Foxconn Ready to Seal Deal With Sharp

Foxconn Ready to Seal Deal With Sharp: Reports

Taiwan’s tech giant Hon Hai applied Tuesday for a halt in share trading, suggesting it is ready to finalise its multi-billion-dollar takeover of Japan’s electronics maker Sharp.

The Taiwan Stock Exchange said trading in shares of Hon Hai Precision and its affiliate Foxconn Technology would be suspended due to a “major announcement”.

A Hon Hai spokeswoman was not available for comment but local media said the two companies would hold board meetings Wednesday to discuss the huge deal.

Hon Hai was fined early this month after the Taiwan Stock Exchange said it violated trading rules by failing fully to explain the deal it has been negotiating with Sharp.

Local media said Hon Hai was likely to sign an agreement with the Japanese firm Thursday to seal the takeover.

It would be the first foreign acquisition of a major Japanese electronics firm.

Sharp has teetered on the edge of bankruptcy for years and Foxconn’s colourful billionaire owner Terry Gou has long been pushing for a takeover.

The two firms have worked together for years on large-screen technology, including for televisions, and jointly operate a liquid crystal display (LCD) panel plant in Japan.

Still, the Japanese government had reportedly been concerned about Sharp’s key technologies falling into the hands of a foreign firm.

Sharp is still a leader in LCD technology and remains one of Japan’s best-known corporate brands overseas.

But the century-old company piled up eye-watering losses after the 2008 global financial crisis and a restructuring plan has yet to pull it out of the red.

Soccer Legend Pele Sues Samsung Over Image in Newspaper Ad

Soccer Legend Pele Sues Samsung Over Image in Newspaper Ad

Brazilian soccer legend Pelé has sued Samsung Electronics Co for at least $30 million (roughly Rs. 199 crores), alleging the Korean company improperly used a look-alike in an advertisement that ran in the New York Times without permission.

According to the complaint filed this month in federal court in Chicago, Samsung placed the October ad for ultra high-definition televisions after breaking off negotiations in 2013 to use Pelé’s identity to promote its products.

Pelé, 75, whose given name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is widely regarded as the greatest soccer player ever and among the world’s most famous athletes.

Although the ad does not mention Pelé, it includes a portrait-sized image of a man who “very closely resembles” him, and a small photo of a soccer player making a “modified bicycle or scissors-kick, perfected and famously used by Pelé,” the complaint said.

Pelé relies on endorsements for much of his income, and the ad will hurt the value of his endorsement rights and confuse consumers into believing he endorses Samsung products, the complaint added.

“The goal is to obtain fair compensation for the unauthorized use of Pele’s identity, and to prevent future unauthorized uses,” Pelé’s lawyer, Frederick Sperling, said in a phone interview.

Samsung spokeswoman Danielle Meister Cohen declined to comment.

The lawsuit was filed by Pele IP Ownership LLC, which owns Pelé’s trademark and publicity rights. It is dated March 16.

Sperling has also represented former Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan, and helped him win a $8.9 million jury verdict last August against the former Dominick’s Finer Foods over the grocer’s unauthorized use of the basketball Hall of Famer’s identity in an ad in Sports Illustrated.

Jordan later settled for an undisclosed amount.

The case is Pele IP Ownership LLC v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al, US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, No. 16-03354.

Amaya’s CEO Takes Leave Amid Insider Trading Probe

Amaya's CEO Takes Leave Amid Insider Trading Probe

The chair and chief executive of the world’s largest online gaming company has stepped back from the company after being charged with insider trading and stock manipulation, Amaya announced Tuesday.

David Baazov, 35, “is taking an indefinite paid leave of absence from the company,” it said in a statement.

He was charged last week along with two others with using privileged information and attempting to influence stock market prices in the months prior to Amaya’s 2014 takeover of Oldford Group, the owner and operator of sites PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, for $4.9 billion (roughly Rs. 32,520 crores).

The two sites have nearly 100 million registered players on desktop and mobile devices, according to Amaya.

Thirteen people linked to the insider trades, including Baazov’s brother Josh, have also been ordered to cease trading while authorities investigate their involvement in the case.

Quebec’s Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) alleges Baazov’s family, friends and associates pocketed nearly CAD 1.5 million using insider information. The securities watchdog claims Baazov was the “main source” of the information about Amaya acquisitions, including the purchase of Oldford Group in June 2014 that turned the Montreal-based company into the world’s largest online poker firm.

According to AMF, they purchased shares in Amaya or its takeover targets, which were identified to them in advance, and realized large profits by selling their stock after the deals were announced and the share price spiked.

Baazov, who is seeking to buy back Amaya shares and take it private, has denied the accusations.

He said in a statement, “I believe that stepping down in the short term will help to avoid distraction for the company and its management while I vigorously contest all allegations made against me and pursue my bid to acquire the company.”

Director Dave Gadhia has been appointed as interim chairman, and Rafi Ashkenazi, who currently runs Amaya’s website operations, was named interim chief executive.

Voot Video-on-Demand Service Launched in India

Voot Video-on-Demand Service Launched in India

Media and entertainment major Viacom18 Tuesday launched its advertising-led video-on-demand platform Voot.

Voot, a 50:50 joint venture between Viacom Group and the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries, will have a large repository of original content and roll out shows in both long and short formats across genres like comedy and drama.

The platform will have kids characters from across networks, from Nick characters like Dora, Spongebob, Motu Patlu to external popular characters like Chhota Bheem and Pokémon.

It will also move its content library including Colors, MTV and Nick to be digitally available only on Voot.

“This market is at the cusp of a digital boom with over 400 million Internet users and over 200 million smartphone users spending significant amount of time online with entertainment and allied content being the prime driver,” Viacom18 Group Chief Executive Sudhanshu Vats said.

“As more people move towards consuming content online, it is time for Viacom18 to move into the world of connected screens, hence Voot,” Vats added.

Voot will be among the dozen or so similar services such as Hotstar, Sony Liv, Ozee, ErosNow, Spuul and YuppTV, already operational in the country.

With the digital advertising led video-on-demand category set to develop into around $1 billion (roughly Rs. 6,640 crores) business opportunity by 2020, Viacom 18 has lined up an aggressive mix of business content and marketing strategies.

“From a business standpoint, we are following the advertising led video-on-demand model. As the market matures in the next 12-24 months, we will be evaluating both freemium and subscription led models,” Viacom18 Digital Ventures Chief Operating Officer Gaurav Gandhi said.

Voot will have over 17,000 hours of content across languages and genres and comes with pin protection to ensure children don’t watch anything except the kids content. It also has a shake feature.

Once a child shakes the phone, the screen displays the next four videos on the list, which can be accessed simply by tapping on it. It will launch four original web series and then look at having an original content show every month.

MIT India Conference to Build on ‘Startup India’ Initiative

MIT India Conference to Build on 'Startup India' Initiative

Celebrating the achievements of India, the MIT India Conference will focus on how to create a thriving startup ecosystem in India to put Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Startup India” initiative into action.

Organized by the MIT Sloan School of Management in collaboration with the greater MIT community in Cambridge, Massachusetts on April 3, the conference plans to address all levels of entrepreneurship, according to a media release.

These include from scaling startups and addressing the challenges early startups face to social endeavours and sustainability.

With the “Startup India” initiative receiving a five-fold increase in its funding along with government plans to open new startup incubators, the objective becomes how best to sustain and build off of this momentum, it said.

This year’s conference will also feature a showcase of innovative projects being developed by MIT students and researchers with potential application for India.

The MIT India Conference aims to celebrate the achievements of India globally, as well as discuss future collaborations between India and the world that could help accelerate innovation into the future. The MIT India conference has established itself as an important forum for leaders in industry, academia, and policy to discuss current issues and future innovations in the context of India, in the region and abroad, the release said.

Slated speakers and panellists include Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser, Government of India; Mukesh Aghi, President, US-India Business Council; Gururaj Deshpande, Founder-Chairman, Sycamore Networks and Ashish Hemrajani, Founder-CEO, BookMyShow.com.

Others include Sorin Grama, Founder-CTO, Promethean Power Systems; Nishant Rao, COO, Freshdesk; Vivek Prabhakar, Founder-CEO, Chumbak; Anuradha Acharya, Founder-CEO, MapMyGenome India; Akash Bhatia: Founder-CEO, Infinite Analytics; Venkat Maroju, CEO, SourceTrace Systems; Anjana Reddy, MD, Universal Sportsbiz Pvt. Ltd and Zenobia Moochhala, Co-Founder, Care.com.

Alleged Xiaomi Smartphone With 4.3-Inch Display, Snapdragon 820 SoC Leaked

Xiaomi earlier this month launched its flagship Mi 5 smartphone at the MWC 2016 event in Barcelona and will be bringing the device to India on Thursday. However, a new leaked image now indicates there might be a new smaller Xiaomi smartphone in the making already.

The leaked image coming from Weibo (via Gizchina) shows an unknown black coloured smartphone’s display running MIUI. The device is said to feature a 4.3-inch display, and might be launched as an iPhone SE competitor in the future. The handset is tipped to feature a HD (720×1280 pixels) resolution display and powered by the flagship Qualcomm chipset, the Snapdragon 820, clubbed with 3GB of RAM. It is also said to house 32GB of inbuilt storage and a 13-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilisation. The alleged Xiaomi-made smartphone is expected to carry a price tag of CNY 1,799 (roughly Rs. 18,400). A fingerprint sensor is also tipped.

xiaomi_mi_43_inch_phone_leak_weibo.jpgAlthough Xiaomi is far from confirming any of the aforementioned specifications, the device if real will be one of the best small-screen handsets in the market as it features top-notch specifications under-the-hood.

On a related note, Xiaomi Mi 5 will be launched by the company in India on Thursday. With the unveiling of the smartphone, India will become one of the first markets with Xiaomi’s flagship outside China. Barra had recently revealed that the company received a massive 16 million registrations for the first sale of Mi 5 in China.

To recall, the Xiaomi Mi 5 was announced in three versions – standard edition featuring 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 32GB inbuilt storage; prime version featuring 3GB LPDDR4 RAM and 64GB storage, and pro version featuring 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 128GB storage. It is not clear if Xiaomi will launch all three variants in India.

Xiaomi Announces ‘Mi Ecosystem’ Sub-Brand

Xiaomi Announces 'Mi Ecosystem' Sub-Brand

At an event in China, Xiaomi on Tuesday announced a new sub-brand called Mi Ecosystem. The new brand is meant to cover products manufactured by Xiaomi’s ecosystem partners.

As per Xiaomi, the Mi Ecosystem sub-brand will adhere to the “philosophy of making products that stand out as works of art in daily lives.” It adds that its ecosystem partners are chosen because they adhere to the “high-quality” required to be aligned with Xiaomi.

Xiaomi said that to build the Mi Ecosystem, it has thus far invested in 55 companies that design and manufacture products beyond the company’s own three core product categories: smartphones, smart TVs, and smart routers. It added that 29 of these companies have in fact been incubated by Xiaomi since their founding, including Zhimi (responsible for the Mi Air Purifier) and Viomi (responsible for the Mi Water Purifier).The company added that so far, 28 Mi Ecosystem companies have won international design awards, while 20 companies have launched products. The companies have also become “industry benchmarks” in their own right, with spectacular sales figures for such startups – no doubt helped by the Xiaomi brand. It said that seven Mi Ecosystem companies already have annual sales of over $100 million, while two have reached annual sales of over $1 billion.

Xiaomi in a statement added that its Founder and CEO, Lei Jun, started exploring the ecosystem business model two years ago with the aim to “promote an upgrade in Chinese manufacturing with a new concept of ‘Made in China’ products.” The statement adds, “Rather than simply being a venture company, Xiaomi imparts to these companies its approach to making quality products, sharing its methodologies and existing resources, including supply chain, e-commerce, marketing, and branding.”

xiaomi_mi_induction_heating_pressure_rice_cooker_in_story.jpgThe first product under the Mi Ecosystem brand is the Mi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker (seen above). Priced at CNY 999 (roughly Rs. 10,200), the rice cooker is supposedly 40 percent cheaper than its Japanese counterparts, the company says. It will go on sale in China via Mi.com during the Mi Fan Festival beginning April 6.

As you’d expect from Xiaomi, the Mi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker is an Internet-connected device, and not just a ‘dumb’ pressure cooker. The Wi-Fi-enabled cooker can be controlled via the Mi Home app. Xiaomi says users can scan a packet of rice to identify the type of rice, brand, and origin, and depending on these factors, the rice cooker will adjust its heating to best suit the rice type. The company says it currently supports more than 200 brands of rice, a list that will be expanded in the future. The Mi Home app also provides recipes for dishes that can be made with Mi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker, including cakes, and users simply have to select the recipe in the app for the cooker to adjust itself.

What began as a software company five years ago, Xiaomi has grown to become a major manufacturer of smartphones, tablets, as well as TVs. The company now sells products such as suitcases, air purifiers,LED lights, routers, set-top boxes, and even lamps under its brand. The vast majority of these products, however, don’t leave China’s boundaries. In recent years, Xiaomi has been working with different governments such as India, Singapore and ​their regulations to launch more of its products, while also working on its debut in the United States and United Kingdom markets.

FBI Wants US Businesses to Help as Cyber Extortion Gains Urgency

FBI Wants US Businesses to Help as Cyber Extortion Gains Urgency

The FBI is asking businesses and software security experts for emergency assistance in its investigation into a pernicious new type of “ransomware” virus used by hackers for extortion.

“We need your help!” the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a confidential “Flash” advisory that was dated March 25 and obtained by Reuters over the weekend.

Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts a victim’s data so they cannot gain access to it on their computers, then offers to unlock the system in exchange for payment.

Friday’s FBI alert was focused on ransomware known as MSIL/Samas.A that the agency said seeks to encrypt data on entire networks, an alarming change because typically, ransomware has sought to encrypt data one computer at a time.

The plea asked recipients to immediately contact the FBI’s CYWATCH cyber-centre if they find evidence that they have been attacked or have other information that might help in its investigation.

It is the latest in a series of FBI advisories and warnings from security researchers about new ransomware tools and techniques.

“This is basically becoming a national cyber-emergency,” said Ben Johnson, co-founder of Carbon Black, a cyber-security firm that on Friday uncovered another type of ransomware that seeks to attack PCs through infected Microsoft Word documents.

The FBI first reported on MSIL/Samas.A in a Feb. 18 alert that lacked the urgency of Friday’s warning. The February message contained some technicals details but did not call for help. It said that MSIL/Samas.A targets servers running out-of-date versions of a type of business software known as JBOSS.

In its latest report, the FBI said that investigators have since found that hackers are using a software tool dubbed JexBoss to automate discovery of vulnerable JBOSS systems and launch attacks, allowing them to remotely install ransomware on computers across the network.

The FBI provided a list of technical indicators to help companies determine if they were victims of such an attack.

“The FBI is distributing these indicators to enable network defense activities and reduce the risk of similar attacks in the future,” the advisory said.

FBI representatives did not respond to requests for comment on the confidential warning.

The sectors hardest hit by ransomware include industries that rely on computer access for performing critical functions, such as healthcare and law enforcement. Publicly reported attacks in which hospitals and police have paid ransoms, then recovered data, has encouraged attackers to further target those groups, cyber-security experts said.

New Samsung Galaxy J7 And Galaxy J7 Announced

Samsung Galaxy J7 We have been hearing rumors about the new Samsung Galaxy J7 and Galaxy J5 handsets for some time, both handsets are now official.

First up is the Samsung Galaxy J7 which is equipped with a 5.5 inch Super AMOLED display with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.

Processing on the handset is provided by an octa core 1.6GHz processor and there is also 3GB of RAM and 16GB of included storage, plus a microSD card slot for expansion.

The Galaxy J7 is equipped with a 5 megapixel front facing cameras and a 13 megapixel rear camera, it also comes with WiFi, Bluetooth, 4G LTE and NFC.

Samsung Galaxy J5

The Samsung Galaxy J5 comes with a 5.2 inch Super AMOLED display with a HD resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, processing is provided by a 1.2GHz quad core processor and there is also 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and a microSD card slot.

The handset also comes with a 5 megapixel front facing camera and a 13 megapixel rear camera, both devices are launching in China, as yet there are no details on pricing or a release date.