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Uber suspended in the Philippines for a month [Updated]

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The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board or LTFRB has suspended the operation of ride-sharing service Uber for one month in the Philippines. The suspension is due to the company’s failure to comply to an earlier mandate by the transportation regulating body.

A CNN Philippines report cites LTFRB spokesperson Aileen Lizada saying that Uber violated its July 26, 2017 order to stop accepting applications for accreditation. The spokesperson said Uber activated at least three vehicles the very next day.

In an August 1 statement, Uber clarified that they indeed accepted applications saying they are “optimistic that with the ongoing discussions with the LTFRB, ride-sharing has a path forward.” The company insists these applications were not processed.

The suspension order was issued 6PM of August 14, 2017. The LTFRB also “strongly recommends” that Uber provide its drivers financial assistance during the suspension period.

Uber Philippines has issued a statement on the morning of Tuesday, August 15, 2017 saying they will comply with the suspension order and that they are doing everything they can “to resolve the situation in the soonest possible time.”

LTFRB versus Uber and Grab

There is an ongoing discussion between the LTFRB and ride-sharing services Uber and Grab over how the two companies should be regulated in the Philippines. Grab is another service that operates in the Philippines and in nearby countries.

In July 2016, the LTFRB issued a memo to Uber and Grab to stop accepting and processing applications. The two companies defied the order citing public demand as the primary reason and has since paid PhP 5 million as fine for the violation.

Uber facing issues around the world

Uber is no stranger to facing difficulties against the government. The company has appeared in headlines all over the world for continuing to operate without securing proper permits from the respective countries they operate in. Uber previously faced suspensions and fines in countries like South Korea, Taiwan, and New Zealand among others over a similar issue.

The ride-sharing service has also faced opposition from local taxi drives worldwide. Cab drivers and operators in countries like Spain, Portugal, and many others said Uber is unfair competition.

Update (12:30PM, GMT+8 Manila Time)

It looks like Uber Philippines isn’t going to let their operations stall after all.

According to the company’s official Twitter account, a motion for reconsideration has been filed for the one-month suspension to be lifted. In the meantime, Uber will continue its services despite the LTFRB’s original orders.

In a report by ABS-CBN News LTFRB’s Lizada said the suspension “stands” despite Uber’s motion for reconsideration. The same report stated that Lizada sent a text message to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority or MMDA saying, “Uber is online again. Let us apprehend them.”

Update (7:20PM, GMT+8 Manila Time)

The LTFRB has denied Uber Philippines’ motion for reconsideration to lift the month-long suspension. In a statement posted on its Twitter account, Uber said it will continue to work on resolving the matter urgently.

SEE ALSO: Grab will give you a free horse ride in Baguio

[irp posts=”1421″ name=”Grab will give you a free horse ride in Baguio”]

Enterprise

Qualcomm allegedly ordered a smear campaign against Apple

The two have beef against each other

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Image source: Flickr/Masaru Kamikura

Over the past two years, Facebook has been at the forefront of cybersecurity concerns. In 2016, the company allowed Russian intelligence to run rampant on the social media network. Though relatively subdued, the revelation revealed the company’s role in politics. Later, in 2018, the company was accused of mismanaging user data with Cambridge Analytica. Supposedly, the data influenced the US elections in 2016, as well as other political events around the globe.

Amid these controversies, a lone PR firm, Definers Public Affairs, has controversially managed the social media network’s failed redemption arc. Borrowing from Republican political campaigns, the firm infuses public relations with political strategies. This includes smear campaigns against a client’s rivals. Notably, Facebook hired the firm to take on George Soros, among others.

However, a key event in this timeline hints at a third player skulking in the shadows. Recently, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg allegedly ordered his executives to ditch Apple’s iPhones for Android. Prior to this, Apple threw shade at Facebook’s sketchy ethics, emphasizing the value of privacy. Later, conservative websites, including the Definers-affiliated NTK Network, lambasted the former for similarly detestable practices. The news reeked of Definers’ involvement.

True enough, Tim Miller, Definers owner, confirmed that his firm did work on Apple. However, Facebook isn’t to blame. According to a New York Times exposé about Facebook, a third tech company is responsible for the firm’s handiwork against Apple.

After the exposé’s release, Business Insider and NBC News have claimed the mysterious tech company’s identity — Qualcomm. The company in question is no stranger to Apple. Apple supposedly owes Qualcomm some US$ 7 billion in royalties, prompting legal action between the two.

According to Business Insider, Miller approached the publication with story ideas that are “damaging to Apple and positive for Qualcomm.” Meanwhile, in NBC News, a former NTK Network employee directly named Qualcomm as the mystery client.

Adding fuel to the fire, Definers and Qualcomm have refused to comment on the issue in both news reports.

SEE ALSO: Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 675 chip is based on 11nm process

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India

These Xiaomi phones have officially received permanent price cuts

In time for the holiday season!

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Just this week Xiaomi announced that a few of its products were receiving a price hike, these include the Redmi 6A, Redmi 6, Mi LED TV 4C Pro, Mi LED TV 4A Pro, and the 10,000mAh Mi Power Bank 2i. The company said a depreciating rupee had consistently increased acquisition costs and hence was forced to bring in a price hike.

Today, Xiaomi signaled a price cut for a few of its Redmi phones. These include two options of the Redmi Note 5 Pro, two variants of the Mi A2, and the Redmi Y2 4GB.

All the listed phones have received a flat price drop of INR 1,000 (US$ 14). The Redmi Note 5 Pro 4GB is available for INR 13,999 (US$ 195), instead of INR 14,999 (US$ 208). Similarly, the 6GB option is now available for INR 15,999 (US$ 223), instead of INR 16,999 (US$ 236).

The Mi A2 64GB is available for INR 15,999 (US$ 223) while the 128GB option costs INR 18,999 (US$ 264). Lastly, the Redmi Y2 4GB now costs INR 11,999 (US$ 167). These new prices are already effective across all sales platforms.

All the above devices have been launched this year and the Redmi Note 5 Pro has been a best-seller. When combined, these devices have contributed in making Xiaomi the top smartphone brand in India and even widen its lead over Samsung.

The company had long back announced its intention of keeping profits under control. The company never intends to cross more than a five percent profit margin on any hardware product, and in case it does, the sum will be given back to the “Mi Fans.”

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New iPad Pro can’t survive bend test because it’s too thin

Oh, snap!

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Image credit: JerryRigEverything (YouTube)

When a device gets released, it’s always nice to know how it holds up through a series of durability test. The new iPad Pro from Apple is beautiful, powerful, and expensive. But, can it survive a simple bend test? Spoiler alert: It can’t.

The iPad Pro (specifically the 11-inch variant) is the latest star on the JerryRigEverything YouTube channel. Zack’s newest video shows that the new iPad Pro can be bent and destroyed using two hands with little to no effort.

Why is that so? Let’s watch the full video first:

As always, the video started with the second-gen Apple Pencil that works well with the iPad Pro. The new Apple Pencil is redesigned to magnetically attach to the tablet and charge wirelessly. When Zack snapped the high-tech stylus in half, we could see the wireless charging component, the strong magnets, and batteries.

Now onto the main star of the video. The 11-inch iPad Pro, like with other iPads before, has an aluminum body which feels premium and cold to the touch.

The screen’s glass scratched at a level 6, which is normal but he pointed out that the glass is thinner than the usual. The sides, buttons, and overall body of the iPad Pro are made of metal. Although, there’s is a section of plastic where the Apple Pencil attaches and charges. There are also tiny holes for the microphones.

When it was time for Zack’s signature bend test, the iPad Pro cracked in the middle. The weak points of the tablet appeared to be the microphone hole on the tablet’s left side and the Apple Pencil’s charging dock on the right.

Based on initial observation, the tablet doesn’t have any sturdy structure inside its aluminum body. The new iPad Pro is indeed very thin, but Apple didn’t have to sacrifice the tablet’s durability.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPad Pro (2018) Unboxing

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