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Tag Archives: romain-dillet

Apple started paying $15 billion European tax fine

It took a couple of years, but Apple has started to pay back illegal tax benefits to the Irish government. The company has paid $1.77 billion (€1.5 billion) into an escrow account designed to hold the fine. Apple has to pay $15 billion in total (€13 billion). In August 2016, the European Commission said that Apple benefited from illegal tax benefits in Ireland from 2003 to 2014. According to Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, Apple managed to lower its effective corporate tax rate thanks to a Double Irish structure . By creating two different Irish subsidiaries and allocating profit to the right subsidiary, you can end up paying corporate tax on a fraction of your actual profit. Of course, Apple wasn’t the only tech company that optimized its tax structure. And the company also claimed that everything was legal . The Irish government tried to appeal the decision but the decision remained intact. Ireland had to recover €13 billion starting on January 2017. But nothing happened.

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It turns out Apple could build its new campus in North Carolina

The Washington Post reported just yesterday that Apple was talking with Virginia officials for a new campus in Northern Virginia. But WRAL is now reporting that Apple is about to announce a new campus in North Carolina. According to WRAL’s sources, it’s “a done deal.” The company and legislators plan to talk about a tax break to seal the deal. If North Carolina agrees to reduce the taxes, Apple could create a new campus in the Research Triangle Park. Multiple tech companies already have offices in the Research Triangle Park as it is close to top universities (Duke University, NC State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). IBM and Cisco have established huge offices in the region. It’s also worth noting that Apple CEO Tim Cook got his MBA at Duke University. This report doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple didn’t talk with Virginia officials. The company could be considering opening a big office in one of those two locations and a smaller one in the other. Apple has been looking for a new location for its new campus. The company already has thousands of employees in Cupertino and Austin. Apple expects to hire 20,000 employees over the next five years in those three locations.

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OpenClassrooms raises another $60 million

French startup OpenClassrooms is raising $60 million from General Atlantic, with existing investors Citizen Capital, Alven and Bpifrance also participating. OpenClassrooms is the most popular massive open online course platform in France. But the startup has evolved beyond on-demand courses to provide full-fledged degrees. You can now get a degree certified by the French state by studying full time on OpenClassrooms. Every month, 3 million users access OpenClassrooms. Many of them just want to learn something and maybe get a certification. But more and more people are following one of the 30 bachelor and master degrees. You can study many things from web and mobile development to data management and marketing. But OpenClassrooms isn’t just leaving you with a big pile of courses to study. The company has created a community of mentors who will regularly check with you to see how you’re doing. There are 600 mentors working for OpenClassrooms.

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Deliveroo employees are getting shares, riders are getting nothing

Food delivery startup Deliveroo is feeling generous today. The company is handing out equity to all full-time staff members. In other words, 2,000 employees are going to receive the equivalent of $13.5 million in Deliveroo shares. “Our phenomenal growth and success has been made possible thanks to the hard work, commitment and passion of the people who make this company what it is,” co-founder and CEO Will Shu told Reuters . “And that deserves recognition which is why I want all employees to be owners in Deliveroo and to have a real stake in the company’s future as we expand and grow.” This is a great way to prove that you care about your employees. And yet, there are a few caveats. First, the company is currently worth over $2 billion . In total, Deliveroo is just handing out 0.675 percent of the company to its employees. I’m sure plenty of early employees already have equity. But those who joined more recently aren’t likely to get rich over this — it represents a $6,750 equity bonus per employee on average.

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Canal+ gives up on its cable box, switches to Apple TV

French premium cable television company Canal+ is slowly moving away from building its own set top boxes. As Next INpact spotted , you can now subscribe to Canal+ and get an Apple TV 4K with Canal+’s myCanal app already preloaded. Canal+ has been around for decades and was the first premium TV channel in France. Over the years, the company started distributing all sorts of premium channels through satellite, cable and partnerships with internet service providers. While you had to get your own Canal+ set top box to receive Canal+ 15 years ago, the company’s own box has slowly become irrelevant. As all the main French internet service providers give you a set top box, Canal+ has partnered with them to offer multiple add-ons to receive Canal+’s content. When Canal+ announced its most recent device, Canal+ already said that you’d get a better experience with the myCanal app on the Apple TV. That’s why Canal+ is betting everything on over-the-top distribution . If you don’t subscribe to Canal+ through your ISP, you can get an Apple TV 4K for €6 per month in addition to your TV package. If your internet connection isn’t fast enough or you’d rather use satellite TV, you can still get a Canal+ set top box. But the writing is on the wall. Most people will soon watch Canal+ through myCanal on Android TV, tvOS, iOS, Android, a Samsung TV and desktop computers. In France, Molotov and myCanal have been some of the top performing apps for tvOS and Android TV.

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Microsoft announces the Surface Hub 2

Do you remember the Surface Hub ? Chances are you forgot it even existed. And yet, Microsoft just announced a second version of the Surface Hub. The company hasn’t shared any specifications or price, but it won’t be available before 2019 — selected customers will test the Surface Hub 2 starting this year. The Surface Hub was a crazy expensive digital whiteboard that could handle anything from video conferences to document collaboration. Microsoft says that there are 5,000 companies using Surface Hubs, including half of Fortune 100 companies. It’s unclear if each company has bought one Surface Hub or a thousand. But it seems like there was enough interest to work on a second version. At heart, it’s still a gigantic touchscreen-enabled display. It runs Windows 10 and supports the Surface Pen. Compared to the previous version, Microsoft has drastically reduced the bezels. It looks like a modern TV now, but with a 3:2 aspect ratio. Surprisingly, the video camera is now gone from the main device. You’ll need to plug a webcam above the display to start video conferences.

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Microsoft announces the Surface Hub 2

Do you remember the Surface Hub ? Chances are you forgot it even existed. And yet, Microsoft just announced a second version of the Surface Hub. The company hasn’t shared any specifications or price, but it won’t be available before 2019 — selected customers will test the Surface Hub 2 starting this year. The Surface Hub was a crazy expensive digital whiteboard that could handle anything from video conferences to document collaboration. Microsoft says that there are 5,000 companies using Surface Hubs, including half of Fortune 100 companies. It’s unclear if each company has bought one Surface Hub or a thousand. But it seems like there was enough interest to work on a second version. At heart, it’s still a gigantic touchscreen-enabled display. It runs Windows 10 and supports the Surface Pen. Compared to the previous version, Microsoft has drastically reduced the bezels. It looks like a modern TV now, but with a 3:2 aspect ratio. Surprisingly, the video camera is now gone from the main device. You’ll need to plug a webcam above the display to start video conferences. The most interesting part is the concept video.

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‘Welcome to the Jungle’ raises another $8.4 million

French startup Welcome to the Jungle is raising a funding round of $8.4 million (€7 million) from XAnge , Bpifrance and Kima Ventures, as well as existing investors Jean-Paul Guisset and Michael Benabou. Welcome to the Jungle is taking a different approach to job recruitment. The startup isn’t going to find employees for you. Instead, Welcome to the Jungle wants to give you the tools and exposure to get enough inbound applications. The company started by profiling hundreds of tech companies in Paris. Instead of creating a giant Excel spreadsheet, Welcome to the Jungle works with a video crew, photographers and a writing staff to produce high quality content about your company. Think about it as glossy paper articles with Condé Nast-like production budget. All of this is pricy. Companies pay for these profiles and get their own page on Welcome to the Jungle’s website. In addition to that, Welcome to the Jungle also produces quarterly magazines for a hundred universities and a thick paper magazine once per year.

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Review: Huawei’s P20 Pro is a shiny phone with a strong personality

It’s been a month since Huawei unveiled its latest flagship device. I’ve played with this phone for a few weeks and it’s one of the most interesting Android phones currently available. The P20 Pro is a solid successor to the P10 and a good alternative to other flagship phones, such as the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9 . But it isn’t the perfect phone either. Some features are missing for no apparent reason. Some of Huawei’s choices are also questionable. Looking for the perfect Android phone A few years ago, many Android phones paled in comparison with the latest iPhone. Most of them were made out of plastic. And Android was simply too clunky back then. 2018 is a completely different story as you have a lot of options.

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Android blatantly copies the iPhone X navigation gestures

Google unveiled some of the new features in the next version of Android at its developer conference . One feature looked particularly familiar. Android P will get new navigation gestures to switch between apps. And it works just like the iPhone X. “As part of Android P, we’re introducing a new system navigation that we’ve been working on for more than a year now,” VP of Android Engineering Dave Burke said. “And the new design makes Android multitasking more approachable and easier to understand.” While Google has probably been working on a new multitasking screen for a year, it’s hard to believe that the company didn’t copy Apple. The iPhone X was unveiled in September 2017. On Android P, the traditional home, back and multitasking buttons are gone. There’s a single pill-shaped button at the center of the screen. If you swipe up from this button, you get a new multitasking view with your most recent apps. You can swipe left and right and select the app you’re looking for. If you swipe up one more time, you get the app drawer with suggested apps at the very top. At any time, you can tap on the button to go back to the home screen

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Google Assistant is coming to Google Maps

Google wants to bundle its voice assistant into every device and app. And it’s true that it makes sense to integrate Google Assistant in Google Maps. It’ll be available on iOS and Android this summer. At Google I/O , director of Google Assistant Lilian Rincon showed a demo of Google Maps with Google Assistant. Let’s say you’re driving and you’re using Google Maps for directions. You can ask Google Assistant to share your ETA without touching your phone. You can also control the music with your voice for instance. Rincon even played music on YouTube, but without the video element of course. It lets you access YouTube’s extensive music library while driving. If you’re using a newer car with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, you’ve already been using voice assistants in your car. But many users rely exclusively on their phone. That’s why it makes sense to integrate Google Assistant in Google Maps directly. It’s also a great way to promote Google Assistant to users who are not familiar with it yet. That could be an issue as Google Assistant asks for a ton of data when you first set it up. It forces you to share your location history, web history and app activity

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Microsoft overhauls its conversational AI chatbot tools

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talked briefly about a major update to the company’s conversational AI tools. You can now more easily create, test and improve bots that run on Azure or your own servers and work across multiple platforms. “At this conference, we’re launching a hundred plus features for the bot framework so that you can continue to build these conversational interfaces and give them more customizations,” Nadella said. There are now 30,000 active bots per month that use Microsoft’s conversational AI tools. They handle 30 million messages per day for a thousand companies, including Macy’s, Asiana Airlines, Stack Overflow, KPMG, Telefonica, HP and UPS. And chances are you’ve already talked with one of those bots without realizing it because you don’t need to be using a Microsoft product to interact with a bot that leverages Microsoft’s technologies. Microsoft’s Conversational AI tools let you deploy bots on a website, Slack, Facebook Messenger, Kik, SMS using Twilio, Telegram, Cortana, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, GroupMe and email. It doesn’t work with anything from Amazon, Google or Apple though. Microsoft’s Bot Builder SDK has been updated. It lets you pick a bot design and then create your own bot from this model. Starting today, QnAMaker is now also available as a final release. It lets you turn a good old FAQ into a set of questions and answers for your bot. The bot emulator has been updated too to make it easier to debug your bots

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Watch the Microsoft Build 2018 keynote live right here

Microsoft is holding its annual Build developer conference this week and the company is kicking off the event with its inaugural keynote this morning. You can watch the live stream right here. The keynote is scheduled to start at 8:30 am on the West Coast , 11:30 am on the East Coast, 4:30 pm in London and 5:30 pm in Paris. This is a developer conference, so you shouldn’t expect new hardware devices. Build is usually focused on all things Windows 10, Azure and beyond. It’s a great way to see where Microsoft is heading. We have a team on the ground, so you can follow all of our coverage on TechCrunch .

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Scaleway launches updated cloud servers for $2.40 per month

French cloud hosting company Scaleway announced new servers for its cloud offering. While the company’s offering was already quite cheap, Scaleway is going one step further with prices starting at €1.99 per month (around $2.40 per month). For this price, you get an x86 server with 1 core, 1GB of RAM, 25GB of SSD, 100Mbit/s of bandwidth with unlimited transfer. For twice that price, you get twice the specs, etc. There are four tiers for this new Start1 cloud server lineup. And for the first time, Scaleway is using NVMe for its SSD storage. NVMe is a storage protocol that is supposed to be much faster than SATA when it comes to handling read and write instructions on your storage drive. It was designed for SSDs, and that’s what the iMac Pro is using now. Scaleway is also using DDR4 to improve RAM performance. Overall, Scaleway says that you should see a 50 percent performance increase per core. These new servers are available in the data center in Paris and soon in Amsterdam. In addition to those new servers, Scaleway is launching hot snapshots in beta. With that feature, you can take a snapshot of your virtual machine while it’s running

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Ariella Grinberg from General Motors joins un in Tel Aviv

This year’s TechCrunch event in Tel Aviv is all about mobility and everything around it, from autonomous vehicles, to sensors, drones and security. And that’s including traditional car manufacturers in our agenda was important. I’m happy to announce that Ariella Grinberg from General Motors is going to join us at our event. Ariella Grinberg in Innovation Manager for GM’s Advanced Technical Center in Israel. She’s the proof that car manufacturers have to work with talented Israeli teams when it comes to smart mobility. General Motors has been working hard on autonomous vehicles, electric and connected cars, as well as cybersecurity issues. This radical shift is arguably GM’s biggest challenge to date. Newcomers and small startups have the potential to disrupt the car industry and generate more value than established companies like GM. It’s going to be interesting to hear Ariella Grinberg detail her work at GM and the company’s overall strategy to stay relevant. Her team is working on some of GM’s most interesting projects that are going to shape the future of the company. You can come and listen to Ariella Grinberg on June 7 at the  TechCrunch Tel Aviv  conference. Buy tickets here  and see you at the Tel Aviv Convention Center!

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