This Week In Tech And Telco: Things Aren’t So Uber For Bing

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Uber on its way to becoming a challenger bank

Uber has announced it’s created a mobile wallet for drivers, allowing some 4m operators across the globe to get paid for their rides immediately.

They can use their designated debit card to make payments and the accounts will also give them access to Uber’s free overdrafts.

Uber Money is likely to expand into offering large loans to its drivers, considering it already offers micro-loans in some countries.

Uber is not the first tech company to dabble in finance – Apple released its own card earlier this year and we’re well aware of Facebook’s attempt at building a global cryptocurrency. And when public faith in institutions is at a low, why not?

But what does this mean for other big tech companies and the gig economy going forward? How will challenger banks react? Are we, as businesses and consumers, all going to be stuck in little, branded ecosystems?

The Uber Driver
Will Uber evolve into a challenger bank?

Bing backs down to focus on business

The Microsoft-owned search engine Bing and Edge web browser will now focus on business users, the company announced.

The move comes after a long and relentless battle with Google for number one in search engine land. Microsoft, with Internet Explorer, long dominated the browser market but has failed also to compete with Google Chrome in recent years.

Microsoft is adding new features to its products, enhancing the business appeal. This includes a unified web search with search on a business’ internal network, plus new privacy and security features.

Microsoft tech to but business focused
Microsoft to focus on business professionals from now on.

$60m fine for AT&T throttling

AT&T has agreed to pay $60 million in a settlement deal with the Federal Trade Commission for secretly throttled unlimited plans in 2011.

According to the FTC, the company slowed some unlimited plans that went over just 2 GB per month – and never told customers. If you were a customer in 2011, you could be owed a refund.

Do you think the telecoms industry plays fast and loose with “unlimited” plans?

Google is designing an open-source, ultra-secure chip

Google and its partners are going to build open-source, ultra-secure computer chips.

The project, named OpenTitan, is the first-ever open-source silicon root of trust (RoT) and will help deliver high-quality chip designs for use in data center servers, storage and smartphones.

The root of trust is where the chip runs cryptographic checks every time the system starts, checking whether or not it has been compromised. If so, the chip will fail to boot.

This could be a game-changer for protecting against hacks, which are increasingly sophisticated.

OpenTitan is managed by the lowRISC, a not-for-profit, and is supported by a group of partners including ETH Zurich, G+D Mobile Security, Google, Nuvoton Technology, and Western Digital.

My laptop was getting repaired, so I took the opportunity to take some pictures of the taken - apart body.
Will Google's hardware keep out the bad actors?

Other tech stories we’re reading:

  • The US government has launched a national security review of the Chinese-owned platform TikTok, amid fears the app will share American data with the Communist Party of China or become a channel for foreign-controlled disinformation. Will TikTok meet the same fate as Huawei? (MIT)
  • Two former Twitter employees have been charged with using their access to the site’s workings to spy for Saudi Arabia. The incident, which highlighted how hugely influential companies can be penetrated from the inside and out, raised concerns about Big Tech’s ability to protect its users. (NYT)
  • Struggling with something at home? A robot arm could help. Researchers at the University of Bristol have created a handheld robot that lets someone remotely provide assistance or guidance. (New Scientist)

    🚀 Are you a bootstrapped startup? Check out this handy Medium article with all of the tools you’ll need to get your idea off the ground.

See you next week!

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