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Toymaker Lego teams up with Chinese internet giant Tencent

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Privately-owned Lego has seen a slowdown in sales growth in recent years, but the Chinese market has been a bright spot with sales growing 25-30 percent in 2016. It is competing with Barbie maker Mattel Inc (MAT.O) and Hasbro (HAS.O), the firm behind My Little Pony, for a slice of the $31 billion toys and games market in China. Lego said on Monday the partnership with Tencent, China’s biggest social network and gaming company, aimed to create a safe online environment covering content, platforms, and experiences tailored for Chinese children... Read More »

Apple: Chinese firm to operate China iCloud accounts

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It has contacted customers based in China, advising them to examine new terms and conditions. They include a clause that both Apple and the Chinese firm will have access to all data stored on iCloud. Apple said it had made the move to comply with the country's cloud computing regulations. iCloud accounts registered outside of China are not affected. 'Strong data privacy' The Chinese cyber security rules, introduced in July last year, include a requirement for companies to store all data within China. The firm, Guizhou on the Cloud Big Data (G... Read More »

Google quietly buys UK startup Redux that turns surfaces into speakers

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Alphabet’s Google has quietly acquired a UK startup focused on technology that turns surfaces such as phone displays into speakers. Redux developed technology that eliminates the need for small speakers in mobile phones, freeing up space for batteries or other components, the Cambridge based startup said on its now defunct website. It is unclear when Alphabet -- via an Ireland-based subsidiary of Google -- acquired Redux, but the transfer of shares of Redux holding company NVF Tech to the US tech giant was confirmed on December 13, according... Read More »

Bitcoin: Warren Buffett warns cryptocurrency craze ‘will come to a bad ending’

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Warren Buffett isn’t buying the cryptocurrency craze. “I can say with almost certainty that they will come to a bad ending,” the Berkshire Hathaway CEO said during an interview with CNBC. As the price of bitcoin surged to a record high of nearly $20,000 (£14,800) in December, the alternative currency — and the idea of cryptocurrencies in general — generated intense interest from both amateur investors and from institutions like Goldman Sachs, which reportedly is setting up a cryptocurrency trading desk. Mr Buffett, known for his often-pre... Read More »

Forget Bitcoin – now Dogecoin goes wild

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But even in the turbulent world of cryptocurrencies, Dogecoin is seen as a pretty wild creature. It was launched in 2013, inspired by a short-lived online craze for pictures of a particular Japanese dog breed. Last weekend, however, it nearly doubled in value and is now worth more than $2bn (£1.5bn). Dogecoin had been gaining steadily all through December, but the latest spike has prompted howls of "crypto-hype" from sceptics. Granted, it's still well behind the biggest beast in the digital currency pack, Bitcoin, which has a total value of mor... Read More »

Apple should address youth phone addiction, say two large investors

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Jana, a leading activist shareholder, and CalSTRS, one of the nation’s largest public pension plans, delivered a letter to Apple on Saturday asking the company to consider developing software that would allow parents to limit children’s phone use, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Sunday. Jana and CalSTRS also asked Apple to study the impact of excessive phone use on mental health, according to the publication. CalSTRS and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Jana and CalSTRS together control about $2 billion (£1... Read More »

Mark Zuckerberg vows to ‘fix’ Facebook

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Mr Zuckerberg has famously set himself challenges every year since 2009. Facebook launched in 2004. Social media firms have come under fire for allowing so-called fake news ahead of US and other elections to spread. Facebook in particular has been criticised for allowing Russia-linked political ads in the run-up to the 2016 US presidential vote. Mr Zuckerberg said he intended to focus on "important issues", which he listed as "protecting our community from abuse and hate, defending against interference by nation states, or making sure that t... Read More »

Meltdown and Spectre: All Macs, iPhones and iPads affected

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It emerged this week that tech companies have been racing to fix the Meltdown and Spectre bugs, that could allow hackers to steal data. Apple said it had already released some patches but there was no evidence that the vulnerability had been exploited. But it advised downloading software only from trusted sources to avoid "malicious" apps. Mac users have often believed that their devices and operating systems are less vulnerable to security issues than, for example Android phones or computers running Microsoft systems. But the Meltdown and Spec... Read More »

Tim Cook required to fly only by private jet

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In documents filed with the US markets regulator, Apple said the policy was "in the interests of security and efficiency". Apple reported that Mr Cook's personal travel expenses came to $93,109 (£69,253) in 2017. His personal security expenses came to $224,216, the tech giant added. In 2017, the chief executive's salary was just over $3m. He also received $9.3m in bonuses, plus $89m of shares that were promised to him if he met certain targets. Apple's market capitalisation rose to $868bn in November, making it the world's most valuable publ... Read More »

Gambling-style apps offered on Facebook without age checks

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The company behind thousands of the UK’s fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) is offering gambling-style apps on Facebook without age checks, prompting allegations that children are being exposed to the risk of addiction. Earlier this month, the industry watchdog warned that more than 60,000 children were either gambling addicts or were in danger of becoming hooked. Experts have warned that games mimicking real-life gambling are the “number one risk factor” for developing a problem later in life. Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, who ha... Read More »

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