Data Sheet: Google Buys HTC, China’s Tech Titans, Fortune’s Most Powerful Women
For years now we’ve been hearing about how China is the great copycat nation, the manufacturer of designs drawn up in other countries and then an imitator for its own products. That’s been true, as the developing country followed a path that Japan and then Korea plowed before it.
The trend has almost completely reversed. With innovative companies and products like Tencent’s WeChat messaging service and novel approaches to artificial intelligence and various business models, China rapidly is becoming an innovator in its own right.
That’s one reason we at Fortune are proud to announce Brainstorm Tech International, to be held Dec. 5-6 in Guangzhou, China, the megacity some will know better by the name the West formerly used for it: Canton. Our international event is the first time we’ve taken Brainstorm Tech outside the U.S., where it convenes each July in Aspen, Colo. I’m personally excited we’re devoting an entire conference to non-U.S. tech, particularly in the world’s vibrant No. 2 economy. Just a few of the Chinese innovators who’ll appear in Guangzhou will include Mobike’s Davis Wang, Sequoia Capital’s Neil Shen, and Cindy Mi of Vipkid.
Tonight I’ll be moderating a panel in San Francisco on China innovation, where we’re also celebrating the imminent Fortune Global Forum, which will be in Guangzhou from Dec. 6-8, immediately after Brainstorm Tech International. An impressive delegation from Guangzhou, led by the city’s vice-mayor, Cai Chaolin, will join us at dinner. To see the powerhouse lineup of tech stars who’ll appear at the forum—spoiler alert: these include Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Tencent’s Pony Ma, and Baidu’s Robin Li—click here.
I’ll report back from dinner Friday morning.
This morning Fortune launches its annual Most Powerful Women in Business list, an agenda-setting, iconic list that has grown more important for each of the 20 years it has existed. On the cover of the magazine is No. 2 on the list, email-addicted Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo Inc. I encourage you to check out Beth Kowitt’s illuminating interview with Nooyi, an executive who exudes a love for and joy in doing her job. Perhaps surprisingly for a food-industry veteran, Nooyi repeatedly namechecks luminaries of Silicon Valley for their ability to spot disruptive ideas. Those names include investor Marc Andreessen and entrepreneurs Brian Chesky and Travis Kalanick.
Google buys HTC. The search giant agreed to purchase an HTC unit that helped develop Google's Pixel phone in exchange for $1.1 billion in cash. The acquisition comes a couple of weeks ahead of Google's anticipated Pixel 2 debut on Oct. 4th. The move shows the company's desire to beef up its consumer hardware business.
Western Digital causes Toshiba trouble. American hard drive-maker Western Digital has filed a legal action against the Japanese electronics conglomerate Toshiba that seeks to bar the company from investing in a new facility in Japan. The U.S. company is claiming in an international court that it has a right to co-invest through its subsidiary Sandisk.
Baidu commits $1.5 billion to cars. The Chinese search giant has created a $1.5 billion investment fund that it plans to use to invest in 100 self-driving car projects over the next three years. The Apollo Fund, as it's called, will help the company better compete against its western rivals, like Tesla and Google's Waymo unit.
Google seeks $2.6 billion from Uber. Google's Waymo is suing Uber to the tune of $2.6 billion for allegedly stealing one of several trade secrets through a former employee, Anthony Levandowski. Although the total amount of damages sought is not publicly known, an Uber attorney recently disclosed this figure.
SEC hacked. The Securities and Exchange Commission or SEC said it recently learned that a 2016 breach of its corporate filing database, where public companies submit financial forms, may have enabled hackers to trade on inside information. The top markets regulator in the U.S. said it quickly patched the software flaw that permitted the break-in and that it is investigating the matter.
Apple Watch receives poor reviews. Reviewers tore into the latest Apple Watch, known as the Series 3, for its malfunctioning marquee feature: cellular connectivity. The device apparently connects to unsecured Wi-Fi networks at random and drops calls. Apple said it would explore fixes, and its share price tumbled 1.7% on the news.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Google AI Chief Is 'Definitely Not Worried About the AI Apocalypse', by Tom Huddleston, Jr.
Equifax Has Been Pointing People to a Knockoff Phishing Site, by Robert Hackett
Big Pharma Turns to Blockchain to Track Meds, by Jeff John Roberts
Tesla May Be Developing a Computer Chip With AMD for Self-Driving Cars, by Jonathan Vanian
T-Mobile Gives Customers Double the High Speed of Competitors, by Aaron Pressman
Minecraft Just Got Easier to Play on Xbox, iPhones, and VR Headsets, by Jonathan Vanian
New GE Chief Confirms Narrower Focus for Industrial Cloud, by Barb Darrow
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
...much technology today is biased toward people who already have skills, which exacerbates winner-take-all effects. But the winners of technology are often determined by politics and law. Bill Gates’s wealth could not exist without the U.S. property system that protected his software from being copied. Political choices have made him one of the richest people in the world.
—Tim Harford, economist and Financial Times columnist, in conversation with The Atlantic about his new book, Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy, and whether new technology inherently increases inequality.
ONE MORE THING
A group of vigilante Reddit users is reclaiming hate speech forums on the site with their own wholesome form of Internet trolling. The band of pranksters is posting about races—as in speed competitions—in the sub-reddit, /r/Race_Realism, once devoted to white supremacy, and about weather in a neo-Nazi haven called /r/Stormfront. Keep on, good soldiers.