to helping Flipkart to deliver compelling experiences to users throughout India, and to [contributing] to the development of the internet ecosystem there.”

-Martin Lau, Tencent president

AT&T to acquire Straight Path in $1.6B deal for 5G spectrum

AT&T has announced the acquisition of Straight Path Communications for $1.6 billion. Straight Path is the largest commercial holder of the 39 GHz spectrum, according to the company, with about 95 percent of the total licenses commercially available, as well as a significant holder of 28 GHz spectrum in major markets like New York and San Francisco.

“This acquisition will support AT&T’s leadership in 5G, which will accelerate the delivery of new experiences for consumers and businesses like virtual and augmented reality, telemedicine, autonomous cars, smart cities, and more.”

-AT&T, in a statement

Specifically, AT&T pointed to beaming DirecTV Now to customers over a fixed 5G connection as an example of what’s possible.

That’s assuming the purchase is green-lit by the Federal Communications Commission, of course.

Twitter lets brands make ‘custom hearts’ for Periscope streams

Periscope for Android

 

Twitter is now letting brands engage fans by creating “custom hearts” for use in Periscope’s live video streams. The customizations can be used alone or combined with pre-roll ads in brand sponsorships of broadcasts, according to the company.

NBC Universal is the first client to use this with graphics, including an “F8” heart, being used to market The Fate of the Furious movie:

The custom hearts appear alongside the multi-colored hearts that are typically shown – which could induce users to tap more frequently.

According to Twitter, the customizations are designed in partnership with the brand before going live. This means that Twitter won’t have to vet and approve submissions.

The custom hearts can be seen on live and on-demand Periscope videos, regardless of whether it’s on Periscope or Twitter.

Volkswagen teams with Mobvoi to improve in-car AI

Volkswagen dealership

Volkswagen is forming a joint venture with smartwatch maker Mobvoi to push towards greater AI use in cars.

The companies are planning to develop and sell technology that makes use of Mobvoi’s voice recognition and search tech to streamline your driving experience. This includes products that are already on the market.

One of the first products is Mobvoi’s current smart rearview mirror. You can use voice to control navigation, media playback, and instant messaging through the mirror.

Initially, the partnership is focused on China, but Volkswagen says that they there’s a possibility of it spreading worldwide. Also, at least some of the products aren’t limited to VW group cars as the venture will serve “other brands.”

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