Updated: August 10, 2020 11:22:26 am
The world of technology saw a lot of developments throughout the week. Donald Trump has had a busy week, as he issued two executive orders against China-based TikTok and WeChat, prohibiting Americans from doing any business with the apps’ Chinese owners, citing national security concerns. Microsoft too made headlines this week when it confirmed that it was looking to acquire TikTok’s US operations before September 15, the date when President Trump said he would ban the video-sharing app in the US. Elsewhere, we saw the launch of the Galaxy Note 20 series, Google Pixel 4a and refreshed 27-inch iMac. This week we also heard the news of Apple’s long-serving executive Phil Schiller stepping down from his role of chief marketing officer.
Here’s a comprehensive recap of the best tech stories from the past week.
Trump signs executive orders against TikTok and WeChat
President Donald Trump signed two executive orders that would ban TikTok and WeChat from operating in the US in 45 days if they are not sold by their Chinese-owned owners. The move puts pressure on ByteDance and Tencent to either sell their US operations to an American company or shut down the app in the country. WeChat is a messaging app developed by Tencent, whereas TikTok is a popular video-sharing app by ByteDance. Both apps were among 59 Chinese apps banned by the Indian government in late June.
Microsoft eyes TikTok’s US operations
Microsoft appears to the front runner in acquiring TikTok’s US operations. If the two companies reach a deal, Microsoft would get to operate TikTok in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The size of the deal is not known, though CNBC speculates Microsoft could pay anywhere between $10 to $30 billion to acquire TikTok’s US operations from its parent company ByteDance. Meanwhile, The Financial Times heard from its sources that the Redmond, Washington-based software giant wants to buy TikTok’s global business, including the app’s operations in India and Europe. India is TikTok’s biggest market with over 650 million downloads, according to Sensor Tower. A deal would give Microsoft access to the data and TikTok’s algorithm that makes it different from similar video-sharing apps.
Samsung unveils Galaxy Note 20 series
During a live-streamed event from South Korea, Samsung on Wednesday announced two high-end Galaxy Note 20 smartphones; a new Galaxy Watch model; Galaxy Buds Live; two new tablets; and a successor to the Galaxy Fold. The new Galaxy Note 20 phones will go on sale on August 21 and they are not cheap. The Galaxy Note 20 will cost you Rs 77,999 for the base model, whereas the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra starts at Rs 104,999. Both smartphones are up for pre-order in India.
Google Pixel 4a starts at $349
This week, Google announced its new budget Pixel 4a, starting at just $349. The phone is aimed at Apple’s iPhone SE, which starts at $399. The Pixel 4a has a 5.8-inch OLED screen, Snapdragon 730G processor, 6GB RAM, 128GB storage, audio and caption features and a single 12MP camera. Google has already confirmed the Pixel 4a will come to India in October, though the company is yet to confirm its price. The Pixel 4a is the most affordable smartphone in Google’s Pixel line of smartphones.
Apple announces new 27-inch iMac
Apple’s new 27-inch iMac also hogged limelight this week. While the design remains identical to previous iMacs, Apple upgraded the internal hardware of the all-in-one computer. The iMac is targeted at those people who are looking to replace their old computer in favour of the new iMac with a bigger, 5K screen, updated Intel processors, a 1080p HD webcam, improved speakers and microphones. The 27-inch iMac starts at Rs 169,900, and will go on sale in India later this month.
Apple replaces marketing chief Phil Schiller
In a surprise move, Apple announced this week that its marketing chief Phil Schiller will step down from his role and serve as an “Apple Fellow”. Schiller will be replaced by Greg Joswiak, who now holds the title of vice president of worldwide marketing. Schiller will continue his role as the head of Apple’s App Store and company events, Apple said in a statement. The veteran executive has worked at Apple since 1987.
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