DMM acquires Japanese pawn shop app Cash for $62.2M

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DMM, one of Japan’s largest Internet and e-commerce conglomerates, announced today that it will pay 7 billion yen (about $62.2 million) for pawn shop app Cash. Launched this summer, Cash’s software automatically appraises an item’s value based on user photos and offers a cash advance with it as collateral. Cash was developed by Bank, a startup launched by serial entrepreneur Yusuke Mitsuomoto earlier this year. Mitsuomoto’s previous startup, an e-commerce platform called Stores.jp, sold to Zozotown, one of Japan’s largest online clothing retailers, for an undisclosed sum in 2013. Bank…

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Toshiba stock drops on $5 billion share sale plan

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Toshiba’s stock plummeted Monday, after the company announced plans to raise $ 5 billion to avoid being booted off the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Shares in the Japanese firm fell more than 6% in Tokyo, before paring some of those losses to close down 5.8%. The drop comes a day after the troubled conglomerate announced it would sell new shares worth 600 billion yen ($5.4 billion). Toshiba (TOSBF) will issue about 2.3 billion new shares priced at 262.8 yen ($2.35) per share, it said Sunday — about 10% cheaper than Friday’s…

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Uber confirms SoftBank has agreed to invest billions

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The long-anticipated SoftBank Group investment into Uber has been agreed upon, confirms a spokesperson. “We’ve entered into an agreement with a consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer on a potential investment. We believe this agreement is a strong vote of confidence in Uber’s long-term potential. Upon closing, it will help fuel our investments in technology and our continued expansion at home and abroad, while strengthening our corporate governance.” Uber has not yet elaborated on plans, but we’ve been told that it includes a $1 billion investment in the company at the…

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Waymo is first to put fully self-driving cars on US roads without a safety driver

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Waymo, the autonomous vehicle division of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reached an important milestone recently: since mid-October, the company has been operating its autonomous minivans on public roads in Arizona without a safety driver — or any human at all — behind the wheel. And starting very soon, the company plans to invite regular people for rides in these fully self-driving vehicles. The news that Waymo’s vehicles have been on public roads with no human in the driver’s seat was announced today by the company’s CEO John Krafcik at a…

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How cities can utilize the good, avoid the bad of the new mobility movement

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When London stripped popular ride-hailing app Uber of its licence to operate in the city, in late September, it made headlines. The wall-to-wall coverage that followed the decision was a sign that we are on the cusp of an urban mobility revolution. Ride-hailing systems, car- and bicycle-sharing networks, trip-planning apps and other innovative services that capitalize on advances in mobile communications, cashless payments and remote monitoring are increasing in popularity around the world. Users appreciate, and in many places have grown to depend upon, the convenience and flexibility these services…

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Qualcomm beats revenue expectations despite Apple lawsuits

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Qualcomm has beat analysts’ revenue and earnings estimates in its fourth fiscal quarter despite a year-long legal battle with Apple. Qualcomm booked $5.96 billion in sales, or 92 cents per share, versus expectations of $5.8 billion and 81 cents per-share as the overall economics of the chip business continue to improve. The numbers were good enough to bump shares of the stock up 54 cents (or 1 percent) in after-hours trading, to $54.00. Qualcomm’s ongoing legal battle with Apple was not enough to completely overtake strength elsewhere in its business…

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Microsoft 365 now available for small and medium businesses

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Businesses can now  subscribe to a bundle with Office 365, Windows 10 and the company’s mobile device management tools through Microsoft 365. The early focus for this program was enterprises, but a few months ago, Microsoft also launched a preview version of Microsoft 365 for small and medium businesses. Today, Microsoft 365 Business is coming out of beta and is now generally available to customers. Also coming out of beta are the company’s tools for managing email marketing campaigns (Microsoft Connections), creating invoices (Microsoft Invoicing) and keeping tabs on a…

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Essential phone slashes price by $200

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Essential has  slashed the price of its eponymous phone down to $499, a $200 price cut from the original $699 price, less than two months after it began shipping to customers. This move may be a signal that it wasn’t selling well at $699, especially given that the only US carrier stores it’s available in have “Sprint” above the door. Another reason is that it now has to face the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL head-to-head. Of course, that’s not how Essential sees it, saying that the price drop…

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Microsoft displeased with Google over approach to security patches

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Microsoft’s Windows security team have been unhappy with Google for the past year. While the pair are bitter rivals for a number of different reasons, Google disclosed a major Windows bug before Microsoft was ready to patch it last year. This  irritated the company so much that Windows chief Terry Myerson authored a blog post criticizing Google for not disclosing security vulnerabilities responsibly. That resentment still remains today. Microsoft discovered a remote Chrome vulnerability last month and is now demonstrating what it feels is responsible disclosure. In a new blog…

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Samsung CEO resigns as tech firm projects record profits

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Samsung electronics has today made two contrasting announcements. First, it issued an optimistic third-quarter earnings guidance then it later posted a resignation letter from chief executive officer and vice chairman Oh-Hyun Kwon. In the letter, Kwon said it is time for new leadership as the company faces an “unprecedented crisis inside out.” In terms of earnings, the chaebol has had a good year so far, posting strong first and second-quarter results thanks to its components business, which Kwon also oversees. From a leadership perspective, however, it has had a very difficult…

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