The Top 10 in Tech News – April 2021

Digitopia is proud to present The Top 10 in Tech News. A monthly curation of newsworthy happenings in the global digital universe. The Digitopia Research Team works around the clock to bring you the latest news, views and insights in technology, and digital transformation.

Emir LiseContent Editor

December 8, 2021
5min read

1. Intel CEO Presses Turnaround Effort with $20 Billion Investment Plan

Take: Intel has been going through a rough patch in recent years. They have experienced a loss of key customers, loss in market share, and suffering supply bottlenecks. However, their new CEO, Pat Gelsinger, has laid out the plan for a comeback: To build two new fabrication plants embracing the ecosystem approach by partnering with their rivals. The company will rely more heavily on third party manufacturer partners, targeting competitors Apple and Qualcomm as their customers. This strategy could be a response to Apple’s recent expansion in the chip market with the investment in the European Silicon Design Centre, partnership with Qualcomm, and the acquisition of Intel’s smartphone modem business.

2. Microsoft Is in Exclusive Talks to Acquire Discord

Take: Although it is not officially confirmed by either party, Microsoft seems to be in conversation with Discord for a $10 billion deal. Microsoft has been looking for ways to widen its service portfolio, shown by the recent attempt at bridging the gap between TikTok and the United States. As a text, voice, and video chatting app highly used by gamers, Discord could potentially be Microsoft’s gateway into the booming gaming industry as well as an enhancement to Microsoft Teams.

3. Peloton Buys Wearables, AI, Hardware Companies in Deal Flurry

Take: With its recent acquisitions, Peloton has reaffirmed their aim to capture all the time spent on working out at home. The company bought a virtual assistant, a smart sports equipment, and a wearable technologies start-up; indicating diversification in Peloton offerings. While the company shares are declining after a couple of accidents involving children, this news is helping its shares recover.

4. Beijing Asks Alibaba to Shed Its Media Assets

Take: Antitrust cases continue in both the United States and China to regulate Tech Giants. However, President Xi Jinping’s administration has proven themselves adamant by asking Alibaba to dismantle its media empire with the sale of their South China Morning Post, and potentially Weibo stakes. While Alibaba’s financials would still look promising even after a dissolution, the regulatory pressure helps its two biggest rivals, and Pinduoduo gain ground.

5. Facebook Creates Bracelet for Computer-Mind Control

Take: It’s been reported that Facebook has been working on a competitor product to rival the Apple Watch. However, Facebook Reality Labs is after a completely different market. Through electromyography (EMG) sensors and a neural interface collecting motor nerve signal data, the watch concept is projected to serve as a controller in human-computer interactions. The example shown in the release video is a human interacting with virtual UI and objects in AR. Still at the “exploration” stage, it seems like it won’t see the shelves any time soon.

6. Betting on China’s Driverless Future, Toyota, Bosch, Daimler Jump on Board Momenta’s $500M Round

Take: Momenta, a Chinese start-up on autonomous driving technologies from Suzhou has just exceeded $1 billion in valuation, getting backed by Daimler, Toyota, Bosch, Tencent, and Alibaba. It is unlikely for rival names to co-invest, thus, it seems like Momenta has solved one of the biggest autonomous market bottlenecks – their business model. While many autonomous driving start-ups rely on big fundraising to burn cash, Momenta “prides itself on a two-legged business model”, both betting on semi-automatic driving and advanced technologies.

7. A Mouse Embryo Grown in Artificial Womb – Humans Could Be Next

Take: After seven years of prototyping and research, an Israeli team has successfully grown more than 1000 mice embryos in an artificial womb within 6 to 12 days; setting the new record for developing a mammal outside the womb. The accomplishment soon raised the question of humans in context, however, there are some challenges ahead. There is an internationally recognized ethical limit, the so-called “14-day rule,” that bans scientists from developing human embryos for more than two weeks. According to Technology Review, that rule is now in question.

8. Beeple’s $69 Million NFT Sale Marks Potentially Transformative Moment for Art

Take: With all the craze around cryptocurrencies, there is a new hype-train on the market: non-fungible tokens (NFT). It is different from crypto in that NFTs contain more information, making them unique. While it can be technically anything, they are mainly used for digital media and the arts. The artist Beeple’s purely digital artwork called “The First 5000 Days” was sold for $69 million, putting Beeple in the top three most valuable artists list.

9. Uber Treats UK Drivers As Workers in Wake of Supreme Court Ruling

Take: Since 2016, there has been a friction with the Supreme Court deciding to which category ride-hailing drivers should belong. As freelancing and independent contracting is on the rise with the gig economy, the EU is looking for ways to improve working conditions. Until then, Uber riders will be considered as workers in the most recent ruling, enabling them to have holiday pay and pension plans from the company and ensuring that they are paid at least the National Living Wage.

10. China’s Didi Leans Toward New York for IPO; Eyes Valuation at $100 Billion

Take: Confidential sources confirm that Didi is looking for its IPO either in New York or Hong Kong. Several members involved said that the company is also evaluating the trendy option of SPAC by merging with a blank-check firm. With its valuation targets, the most viable option seems to be a direct IPO in New York, given the deep investment pool and regulatory concerns of HK. It will be the biggest Chinese IPO in the United States after Alibaba’s in 2014.

Digitopia’s Final Take

Month after month, our T10ITN segment shows us the growing importance of gauging your digital capabilities in your business. The whole world is shifting toward digital, and the market opportunities are reflecting that, as seen above. Digital is so disruptively crucial in today’s world, that traditional competitors are now partnering to maximise business opportunity. Digital brings us together. This month’s tech news curation exemplifies how shifting your organisation toward digital can open doors your organisation never could have imagined.