Tech Digest daily round up: Apple shares just off record high
Things are looking up for Apple, with shares just off a record high before its quarterly earnings results this evening. The device maker is expected to benefit from a surge in iPhone sales as consumers snap up 5G models, while the App Store and Apple Music are also set to drive growth. Analysts expect Apple’s services sales to jump by almost a quarter to $16.33bn (£11.8bn), according to Refinitiv, with iPhone sales set to leap by 28.7pc to $34bn. That will likely hand Apple a boost as it battles increasing levels of regulatory scrutiny both in Europe and the US over issues such as its commission on app purchases. “We believe government action (via antitrust, executive order, and legislation) represents the single greatest risk for shares of Apple,” Tom Forte, an analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co, wrote in a note to clients seen by Reuters, adding he hoped the company would address the topic on its earnings call. Telegraph
About 1,000 employees of Activision Blizzard have signed a letter labelling its response to sexual harassment allegations “abhorrent and insulting”. The gaming giant behind Call of Duty and World of Warcraft was sued last week by the state of California for a range of behaviour described by victims as being like a “frat house”. The firm denied the allegations. But the employee letter to management said such denials damaged the “quest for equality”. The allegations against Activision were contained in a legal filing from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) following a two-year investigation. It included accusations of drunken harassment of female employees by their male counterparts or supervisors; a culture of ignoring complaints and retaliation against women who made them; and widespread discrimination against women in areas such as equal pay and promotion opportunity. BBC
MPs are to examine the Government’s approach to tackling harmful online content and its draft Online Safety Bill in a new inquiry. The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Sub-Committee on Online Harms and Disinformation said it will look into concerns the draft legislation is too narrow and may fail to address a number of key issues. Under the Government’s proposals, Ofcom will become the regulator for the sector, and platforms that fail to follow a new duty of care to protect users from harmful content will face fines of up to 10% of annual global turnover and have their site blocked. The biggest platforms will also be expected to identify content they regard as “legal but harmful” and clearly outline how they would police it. Yahoo!
Onto has raised $175 million in a combined equity and debt Series B round, capital the U.K.-based electric vehicle subscription startup plans to use to expand within the country as well as move into new markets. This latest round brings Onto’s total funding to $245 million. Swedish VC Alfvén & Didrikson is leading the round on the equity raise, and British investment company Pollen Street Capital is providing a senior-secured asset-backed debt facility. The company says it plans to double its fleet size every three to six months, and that any new vehicles will be used as collateral. Onto did not disclose how much of the round came from equity versus debt. The car-as-a-service company is finding that sweet spot between society’s growing adoration for subscription services and EV adoption driven by legislation. Tech Crunch
Classified documents, allegedly from Iran, reveal secret research into how a cyber attack could be used to sink a cargo ship or blow up a fuel pump at a petrol station. The internal files, obtained by Sky News, also include information on satellite communication devices used by the global shipping industry as well as a computer-based system that controls things like lights, heating and ventilation in smart buildings across the world. The papers appear to reveal a particular interest in researching companies and activities in western countries, including the UK, France and the United States. Sky News
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