Future Tech

Author: Tan KW   |   Latest post: Mon, 20 Jan 2020, 8:52 PM


Apple gains footing in court feud with ex-executive turned rival

Author: Tan KW   |  Publish date: Mon, 20 Jan 2020, 8:52 PM

A former top chip engineer at Apple Inc may have a hard time shaking off a breach-of-contract lawsuit the iPhone maker filed against him after he quit and launched his own processor company.

Gerard Williams III helped lead development of the chips used to power iPhones during his decade as a platform architect with Apple before he founded Nuvia Inc last year. Williams contends a provision in the contract he had with Apple conflicts with a California law that allows workers to develop new businesses while they are employed elsewhere.

But in a tentative ruling rejecting his request to toss the suit, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Mark Pierce said the law doesn’t permit an employee "to plan and prepare to create a competitive enterprise prior to termination if the employee does so on their employer’s time and with the employer’s resources.”

The judge also dismissed a claim by Williams that Apple invaded his privacy by reviewing text messages he wrote to coworkers that were critical of the company. Williams sought to have those texts excluded as evidence in the suit. Pierce disagreed. "There are no allegations in the complaint establishing that the text messages were obtained as the result of eavesdropping upon or recording a confidential communication, ” he wrote.

Pierce sided with Williams in rejecting Apple’s bid for punitive damages, saying the company hasn’t shown that the engineer intentionally tried to harm his former employer by being disloyal.

While the ruling doesn’t address the merits of Apple’s claims, it will allow the company to proceed with pretrial information-sharing if the judge makes it final.

Claude Stern, an attorney for Williams, plans to contest the judge’s findings at a hearing on Jan 21 in San Jose. Stern said he’ll argue that Williams can’t be sued simply for coming up with an idea for a new business while at Apple, as opposed to taking inventions he worked on that belong to his previous employer.

The attorney also noted the judge’s conclusion that Apple’s intellectual property agreement with Williams "arguably” violates California law by forbidding him from soliciting the company’s employees even after he left his job.

"Gerard steadfastly denies any of the allegations in the complaint, ” Stern said in a phone interview.

Williams left Apple in February before starting Nuvia that same month with other former Apple developers. He was "chief architect” for Apple’s chips for its mobile devices. His new company is developing processors for use in data centres. In November, Nuvia exited stealth mode and announced funding worth US$53mil .

 - Bloomberg

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Facebook’s ‘failed’ Libra cryptocurrency is no closer to release

Author: Tan KW   |  Publish date: Mon, 20 Jan 2020, 6:12 PM

Facebook Inc’s Libra cryptocurrency starts 2020 looking no closer to release, with authorities in its base in Switzerland raising fresh questions about its suitability as a global currency.

Swiss finance minister Ueli Maurer said on Dec 27 in Bern that the country can’t approve Libra in its current form, telegraphing to Facebook that the product it wants to launch in Geneva isn’t going get a green light from regulators anytime soon.

Maurer went further in an interview with Swiss broadcaster SRF that same day, saying the project "has failed” in its current form because the basket of currencies Libra proposed to back the digital currency haven’t been accepted by the issuing national banks.

The blunt language marks a dramatic change in tone from the warm welcome Swiss regulators gave to Facebook in June when it chose Geneva as the project’s base. Back then, the social-networking giant paid homage to the city’s pedigree as a hub of international cooperation while Swiss officials raved about the "positive” signals it sent about Switzerland’s role in an "ambitious international project”.

But after the Securities & Exchange Commission, US and European politicians lined up to express concerns about currency sovereignty, Facebook’s recent record on misuse of data, and Libra’s potential as a magnet for financial criminals, Swiss officials began to change their tune.

"As long as the SEC is concerned about Libra, saying it’s based on relatively new and unproven technology and could rival the US dollar, other governments including the Swiss will take a wait and see approach, ” said Nils Reimelt of Capco Digital, a financial services consulting company in Zurich.

Libra also made a strategic error in not reaching out to Swiss bank regulator Finma about applying for a banking license before announcing its Geneva plans, Reimelt said. The Libra Association then decided to not include the safe-haven Swiss franc in the basket of currencies backing the cryptocurrency, creating further uncertainty, according to Reimelt.

Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan voiced those concerns in a speech in September, without mentioning Libra explicitly. "If stable coins pegged to foreign currencies were to establish themselves in Switzerland, the effectiveness of our monetary policy could be impaired.”

Money laundering

Finma joined Jordan in sounding a note of caution, saying in September that Libra would be have to adopt "bank-like” rules on risk and apply the "highest international anti-money laundering standards”.

Some governments and regulators have raised questions "that we take very seriously and are working hard to provide thoughtful answers”, the Libra Association said in a statement. "We are committed to a continuous and constructive dialogue” with them and "our objective remains to find the best way to launch a fast, secure and compliant international payment system.”

Bertrand Perez, Libra’s chief operating officer is set to speak Jan 20 at the Geneva Blockchain Congress. Facebook planned to launch Libra in 2020 but has since backed off on timing, with Perez saying in September that its introduction depends on discussions with regulators.

"This is why indeed we cannot say that we won’t launch in 2020, or that we are certain to launch on a particular date in 2020, ” he said.

After Maurer’s December salvo, the Swiss government on Jan 15 issued a more subtly-worded memo, insinuating that it might be more open to a rethink of the project. It will continue to monitor Libra, the council said,"in particular the form which Libra may take in the future".

"Switzerland is generally open to projects that reduce the cost of cross-border payment transactions and seek to promote financial inclusion, ” the government said.

That’s a clear signal to Libra, says Capco’s Reimelt, that "governments want to stay in control and Libra has to tweak their model and align to regulations to not become a threat.”

 - Bloomberg

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Tencent says to step up investment overseas and in smart retail

Author: Tan KW   |  Publish date: Mon, 20 Jan 2020, 4:21 PM

BEIJING: Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings said it will step up its investment overseas and in industries such as "smart retail", having already invested in more than 800 companies.

Those firms include 70 listed companies and over 160 are valued at more than US$1bil , according a speech made by Tencent President Martin Lau at a conference last week which the company posted on its social media account on Jan 20.

Tencent is known to have stakes in firms such as food delivery giant Meituan Dianping, e-commerce site Pinduoduo and video game companies such as Riot Games and Supercell.

But the company, worth US$490bil and the second-biggest company in Asia by market value after arch-rival Alibaba Group Holdings, rarely gives an overview or discloses details of its investment activities.

"Previously our traditional investment sectors were mostly focused on video games content and frontiers of science and technology," Lau told a gathering of more than 500 Tencent-backed companies.

"However, with the development of Tencent's WeChat mini-app ecosystem and payment platform, we will pay more attention to smart retail and payment platforms in future," he said.

 - Reuters

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Tesla moves a step closer to opening first European factory with German property deal

Author: Tan KW   |  Publish date: Mon, 20 Jan 2020, 4:20 PM

BERLIN: US electric car pioneer Tesla has agreed to buy a property on the outskirts of Berlin, bringing it a step closer to opening its first European factory, local authorities said on Jan 19.

The US carmaker last November announced plans to build a giant factory in Gruenheide, in the eastern German state of Brandenburg, giving it the coveted "Made in Germany" label just as local rivals prepare to launch competing models.

Tesla's board of directors approved a purchase agreement with the state of Brandenburg on Jan 18 to acquire a 300-hectare property, Brandenburg government spokesman Florian Engels said in a statement. The state parliament's finance committee had already approved the sale on Jan 9.

A Tesla spokeswoman confirmed the deal.

The agreement states a preliminary property price of €40.91mil which can be amended if an external review provides a different value, Engels said.

The property is in a designated industrial area and is being checked for weapons from World War II as there are most likely unexploded US bombs still in the ground, he added.

Politicians, unions and industry groups have welcomed Tesla's move which is expected to create up to 7,000 jobs in Brandenburg.

But some 250 locals took to the streets to protest on Jan 18, fearing the factory could endanger the water supply and wildlife in the surrounding forest.

 - Reuters

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[转贴] 四大品牌ADAS系统横评 传统车企紧追特斯拉

Author: Tan KW   |  Publish date: Mon, 20 Jan 2020, 4:20 PM

文 |  James


不过,不同车企的驾驶辅助系统在功能和使用方面都各不相同,这些系统究竟可以怎样辅助驾驶,又是否可以提升行驶安全呢?近日,外媒Digital Trends对本田、英菲尼迪、奔驰特斯拉等车企的车道保持辅助和车道偏离警告系统进行了横向评测,方便大家了解不同车企安全辅助系统的作用与区别。

车东西对外媒Digital Trends的评测进行了编译,在不改变文章原意的前提下略有删改。










四大品牌ADAS系统横评 传统车企紧追特斯拉





四大品牌ADAS系统横评 传统车企紧追特斯拉





四大品牌ADAS系统横评 传统车企紧追特斯拉






四大品牌ADAS系统横评 传统车企紧追特斯拉




结语:辅助驾驶 提升安全





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'You're stealing our water': Germans protest against Tesla gigafactory

Author: Tan KW   |  Publish date: Mon, 20 Jan 2020, 3:06 PM

BERLIN: Around 250 Germans on Jan 18 protested in the outskirts of Berlin where electric car startup Tesla is planning to build a gigafactory, saying its construction will endanger water supply and wildlife in the area.

The US carmaker announced plans last November to build its first European car factory in Gruenheide, in the eastern state of Brandenburg.

Politicians, unions and industry groups have welcomed the move, saying it will bring jobs to the region, but environmental concerns drove hundreds of locals to the streets on Jan 18.

"We are here, we are loud, because Tesla is stealing our water," protesters called.

Jan 18's protest came after a Brandenburg water association on Jan 16 warned against "extensive and serious problems with the drinking water supply and wastewater disposal" for the proposed factory.

Anne Bach, a 27-year-old environmental activist, said Tesla's plans published earlier this month showed it would need more than 300 cubic meters of water per hour which would drain the area's declining reserves.

"I am not against Tesla... But it's about the site; in a forest area that is a protected wildlife zone. Is this necessary?" Bach said.

"In such an ecological system like the one here and with the background that climate is changing, I cannot understand why another location was not selected from the beginning," said Frank Gersdorf, a member of "Citizens' Initiative Gruenheide against Gigafactory", a local group that organised Jan 18's protest.

Environmentalist protests in Germany have previously halted and delayed major companies' plans such RWE's lignite mining at the Hambach forest, near Cologne, which has become a symbol of the anti-coal protests.

Jan 18's protest, which Gersdorf and Bach said developed spontaneously from a 50-people forest walk demonstration, highlighted the deforestation of around 300 hectares to build the factory and its impact on wildlife, including birds, insects and bats.

People were also protesting against an expected "enormous" increase in traffic on a nearby highway and through the villages.

Next to the protest, on the other side of the street, around 20 people carried banners welcoming Tesla in their village, with children chanting,"We are here, we are loud, because Tesla is building our future."

Bernd Kutz, a Gruenheide local, said Tesla would bring improvement to the area, create jobs and give chances to young people.

"I am here because I don't understand those demonstrators who shout and show us the finger," Kutz said. "Why has it always to be negative?"

 - Reuters

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