Facebook acquires mobile data plan firm Pryte

admin   •   June 4, 2014   •   1886

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a news conference at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California May 26, 2010.
CREDIT: REUTERS/ROBERT GALBRAITH/FILES

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc is acquiring Pryte, a Finnish company that aims to make it easier for mobile phone users in under-developed parts of the world to use wireless Internet apps.

Facebook did not disclose financial terms of the deal, which spokeswoman Vanessa Chan said is expected to close later this month.

Pryte’s service, which has not publicly launched yet, seeks to make it easier for consumers without wireless data plans to use online services by selling short-term passes that would provide access to particular mobile apps, such as Facebook or Foursquare.

Facebook, the world’s largest social network with 1.28 billion users, is primarily interested in the team behind Pryte, led by Chief Executive Markku Makelainen, Chan said.

The one-year old, Helsinki-based company has valuable experience and relationships working with wireless operators, particularly in emerging markets, she said.

The company has fewer than 30 employees, though it’s not clear how many will join Facebook.

The deal marks Facebook’s latest effort to advance its mission of connecting people in under-developed parts of the world to the Internet. Facebook has partnered with wireless operators in certain countries to offer free access to its social network and the company is building drones and satellites that will beam Internet access to remote regions of the world.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has said that connecting the “next five billion people” to the Internet is one of the company’s top priorities going forward.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Bernard Orr)

Tech CEOs dodge question on whether China steals technology

UNTV News   •   July 30, 2020

The chief executives of four of the world’s largest tech companies, Amazon.com Inc, Facebook Inc, Apple, and Alphabet’s Google, faced a congressional hearing on Wednesday (July 29) where, amongst other questions, they were asked whether the Chinese government steals technology from U.S. companies.

Rep. Greg Steube of Florida, who presented the question, said he was looking for a “yes or no answer”.

The four executives – Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai, and Apple’s Tim Cook – offered a mixed bag of responses, with Zuckerberg coming closest to a direct answer.

“Congressman, I think it’s well documented that the Chinese government steals technology from American companies,” the Facebook CEO said via videoconference.

The day-long hearing marked the first time the four CEOs have appeared together before lawmakers, and was also the first-ever appearance of Bezos before Congress. (Reuters)

(Production: Pavithra George)

Trump urges U.S. to halt most social activity in virus fight, warns of recession

UNTV News   •   March 17, 2020

President Donald Trump urged Americans on Monday (March 16) to halt most social activities for 15 days and not congregate in groups larger than 10 people in a newly aggressive effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.

Announcing new guidelines from his coronavirus task force, the president said people should avoid discretionary travel and not go to bars, restaurants, food courts or gyms.

As stocks tumbled, Trump warned that a recession was possible, a development that could affect his chances of re-election in November. The Republican president said he was focused on addressing the health crisis and that the economy would get better once that was in line.

The task force implored young people to follow the new guidelines even though they were at lesser risk of suffering if they contract the virus. Older people, especially those with underlying health problems, are at the greatest risk if they develop the respiratory disease.

Reporters staggered their seating, sitting in every other seat in the White House briefing room, to follow social distancing measures.

Trump said the worst of the virus could be over by July, August or later. He called it an invisible enemy.

The president has taken criticism for playing down the seriousness of the virus in the early days of its U.S. spread. On Monday, when asked, he gave himself a good grade for his response.

“I’d rate it a 10. I think we’ve done a great job,” he said.

Trump said a nationwide curfew was not under consideration at this point.

Normally a cheerleader for the U.S. economy, he acknowledged the possibility of a recession while brushing off another dramatic decline on stock markets as investors worried about the virus.

“We’re not thinking in terms of recession, we’re thinking in terms of the virus. Once we stop, I think there’s a tremendous pent up demand, both in terms of the stock market and in terms of the economy,” Trump said. The president has long considered soaring stock markets to be a sign of his administration’s success.

Trump said the administration had talked regularly about domestic travel restrictions but hoped not to have to put such measures in place.

He said he thought it would still be possible for G7 leaders to meet at the Camp David retreat in Maryland in June. Trump upset European countries, which make up a large part of the G7, by instituting travel restrictions from European countries without consulting with them first. (Reuters)

(Production: Katharine Jackson)

Streets deserted in Milan during coronavirus lockdown

UNTV News   •   March 11, 2020

A handful of people were seen on the streets of Milan on Wednesday morning (March 12) following stringent measures imposed to contain the coronavirus.

Shops and restaurants closed, hundreds of flights were cancelled and streets emptied across Italy on Tuesday (March 10), the first day of an unprecedented, nationwide lockdown imposed to slow Europe’s worst outbreak of coronavirus.

Just hours after the dramatic new restrictions came into force, health authorities announced the death toll had jumped by 168 to 631, the largest rise in absolute numbers since the contagion came to light on Feb. 21.

The total number of confirmed cases rose at a much slower rate than recently seen, hitting 10,149 against a previous 9,172, but officials warned that the region at the epicentre, Lombardy, had provided incomplete data.

The government has told all Italians to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel until April 3, radically widening steps already taken in much of the wealthy north, which is the epicentre of the spreading contagion. (Reuters)

(Production: Marissa Davison)

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