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IBM is set to acquire Red Hat (top Linux distributor) for $34 Billion in its big leap into hybrid cloud – this is going to be one of the largest software acquisitions ever bypassing Microsoft’s $26.2 Billion acquisition of LinkedIn. If all goes well and the deal is approved, the acquisition is expected to close in the latter half of next year. This tweet from one of Red Hat’s engineers shows the ecxitement:

Why this is important: IBM has recently been taking bigger bets on the cloud specifically services that integrate on-premises with cloud-based architectures. As of May this year, these two companies had already started working together as a test drive. This move gives IBM a strong footing in the open source software – something that is the core of Red Hat. The combined businesses will still continue to partner with other multiple cloud providers such as Amazon’s AWS and Google Cloud. Red Hat will be a distinct unit within IBM’s Hybrid Cloud Team. This acquisition will reshape Linux, the open source and the cloud worlds.

Tim Cook Critiques ad-supported tech giants

On Wednesday, Apple CEO, Tim Cook was at a privacy conference where he gave a rhetorical assault on Facebook and Google. He kept reiterating Apple’s commitment to privacy and their rivals’ lack of. He also spelt out public concerns regarding data collection and surveillance accusing algorithmic feeds and the ways they are abused. He attacked the data-industrial complex arguing that data itself is being weaponized against people and societies.

Apple takes lots of millions from Google as it is the default search engine on its hardware

Concerning China, Google and Facebook are trying to venture into this market while Apple is flourishing. This doesn’t mean they still don’t care about privacy even though they have banned encrypted messaging and privacy-protecting, anti-censorship VPN apps from its app store as it caved to Beijing’s demands. It’s conspicuous how Apple has still has continued to operate in China with so little conversation of potential government access to users data. This does not take away the very real steps Apple is doing to protect the privacy of its users as compared to its rivals.

One thing to note: Tim Cook’s “data industrial complex” is a powerful thing but it’s so powerful since it’s an integral part of the modern world and we can’t escape it. It’s going to take more than buying Apple’s hardware including iPhones, iPads and Macbooks to avoid mass data collection.

Google to now provide users with easier access to privacy controls and delete stored data

It’s no coincidence that right after Tim Cook’s talk at a privacy conference in Brussels that Google decided to now let users review and delete their recent search activity while also providing easier access to privacy controls, This update comes to desktop web and its mobile apps later. Its other products like Maps will also get the new privacy-focused controls. With this announcement, it will be easier to change privacy settings and delete stored data from within a particular Google service so now you won’t have to stick with the default options like before where you had to go to your Google account page to change the privacy settings

Facebook

  • Facebook is on a shopping spree for a cybersecurity firm – it has approached several companies with acquisition discussions on the table. The social media giant is on a path to repair its tattered image concerning data protection. Facebook is betting on companies that will serve two purposes – strengthen its talent in this field and also deliver a much-needed PR win for them.
  • Facebook rolled out a new updated, redesigned and decluttered Messenger app with a focus on simplicity, fewer tabs including a Chats, People and Discover tabs and a dark mode is also coming. This is a step in the right direction as the new app will put the focus back on your chats and not the extra distractions it did with the previous version that had games, bots and payments.
  • Facebook will now downrank stories with false headlines: Fact-checkers will now be able to note whether the headline or the story is false or if both are false.
  • In an effort to increase engagement on Facebook Stories, the company is adding new lipsyncing features for licensed music so you’ll be able to pin a song to your profile together with music stickers. This comes after reports that Facebook is also building a TikTok clone called Lasso that will let users record and share videos of themselves dancing or lipsyncing to popular songs.

Interesting Reads:

Twitter

Google

Elsewhere

  • Mozilla launched Firefox 63 that comes with Enhanced Tracking Protection which will block third-party trackers and increase users privacy – it’s off by default though.
  • Samsung has partnered with Google to develop a special Android version for its foldable screen device internally known as “Winner”.
  • Amazon together with SuperMicro have joined Apple in calling for Bloomberg to withdraw the explosive China spy chip story they published. Amazon has even removed its ads from Bloomberg and the publisher has not been invited to Apple’s event tomorrow.
  • Netflix is testing ads on its platform but here’s why you shouldn’t worry about it – they will be skippable, last 30 seconds to promote Netflix’s own content, they are not going to be permanent, there’s an opt-out option and you may actually like the promoted content.

Distract

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