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LATEST TECH NEWS: “Google employees” petition company to break ties with police. 4 other things and a trivia you need to know today, June 23, 2020

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These 5 latest stories from the tech space will keep you updated with trends today.

1. “Google employees” petition company to break ties with police

Over 1,600 employees of Google have signed a petition requesting that the software and digital solution company break its existing ties with the police force. This motion is contained in a letter forwarded to CEO Sundar Pichai demanding that the company stop selling its products and technology to police departments. According to the grieving workers, the call comes as a display of solidarity to the worldwide protests of the death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

Industry experts in the tech space, commenting on the action of the workers, noted that Google’s workers want their company to re-act to the racial incident like other leading tech companies like Microsoft, IBM and Amazon. Noting the protest movement that began with George Floyd’s murder and which has since expanded globally “into a rebellion against racism and police terror,” the letter demands that Google ends its ties with police departments and stops selling everything from its relatively innocuous G Suite software (Google Docs, Gmail, etc.) to more contentious facial recognition software.

2. Horizon Quantum closes $3.23M to expand product portfolio

Singapore-based company, Horizon Quantum, that focuses on building new tools for building software for quantum computers, has, Tuesday, announced raising $3.23 million funding round led by Sequoia Capital India. In pursuing its vision, the software company also saw the participation of previous investors such as SGInnovate, Abies Ventures, DCVC, Qubit Protocol, Summer Capital and Posa VC. According to Horizon Quantum, the fund will further strengthen its aim to democratize quantum development.

However, it noted that it will take a new set of tools to help today’s developers tackle quantum, adding to its product portfolio. Commenting on its edge in the industry, industry reviewers have stated that the company takes conventional source code and then automatically analyzes them to figure out where a quantum computer could speed up an algorithm. It is therefore expected that the company will build products capable of identifying potential speedups in code written for Matlab and Octave.

Tech Trivia:

Which music celebrity dumped Twitter for Instagram in 2017 and still maintains a growing following of over 18 million on Twitter?
A. Akon
B. Beyonce
C. Ed Sheeran
D. Naira Marley
Answer: See end of post.

3. Apple bids Intel bye as its processor developer

Walking away to build its own product, Apple on Monday said it will switch to its own chips for its Mac computers. This ends a nearly 15-year dependence on Intel to supply processors for its flagship laptops and desktop. Addressing press on the new development, Apple CEO Tim Cook said this marked the “beginning of a major new era for a product line powered the company’s rise in the 1980s and its resurgence in the late 1990s.”

“Silicon is at the heart of our hardware. Having a world-class silicon design team is a game changer,” Cook further boasted. Industry review has noted that this “silicon switch” brings the Mac into line with the company’s iPhone and iPads, which already use Apple-designed chips. Following the announcement of this development to the public, the conference has gained new prominence since paid services sold through the App Store have become central to the company’s revenue growth as consumers have slowed the growth of iPhone upgrades.

4. Habana’s Retroactive launches sports promotions app

Earlier this month, Springbok rugby player Bryan Habana’s Retroactive launched a sports marketing app called MatchKit. This comes after his sport startup Paymenow announced landing a R4-million investment. While reviewers have noted that the sportman has been as busy on field as he is in business, the new launch further acknowledged Habana’s zeal to carve a niche for himself as an entrepreneur.

Although, the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to cost professional sports players millions of dollars as event cancellations are set to result in pay cuts, loss of appearance-fee income, and reductions in endorsement deals. Habana and his team, on the other hand, hopes their app helps sports people develop an alternative source of revenue. According to the sportpreneur, the app allows sports people to upload a highlights video to showcase to their sponsors while helping them track and monetise their fan base, by for instance allowing them to sell merchandise to fans.

5. Options trading platform Sparrow raises $3.5 million Series A

Sparrow Exchange, a Singapore-based Bitcoin and Ethereum options trading platform, announced today it has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding. According to the crypto platform, the round was led by HDR Group, the owner of cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX, with participation from Signum Capital, Du Capital and FinLab EOS VC. With an existing interest to expand its portfolio, the funding will be used to develop Sparrow’s platform and launch new products and services.

Since its launch nearly a year ago, the startup has seen over $150 million in options trading volume. Confirming the new raiser, FinLab EOS VC Fund managing director Stefan Schuetze said, “We are excited to invest in Sparrow, which is developing the next generation of financial products by leveraging EOSIO for their on-chain settlement layer.” However, despite the pandemic, the company says it has seen an increase in volume over the past few months.

Tech Trivia Answer: Ed Sheeran

29 year old Edward Christopher Sheeran is an English singer, songwriter, record producer, and actor. In early 2011, Sheeran independently released the extended play, No. 5 Collaborations Project. After signing with Asylum Records, his debut album, “+” (pronounced “plus”), was released in September 2011 and topped the UK Albums Chart. It contained his first hit single “The A Team”. In 2012, Sheeran won the Brit Awards for Best British Male Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act.

In 2017, Ed Sheeran stopped using his Twitter handle @edsheeran, leaving behind a note on his bio for followers to join him on Instagram. The message reads: “I dont use this anymore, please follow me on teddysphotos on Instagram, lots of love x.” Despite this sign off, Ed Sheeran’s following keeps growing over the years.

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