Philip Ellis
News & Views
Weekly Tech Roundup: December 8

Ford recruits Alibaba to help break into China’s electric vehicle industry

Auto brand Ford is investing heavily in the electric car sector in China, with 15 electric or hybrid models expected to go on sale between now and 2025. This week, the company announced a partnership with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba to develop a direct sales channel to reach consumers in this market.

Instagram is testing a standalone messaging app

At the moment, if you want to chat privately with somebody from your Instagram feed, you slide into their DMs. But Instagram is now testing a standalone app for private messages, called Direct, in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. Once Direct has been installed on your phone, users are unable to access their inbox in Instagram, and can only send and receive messages via the new app, in similar fashion to when parent company Facebook launched Messenger.

Oath and Mozilla are in a legal battle over Yahoo search deal

Yahoo Holdings (owner of Oath) has filed a complaint against Mozilla, alleging that its decision to return to search provider Google constitutes an “improper” termination of an agreement with Yahoo, which was made during Marissa Mayer’s tenure as CEO. The terms of that deal dictated that whoever acquired Yahoo would be required to pay Mozilla annual payments of $375 million until 2019.

$64 million in Bitcoin stolen in “sophisticated hack”

Hackers stole almost $64 million worth of the crypto-currency Bitcoin from Slovenian-based digital currency marketplace NiceHash in an attack that has been described as “a highly professional attack with sophisticated social engineering.” Digital wallets containing Bitcoin have become coveted targets in cyber-attacks over the last few years, as the currency’s volume has continued to rise, prompting online security to become a top priority for crypto-currency exchanges.

BlackBerry and Qualcomm want to power future smart cars

Continuing its move away from smartphones, BlackBerry now wants to bring its software to cars, working with Qualcomm to develop wireless platforms for the next generation of connected vehicles. This will most likely be implemented in commercial vehicles to begin with, where BlackBerry’s telematics and virtual cockpit control tools will be put to good use.

Snapchat and Coach just debuted Snapcodes embedded in holiday pins

In its first hardware accessory since Spectacles, Snap has partnered with Coach to create a limited edition set of pins equipped with ‘Snapcodes’ which make it easier for users to add friends and unlock features on Snapchat. The pins might also encourage Snapchat users to make an in-store visit to Coach (Snapchatters are reportedly more likely to spend more money and try new products in retail stores).

    We'd love to hear from you.