Daily Tech Headlines – October 27, 2016

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Daily Tech Headlines – October 27, 2016
Number 102
Broadcast Date OCTOBER 27, 2016
Episode Length 8:04
Hosts Tom Merritt

Twitter beats expectations, announces layoffs; Qualcomm moves into automotive, Apple delays AirPod.


Twitter said Thursday it will cut 9 percent of its workforce in order to cut costs and become profitable in 2017. Twitter beat analysts expectations, reporting Q3 revenue up 8 percent at $616 million ahead of an expected $605.8 million with earnings of 13 cents a share over an expected 9 cents. Total revenue grew 6 percent to $545 million, 90 percent from mobile. Monthly active users grew 3 percent to 317 million. In the earnings call CFO Anthony Noto said the company is working on an Event Timeline and personalized tabs around things like sports teams or political parties, powered by machine learning. Jack Dorsey also said in an investor letter that Twitter has meaningful safety updates coming next month.
Separately Twitter confirmed to TechCrunch that it is testing excluding user names in replies for some iOS users. Users in the test do not see usernames when they reply and the user name is not included in the actual tweet. Twitter originally announced in May it would gradually expand what doesn't count against the character limit, but indicated usernames would still be visible. The company did not announce when this would roll out to all users.
Qualcomm has agreed to purchase NXP Semiconductors for $38 billion, making it the largest acquisition in the semiconductor industry. Qualcomm will become the largest supplier of chips to the automotive industry. The company has faced slowing revenue from the mobile industry. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2017.
Apple told TechCrunch it's wireless AirPod headphones will not ship in late October as previously announced. A spokesperson said, "We don’t believe in shipping a product before it’s ready, and we need a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers." No details on the cause of the delay or a new estimated shipping date were announced.
Samsung unsurprisingly announced Q3 profit at $4.6 billion, down from $6.4 billion last quarter, the lowest operating profit in two years. Somehow its mobile arm still reported a 100 billion won profit ($87 million) despite costs incurred in the two Note 7 recalls. Samsung and battery supplier Samsung SDI said Thursday that the results of the Note 7 probe are expected by the end of the year. SDI executive Kim Hong-gyeong, said “weakness” in some batteries had been confirmed and the exact cause was being analyzed.
IDC and Strategy Analytics both still show Samsung on top of the worldwide smartphone market with a 20 precent marketshare, down 3 or 4 points from last quarter. Apple came second in both surveys followed by Huawei, Oppo and Vivo.
Verizon announced Wednesday it will acquire video service Vessel, originally launched in 2015. The company plans to use Vessel's product and technology, but will shutdown the existing service. As part of the acquisition, Vessel CTO Richard Tom, will join Verizon’s digital entertainment efforts in the same role. The acquisition is expected to close within 30 days.
Fujitsu confirmed Thursday it is in talks to have Lenovo design and manufacture its PCs while retaining the Fujitsu branding. Fujitsu also announced Thursday its operating profit more than doubled in the second quarter to 37.1 billion yen.
Google has acknowledged a problem with the Pixel camera that causes a lens flare in the corners of some pictures taken in bright light. Google says an upcoming software update will address the issue by compensating with an algorithm that detects and removes the flare.
Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima told financial analysts Thursday that more information on the Switch console will come on January 12th in Tokyo. The Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 will reveal the system's launch date, pricing, and game lineup, with playable demos available on the 13th and 14th in Tokyo. The event will be livestreamed.
In the latest mobile-only edition the Pwn2Own contest, Tencent Keen Security Lab Team exploited multiple Android bugs to crack into a fully updated Nexus 6P and install a rogue app. The team claimed $102,500 in prize money for three successful attacks in the sniper, strength and stealth categories. Tencent Keen also got a rogue app to persist after reboot on an iPhone 6S, to claim partial victory in that competition. All vulnerabilities used will be disclosed for patching.
Facebook added Snapchat-like selfie lenses into its main app. Facebook calls them Masks. The first release includes Halloween themed masks like skeletons and pumpkins available when a users goes live. The feature will start rolling out today to iOS users in the US, UK, and New Zealand. Android and more countries will get them in the coming months.
Facebook's teen-focused app Lifestage is now available for Android on the Google Play Store. The app originally launched for iOS in August and currently sits as the 1,289th ranked app in the iTunes Social Networking charts. The app has a narrower focus than most Facebook efforts, limiting users to 21 and under, with a specific focus on high school students.
FlashPoint a risk assessment company published preliminary analysis indicating Friday's denial of service attacks were not the work of state actors. FlashPoint’s Allison Nixon, John Costello and Zach Wikholm “… the targeting of a video game company … aligns more with the hackers that frequent online hacking forums." The attacks also do not seem to be financially or politically motivated. Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-secure agreed telling TechCrunch, "It was such an untargeted attack, it’s hard to find a good motive for it. So: kids.”
Tesla announced its first quarterly profit in more than three years, helped by nearly $139 million in sales of clean car credits. Tesla's earnings report comes ahead of a November 17th vote on the acquisition of SolarCity. During the earnings call, CEO Elon Musk described his vision for a self-driving car service called Tesla Network designed to let Tesla owners make extra money from their cars when they aren't using them.
Alphabet is promoting its self-driving car operation from an X Lab project to a self-contained business under Alphabet. X chief Astro Teller told the WSJ.D Live audience that they began separating finances of the car group at the beginning of this year in anticipation of the move.
LG announced Q3 operating profit fell 3.7 percent from last year. LG's mobile division lost 436.4 billion won, its sixth straight quarterly loss offsetting a record 381.5 billion profit from the TV division.
Nokia announced Q3 sales fell 12 percent to 5.32 billion euros and operating profit fell 36 percent to 432 million. Network equipment sales declined and are expected to continue to decline as 4G has matured and 5G has yet to begin implementation.


Preceded by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – October 26, 2016"
Daily Tech Headlines – October 27, 2016
Followed by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – October 28, 2016"