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Home Weekly Highlights The Best of Tech News 2021: March 1st-8th

The Best of Tech News 2021: March 1st-8th

It’s the start of the new week which means that it is the time for our compilation of the best tech news of the past week! The first seven days of March continue the rally of big tech deals in terms of mergers and acquisitions. There is also interesting news for Ripple after their SEC lawsuit, Apple with the possibility of the 4th investigation by the European Commission, Microsoft Breach, and its aftermath, what the Biden administration may mean for crypto regulation, Moderna and IBM teaming up and leveraging IBM for a more efficient vaccine administration and much more. Take a look at the compilation of the daily tech news from the past week and be all caught up with the most important events in the tech industry.

Panasonic To Buy Blue Yonder In A $6.5 Billion Deal.

Panasonic Corp is about to do their biggest tech deal since 2011 and buy the U.S supply-chain software company Blue Yonder, as it was reported by Reuters on Monday. 

It was reported that last year, the Japanese Panasonic has bought 20% stake worth 86 billion yen and that currently, the company is in the process of getting the rest of the stock from shareholders. Having said that, in a statement that Panasonic has emailed to Reuters, we read, 

“This is not something that has been announced by our company. It is not true that it is something we have decided,” 

Acquiring the Blue Yonger would significantly boost Panasonic’s supply chain services. Blue Yonder’s customers include Starbucks, Walmart or Unilever. 

McAfee Sells Its Enterprise Business For $4 Billion 

Monday morning, it was reported that the cybersecurity company, McAfee will sell its enterprise business to a consortium led by Symphony Technology Group. The value of the tech deal is $4 billion in cash. The deal is going to close in Q4 of 2021. 

The Chief Executive of McAfee said in a statement, “This transaction will allow McAfee to singularly focus on our consumer business and to accelerate our strategy to be a leader in personal security for consumers,” 

Once the tech deal is completed, the company plans to issue a special dividend of approximately $4.50 per Class A common share

McAfee has had a stable growth in the past years and it has managed to strengthen its position as a cybersecurity software provided by high retention, innovative programs and price increases. The enterprise business has had a $1.3 billion net revenue in 2020. 

It is reported that  Goldman Sachs & Co, LLC and Morgan Stanley & Co LLC were servicing as financial advisers to McAfee and Ropes & Gray LLP were the legal advisors. On the part of the Symphony Technology Group, UBS Investment Bank, Jefferies, and BofA Securities played the role of the financial advisors and Paul Hastings LLP served as a legal advisor for the tech deal. 

Daily Tech IPO: Evolv To Go Public In A $1.7 SPAC Billion Deal! 

On Sunday, the U.S crowd-safety company, Evolv, announced that it will combine with the NewHold Investment Corp to go public. The tech deal is valued at approximately $1.7 billion. The tech deal is likely to close in the second quartered of this year and the company will trade on the Nasdaq. 

Evolv’s investors include the co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates and the General Catalyst VC. The company’s customers include the Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Musem of Art in New York City, or Six Flags Entertainment. 

The company leverages AI technology and sensors to screen people in large public spaces. 

Ripple Records No Fallout After SEC lawsuit 

On Friday, the CEO of the blockchain payments company, Ripple, said that the company has not experienced any fallout in their Asia Pacific market after the lawsuit by the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission. 

The lawsuit came to be at the end of last year, when the SEC charged Ripple (linked to the XRP cryptocurrency) with $1.3 billion worth of unregistered securities offering. 

“It (the lawsuit) has hindered activity in the United States, but it has not really impacted what’s going on for us in the Asia Pacific,” Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple’s chief executive officer, told Reuters “We have been able to continue to grow the business in Asia and Japan because we’ve had regulatory clarity in those markets,” he said, adding that he did not know of any exchange outside the United States that had halted XRP trading.

“XRP is traded on over 200 exchanges around the world. It’s really only three or four exchanges in the United States that have halted trading,” he added

Since the lawsuit was announced, Ripple has signed over 15 new tech deals with banks around the world.

“We’re seeing the activity of XRP liquidity has grown outside the United States and continue to grow in Asia, certainly in Japan,” he said.

China To Heavily Invest In Tech R&D 

One of the biggest daily tech highlights of the Chinese Fourth Sessions of the 13th National People’s Congress is the boost in tech investment. On Friday, the government decided that China will boost the annual spending on R&D by over 7% in a five-year plan. The government plans to create more laboratories and science centers meant for researching quantum information and artificial intelligence. 

The boost of investment shows China’s determination to outperform the United States in the battle over dominating the tech sector. China has highlighted seven key areas in their five-year plan: next-generation artificial intelligence, quantum information, brain science, semiconductors, genetic research and biotechnology, clinical medicine and health, and deep space, deep sea and polar exploration.

The Chinese government also announced it would support foreign-funded companies to establish R&D centers in China. 

Apple To Face EU Antitrust Charges? 

On Thursday, Reuters reported that Apple could soon face an EU antitrust charge over the complaint made by Spotify. The European Commission could issue the statement of objections detailing the alleged violations of the EU antitrust rules and send it to Apple before the summer. 

The case would be one of four that are currently open against Apple by the EU competition enforcer. The Commission is investigating the App Stores’ rules for all the competing apps, for e-books and audiobooks specifically, and the terms and conditions for the mobile payment service, Apple Pay. So far, the European Commission has refused to make a comment about the alleged latest investigation.

In March of 2019, on its official blog, Apple said that App Stope has helped Spotify gain hundreds of millions of downloads and become the largest streaming service in Europe. Later in 2019, Spotify has made a complaint to the European Commission about Apple restricting rivals to its own music streaming service.

Daily AI and ML Tech: Moderna And IBM Team Up About Covid-19 Vaccine Administration 

On Thursday, the vaccine manufacturer Moderna and IBM Corp revealed that they will start cooperating on creating technologies for tracking the Covid-19 vaccine administration. 

The goal is to assist governments and healthcare providers with possible supply chain disruptions by using information sharing. The companies are to use artificial intelligence, blockchain, and hybrid cloud technologies to improve vaccine management. 

Based on the press release from March 4th, the collaboration between the two companies has two main goals, being 

  1. “. End-to-end traceability to address potential supply chain disruptions, which would enable governments and healthcare providers to share data on individual vaccine batches throughout the supply chain.”
  2. Digital Health Pass, utilizing blockchain technology, to share information with organizations on test results, vaccination records and temperature checks.

The Managing Director North America Commercial Operations of Moderna, Michael Mullette, said “We look forward to working with IBM to apply digital innovations to build connections between organizations, governments, and individuals to instill confidence in COVID-19 vaccines”

“If ever there was a time to rally around open technology and collaboration, it’s now,” said Jason Kelley, Managing Partner, Global Strategic Alliances Leader for IBM. “As governments, pharmacy chains, healthcare providers and life sciences companies continue to scale and connect their tools, and as new players enter the supply chain, open technology can help drive more transparency and bolster trust, while helping to ensure accessibility and equity in the process.”

Daily RegTech: EU Watchdog Encourages Stricter Rules To Avoid Another Wirecard

The EU securities watchdog said on Wednesday that the bloc’s rules on the financial information must be updated urgently, in order to avoid the Wirecard scandal repeating itself. 

EU watchdog urges tighter rules to prevent another Wirecard scandal. As of November, The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has reported that the work of the German securities and accounting watchdogs was inefficient regarding Wirecard.  

“ESMA considers that the Wirecard case has shown, once again, that timely and effective enforcement of financial information is paramount to ensure investor protection and confidence in capital markets,” ESMA Chair Steven Maijoor said on Wednesday, in a letter to the EU’s financial services chief Mairead McGuinness

As the transparency rules differ between countries in the bloc, even though they are part of the EU law, ESMA set out some possible reforms that could make it easy for the regulators to share certain confidential information about the companies in order to quickly decide which authority should be in charge of the enforcement. ESMA also proposes rules that would allow the exchange of confidential information about a company between the accounting, audit, banking, and AML regulators. 

“In some countries, there are confidentiality clauses preventing an effective and timely exchange of information,” ESMA said.

ESMA has added that corporate governance and audit rules of the bloc also must be more strict, particularly by “enhancing the assurance on, and disclosure requirements regarding, effectiveness of issuers’ internal controls”.

Biden’s SEC Nominee Indicates More Regulated Crypto? 

After the newly-appointed President, Joe Biden, has nominated Gary Gensler to be the new chair of The U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, the cryptocurrencies may soon be subject to stricter regulators. 

Already during the Tuesday confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, Gensler has given his opinion on some of the aspects of managing cryptocurrency. 

“Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies brought new thinking to payments but raised new issues of investor protection we still need to attend to,” Gensler told the lawmakers while also referring to cryptocurrencies as “catalysts for change”  

As SEC chairman, he would promote the new technology while ensuring investor protections, he said. The SEC has not adopted rules specifically tailored to cryptocurrencies and how they should be treated by people and companies, which some argue has created an unclear rulebook, as reported by Reuters.

“It’s important for the SEC to provide guidance and clarity,” Gensler said. “Sometimes that’s a clarity that will be a thumbs up, but even if it’s thumbs down, it’s important to provide that.”

Daily Tech: Task Force Launched To Investigate The Microsoft Breach

On Tuesday, Microsoft has informed the public that its Exchange email server was hacked and accessed and that the breach began in early January. The cyber crime was discovered by Volexity, the cyber security firm and allegedly, a hacker group with the support of the Chinese state is behind it. The massive attack affected at least 30 000 organizations, many of them being businesses and government agencies. 

On Wednesday, China has denied the allegations and the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, Wang Wenbin said that there was not enough evidence to link China with the attack. 

Following the official news of the hack, the US official has spoken out about the new task force that will combine the expertise of FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) agents.

“We’re now working with our partners and looking closely at the next steps we need to take. This is an active threat still developing and we urge network operators to take it very seriously,” the official told CNN.

Microsoft described Hafnium, the alleged group behind the attack to be “highly skilled and sophisticated actor” and described how the hack took place. 

“First, it would gain access to an Exchange Server either with stolen passwords or by using the previously undiscovered vulnerabilities to disguise itself as someone who should have access. Second, it would create what’s called a web shell to control the compromised server remotely. Third, it would use that remote access – run from the US-based private servers – to steal data from an organization’s network,” Microsoft said.

On Friday, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, announced that the White House sees the situation as a continuous “active threat” and all efforts to improve the security are being undertaken. 

Remember to come back next Monday for the fresh portion of daily tech news highlights. And remember that from tomorrow on, you can visit our website for the daily tech segments that focus exclusively on FinTech, Telecom, and BioTech highlights.

We have also compiled the list that will provide you with the best tech events to occur this month! Take a look at our carefully compiled ranking of almost daily chances to get useful tech insights and learn from the best in the industry. From workshops, and lectures to exhibitions and conferences, you will be able to find something that suits your interests.

March 2021: The Best Free Tech Events, Webinars, and Conferences

Did you miss our last week’s highlights? You can find them here:

The Best of Tech News 2021: February 22nd-28th

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