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Preview: L.A. Times - Technology News

L.A. Times - Technology News

Read social media and tech articles from the L.A. Times, covering technology news, social media, apps, electronics and more technology business news.

Last Build Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:06:42 -0800

Copyright: ©2017 Los Angeles Times

With majority stake in Hulu, Disney could take a run at Netflix

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:10:00 PST

Netflix is the undisputed champion of streaming TV. Subscribers spend more than 140 million hours a day on the platform, which boasts wildly successful shows, including “Stranger Things” and “House of Cards.”

But that dominance now faces a credible threat from the Walt Disney Co., which will gain...


Wary of Trump, some foreign-born tech workers are choosing Canada instead of Silicon Valley

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 03:00:00 PST

Petra Axolotl knew her chances of getting an H-1B visa were slim. She had an MBA from Wharton and a job offer at Twitter, but luck would decide the Dutch data scientist’s fate — and in 2016, it did not fall in her favor.

Axolotl missed out in the lottery for the coveted visa but remained determined...


There's a criminal investigation linked to Uber-Waymo spat, Justice Department letter confirms

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:45:00 PST

The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into allegations that a former Uber executive stole self-driving car technology from Google spinoff Waymo to help the ride-hailing giant build robotic vehicles, a letter from the U.S. attorney's office confirms.

The letter unsealed Wednesday...


Apple pours cash into Finisar, which makes facial recognition tech

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:20:00 PST

Apple Inc. has made its second notable investment this week — this time in facial recognition technology company Finisar Corp.

The $390-million investment announced Wednesday comes from Apple's $1-billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund, created to finance the work of domestic manufacturers and create...


Court document points to Kaspersky Lab's cooperation with Russia's security service

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:15:00 PST

Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity firm, has long asserted its independence of the Russian government. But a court document posted on the Facebook page of a Russian criminal suspect this year shows what appears to be an unusual degree of closeness to the FSB, Russia's powerful security service.


Allstate spinoff Arity uses cellphone data to track drivers and rate their insurance risk

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 08:45:00 PST

In the auto insurance world, Gary Hallgren is Big Brother, watching more than a million drivers every day to determine who is likeliest to have an accident.

Hallgren is president of Arity Corp., a tech start-up that uses smartphone apps and add-on devices to track every move drivers make behind...


Apple buys music-recognition app Shazam

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:55:00 PST

For nearly 10 years, Shazam has been something of a one-trick pony. Its app has a single purpose: identify a song that’s playing and connect users to a service to download or stream it.

But behind the nifty song-detecting technology lies something that could explain why Apple is buying Shazam for...


Netflix's 'creepy' tweet is a reminder of how closely it's watching us

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 12:50:00 PST

Netflix sent out a tweet Sunday that roasted a subset of its most devoted users over an open fire: those who are obsessively watching its heavily promoted holiday movie "A Christmas Prince." The snarky tweet got some laughs, but it has also stirred up some backlash — and made some people consider...


Amazon wants a key to your house. I did it, and I regret it

Thu, 7 Dec 2017 12:30:00 PST

I gave a key to go into my house and drop off packages when I'm not around. After two weeks, it turns out letting strangers in has been the least troubling part of the experience.

Once Amazon owned my door, I was locked into an all-Amazon world.

When Amazon first floated the idea of...


Broadcomm goes hostile, seeks to replace Qualcomm's board in takeover bid

Mon, 4 Dec 2017 17:40:00 PST

Broadcom officially launched a hostile takeover bid for Qualcomm on Monday, nominating 11 alternative candidates to Qualcomm’s board of directors.

The move sets the stage for a showdown over the future of San Diego’s largest tech company. Shareholders will vote to support either Qualcomm’s or Broadcom’s...


Tesla builds world's largest battery in Australian outback 

Fri, 1 Dec 2017 02:10:00 PST

The world's biggest lithium-ion battery has plugged into an Australian state grid, an official said Friday, delivering on Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk's 100-day guarantee.

Musk promised to build the 100-megawatt battery within 100 days of the contracts being signed at the end of September...


Two big Uber investors agree to sell shares in SoftBank deal

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 13:40:00 PST

At least two big Uber stakeholders have agreed to sell part of their private shares to a group led by Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank in a deal that would let investors cash out and could bring management stability to the troubled ride-hailing company.

SoftBank said in a statement Wednesday...


Apple issues a fix for Mac password security problem

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 09:30:00 PST

Apple Inc. said an update was now available to fix a security issue in its latest Mac operating system that enables people to log in to Mac computers without knowing the password.

The Cupertino, Calif., tech giant said Wednesday that as of 8 a.m., the update was available for download and that...


SoftBank is ready to buy a chunk of Uber — at a 30% discount

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 12:45:00 PST

SoftBank Group Corp. has offered to buy a sizable chunk of Uber — but it wants a discount.

The Japanese conglomerate, which is leading a group of investors in the deal, told stakeholders in the on-demand transportation company that the investor group plans to buy at least 14% of Uber from employees...


When your kid tries to say 'Alexa' before 'Mama'

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 15:40:00 PST

In Yana Welinder's house, her son will say "Papa' to either her or her husband. "Mama" isn't in his vocabulary yet. But her child, who just turned 1, does have a name for another prominent figure in the household: "Aga."

Or, as the rest of us know her, Alexa — Amazon's voice assistant.



Gamers won ‘Battlefront 2’ spat with EA, but in-game purchases will probably persist

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 03:00:00 PST

If you’ve already paid $60 for a video game, haven’t you spent enough?

That’s the question Electronic Arts, or EA, the maker of games including the Madden NFL series, FIFA and Battlefield, has to answer after angering customers who eagerly anticipated one of its biggest holiday releases, “Star...


Why this year's top tech gifts cost about a grand

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 07:00:00 PST

You may notice something different about the prices of the tech products that companies are pushing the hardest this year: They're four digits.

Technology companies, which make the bulk of their money during the holiday season, are starting to diversify more and move upscale. Which means there...


As harassment scandal reaches tech industry, start-ups look for ways to check bad behavior

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 03:00:00 PST

Venture capitalists have long had god-like status in the tech industry.

Founders venerate them because they need their money. Limited partners eagerly throw billions of dollars their way, enamored by their outsized investment returns.

But now, after allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct...


Meg Whitman to step down as CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise next year

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 14:10:00 PST

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chief Executive Meg Whitman will leave her role in early 2018, the company announced Tuesday.

Antonio Neri, HP Enterprise’s current president, will take over Feb. 1.

The move marks the end of a turbulent period for the Palo Alto firm, which was restructured under Whitman...


Tesla's Semi and Roadster impress, but 'production hell' raises doubts about follow-through

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 16:35:00 PST

Elon Musk wowed the world with the introduction of a new Tesla Semi heavy-duty truck Thursday night, as well as a sexy new $200,000 Roadster sports car that goes from zero to 60 mph in an unheard-of 1.9 seconds.

The Roadster was a surprise, intended, Musk said, to “give a hard-core smackdown to...


Apple won't launch its HomePod smart speaker in time for the holidays

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 10:45:00 PST

Apple Inc. said Friday that it’s pushing back its plans for a Siri-powered smart speaker until sometime early next year.

The HomePod speaker was announced in June, with an initial launch date set for December. Apple said that its smart speaker will be able to control home appliances and take basic...


Twitter unverifies some white nationalists

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 10:05:00 PST

Twitter Inc. removed the blue "verification" check mark from the accounts of a handful of prominent white nationalists and members of the far right, and issued new guidelines after the uproar that followed its decision to verify the organizer of the “Unite the Right” rally that took place in August...


Forget $700 juicers — this venture fund wants to help solve middle-class problems

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 06:00:00 PST

Silicon Valley investors love to fund companies that solve problems. But the start-ups that get funded aren’t always the ones tackling issues that are most pressing to the average American.

Venture capital firm and start-up incubator Kairos wants to change that with a $25-million fund announced...


TV stations are about to track you and sell targeted ads, just like Google and Facebook

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 14:20:00 PST

The same weirdly specific ads you see online that are tailored to your behavior soon could appear on your local television network, thanks to looming policy changes by federal regulators.

The Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote Thursday on rules designed to promote the spread...


Qualcomm rejects Broadcom's $103-billion takeover bid, setting stage for a proxy fight

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 16:55:00 PST

Qualcomm Inc. rejected rival chipmaker Broadcom Ltd.'s unsolicited $103-billion takeover bid Monday, calling the price too low — a move that sets the stage for a hostile proxy fight for control of San Diego-based Qualcomm.

“It is the board’s unanimous belief that Broadcom’s proposal significantly...