Enterprise

San Miguel Corporation raises white flag, to sell telco assets to Globe and PLDT

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Life moves fast, especially in the Philippine telecommunications industry. Earlier this year, the talk of the town was a potential joint venture between Australia’s Telstra and local conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC), which would have brought an end to the telco duopoly of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and Globe Telecom.

We all know how that turned out — how the ray of hope was shuttered just as quickly as it surfaced. And now, the possibility of SMC, a diversified firm with interests that stretch from food and beverage to oil and infrastructure, providing mobile and internet services is all but kaput.


A report from the Philippine Daily Inquirer today claimed SMC is expected to sell its telecommunications assets to PLDT and Globe in a blockbuster joint deal worth $1 billion. The agreement could be signed off this morning, the paper’s source added. You may recall a similar incident in 2011, when PLDT bought then-rival Sun Cellular from tycoon John Gokongwei.

The highlight of the agreement is the 700MHz spectrum PLDT and Globe stand to acquire, should the deal go through. The wireless spectrum is highly valued for its ability to cover larger areas and provide better cellular coverage inside buildings.

Globe had previously launched a full-on campaign with the promise to “improve internet speed in the country” to get the issue of ownership and distribution of the spectrum in the public discourse, but to no effect. PLDT echoed the same call. Now that they’re getting what they wanted all along, customers should hold them accountable to their words. Because, as anyone in the archipelago knows, delivering quality internet services at reasonable rates should be the top priority of any carrier, with or without the fire of competition.

[irp posts=”7155" name=”Cyber attacks take down half the Internet”]

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer
Image credit: Wikimapia

Enterprise

Huawei is firing hundreds of workers

From their research department in the US

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After everything, Huawei should be enjoying its recent influx of good news. Burdened by more than a year’s worth of uncertainty, Huawei was finally freed from America’s serpentine grasp. Recently, US President Donald Trump reversed a landmark ban that would have eventually killed Huawei’s business. Huawei is getting back on track.

However, instead of resting on its laurels, Huawei is still in panic mode. The Chinese company is gearing up for an extensive wave of layoffs in America. According to the Wall Street Journal, they will fire hundreds of employees from a pool of 850 workers. The pink slips will reportedly come from Huawei’s research and development division called Futurewei Technologies.


Additionally, Futurewei’s China-born employees can opt to relocate back to their home country, ensuring their continued employment with the company. Unfortunately, the company’s American employees won’t share the same privilege. Some employees already know about their impending fate. Meanwhile, Huawei is still planning more firings in the future.

Huawei’s recent layoffs stem from the continued pressure by the US government. If the country remains hostile, it’s best to relocate to a safer territory. Besides the loss of jobs, Futurewei’s relocation confirms Huawei’s renewed dedication to keep its future developments under wraps.

Despite the increased optimism, Huawei is still preparing for the worst. The company is building its resistance against geopolitical threats in the future. Unfortunately, we don’t know what this means for Huawei’s future outings yet.

SEE ALSO: Huawei will reportedly lay off hundreds of US workers

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Enterprise

Google is listening to your private conversations

They admit to the leak

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Have you ever worried about voice assistants listening in on your private conversations? Apparently, your paranoia was right. Straight from the horse’s mouth, Google has admitted to the unsolicited voyeurism of its consumers’ voice recordings.

Like most voice assistants, Google Assistant records and analyzes its owner’s voice for intelligible commands. Consequently, Google Home responds with the adequate function requested by the user.


Unfortunately, artificial intelligence is still an imperfect art, dependent on human intervention. Currently, Google employs a team of analysts to improve their speech recognition technology. These experts contribute to the voice assistant’s efficiency. Whenever a user says “Hey, Google,” the device sends the conversation to Google’s servers, allowing experts to listen in. Thankfully, Google’s team listens to only “around 0.2 percent of all audio snippets.” Further, these snippets shouldn’t contain any sensitive user information.

Sadly, humanity isn’t perfect. “We just learned that one of these reviewers has violated our data security policies by leaking confidential Dutch audio data,” Google said in a statement. As a rule, Google’s experts can’t transcribe or transfer conversations. The Dutch leak is a clear violation of Google’s policies.

In response, Google’s security team is already on the case. The company has already found the leak. In addition, they are also reviewing their safeguard policies to prevent future mishaps from happening again.

Regardless, the company’s blunder is a huge dent on voice recognition technology. Previously, Amazon also committed the same mistake with its Alexa technology.

SEE ALSO: Google provides official preview of Pixel 4

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Enterprise

Huawei can still get banned again in the future

Ban’s lift only temporary, official says

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By now, the whole Huawei situation is more confusing than anything. Naturally, Trump’s initial announcement ushered in a wave of optimism across the industry. Huawei was finally free once again. The company’s reinstatement should have ended the entire saga. Unfortunately, things aren’t going as planned.

As reported earlier, the American government still held on to the Chinese company. Despite assenting to Trump’s announcement, US lawmakers kept Huawei on their blacklist. Huawei is still in political limbo.


Finally, the US has announced an official statement regarding the ban’s lifting. According to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the government will issue trade licenses to approved companies who deal business with Huawei. The licenses will depend on whether a product is a threat to national security. Unfortunately, this isn’t a crystal-clear definition. Ultimately, government officials will subjectively judge products according to their own whims.

If anything, the relaxed ban will likely save Huawei’s consumer business. The company’s consumer devices aren’t the government’s focus right now. The government will likely issue consumer licenses much more liberally.

Unfortunately, the relaxed ban might mean nothing in the long run. According to economic adviser Larry Kudlow, the reversal is only “for a limited time period.” In other words, Huawei isn’t out of the woods yet. Should trade talks fall apart (or if Trump decides so), the government can ban the company once again.

Currently, Trump is negotiating trade policies with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The fate of the US-China trade war is still up in the air. Accordingly, Huawei is still clamped in American jaws as a bargaining chip. Huawei’s troubles just can’t seem to end. Will we ever see the end of the war against Huawei?

SEE ALSO: Our security shouldn’t only be Huawei’s price to pay

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