Disney Said to Have Dropped Twitter Pursuit Partly Over Image

Disney Said to Have Dropped Twitter Pursuit Partly Over Image

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Walt Disney was earlier said to be in the line to bid for Twitter
  • Salesforce and Google earlier backed out from the bidding
  • Twitter is reported to be seeking about $30 billion for its sale

Walt Disney Co. decided not to pursue a bid for Twitter Inc. partly out of concern that bullying and other uncivil forms of communication on the social media site might soil the company’s wholesome family image, according to people familiar with management’s thinking.

The producer of family fare like “Finding Dory” had gone so far as to hire two investment banks, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Guggenheim Partners LLC, to help evaluate a bid for Twitter. Disney management also listened to a presentation about the business from Twitterexecutives, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private.

(Also see:  Twitter Seeks New Path After Potential Bidders Said to Back Off)

There were other reasons for Disney not to pursue Twitter. The social media pioneer, creator of the 140-character tweet, is losing money and yet sports a market value of almost $12 billion (roughly Rs. 80,067 crores). That would a big deal even for Disney, which has a market value 12 times that. Some of Disney’s largest investors called the company over the past few weeks to express their displeasure with a Twitter purchase for those reasons, people close to the companies said.Salesforce.com Inc. also decided against a Twitter bid, as did Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

Another Milestone
Twitter could have been another milestone in the career of Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger. The 65-year-old can point to the success of other acquisitions made under his tenure such as Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. In a public chat at Boston College earlier this month Iger talked about how critical it is for Disney’s brands to establish a direct connection to consumers via mobile devices.

Iger recruited Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey to the Disney board three years ago. Dorsey has said he respects Iger and considers him a mentor. Iger was invited to speak to Twitter’s senior staff about leadership at the beginning of the year.

Dorsey has been resistant to selling the company, however, hoping instead for more time to prove that a new live-video streaming strategy can help increase user growth, people familiar with the matter have said. Twitter’s board decided to retain bankers to explore the option after receiving interest from a prospective bidder that has since backed out.

Twitter has for years faced criticism for its hands-off approach to abuse and harassment on its service. Because people don’t have to use their real names, racist, sexist and anti-Semitic internet “trolls” have thrived on the platform. The company has pledged to become more serious about the issue in the last year, working on solutions such as letting people block keywords. Still, attacks this year have led to temporary departures of high-profile users including Leslie Jones, an actress in the movie “Ghostbusters,” as well as a New York Times journalist.

Twitter has only recently started exploring technological solutions to harassment on its service. Disney’s discomfort with abuse on the site indicates that it’s a larger problem for Twitter’s business prospects than its executives imagined.

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Walt Disney, Twitter, Jack Dorsey, Social
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Lenovo, Fujitsu Said to Discuss Merger of PC Businesses

Lenovo, Fujitsu Said to Discuss Merger of PC BusinessesLenovo, Fujitsu Said to Discuss Merger of PC Businesses
HIGHLIGHTS
The companies are aiming to reach agreement this month: Nikkei
Lenovo is also seeking to make further inroads into smartphones
Fujitsu would move its PC planning, development, manufacturing divisions
Lenovo Group Ltd. is in talks with Fujitsu Ltd. to merge their personal-computer businesses, with the Chinese manufacturer taking a majority stake in the venture, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The two sides are still discussing pricing and terms, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The companies are aiming to reach agreement this month, according to the Nikkei newspaper, which reported the deal earlier Thursday.

An alliance with Fujitsu would give Lenovo, the world’s biggest PC maker, a bigger foundation to expand its share. Lenovo had 19.4 percent of the global PC market in 2015, compared with 2.1 percent for Fujitsu, according to IDC. Lenovo is also seeking to make further inroads into smartphones, while embarking on a plan to cut $1.35 billion from annual costs and eliminate 3,200 jobs. The company said in August that it was making progress and would turn around its business next year.

Fujitsu shares rose about 7 percent to JPY 575.7 as of 10:45am in Tokyo, after climbing as much as 8.6 percent. The stock had declined 11 percent this year through Wednesday. Lenovo’s shares climbed as much as 2.7 percent in Hong Kong, but remain down more than 30 percent in 2016.
Japan’s PC makers have been scaling back their operations or exiting the business entirely, as more people use mobile devices to check e-mail, manage their finances and access the web. Fujitsu had been struggling to find a partner, and talks with Vaio and Toshiba Corp. were on the verge of collapse, the Wall Street Journal reported in April.

The Nikkei reported that the Lenovo-Fujitsu business may merge in the future with Lenovo’s PC venture with NEC Corp., which was formed in 2011. Fujitsu would move its PC planning, development, manufacturing divisions to Lenovo as part of the deal, the Nikkei said, with about 2,000 Fujitsu workers likely to be relocated to Lenovo.

Tags: Fujitsu, Fujitsu PCs and Laptops, PC, Laptops, Lenovo

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Apple Is Said to Plan Improved Cloud Services by Unifying Teams

Apple Is Said to Plan Improved Cloud Services by Unifying Teams

Apple Inc. plans to unify its separate Internet services groups into a single campus to better compete with Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc. in the cloud, according to people familiar with the plans.

Apple cloud services teams run by executive Eddy Cue, including Siri, Maps, iCloud, Apple Pay, Apple News and parts of iTunes and Apple Music, will move together into the company’s existing Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino, California, the people said. Currently, most Apple services are developed separately from each other in office parks rented out in other parts of Cupertino and Sunnyvale, California.

The current structure contributes to software bugs and slow product development, the people said. Bringing the teams together at a single, dedicated campus is designed to improve growth of the services business and fight competition from Google and Amazon, the people added. They did not want to be identified talking about private Apple plans. Apple declined to comment.

As iPhone growth slows and Apple goes behind the scenes to develop new hardware, the services business has been a bright spot. It grew almost 20 percent in the third quarter and may soon pass the Mac and iPad as Apple’s second-largest revenue source. Still, Apple’s cloud services have been criticized by users because of technical issues and a lack of new features. The company also stumbled in 2008 with MobileMe and in 2012 with Maps.

Cloud Space
Space for the cloud teams at the current headquarters will begin to open as Apple inches toward the launch of Apple Campus 2, a futuristic, spherical structure with multiple floors of open work space. Apple will begin moving employees there in 2017, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in March. Apple broke ground on the new campus in 2013, following a well-documented announcement by company co-founder Steve Jobs in 2011.

While many Apple executives want to relocate their teams to the new campus, Cue thinks unifying at the old campus is a suitable way to improve his organization, one of the people said.

A committee of Apple managers is working on the plan to reorganize Apple across its current and future locations. Recently that plan has changed, according to a person familiar with the discussions. Apple originally expected up to 13,000 employees at the new campus. Now that number will increase by thousands and Apple is adjusting internal office space accordingly, the person said.

The new building features open floor plans and few traditional offices. While some of Apple’s senior vice presidents are expected to see their offices move over to the new campus – less than a five minute drive from the current headquarters – management must be at a vice president level or above to get a formal office, one of the people said. Previous plans included office space for senior directors, who report to vice presidents.

The new campus will be made up of bench seating, long work tables, and open cubicle spaces, potentially irking employees used to quiet office environments, two people briefed on the new campus’s plans said.

Apple’s Pie
Apple is also reorganizing its cloud computing resources to bolster its services business. The company is moving its infrastructure – things like software to process Siri queries and Apple Music downloads – onto a single, Apple-made system, according to people familiar with the matter. Code-named Pie, the platform gives Apple more control and may speed up load times.

Apple has begun moving over parts of Siri, the iTunes Store, and Apple News to the new platform, one of the people said. Apple plans to move other services, including Maps, to its new system over the next few years. Apple has also developed an internal photo storage system dubbed McQueen to gradually end its reliance on Google and Amazon servers, the people said.

The company recently indicated it is taking the cloud more seriously by hiring former Time Warner Cable executive Peter Stern as a vice president leading cloud services.

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Apple, Mobiles, Apps, Tim Cook
[“Source-Gadgets”]

Apple Said to Plan iPhone for Japan With Tap-to-Pay for Subways

Apple Said to Plan iPhone for Japan With Tap-to-Pay for Subways

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A future iPhone will include technology called FeliCa
  • Apple intends to work with multiple transit card providers
  • The FeliCa chip is able to process a transaction in 0.1 seconds

Apple is planning a new iPhone feature for Japan that will enable users to pay for mass-transit rides with their smartphones instead of physical payment cards.

A future iPhone will include technology called FeliCa, a mobile tap-to-pay standard in Japan developed by Sony Corp., according to people familiar with the matter.

The FeliCa chip will let customers in Japan store their public bus and train passes on their iPhones. Users would then be able to tap their phones against the entrance scanners instead of using physical cards. While the FeliCa chip is the standard technology underlying the service, there are several different providers of transit payment cards based on the type of transit and areas within Japan.

The Near Field Communication technology powering Apple’s mobile-payments service, Apple Pay, is prevalent in North America, Europe and Australia, but the FeliCa standard dominates Japan with a penetration of 1.9 million payment terminals, according to the Bank of Japan. The terminals handled 4.6 trillion yen ($46 billion or Rs. 308,478 crores) in transactions in 2015. Last year, there were 1.3 million NFC terminals in the US and 320,000 in the UK, according to research from Let’s Talk Payments and the UK Cards Association.

Apple intends to work with multiple transit card providers, one person said. The major players there include the Suica and Pasmo networks. Theoretically, virtual representations of the transit passes would be stored in the iPhone’s Wallet application, said the person, who asked not be identified because the planning is private. The card companies sell access to transit services both as-needed and via monthly packages.

Apple’s opportunity in Japan is significant with the country alone representing 8 percent of the company’s total revenue and almost 11 percent of operating profit in the most recent quarter.

Apple has planned to launch these new features with the next iPhone models, which the company is set to unveil in September, according to people familiar with the matter. However, the company could hold back the transit card feature to next year’s model if discussions with the Japan-based payment networks fall apart, one person said. Apple is already at work on a major redesign of the iPhone for 2017 that focuses more heavily on the display by removing the Home button, according to a person familiar with the matter.

(Also see: Apple Developing Virtual Home Button for Future iPhone Models: Report)

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

The FeliCa chip is able to process a transaction in 0.1 seconds, according to Sony. Super-swift transaction speeds are critical for adoption in the fast-paced environment of Japan’s transit network, the person said. Each sale over Apple Pay currently goes through a server and requires bank approval — which can slow the process.

In addition to supporting the transit-pass network, the FeliCa chip can also store e-money, an electric form of currency now widely accepted at vending machines, convenience stores and cafes in Japan. Apple is in discussions with at least one major financial institution to support these e-money transactions, according to one of the people.

Apple Pay first launched in October 2014 in the US with the iPhone 6 and has since expanded to Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, France, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK. Apple Pay contributes to the company’s rapidly growing services business, which grew 19 percent year-over-year to about $6 billion (roughly Rs. 40,218 crores) in the fiscal third quarter.

Earlier this month, Apple struck a deal with Japan-based phone carrier KDDI to allow customers to bill iTunes purchases to their phone service bill instead of directly to their credit card. Apple’s deal with the Japanese carrier is indicative of Apple’s payment-related negotiations with firms in Japan and follows up the company’s work on activating carrier-based iTunes billing in Germany, the UK, Russia, Switzerland, and Taiwan.

In tandem with the upcoming mobile payments launch for Japan, Apple is preparing to ship mass-transit navigation support for Japan in its iPhone Maps application, the company posted on its website in July. This feature, coming in iOS 10 later this year, will allow users to find departure and arrival times for transportation across the region.

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Apple, iPhone, Sony, FelliCa, Mobile
[“Source-Gadgets”]

TPG Said to Be Among Possible Bidders for Intel Security Unit McAfee

TPG Said to Be Among Possible Bidders for Intel Security Unit McAfee

TPG Said to Be Among Possible Bidders for Intel Security Unit McAfee
HIGHLIGHTS
Deal could value McAfee at as much as $3 billion
Intel is also talking to other potential bidders
Intel’s strategy to focus on its more profitable data-center business
TPG is among potential bidders for Intel Corp.’s computer-security unit McAfee, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The private equity firm has held preliminary discussions with Intel about a deal that could value McAfee at as much as $3 billion, said the people, who asked not to be named because the process is private. Intel is also talking to other potential bidders, including buyout firms and corporate suitors, they said.

Talks are at an early stage and Intel may choose not to sell the business, the people said. The chipmaker hasn’t hired banks to run a formal sale process, they said.

Some buyout firms that had shown preliminary interest in McAfee, including Permira Holdings and Thoma Bravo, are not currently actively pursuing the unit, the people said. The potential suitors were put off by slower-than-expected growth of the business and a lack of obvious cost reductions, two of the people said.

Representatives for TPG, Intel and Thoma Bravo declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Permira didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Also see: Intel’s Slowing Data Centre Growth Overshadows Strong Profit)

Intel is considering offloading the anti-virus software unit as part of a strategy to focus on its more profitable data-center business. The Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker acquired McAfee in 2011 for $7.7 billion (roughly Rs. 51,467 crores) to build security features directly into its silicon products.

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

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Tags: Intel, McAfee, TGP, Security, Internet, Apps

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Daimler’s MyTaxi Said to Merge With Hailo to Take on Uber

Daimler's MyTaxi Said to Merge With Hailo to Take on Uber

Daimler will deepen its European footprint in the ride-hailing business when its MyTaxi smartphone app unveils an all-share merger deal with UK rival Hailo as soon as Tuesday, three sources briefed on the matter told Reuters.

It is the latest push by traditional carmakers to enter the taxi ride hailing services market dominated by technology companies like Uber. In similar deals earlier this year,Volkswagen took a $300 million stake in Gett and General Motors invested $500 million into Lyft.

Hailo is strong in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and will combine its business with Daimler’s MyTaxi giving the German carmaker a majority stake in the combined business, two sources, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

The sources declined to be identified because the matter is still confidential.

Sky News was first to report the potential combination of MyTaxi and Hailo.

x

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Tags: Apps, Daimler, GM, General Motors, Hailo, Lyft, MyTaxi, Uber, Volkswagen

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Sony’s Vue Web TV Service Said to Surpass 100,000 Subscribers

Sony's Vue Web TV Service Said to Surpass 100,000 Subscribers

PlayStation Vue, the web-TV service for owners of Sony Corp.’s video-game consoles, has signed up more than 100,000 subscribers since its March 2015 debut, people with knowledge of the matter said, good news for entertainment companies that are losing pay-TV subscribers.

The service has been adding customers at a faster rate since Sony began a nationwide rollout in the US three months ago, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private figures. Sony, based in Tokyo, declined to comment on the number. One person put the total near 120,000.

Media companies like Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc. are looking to internet services to counter or slow the decline in traditional pay-TV subscribers for channels like ESPN and TNT. Shrinking audiences have sapped growth at many cable networks, which are the primary contributors to sales and profit at most major media companies.

Sony created Vue to give owners of its PlayStation consoles the option to watch live and on-demand TV without switching away from their gaming systems, an effort to make the device the centerpiece of the living room. Sony sells different programming plans nationally, in part depending on the availability of the major broadcast networks. Where they are provided on Vue, prices range from $40 a month for about 60 channels to $55 for about 100.

The company also recently began offering the service on other devices, including Roku players, Amazon.com Inc. products, and iPhones and iPads.

Media companies are banking on web services to attract younger viewers, those less likely to have cable or satellite TV, and are encouraged by the early results from Sony and Dish Network Corp.’s Sling. Sling has more than 700,000 subscribers, according to one of the people. The company declined to comment.

That means participating media companies are close to reaching 1 million new customers with their web services. While that doesn’t make up for the subscribers lost over the past few years, it may quiet some of those more pessimistic about the future of TV.

“They haven’t been public with their numbers, so I can’t be specific. But what we’ve been told is that their numbers in terms of sub-adoption has gone up tremendously,” Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said of Vue at an investor conference in May.

AT&T, owner of DirecTV and the largest US pay-TV service, has said it plans to have three web-based services operating later this year. Hulu has said it is working on such a product, while Apple,Amazon.com and YouTube are all exploring the idea as well.

Vue rolled out more slowly than Sling TV. Sony introduced Vue in three markets, adding a few more last summer before making it available in more than 200 markets around the country in March. Live feeds of broadcast networks are only available on Vue in select markets for now.

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Tags: Amazon, Apple, Gaming, Home Entertainment, Hulu, Internet, PlayStation, PlayStation Vue, Roku, Sony, US
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ny city’s Waldorf Astoria said to shut in 2017 to convert to condos

Anbang Insurance Group Co. bought the Waldorf Astoria, an Art Deco icon on Park Avenue, in February 2015 for $1.95 billion. Photo: Bloomberg

Anbang insurance group Co. bought the Waldorf Astoria, an artwork Deco icon on Park road, in February 2015 for $1.ninety five billion. photo: Bloomberg
Seattle: big apple’s landmark Waldorf Astoria motel is scheduled to close in spring 2017 so owner Anbanginsurance institution Co. can start converting most of the extra than 1,400 rooms to luxuriouscondominiums, said a person with knowledge of the plans.

the luxury motel, managed by way of Hilton global Holdings Inc., is set to reopen approximately threeyears later, with approximately 300 to 500 hotel rooms remaining, stated the character, who requestednow not to be diagnosed because the plans aren’t public.

Anbang representatives didn’t without delay reply to calls for comment positioned before everydaybusiness hours in Beijing, wherein the insurer is based totally. A Hilton spokesman didn’t right nowrespond to an e-mailed request for remark. news of the planned spring final turned into said earlier on Sunday via the Wall street journal.

Anbang sold the Waldorf Astoria, an artwork Deco icon on Park street, in February 2015 for $1.95 billion, areport rate for a US inn, and has stated it plans to convert most of the assets to luxury condos. Bloomberg

without a Deal on playing cards, Google said to stand First ecu nice in 2016

With No Deal on Cards, Google Said to Face First EU Fine in 2016

Google is in all likelihood to stand its first european Union antitrust sanction this yr, with little prospect of it settling a check case with the bloc’s regulator over its shopping provider, human beings acquainted withthe matter stated.

There are few incentives left for either celebration to attain a deal in a six-yr dispute that would set a precedent for Google searches for hotels, flights and other offerings and checks regulators’ capacity tomake sure diversity at the net.

Alphabet Inc’s Google, which turned into hit by using a 2nd european antitrust rate this month for the usage of its dominant Android cellular running gadget to squeeze out rivals, suggests little sign of backing down after years of wrangling with ecu authorities.

numerous human beings familiar with the matter stated they consider that once 3 failed compromiseattempts seeing that 2010, Google has no plan to try to settle allegations that its net seek outcomes favour its own shopping service, unless the european watchdog changes its stance.

this sort of alternate of coronary heart seems not going, with european competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager a Dane whose group is leading the Google investigation showing little interest inaccomplishing a settlement wherein there may be no finding of wrongdoing or a high-quality in opposition to the employer, other people stated.

Underpinning Vestager’s tough technique, and the fee‘s case, are rankings of court cases fromcompanies, massive and small, on each facets of the Atlantic.

Alphabet stocks were flat at 1824 GMT.

Microsoft’s shadow
For Google, which has denied any wrongdoing, the stakes are high. some rivals are convinced that anybest is effectively a fee of doing enterprise and it has greater to advantage in make the most of itsexisting business model than conceding to lawsuits.

the ecu commission declined to remark.

“From a natural profitability angle, it’s miles better off dragging out the opposition case, continuing its practices for as long as feasible, and in the long run paying a excellent so that it will be smaller than theearnings it generates by continuing the conduct,” Thomas Vinje, a legal professional who advisesseveral of Google’s competition, advised Reuters.

but, a few assets stated they see last week’s low-key p.c. with arch-rival Microsoft to withdraw all regulatorycourt cases in opposition to each different as a signal that Google may in time pick out to strike aaddress Brussels.

by means of doing so it would avoid a repeat of Microsoft’s detrimental combat with the european feeand by means of settling at least its dispute with the ecu over net buying can also head off viable movesby different regulators.

One supply stated it became too early for Google to rule whatever out or in regarding the eu case.

to this point, Google has a combined record in taking on regulators globally, triumphing some battles anddropping others.

however, Microsoft offers a salutary lesson to folks who want to take on the fee, Ioannis Kokkoris, a lawprofessor at Queen Mary university of London, said.

Microsoft ended up with fines of greater than EUR 2.2 billion (kind of Rs. sixteen,593 crores) after a decade-long warfare with the commission.

you are coming into a long struggle, an expensive war. And in case you go to court, the outcomemight no longer necessarily be higher,” Kokkoris stated.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Tags: Alphabet, Antitrust, ecu, Google, net, Margrethe Vestager

Amazon Said to Be in Talks to Buy Stake in Mapping Company Here

Amazon Said to Be in Talks to Buy Stake in Mapping Company Here

Amazon is in talks with a consortium of German carmakers about taking a stake in high-definition digital mapping company Here, two auto industry sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Last August, BMW, Audi and Mercedes agreed to pay EUR 2.5 billion (roughly Rs. 18,580 crores) to buy Nokia’s mapping business as part of plans to develop self-driving cars.

Since then, the consortium has started negotiations with potential new partners mainly from the automotive industry.

Now, online retailer Amazon has emerged as a possible shareholder.

“Amazon would take a stake as part of a broader deal to lock them in as a provider of cloud computing services,” one source familiar with the talks said.

The consortium needs the capacity of cloud computing to ensure that maps can cope with live updates on traffic and road conditions using data collected from sensors on thousands of Mercedes, BMW and Audi cars.

It has been in talks with cloud computing providers, including Amazon, one of the sources said.

Taking a stake in Here could make sense strategically for Amazon, which is rolling out new one- and two-hour delivery services in major cities in the United States and Europe and needs accurate, real-time maps to compete with rivals for the best logistics.

Intelligent mapping systems like Here’s are the basis on which self-driving cars, linked to wireless networks, can perform functions such as recalculating a route to the nearest electric charging station or around a traffic jam or ice patch.

For the consortium, having more partners will spread the cost and could improve the volume of data about traffic information being fed to the map from vehicles on the road.

Audi, the premium brand owned by Volkswagen, Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, and BMW declined to comment on whether they were in talks with Amazon.

Amazon in Germany and the United States did not respond to requests to comment.

BMW said: “The new owners Audi, Daimler and BMW have said from the start that they are open for new partners to join. We have noticed that there is lots of interest not only from potential partners from within the automotive industry, but also from other sectors.”

Renault and automotive supplier Continental have both expressed interest.

Continental said on Thursday a decision on whether to buy a stake in Here would be made within the next few months.

Ford is also among the companies interested in taking a stake in the Here consortium, a third auto industry source said on Thursday.

Asked whether Ford was in talks with the group about taking a stake in Here, a spokesman for the company said, “We have been and will continue working with many companies and discussing a variety of subjects related to our Ford Smart Mobility plan. We keep these discussions private for obvious competitive reasons and we don’t comment on speculation.”

Self-driving and connected car services could become a $50 billion market, analysts at Exane BNP Paribas have estimated.

Germany’s carmakers decided to club together to bid for Here to accelerate plans for self-driving cars after Internet rival Alphabet unveiled a prototype autonomous vehicle.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Tags: Amazon, Audi, August, BMW, Here, Internet, Mercedes, Nokia Here Maps
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