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South Korea fines Facebook for sharing private information

South Korea’s information watchdog on Wednesday fined Facebook Inc. 6.7 billion won (US$6 million) for passing information of at least 3.3 million South Koreans to other companies in its first crackdown on the U.S. tech giant.

The Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC) said Facebook violated the country’s personal information law by providing personal information of at least 3.3 million of the country’s total 18 million local users from May 2012 to June 2018 to other companies without their consent.

It marked the commission’s first punishment against Facebook since it was launched in August this year, reports Yonhap news agency.

The commission said that when users logged into other company’s services using their Facebook accounts, the personal information of their Facebook friends was also shared to such service providers without consent.

The personal information that was shared with other companies included users’ names, their addresses, dates of birth, work experience, hometowns and relationship statuses.

The watchdog said the exact amount of the shared information is unclear as Facebook did not provide relevant documentation.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. (File Photo: IANS)

Considering the information could be provided to at most 10,000 other companies, the watchdog said a considerable amount of personal information could have been shared.

The commission said it will refer Facebook Ireland Ltd — which was in charge of Facebook operations in South Korea from May 2012 to June 2018 — to the prosecution for a criminal investigation.

Facebook Ireland’s director in charge of user privacy could face up to five years in prison or a maximum of 50 million won in fines if convicted of violating South Korea’s relevant personal information law.

It added that Facebook was uncooperative in its investigation as it submitted incomplete or false documents.

The commission also levied Facebook with a separate penalty of 66 million won for the false documentation.

Facebook expressed regret at the commission’s move.

“We cooperated with the investigation in its entirety,” Facebook said in a statement. “We have yet to closely review PIPC’s measure.”

In 2018, the Korea Communications Commission, South Korea’s telecommunications regulator, started investigations into Facebook before handing it off to the commission.

Also Read: Facebook removes racist posts about US Vice-President-Elect

Also Read: Facebook Extends Ban On Political Ads in US

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Modi Seeks Global Solutions From Indian Techies

Lauding the Indian IT sector for adapting to the new norm of working from home or for that matter from anywhere amid the Covid pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged the techies to build tech solutions to benefit the entire world.

“The Indian IT industry should design and develop technology solutions that can be deployed worldwide and used globally,” said Modi after inaugurating the 23rd edition of the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2020 through a video conference from New Delhi.

Noting that the potential of the country’s youth was endless to harness digital technology, the prime minister said India was uniquely positioned to leap forward in the information era.

“We have the best minds as well as the biggest market. Our local tech solutions have the potential to go global. It is time we give our best to the youth and leverage them,” Modi said in his 20-minute address through the virtual mode.

Asserting that his government’s policy decisions were aimed at liberalising the IT industry further, Modi said the burden of compliance had been eased for the sector recently and allowed the sector to work from home or anywhere.

“We have always engaged with the stakeholders in the IT industry to chart out future-proof policy frameworks,” reminded Modi.

Drawing a parallel between the industrial era and the information era, Modi said in the former, the first-mover advantage was everything, while in the latter, the best-mover mattered more than the first-mover.

“Anyone can build a product any time that disrupts all equations in the market,” Modi pointed out.

Observing that achievements of the industrial era were in the rear-view mirror, the prime minister said the country was in the middle of the information era.

“Future is coming sooner than anticipated. In the industrial era, change was linear. In the information era, change is disruptive,” Modi noted.

In technology, as the way ahead lies in learning and growing together, Modi said a number of incubation centres were opening up across the country.

“In the last couple of years, a culture of hackathons has growing across the country. I too attended one of them,” he quipped.

Leveraging the digital technology, Modi flagged off the 3-day summit through the virtual world, which included Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Swiss Confederation vice-president Guy Parmelin.

“Thanks to digital technology, India has been able to scale up faster in the service delivery to people across the country. Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has been able to help citizens through Ayushman Bharat for medical assistance efficiently thanks,” said Modi.

Recalling that the Union government had started the Digital India initiative 5 years ago to transform a citizen’s life in terms of ease of work and service delivery, the prime minister said the flagship programme had become a way of life in the country.

“Our resilient technology industry was able to overcome difficulties caused by the pandemic and enabled employees to work from home and from anywhere. This has become a new norm and is going to stay. We will see a high amount of tech adoption in education, agriculture and other sectors,” asserted Modi.

Noting that India had an advantage in innovation, the prime minister said he was confident that the Indian IT sector would keep the country proud with the talent and zeal of its techies to innovate.

“Through technology, we have enhanced human dignity. Crores of farmers receive monetary support in a click. At the peak of the lockdown, it was technology that ensured that our poor received proper and quick assistance. The scale of this relief has few parallels,” added Modi.

Union IT and Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, state Deputy Chief Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan, state Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar and other dignitaries and invitees participated in the inaugural session of the summit.

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Business Tech Lite

Chromebooks, tablets lead global PC market: Report

Google Chrome OS-based Chromebooks were the best performing PC product in the third quarter of 2020, as shipments grew 122 per cent to a total of a record high of 9.4 million.

HP led the Chromebook market, more than doubling volumes from a year ago to hit 3.2 million units, with the majority of shipments coming in its home market of the US.

The worldwide tablet market also posted stellar growth in Q3 2020, with shipments of 44.3 million units, up 43 per cent year-on-year.

Apple maintained pole position with shipments of 15.2 million iPad units and growth of 47 per cent. Samsung placed second with stunning growth of 80 per cent to break the 9 million unit shipment mark for the first time since Q4 2015.

Both Chromebook and tablet categories came to the fore in the context of affordable computing, as the pandemic continued to positively influence PC ownership and usage for various purposes, according to market research firm Canalys.

“Vendors and channel partners shifted resource allocation towards production and distribution of tablets and Chromebooks to meet this surging demand, which is expected to continue in the short-term,” the report mentioned.

Meanwhile, the global PC market (including tablets) enjoyed a second successive quarter of stellar growth in Q3, with total shipments of 124.5 million units which was up 23 per cent year-on-year.

Lenovo led the global market with 23.5 million tablets, notebooks and desktops shipped followed closely by Apple with 22.1 million macs and iPads. HP, Dell and Samsung rounded out the top five.

After Chromebooks, detachables (tablets and notebooks) grew 88 per cent and were the second best performing category in personal computing.

Within desktops, all-in-ones grew 7 per cent despite an overall desktop market decline of 32 per cent.

“Tablets have come back from the dead as they deliver the perfect balance of mobility and computing power at a wide range of price points during such a crucial time,” said Victoria Li, Canalys Analyst.

The tablet market has been in free-fall since 2015, with the last two quarters being the only quarters of growth in the last five years.

Tablets are a natural choice for first-time PC users who want something uncomplicated and affordable to work with.

“The natural extension of Android and iOS on tablets makes it easy for parents, students and educators who dabbled with extended remote learning for the first time in their lives and prefer the ease of installing apps that these platforms offer,” Li said in a statement.

Another contributing factor is the role these tablets play in the accelerated pace of digital transformation that big and small companies are undertaking.

“Chromebooks emerged as the centrepiece of the education segment’s digital response to the COVID-19 pandemic”, said Ishan Dutt, Canalys Analyst.

Also Read: India to witness laptop price war

Also Read: Big B’s ‘laptop went into a lockdown’!

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Business Tech Lite

Whatsapp launches Shopping Button Globally

Facebook on Tuesday made a new shopping button in WhatsApp live globally, including in India, to help people check out available products and make purchases right from a chat.

The tool will make it easier for people to discover a business’ catalog so they know what goods or services it offers.

Previously, people had to click into the business’ profile to see if the business had a catalog.

“Now, when a person sees the shopping button, which looks like a storefront icon, they will immediately know the business has a catalog so they can browse products and start a conversation about an item they see with just one tap,” the company said in a statement.

This will also make it easier for businesses to have their products discovered which can help increase sales.

More than 175 million people message a WhatsApp Business account every day, and more than 40 million people view a business’ catalog each month — including more than 3 million in India.

According to a recent survey, 76 per cent of adults in India said that “I am more likely to do business with/purchase from a company that I can contact via messaging than one that I cannot.”

The new shopping button is available now across the world and will replace the voice call button.

To find the voice call button, simply tap on the call button to select either a voice or video call.

“In the future, we’ll make it possible to add items to a cart and check out, all within WhatsApp,” the company said last month.

Facebook said it will finally start charging companies using WhatsApp for Business, as it expanded ways for its users to check out available products and make purchases right from a chat.

Some 50 million businesses message a WhatsApp Business account every day and this move will help WhatsApp continue building a business of its own while it provides and expands free end-to-end encrypted text, video and voice calling for more than 2 billion people.

Also Read: Whatsapp’s new tool will help users manage phone space

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Business Tech Lite USA

Samsung pips Apple in US smartphone sales

In a significant achievement, Samsung Electronics sold largest number of smartphones in the US in the third quarter of the year, beating its rival Apple for the first time in three years.

According to market researcher Strategy Analytics, Samsung accounted for 33.7 per cent in the US smartphone market in the July-September period, up 6.7 per cent points from a year earlier, reports Yonhap news agency.

Apple was the runner-up with a 30.2 per cent share, followed by South Korean smartphone maker LG Electronics with a 14.7 per cent share.

This is the first time since the second quarter of 2017 that Samsung topped the US smartphone market.

Solid sales of its mid-tier and budget smartphones, along with launch of flagship devices, like the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Z Fold2, apparently boosted Samsung’s presence in the US.

Industry insiders said the late launch of Apple’s iPhone 12 series may have also helped Samsung to thrive in the US.

Apple usually releases a new iPhone in September, but this year, the US tech titan began to sell new smartphones from October.

Samsung was also the leading vendor in the global smartphone market in the third quarter of the year with a 21.9 per cent share, beating China brands Huawei Technologies with a 14.1 per cent share and Xiaomi with a 12.7 per cent share.

Apple had 11.9 per cent market share in the global market in the third quarter.

Also Read: Samsung recaptures India’s smartphone crown after two years

Also Read: Apple expected to grow 15% riding on 5G wave

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Tech Lite World News

Chinese smartphone market falls 14.3% in Q3

The China smartphone market witnessed a 14.3 per cent drop in the third quarter this year with 84.8 million units shipment, according to an IDC report, as the country faced soft demand, Huawei’s supply constraints and delayed flagship launches from both Huawei and Apple.

At the top of the table with 41.4 per cent share, Huawei cautiously managed its shipments across its product lineups and lowered the production of some popular models like the Mate 30 series.

Its channel management and prioritisation also resulted in a supply shortage in the lower-tier cities, delaying purchases from loyal customers, said IDC ‘Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker’.

“The escalated US trade restrictions in August ultimately impeded Huawei’s momentum in its home market. Nevertheless, the ban did not cool off the enthusiasm of local Huawei loyalists that supported Huawei’s market share to stay above the 40 per cent mark,” said Will Wong, Research Manager for Client Devices at IDC Asia/Pacific.

Huawei (File Photo)

At a distant second position with 17.8 per cent market share, Vivo put more focus on various consumer segments at different price points and recorded a narrower decline from a year ago.

The vendor continued to penetrate the less than $300 segment with the 5G-enabled Y-series while enhancing its positions in the mid-range and high-end segments with the new S7 and iQOO 5 series as well as the X series flagship.

OPPO at third position with 16.6 per cent market share narrowed its decline from a year ago by focusing on the $200-400 5G segment.

Xiaomi was at fourth position with 13 per cent marlet share. And Apple fifth with 8.3 per cent market share in China.

Apple’s delayed iPhone 12 launch resulted in lower shipments compared to the same period last year.

“Nevertheless, Apple managed to mitigate the shortfall with its iPhone 11 series, as the models still performed well in both online and offline channels and will continue to be promoted in the upcoming Singles’ Day shopping festival,” the report noted.

China has so far shipped a total of 117 million 5G handsets since 2019, with 49.7 million in Q3 2020 alone.

Also Read: Xiaomi leads as India’s smartphone shipments hit record high

Also Read: Samsung recaptures India’s smartphone crown after two years

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Business Tech Lite

Early 5G rollout boosts Qualcomm revenues

Bullish on the early success of its 5G rollout, chip-maker Qualcomm has posted strong results for its fourth quarter, logging $6.5 billion in revenue which is up 35 per cent (year-over-year).

The net income was $1.6 billion as shares of Qualcomm went up over 6 per cent in the after-hour trading on Wednesday.

“Our fiscal fourth quarter results demonstrate that our investments in 5G are coming to fruition and showing benefits in our licensing and product businesses,” said Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm.

“We concluded the year with exceptional fourth quarter results and are well positioned for growth in 2021 and beyond. As the pace of disruption in wireless technology accelerates, we will continue to drive growth and scale across our RF front-end, Automotive and IoT adjacencies,” he explained.

In the fiscal 2020, the company delivered $2.4 billion of RF front-end revenue, up 60 per cent year-over-year.

Qualcomm is now one of the largest RF suppliers with design wins across all its premium-tier smartphone customers.

“The early success of our 5G rollout is a great testament to our strategy of investing well in advance of these large opportunities. 5G represents the single largest opportunity in our history, creating new opportunities to extend our leadership,” Mollenkopf said.

Inching closer to its 5G rollout, Reliance Jio, which counts 400 million subscribers on its 4G network in India, last month achieved a 1000 Mbps throughput milestone for its first round of 5G trials in partnership with Qualcomm.

The two companies announced that they have achieved over a 1Gbps (1,000 MBPS) speed on the Reliance Jio 5GNR solution and the Qualcomm 5G RAN Platform.

The company said during the earnings call with analysts that in the field of IoT, it is extending IP investments from across the company into the portfolio of connected and non-connected products with a broad portfolio of technologies, including connectivity, lower power processing, and security.

“We are also diversified across multiple product areas and industry verticals as we have nearly 13,000 customers,” Mollenkopf said.

“We’ve also brought wearable solutions to our smartphone OEMs, as well as the broader ecosystem of consumer product companies.”

Also Read: Rs 187 bn Required To Rollout 5G in Mumbai, Delhi: Report

Also Read: Apple expected to grow 15% riding on 5G wave

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Business Tech Lite

India’s data centre market to reach $5bn value by 2025: Crisil

As digital adoption grows amid the pandemic across the spectrum, the data centre industry in India is likely to touch $1.2 billion in the fiscal 2020 and is expected to log a rapid 25-30 per cent compound annual growth rate CAGR to reach $4.5-$5 billion by fiscal 2025, a new report said on Monday.

The Indian data centre industry, which accounts for 1-2 per cent of the global pie, is estimated to have clocked a modest CAGR of 15-20% since fiscal 2016 to touch $1billion in fiscal 2019, according to a Crisil Research report.

The data centre growth rode on a sharp increase in Internet penetration from 30 per cent in fiscal 2016 to 55 per cent in fiscal 2019.

“Also, on account of COVID-19, data consumption has seen sharp a 38 per cent rise on-year in the first quarter of the financial year 2021,” the findings showed.

The growth drivers include an exponential surge in data being generated and a growing need for local data storage in line with the government’s thrust on data localisation.

The data centre industry has been largely concentrated in top four cities, with Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai accounting for 60 per cent of total data centre sites and more than 75 per cent in terms of IT load capacities.

In terms of IT load capacities, Mumbai alone accounts for over 40 per cent of total installed capacity, given the availability of required infrastructure in terms of adequate linkages with global cable landing stations, reliable power supply, broadband connectivity and skilled manpower.

Crisil.

“Some state governments already have incentives in place for the data centre industry. For instance, Maharashtra and Telangana are offering incentives in land and electricity along with a special single-window clearance for permissions to set up data centres,” the report mentioned.

However, the report expects the share of top 4 cities to decline marginally in the next five years as lack of space and higher rental costs along with improved infrastructure availability in next rung cities leads to some larger hyperscale data centres being set up in those cities.

The industry capacity, which stood at 360MW in fiscal 2020, is expected to expand more than threefold to reach 1,100-1,200MW by fiscal 2025 “on the back of $4-5 billion investments announced over the past three years for both brownfield and greenfield expansion of projects”.

The increase in data volume, said the report, would be supported by high growth in e-commerce, increase in usage of social media, greater preference for over the top (OTT) platforms, the government’s impetus to the Digital India initiative and rapid digitalisation of services across industries (Industry 4.0 and 5G).

“Data localisation norms initiated by the government and regulators, that mandates storage of sensitive data within India, which, in turn, would support development of local data centers,” it added.

According to Nasscom, as of fiscal 2020, more than three-fourth of the total IT infrastructure spend was concentrated towards captive and co-location based operating models.

By fiscal 2025, however, the share of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) in IT infrastructure spends is forecast to increase to more than 40 per cent.

The Crisil research expects the shift towards IaaS to continue as rapid adoption of Industry 4.0-led revolution leads to exponential growth in data volume and increases the need for scalability of resources.

Also Read: Global spending on cloud set to cross $1 trillion: Report

Also Read: Cloud business powers Microsoft to a 12% growth

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Huawei revenues grow by 9.9%

Huawei on Friday said that it generated a revenue of 671.3 billion yuan ($98.57 billion) in the first three quarters of this year, an increase of 9.9 per cent over the same period last year.

The results showed that restrictions imposed by the US slowed down growth of the Chinese technology giant as duriing the same period last year, the company reported revenue growth of 24.4 per cent, CNBC reported.

For the September quarter, Huawei reported revenue of 217.3 billion yuan ($31.91 billion), an increase of just 3.7 per cent over the the same period last year, said the report.

During the first three quarters of 2020, the company’s net profit margin was 8 per cent, Huawei said, adding that its business results during the period met expectations.

Huawei said that amid COVID-19, its global supply chain faced intense pressure and its production and operations face significant challenges.

Huawei (File Photo)

“The company continues to do its best to find solutions, survive and forge forward, and fulfill its obligations to customers and suppliers,” Huawei said in a statement.

“Moving forward, Huawei will leverage its strengths in ICT technologies such as AI, cloud, 5G, and computing to provide scenario-based solutions, develop industry applications, and unleash the value of 5G networks along with its partners,” it added.

Huawei said that open collaboration and mutual trust across the global industry is required for rapid and healthy development within the ICT industry.

The company said that it will continue working closely with its global partners and using its innovative ICT technologies to create greater value for customers despite the complex situation it is currently facing.

Also Read: Xiaomi leads as India’s smartphone shipments hit record high

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Xiaomi leads as India’s smartphone shipments hit record high

Smartphone shipments in India hit an all-time high of 50 million units in the third quarter of this year, registering eight per cent year-over-year growth, said a Canalys report on Thursday.

Xiaomi remained the market leader, growing nine per cent to ship 13.1 million units and capturing 26.1 per cent market share in the July-September quarter.

Samsung took the second place from Vivo, with 10.2 million units, up seven per cent compared to the same quarter last year.

Samsung’s aggressive product portfolio and pricing strategy in the low-end paid off as the South Korean giant captured 20.4 per cent share in the India smartphone market.

Vivo stood third, growing 19 per cent to ship 8.8 million smartphones, while Realme grew 23 per cent to ship 8.7 million units.

OPPO completed the top five, shipping 6.1 million units.

“While almost all vendors have shown positive shipment growth, the true winners are the online channels, who have been buoyed with a huge influx of devices ahead of the festive season,” Canalys Analyst Adwait Mardikar, said in a statement.

“Ongoing sales at Amazon and Flipkart are a clear indication that despite the economic downturn, India’s penchant for a good smartphone, and a good bargain, remains intact.”

Apple regained momentum in India in Q3, with double-digit growth to reach nearly 8 lakh units. “Apple is finally paying attention to India,” said Canalys Research Director Rushabh Doshi.

The company has opened a direct online store, giving it several new angles in its go-to-market strategy, such as utilising device trade-ins to provide purchase incentives, or bundling AirPods with iPhones to make them more appealing.

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