Technology Roundup – Uber investors push for new self-driving strategy, Microsoft ‘committed’ to bringing game streaming to Apple devices

Published on: September 22, 2020
Author: Amy Liu

Uber investors push for new self-driving strategy – Bloomberg

Bloomberg sources say SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF, OTCPK:SFTBY) and Benchmark have advised Uber (NYSE:UBER) CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to find more investors for the company’s self-driving unit and reconsider strategy.

SoftBank and Benchmark are Uber’s largest investors.

Uber’s self-driving unit is expected to run out of money at the end of next year.

Options on the table reportedly include making Uber’s project open source to accelerate innovation and building an autonomous vehicles with money from existing partners and potential new infusions.

In the self-driving vehicle space, Uber competes with the likes of Alphabet’s Waymo and Amazon’s Zoox.

Uber’s self-driving unit was at the center of a Waymo trade secret legal dispute (settled in Waymo’s favor) and the death of a pedestrian in Arizona.

The safety driver in the 2018 Arizona crash was recently charged with negligent homicide.

Microsoft ‘committed’ to bringing game streaming to Apple devices

Last week, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) launched its long-awaited game streaming service (formerly called Project xCloud) but only for Android users.

Xbox chief Phil Spencer tells Bloomberg: “We’re committed to bringing xCloud to all mobile endpoints, including Apple’s big ecosystem.”

Microsoft has said the problems with Apple aren’t related to its 30% App Store tax but rather iOS not supporting game streaming from the web, which nixes cloud gaming services.

Earlier this month, Apple started to allow individual titles streaming from the web. But full gaming services still aren’t allowed.

Microsoft’s streaming service is part of its Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which is how Microsoft hopes to differentiate its upcoming consoles from rival Sony.

Earlier today, Microsoft announced acquiring game developer Bethesda’s parent company for $7.5B. Bethesda’s games will join Game Pass and future titles will join the service on launch date.

Cisco likely to appear on potential Chinese blacklist of U.S. firms – WSJ

Cisco Systems (CSCO -2.1%) may be on a Chinese blacklist of American entities that Beijing officials are hastily drawing up, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Some Chinese leaders are hesitating on pulling the trigger and arguing a decision on the list should wait until after the U.S. election. But that points to struggles in China over how to respond to contentious action from the Trump administration.

China had first announced a plan to create a blacklist in May 2019, as restrictions against China’s Huawei started to heat up. But it’s resisted action up until now, even as the Trump administration has intensified pressure against companies like TikTok/ByteDance (BDNCE) and Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY).

Of all the blacklists that Chinese ministries have been asked to draft, Cisco – a key Huawei rival – has made each one, the WSJ says.

Suddenly moving lower off the news: Acacia Communications (NASDAQ:ACIA), -1%. Only China’s SAMR approval stands in the way of Acacia’s acquisition by Cisco.

Fabrinet (NYSE:FN) is -2.3%. Meanwhile, optical firms are higher: Applied Optoelectronics (NASDAQ:AAOI) +5.9%; Lumentum (NASDAQ:LITE) +4.8%; NeoPhotonics (NYSE:NPTN) +1.8%.

Microsoft buying game developer and publisher Bethesda Softworks for $7.5B in cash

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) plans to acquire Bethesda Softworks parent ZeniMax Media for $7.5B in cash. The deal is expected to close in H2 FY21 with minimal impact on non-GAAP operating income for FY21 and FY22.

Microsoft shares are down 1.7% pre-market to $197.

The acquisition includes “publishing offices and development studios spanning the globe with over 2,300 employees, including Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios.”

Bethesda’s top game franchises include The Elder Scrolls, FalloutDOOMQuakeWolfenstein, and Dishonored.

Microsoft will add Bethesda’s games to its Xbox Game Pass subscription service. Future Bethesda games will appear on Game Pass on launch day.

ByteDance denies TikTok Global will be American owned

ByteDance (BDNCE) says it will own 80% of newly created U.S. company TikTok Global, which contradicts a joint statement from Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) stating the majority ownership would be American.

The Chinese company says it’s a “rumor” that the U.S. would essentially own TikTok Global, removing ByteDance’s control over the popular app.

Oracle and Walmart are in for TikTok Global stakes of 12.5% and 7.5%, respectively. The companies haven’t responded to ByteDance’s statement.

Reuters sources explain the claim by noting that 41% of ByteDance is owned by U.S. investors.

The sources also say the Oracle-Walmart deal values the new entity at $50B.