Is the Huawei saga finally reaching its conclusion? For years, the American government has hounded the Chinese company for its ties to its respective country’s government. The administration then issued several bans, forcing Huawei to either find alternatives or give up its business. To the company’s dismay, Huawei has already suffered intensive damage. Now, amid their victory, the United States is throwing the company a bone by dropping its charges against Huawei heir Meng Wanzhou.
Back in 2018, Canadian authorities arrested the daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei. Meng, who is also Huawei’s chief finance officer, was indicted with charges related to an illegal trade deal in Iran. Since then, the company’s heir found herself stuck in a limbo between house arrest and potential extradition to the United States.
Her chapter in the ongoing Huawei struggle is apparently over. In the United States, Meng pleaded not guilty to the government’s charges and agreed to take responsibility for her role in the deal. For their part, the government has dropped the charges in an apparent agreement with the CFO. Meng was allowed to return home to China.
Though Meng Wanzhou is off the leash, Huawei still has an uphill battle because of the said deal. Further, the company is still fighting against bans from the American government. Huawei has already fallen off the ranks in terms of success in the smartphone realm.
Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings steps down as CEO
Names new successor
Netflix’s 2022 was rocky, to say the least. After dropping long-time subscribers for the first time in a while, the streaming platform has resorted to a variety of strategies to entice users to stay. While only a few of the new initiatives have resulted in positive change, the company is still on its uphill climb to regain its position atop other streaming giants. Now, Netflix is moving towards more drastic changes.
As revealed by the platform’s quarterly earnings, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings has stepped down as co-CEO of the company. However, Hastings will not completely leave the company. Instead, the co-founder will assume the role of executive chairman, leaving Ted Sarandos and the newly appointed Greg Peters as co-CEOs.
Currently, neither Hastings nor Netflix has revealed why the former is stepping down from the position. Of note, the platform even posted a growth in subscriber count for the past quarter. Netflix added 7.7 million new subscribers, eclipsing a projected growth of only 4.5 million subscribers. At the very least, Hastings has confirmed that he wants to work on share value and philanthropy going forward.
Last year, Netflix added new ways for users to engage with the platform. Now, besides watching movies and series, subscribers can play a gallery of mobile games. Users can also avail themselves of cheaper subscription plans supported by ads.
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Apple is preparing to open its first stores in India
Based on new job listings
For one of the largest smartphone markets in the world, India is one of the rarer countries where Apple does not outright dominate. Undoubtedly, the company is trying to change that. Ongoing job listings in India are suggesting that Apple is ready to open its first brick-and-mortar store in the country.
First reported by Financial Times, Apple has posted job openings in India for several retail roles including for the iconic Genius Bar. Another clue even indicates that some spots have already been filled ahead of time. A few employees in the country have reportedly posted about their new jobs on LinkedIn.
Unfortunately, none of the job listings show how many stores are planned and where they will be. Narrowing things down by a bit, a few of the confirmed employees are from Mumbai and New Delhi. The report also does not indicate when the stores will open. However, since a few have already been hired, a grand opening might be coming soon.
Apple has a lot to gain by strengthening its foothold in India. The country is an important stronghold for smartphone companies. However, the company might find things harder as time goes by. The country recently dictated that brands must switch to USB-C if they want to sell their devices in India. All over the world, Apple remains the last stalwart against adopting the more universal standard.
Samsung hires Mercedes-Benz alum to head design team
Will handle Galaxy S, Galaxy Z, among others
Outside of the arms race of maximizing hardware, another important battle is the persistent evolution of design. A friendly and approachable design just adds the necessary pizzaz to make an otherwise bland device pop off the shelves. Pushing the next evolution of design for the brand, Samsung has hired a Mercedes-Benz alum to head its Mobile eXperience Design Team.
Today, Samsung has announced the hiring of Hubert H. Lee as the head of the MX team, which handles Samsung’s most popular designs. Formerly, Lee was the chief design officer of Mercedes-Benz China. During his tenure as the carmaker’s designer, Lee spearheaded several projects in both China and the United States. He also bagged awards at his former position.
Now, as part of the Samsung MX team, Lee is in charge of the designs of the Galaxy S, Galaxy Z, and Galaxy Watch series. Given the timing of Samsung’s usual product cycles, Lee’s contributions will likely affect the Galaxy S24 series, rather than the upcoming Galaxy S23 series. Samsung is already pegged to launch the next flagship series sometime in early February.
Still, a new design head sparks some optimism for the South Korean brand. The effect of brilliant design is remarkably palpable for tech companies. For example, Samsung’s primary rival Apple still relies heavily on the contributions of its former design chief, Jony Ive.
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