NYSE owner Intercontinental Exchange tyre-kicking eBay – sources – Benchmarking Change- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE) , the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, has reached out to eBay Inc to explore a potential combination with the e-commerce company, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
The acquisition would exceed US$30 billion and represent a substantial departure from ICE’s focus on financial markets. The move would call on its technological expertise in running markets to extract efficiencies from eBay’s marketplace platform, which connects buyers and sellers of goods around the world.
ICE’s interest in eBay is preliminary, and there is no certainty that a deal will be negotiated, the sources said. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the deal discussions, said ICE is not interested in eBay’s classified ad unit, which eBay has been considering selling.
EBay’s shares ended trading on Tuesday up 8.7 percent on the news to US$37.41, giving it a market value of US$30.4 billion. ICE shares fell 7.5 percent to US$92.59, giving the company a market value of US$51.6 billion, as investors fretted a deal could be dilutive for the stock exchange operator.
ICE and eBay declined to comment.
ICE, which also operates futures exchanges and clearing-houses, has faced pressure from US regulators to freeze or reduce the fees it charges to operate financial markets, spurring it to diversify its business.
ICE’s approach rekindles debate among investors over whether eBay should be moving faster to shed its classifieds business, which advertises products and services for sale off the eBay marketplace. Earlier on Tuesday, activist shareholder Starboard Value LP once again called on eBay Inc to sell off its classifieds business, arguing the company has not made enough progress to improve shareholder value.
“To achieve the optimal outcome, we believe Classifieds must be separated, and a more comprehensive and aggressive operating plan must be put in place to drive profitable growth in the core Marketplace business,” Starboard said in a letter to eBay’s board.
EBay said it would “review Starboard’s letter and perspectives.”
EBay has been shifting focus to its advertising and payments businesses amid stiff competition in its marketplace business from Amazon.com Inc and Walmart Inc .
The company faced pressure last year not only from Starboard but also from hedge fund Elliott Management. In a settlement, eBay offered a board seat to Elliott’s Jesse Cohn and to Matt Murphy, president and CEO of Marvell Technology, which was backed by Starboard. EBay also agreed in March to conduct a strategic review of its business and in November agreed to sell StubHub for US$4.05 billion in cash.
The company is expected to provide an update this year on its classifieds business, which Elliott valued at between US$8 billion and US$12 billion.

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Google owner Alphabet becomes trillion-dollar company | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

Google’s owner Alphabet has become a trillion-dollar company for the first time, making it only the fourth US firm to reach the bumper valuation.
Alphabet’s value, based on the price of its Wall Street-listed shares, passed $1tn in the final minutes of trading on Thursday night, with shares closing at a record high of $1,450.16 each.
It marks a stellar rise for Alphabet, which floated as Google for $85 per share in 2004. After its initial public offering, the Silicon Valley firm was worth $23bn.
It has followed its tech rivals Microsoft, Apple and Amazon over the $1tn mark, amid a long rally in so-called Faang stocks.
Google’s value has steadily surged as it has tightened its grip on the search market, boosted its advertising revenues from web searches and YouTube, created and grown its Android mobile operating system, and launched a series of smart-tech products including Google Home and Google Assistant.
Alphabet may be headed for fresh milestones, with some analysts predicting it could hit the $2tn mark. Christopher Rossbach, the CIO of the private investment firm J Stern & Co, believes Alphabet’s share price will continue to climb.
“As Alphabet joins Apple, Microsoft and (from time to time) Amazon among tech companies that have reached this level, it marks just the start for the company. It still has significant further room to grow, both in its core online advertising business as it innovates in advertising monetisation and formats and in its cloud computing business,” Rossbach said.

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“It is also disrupting new multitrillion-dollar markets, for example, healthcare, with this technology. Its sizeable investments give Alphabet a sustainable competitive advantage as it applies this technology across its business.”
“Alphabet can be a $2tn company in the near future and is a compelling opportunity for long-term investors.”
However, the tech sector is also facing calls for stronger privacy and antitrust regulation. Earlier this month Google was accused of “losing its way” by its former head of international relations, who says it prioritises profits over human rights.
Alphabet is now the third most valuable US company, behind Apple at $1.4tn and Microsoft at $1.27tn, with Amazon currently worth $931bn.

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Volocopter raises $55M led by Volvo owner Geely, sets 3-year timeline for its flying taxi service – gpgmail


The promise of flying cars has become an idea more synonymous with the tech world’s shortcomings than its exciting potential, but today one of the startups that has been focused on actually trying to make small, airborne vehicles a reality is announcing a fundraise and says it’s on track for a commercial launch in two to three years.

Volocopter, which has been building drone-like autonomous electric flying taxis for its own (as-yet unlaunched) urban commercial passenger transportation service — the latest model is its two-passenger VoloCity announced earlier this summer — has closed €50 million ($55 million) in funding led by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., Ltd, the Chinese automotive company that owns Volvo, Lotus and a number of other car brands. There are also plans for another significant tranche of money underway, likely to be closed later this year.

In this latest round, Geely is investing alongside other unnamed new and existing investors in the Bruchsal, Germany-based company. Previous backers include Intel and Daimler, the German car giant that owns Mercedes and a number of other brands.

Rene Griemens, Volocopter’s CFO, said in an interview that the German company intends to use the funding to continue working on its taxi R&D; meeting safety and other regulatory requirements for its small taxi vessels (which seat two); working other upcoming models such as those that can transport cargo; and business development around commercial launches.

Indeed, part of this latest investment is paving the way for future business: Geely and Volocopter will be working on a joint venture to bring the Volocopter and its “Urban Air Mobility” concept to China.

While there is no commercial airtaxi or other “flying car” services in existence today in any urban area, the market for hopefuls is a crowded one, with the likes of Lilium, Kitty Hawk, eHang, Uber, and many others building completely new styles of aircraft and hoping to play a role in offering short-range flights as an affordable alternative to road-based transportation. (Blade, an airtaxi service of sorts, is offering more conventional helicopters and other vessels in its limited launch for executives.)

“Urban mobility needs to evolve in the next few years to meet rising demand,” said Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter, in a statement. “With our Volocopter air taxis, we are adding a whole new level of mobility in the skies.”

Among its many potential competitors, Volocopter has been one of the more prolific when it comes to building and testing its drone-like vehicles, most recently in Helsinki where it became the first autonomous VTOL — vertical take-off and landing — aircraft to operate in the same airspace as other commercial aircraft.

(You might also recall when Intel brought the Volocopter on stage at CES in Las Vegas in 2018 for a flight demonstration during its keynote, still the only time the Volocopter has been airborne in the US.)

Details on how Volocopter’s service would operate are still — pardon the expression — up in the air, but Griemens said that while Volocopter would own the aircraft, it would likely partner with local operators to help run the service. The average price of each aircraft, he noted, may be akin to a small helicopter, but operations would likely be one-fifth to one-quarter of the price. While initial rides would be expensive, between five and 10 years, they estimate the price would come down to the cost of a taxi ride on the ground.

“The goal was always to democratize flying,” he said.

Its first launch markets are likely to be Singapore, Dubai — where it has a partnership with the city — and an unspecified large European city. That could be somewhere in its home market of Germany, or Helsinki, but just as equally London, where the company has been engaging with city officials on what an airtaxi service could look like. (It’s also part of a new experimental ‘sandbox’ launched by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority to test out technology related to air-based transportation and travel.)

But even with regulatory frameworks in place, delays can come in many forms. This isn’t even the first time that Volocopter has predicted commercial services in “two to three years.”

Nevertheless, startups like Volocopter represent a credible version of the future of transportation, so for companies like Geely, Daimler and Intel, which still have large legacy businesses, investing in and working with Volocopter gives them a shot at playing a key role (and having a financial stake) in that market.

“Geely is transitioning from being an automotive manufacturer to a mobility technology group, investing in and developing a wide range of next-generation technologies,” said Li Shufu, Geely’s chairman, in a statement. “Our joint venture with Volocopter underlines our confidence in Volocopter air taxis as the next ambitious step in our wider expansion in both electrification and new mobility services.”

Geely already works with Volocopter’s investor Daimler — which has been a prolific investor in next-generation transportation services — on ride-sharing services in the country.


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Verizon Sells Tumblr to WordPress Owner for Paltry $3 Million


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Companies exist to make money for the owners and shareholders, and they’ll often do it at the expense of basic morality and common sense. That’s why the rise and fall of Tumblr is so perplexing. Verizon has announced that it’s selling the blogging platform to Automatic, the owner of WordPress for a mere $3 million. Just a few years ago, the site was worth $1.1 billion. That means under the stewardship of Yahoo and Verizon, Tumblr has lost a whopping 99.8 percent of its value. 

How can a web property go from being worth more than Facebook paid for Instagram to (comparatively) worthless? Tumblr was one of the early, high-profile acquisitions by Yahoo after former Googler Marissa Mayer took the helm. The first hit to Tumblr’s value came just three years after the 2013 acquisition. Yahoo announced its advertising sales on Tumblr in 2016 fell far short of expectations, and it wrote down $712 million of Tumblr’s value. 

Things continued to worsen for Yahoo across the board until Verizon acquired the company in 2017, cutting Mayer loose. Both Yahoo and Tumblr ended up under Verizon’s Oath subsidiary. Verizon left Tumblr alone for more than a year, and then someone realized there was (gasp) porn on the site. 

Tumblr has long acted as a safe haven for people who wanted to post saucy pictures, as well as members of the LGBTQ community who wanted to speak frankly about their sexuality. The site’s lax moderation policies allowed this content to proliferate over the course of years. Verizon was, apparently, uncomfortable with hosting adult content, so it announced a blanket ban earlier this year. Purging all that content drove away users and dropped Tumblr’s value to almost nothing. 

Automatic isn’t going to be Tumblr’s savior, based on statements from CEO Matt Mullenweg. Verizon’s ban on adult content will stand, but the service won’t be folded into WordPress. The two sites may begin sharing more features over time — Tumblr could get some more advanced editing tools from WordPress, and WordPress could adopt some of the mobile-focused features of Tumblr. 

So, any remaining Tumblr users won’t have to migrate to WordPress pages, at least for now. Who knows what the future will bring? If nothing else, Tumblr’s domain is worth money, and Automatic got that for a pittance.

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Tesla Model 3 owner implants RFID chip to turn her arm into a key – gpgmail


Forget the keycard or phone app, one software engineer is trying out a new way to unlock and start her Tesla Model 3.

Amie DD, who has a background in game simulation and programming, recently released a video showing how she “biohacked” her body. The software engineer removed the RFID chip from the Tesla Model 3 valet card using acetone, then placed it into a biopolymer, which was injected through a hollow needle into her left arm. A professional who specializes in body modifications performed the injection.

You can watch the process below, although folks who don’t like blood should consider skipping it. Amie DD also has a page on Hackaday.io that explains the project and the process.

The video is missing one crucial detail. It doesn’t show whether the method works. gpgmail will update the post once a new video delivering the news is released.

Amie is not new to biohacking. The original idea was to use the existing RFID implant chip that was already in her hand to be able to start the Model 3. That method, which would have involved taking the Java applet and writing it onto her own chip, didn’t work because of Tesla’s security. So, Amie DD opted for another implant.

Amie DD explains why and how she did this in another, longer video posted below. She also talks a bit about her original implant in her left hand, which she says is used for “access control.” She uses it to unlock the door of her home, for instance.

 

 


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