(Reuters) – "Farmville" creator Zynga Inc on Thursday appointed Gerard Griffin as its chief financial officer, adding another Electronic Arts Inc executive to its top ranks. Zynga in March named EA veteran Frank Gibeau its chief executive, as part of efforts to transition into a mobile games-focused company. Griffin, a gaming industry veteran, spent more than 10 years at the "FIFA" videogame publisher.
By Alexandria Sage and Paul Lienert SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Silicon Valley online education platform Udacity has already received more than 11,000 applicants for its so-called nanodegree in self-driving car engineering, Udacity president and Google X founder Sebastian Thrun said. The high number of applicants – for 250 spots in the course – underscores the pressing need for talent by technology leaders such as Alphabet's Google and Apple, traditional car companies and automotive start-ups, as they race to develop production-ready autonomous-driving vehicles within the next decade. High-profile, costly acquisitions driven by the desire to acquire talent, such as General Motors Co's purchase of automotive start-up Cruise, or Uber Technologies [UBER.UL] buying self-driving trucking start-up Otto, have marked the sector over the past year.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the world's biggest smartphone maker, said on Thursday more than 1 million people globally are now using Galaxy Note 7 smartphones with batteries that are not vulnerable to overheating and catching fire. Samsung on Sept. 2 initiated a voluntary global recall of at least 2.5 million Note 7 smartphones due to faulty batteries causing some of the flagship devices to catch fire, a deeply embarrassing crisis for a firm that prides itself for its quality control. Samsung, in a statement issued on its China website, apologised to its consumers for failing to providing a detailed explanation why the smartphones on sale in China were safe, as they used batteries that came from a different supplier to those that could overheat.
MUMBAI/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc is in talks to buy a minority stake in India's largest e-commerce firm Flipkart, two people familiar with the matter said, as the world's biggest retailer aims to break into a fast growing but highly competitive online retail market. A deal would pit Wal-Mart against U.S. rival Amazon.com Inc, which has been expanding rapidly in a market that Bank of America Merrill Lynch has forecast will surge to $220 billion in value of goods sold by 2025 from about $11 billion last year. Wal-Mart operates 21 wholesale stores in the South Asian country, but is discouraged from setting up its own bricks-and-mortar shops by rules that limit foreign ownership for multi-brand retailers to 51 percent and the cost of setting up shops in a country as large as India.
By Fathin Ungku SINGAPORE (Reuters) – A Singapore court sentenced 17-year-old blogger Amos Yee to six weeks in jail on Thursday for "wounding religious feelings", his second prison term in a year, reigniting concerns about social controls and censorship in the conservative city-state. Yee pleaded guilty to six charges of deliberately posting comments on the internet in videos, blog posts and a picture that were critical of Christianity and Islam. Judge Ong Hian Sun told the district court that Yee's actions could "generate social unrest" and should not be condoned.
By Dustin Volz WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A cyber security company on Wednesday asserted that the hack of 500 million account credentials from Yahoo was the work of an Eastern European criminal gang, adding another layer of intrigue to a murky investigation into the unprecedented data heist. Arizona-based InfoArmor issued a report whose conclusion challenged Yahoo’s position that a nation-state actor orchestrated the heist, disclosed last week by the internet company. InfoArmor, which provides companies with protection against employee identify theft, said the hacked trove of user data was later sold to at least three clients, including one state-sponsored group.
Citigroup Inc on Wednesday became the last of the big U.S. banks to agree to allow customers to send instant payments by mobile phone over an industry network that is competing with upstart Venmo. Citigroup said in a statement that it will begin offering the service early next year over the clearXchange network. ClearXchange has emerged as the industry's rival to Venmo, a non-bank payment service of PayPal Holdings Inc, which is winning fans among young adults who use it to split apartment rents and dinner tabs.
By Alwyn Scott NEW YORK (Reuters) – In-flight internet provider Gogo Inc said on Wednesday it is building a faster version of its air-to-ground system for business and commercial aircraft that will ease a bandwidth bottleneck when it becomes available in 18 months. The service will provide speeds of 100 megabits per second to an aircraft, about 10 times more than Gogo’s existing system, Chief Operating Officer John Wade said in an interview. Shares of Gogo were up 2.3 percent in afternoon trading to $12.64.
By Charlotte Greenfield WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Lawyers for German entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, wanted in the United States on copyright infringement and money-laundering charges over his file-sharing website Megaupload, argued on Wednesday there was not enough evidence to show he conspired to commit a crime. The Auckland court heard closing arguments in Dotcom's four-week appeal against a lower court's decision to extradite him to the U.S., the first New Zealand court proceedings to be broadcast live on the internet. The appeal took place nearly five years after dozens of black-clad police rappelled into the flamboyant entrepreneur's New Zealand mansion and cut him from a safe room.
The $3 billion health initiative set up by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan has hired one of AstraZeneca's non-executive directors to head up its science drive. The British drugmaker said on Wednesday that Cornelia Bargmann would step down from its board next month to take up a new role as president of Chan Zuckerberg Science, part of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Leif Johansson, AstraZeneca's chairman, said the board was sorry to see her leave but understood Bargmann's decision to focus on the new assignment.
Cybercriminals offering contract services for hire offer militant groups the means to attack Europe but such groups have yet to employ such techniques in major attacks, EU police agency Europol said on Wednesday. "There is currently little evidence to suggest that their cyber-attack capability extends beyond common website defacement," it said in its annual cybercrime threat assessment in a year marked by Islamic State violence in Europe. "Europol is concerned about how an expanding cybercriminal community has been able to further exploit our increasing dependence on technology and the internet," its director, Rob Wainwright, said in a statement.
In the fast-changing world of science and technology, if you're not innovating, you're falling behind. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (ranked #2) were behind some of the most important innovations of the past century, including the development of digital computers and the completion of the Human Genome Project.
By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The FBI is investigating suspected attempts to hack mobile phones used by Democratic Party officials as recently as the past month, four people with direct knowledge of the attack and the investigation told Reuters. The revelation underscores the widening scope of the U.S. criminal inquiry into cyber attacks on Democratic Party organizations, including the presidential campaign of its candidate, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. U.S. officials have said they believe those attacks were orchestrated by hackers backed by the Russian government, possibly to disrupt the Nov. 8 election in which Clinton faces Republican Party candidate Donald Trump.
By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) – Lawyers for Facebook Inc on Tuesday sought to assure a U.S. judge overseeing lawsuits by victims of militant attacks in the Middle East that it took a "zero tolerance" approach to any communications that may promote terrorist threats or activity. The comments came after U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn on Thursday accused Facebook's law firm of insulting the court by sending just a junior attorney to address him in lawsuits implicating violent attacks on Israelis. The judge on Tuesday apologized to the extent his comments may have sounded like criticism of the first-year associate, but said he was concerned about whether Facebook's lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis LLP were taking the matter seriously.
(Reuters) – An Illinois man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to hacking the e-mail accounts of high-profile female celebrities in a scandal linked to the online release of nude photos of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence and others. Edward Majerczyk, 29, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Chicago to one felony change of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information, charging documents showed. While no victims were named in court documents, Lawrence and actress Kirsten Dunst and model Kate Upton have addressed the leak and online dissemination of their nude photos in interviews.