Meta Acquires Luxexcel for AR Partnership
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has acquired Luxexcel, a Dutch AR start-up. The deal was confirmed by TechCrunch, but financial terms were not disclosed. Luxexcel, founded in 2009 as a prescription lens maker, recently made a name for itself in AR and has partnered with WaveOptics. There are rumors Luxexcel worked with Meta on Project Aria AR glasses. The acquisition comes amid regulatory scrutiny of Meta’s purchase of Within and criticism over its spending on its metaverse ambitions. Meta’s Reality Labs unit lost over $9 billion in 2022 and operating losses are expected to grow in 2023.
Microsoft Integrates ChatGPT into Bing for Enhanced Search Results
Microsoft plans to integrate OpenAI’s ChatGPT into Bing to improve search results and compete with Google. OpenAI’s GPT is a language model using deep learning to generate human-like responses. Bing won’t have the capability to scrape the internet, but GPT integration could make results more user-friendly and present them as full-sentence answers with sources. Bing may also use GPT to suggest better keywords and explain related queries. Integration could be launched as early as March, according to The Information.
Apple’s Touch-Screen Macs Project
Apple is exploring the possibility of incorporating touch screens into its Mac computers, breaking away from its traditional stance and aligning with the approach criticized by its co-founder Steve Jobs as “ergonomically terrible.” According to sources close to the matter, Apple engineers are actively working on the project, indicating a strong consideration for the launch of touch-screen Macs. However, the plans are not final and may change.
Porsche Considers Integrating Google Software into Vehicles
Porsche is considering integrating Google software into its vehicles, which would provide Porsche customers with access to Google apps such as Google Maps and Google Assistant without the need for connecting to an Android phone. The deal is only being considered for Porsche and not for Volkswagen Group. Porsche previously avoided using Google software due to concerns over data sharing. Despite some carmakers being wary of allowing tech giants access to their data, many carmakers, such as General Motors, Renault, Nissan and Ford, have integrated Google technology via the Google Automotive Services package.
Ferrari Ends Partnership with Velas Network
Ferrari’s Formula One Team has ended its partnership with Velas Network, a blockchain technology company, without providing details. The statement only says that the agreement was terminated by Ferrari and they don’t comment on disputes or litigations.
European Commission Head Calls for Financing Tools to Compete Against US Clean Tech
The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has called for financing tools to help European clean tech compete against US tech that will benefit from the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) support. The EU currently earmarks 37% of its 800 billion euro recovery fund for climate change investment, but EU countries are concerned that the IRA will unfairly disadvantage their companies. Von der Leyen is planning to loosen state aid rules, but some EU countries can spend more than others. The Commission is working on an assessment to determine what the EU clean tech sector needs to compete with US rivals. The industry is important for the green transition and prosperity, so von der Leyen is pushing for credible and ambitious financing tools to be available in the short- and mid-term.
Microsoft makes Azure OpenAI Service available, includes ChatGPT
Microsoft announces the general availability of Azure OpenAI Service for more customers, after giving a limited number of enterprise customers access in November 2021. The service will include access to various OpenAI tools, including Dall-E and GPT-3.5, and ChatGPT, a “fine-tuned version of GPT-3.5,” will be added soon. Microsoft invested $1 billion in OpenAI in 2019 and is reportedly in talks to invest an additional $10 billion. ChatGPT has drawn attention and concerns, leading to a ban by New York City public schools.
Apple Delays AR Glasses Launch
Apple has pushed back the release of its AR glasses due to technical difficulties, but will still launch its first mixed-reality headset, costing about $3,000, at this year’s spring event. The mixed-reality headset will be in competition with products like the $1,500 Meta Quest Pro headset.
Yum Brands Confirms Ransomware Attack Impacting IT Systems
Yum Brands, the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, has reported a ransomware attack that temporarily shut down nearly 300 UK restaurants. The company says customer databases were not stolen and the incident is not expected to harm its operations, business, or finances.
Amazon Launches RxPass, a Subscription Service for Prescription Drug Discounts
Amazon has added a prescription drug discount program to its healthcare offerings, with the launch of RxPass, a $5/month subscription service for Prime members to access generic medications from a list of 50 drugs. The program is available in 42 states and D.C., but does not use insurance and is not eligible for those with Medicaid or Medicare. The benefit to customers will vary based on the price of drugs they are purchasing, as Amazon already offers low-cost generic drugs. The impact of the program is uncertain.
Source: AP NEWS