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Tech Time: Alphabet creates self-driving tech firm, shelves autonomous car plans

In this feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a bi-weekly global roundup of the latest developments in technology.


* Alphabet Inc.'s self-driving car project is now a new business, called Waymo, according to a Dec. 14 official blog post. The new entity described itself as a self-driving technology company that will work to become more useful in personal vehicles, ridesharing, logistics, or for public transport.

* Earlier, Alphabet has halted plans to develop a self-driving car, in favor of partnerships with automakers to build an autonomous vehicle with traditional features for human drivers, The Information reported Dec. 12, citing sources familiar with the details.


* British Telecom and Deutsche Telekom AG unit T-Systems agreed to collaborate on the delivery of cloud services for SAP solutions, BT said Dec. 15. BT Compute for SAP solutions, a platform-as-a-service offering, will be available to customers from early 2017 in the U.K. and continental Europe.

* Inc.-owned Amazon Web Services Inc. on Dec. 13 opened a European AWS region in London. The cloud data region will cater to the needs of clients using the AWS Cloud.


* UAE state-owned agency Nedaa and Nokia Corp. teamed up to open an innovation and creativity lab for IoT in Dubai, Telecompaper reported Dec. 19.

* Nokia and PLDT Inc. unit Smart Communications in the Philippines achieved speeds of 2.5 Gbps in 5G tests using 100 MHz with low latency of 1 millisecond, according to a Dec. 16 statement.

* Tele2 AB and Telenor ASA will build a common network in Sweden for 5G technology, Tele2 said Dec. 16.

* Ericsson AB and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia launched a 5G innovation center in Malaysia, the university said Dec. 16. The center will be used to conduct research, trade and information exchanges related to 5G implementation.

* Australia-based IoT startup Thinxtra said Dec. 15 that it will launch an IoT network in Hong Kong in 2017, in partnership with French connectivity provider Sigfox.

* Sigfox, its Latin American partner WND and Grupo DATCO's operator unit Velocom agreed to deploy the Sigfox network across Argentina, according to a Dec. 15 news release. The network is aimed at helping the country's agricultural, smart city and security sectors get access to relevant IoT apps.

* South African IoT startup IoT.nxt is set for a global expansion with the opening of its London office in early 2017, Disrupt Africa reported Dec. 14.


* Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. participated in a financing round for VR game developer Survios, Reuters reported Dec. 13.

* Brendan Iribe, the CEO of Facebook Inc. unit Oculus VR Inc., is stepping down from his position as part of a restructuring, Iribe said in his Dec. 13 blog post. Oculus will split into two groups, PC and mobile, with Iribe leading the PC VR group and Jon Thomason heading the mobile VR group.

* Microsoft Corp.'s venture arm started an AI-focused fund and invested in Montreal-based startup Element AI, according to a Dec. 12 official blog post.

* Time Warner Inc.'s HBO (US) unveiled HBO Now and HBO Go apps for Google Inc.'s Daydream View VR headset, according to a Dec. 8 official blog post.

* Sprint Corp. is teaming up with "Pokémon Go" developer Niantic Inc. to bring the augmented reality mobile game into its stores across the U.S., the company said Dec. 7.


* Chinese company Thunder Software Technology Co. Ltd. is acquiring Finnish automotive software firm Rightware for €64 million, Reuters reported Dec. 19.

* German carmaker Volkswagen AG said Dec. 15 that it invested in Berlin-based e-mobility platform Hubject GmbH.

* Amazon on Dec. 7 made its first drone-based Prime Air delivery. The company introduced a trial of the service for customers living in the U.K.'s Cambridge area.

* Google acquired smartwatch OS startup Cronologics, the latter said on its website. Cronologics will join Google's Android wear division.

* Microsoft is seeking the Chinese government's approval to start selling its augmented reality goggles HoloLens in the first half of 2017, the software giant said Dec. 7.

* Latvian/Egyptian drone company Drofie postponed its crowdfunding campaign for February 2017 due to timing constraints, according to a statement posted Dec. 7 on Twitter Inc.

* Google is now offering 4K content on its Google Play Movies & TV service, according to a Dec. 6 blog post. The company is also making its library available on its Daydream VR headset.