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Dubai International Blockchain Summit 2018

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (FNN NEWS) /Dubai International Blockchain Summit/– 2018 is all set to start with an event which promises to be the biggest fintech happening in Dubai to date. The Dubai International Blockchain Summit 2018 (DIBS) will feature technology leaders and concept advocates within the blockchain industry. The event’s organizers recently announced over-subscription in terms of sponsors and investors which has exceeded the expectations. The event now anticipates attracting over 50 sponsors.

In addition to sponsor and investor interest, DIBS has managed to attract some industry heavyweights in terms of speakers including the likes of Waleed Al Dhuhoori, Head of Corporate Applications and the Deputy in Smart Government Committee, Dubai Health Authority, Mo Tayeb, co-founder of Medicalchain, and Marco Robinson, founder of NKD Technologies.

The list continues to grow in every sense as the organisers have indicated that they are in talks with many more speakers. With all these ingredients in place, DIBS should be on the to-do list of every fintech professional or potential.

“It is imperative for all blockchain and technology enthusiasts to have platforms for knowledge sharing and discussion of adoption strategies, and Dubai International Blockchain Summit is an event that offers just that. I am delighted to be a part of an event that promises to be a conduit in the development of this global tech phenomenon,” said Mo Tayab, co-founder of Medicalchain.

“Summits of this nature are of critical importance in exploring the widespread utility of blockchain and I stress on all like-minded individuals to put it on their ‘To-Do’ list,” he added.

DIBS will be held under the theme “You have to virtually pay to play” on Jan. 8, 2018, in Atlantis Hotel, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, from 8:30 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Innovators from this emerging tech environment will be traveling from countries worldwide including United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Russia, Malaysia and India.

Attendees can expect an exciting programme and gain insight from visionary speakers working with or in the field of blockchain, participate in roundtable discussions, facilitate business meetings and participate in networking sessions to connect with key industry leaders and investors.

The summit is open for registration; early bird tickets are available until 18 December 2018.

Official website to buy tickets: dibs.ae

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Craigslist founder donates $15 million for journalism ethics

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PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — The founder of Craigslist says he will donate $15 million to Columbia University and the Poynter Institute for separate efforts promoting ethics in journalism.

The announcement on Wednesday establishes Craig Newmark in the forefront of philanthropists focused on journalism, a cause he’s supported with some $85 million in the past few years. Some in the industry see irony in that, since the online classified advertising site that made him rich took away a lucrative revenue source for many newspapers.

Columbia, with one of the leading graduate journalism programs in the country, will get $10 million to establish the Craig Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Security. The Florida-based Poynter think tank will get $5 million, its largest single donation ever, to offer additional journalism ethics training.

Newmark said he’s been concerned since the 2016 election about attacks on the press and the trust of citizens in the institution. Among his other gifts has been $20 million to establish a graduate school for journalism at the City University of New York.

“A trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy,” Newmark said.

Technology has made ethical issues much more complex than they used to be, said Steve Coll, dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. The ability to manipulate video, the need to protect sources in a high-tech world and provide security for journalists against online harassment are all issues that will be ripe for study in the new center Columbia will set up, he said.

Columbia will soon begin searching for a professor to direct the effort, he said.

Newmark, Coll said, “has decided to use his wealth very deliberately and we’re all appreciative of that.”

Kelly McBride, senior vice president at Poynter who has been the go-to expert for many in the journalism community who have questions about the ethical aspects of doing their job, said there’s been an increase in requests for help from newsrooms and individuals over the past two years.

“I feel like the industry is calling out for some sort of reinforcement,” she said, “and I really hope that we can be that resource in a much larger way than we do right now.”

The naming gift will create a new center for ethics and leadership at Poynter, where Newmark is a member of the board of directors.

Newmark said guilt about Craigslist’s impact on journalism doesn’t motivate him. While he said Craigslist had some effect on newspaper revenues, several other factors contributed to the financial troubles of journalism, and a focus on the company he created “is entirely misplaced.”

If Craigslist hadn’t created the online classified business, “it would have been someone else,” Coll said.

“Craig has really stepped up,” he said.

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World waits to see if Trump-Xi dinner brings trade peace

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — When President Donald Trump sits down for dinner Saturday with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, their table talk will undoubtedly have a global impact. What they agree on — or don’t — will determine whether stock markets rise or fall, whether the world economy gets some relief from destabilizing trade tensions, and cast judgment on the wisdom of the American leader’s hard-nosed trade tactics.

Trump and Xi will be seeking a way out of a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies, while also saving face for their domestic audiences at home. Trump Friday expressed optimism about a deal. “There’s some good signs,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

The Trump-Xi meeting is set to be the marquee event of Trump’s whirlwind two-day trip to Argentina for the Group of 20 Summit after the president cancelled a sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin over mounting tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Trade analysts and administration officials acknowledge it won’t be easy. The United States and China are locked in a dispute over their trade imbalance and Beijing’s push to challenge American technological dominance. Washington accuses China of deploying predatory tactics in its tech drive, including stealing trade secrets and forcing American firms to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market.

Trump has imposed import taxes on $250 billion in Chinese products. If he can’t get a deal with Xi, he’s poised to more than double most of those tariffs Jan. 1. And he’s threatened to expand tariffs to virtually everything China ships to the United States.

China, which has already slapped tariffs on $110 billion in U.S. goods, is likely to retaliate, ramping up a conflict that is already rattling financial markets and causing forecasters to downgrade the outlook for global economic growth.

U.S. officials insist that the American economy is more resilient to the tumult than China’s, but they remain anxious of the economic effects of a prolonged showdown — as Trump has made economic growth the benchmark by which he wants his administration judges.

It’s unlikely the two countries will reach a full-blown resolution in Buenos Aires; the issues that divide them are just too difficult. What’s more likely, analysts say, is that they reach a truce, buying time for more substantive talks. Whether such a cease-fire would be enough to get Trump to delay higher or expanded tariffs is unclear.

Growing concerns that the trade war will increasingly hurt corporate earnings and the U.S. economy are a key reason why U.S. stock prices have been sinking this fall.

Joining other forecasters, economists at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development last week downgraded their outlook for global economic growth next year to 3.5 percent from a previous 3.7 percent. In doing so, they cited the trade conflict as well as political uncertainty.

Trump met Friday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a rare trilateral meeting. The symbolism ahead of the Xi meeting was clear: the Trump administration has looked to find common cause with both nations in countering China’s regional hegemony.

Earlier that day, Trump signed a revamped three-way trade deal with Canada and Mexico, fulfilling a longstanding pledge, though the agreement could face headwinds in Congress. He also held a series of formal and informal meetings and will continue those sit-downs Saturday, including with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Last spring, it looked like Beijing and Washington might have found a peaceful resolution.

In May, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declared the trade war “on hold” after Beijing agreed to increase its purchases of U.S. soybeans and liquefied natural gas — a move that could have put a dent in China’s massive trade surplus with the United States.

But the cease-fire didn’t last. Facing criticism that he’d gone soft on China, Trump backed away from Mnuchin’s deal and decided to proceed with tariffs.

Now a lasting peace is likely to require the Chinese to scale back their ambitions to become a technological power. Or at least curb the strong-arm tactics.

Kudlow said the administration has been “extremely disappointed” by China’s engagement in trade talks but the meeting between Trump and Xi on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit could be a game-changer.

“Perhaps we can break through in Buenos Aires or not,” he said.

Kudlow added that if the U.S. doesn’t get “satisfactory” responses to its trade positions more tariffs will be imposed. He said Trump is “not going away.”

“I hope they understand that,” he said.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania is skeptical: “This has been their business model for a while,” Toomey told reporters this week. “They’re not going to abandon it lightly.”

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Microsoft surpasses Apple as most valuable public company

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Microsoft’s big bet on cloud computing is paying off as the company has surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company.

The software maker’s prospects looked bleak just a few years ago, as licenses for the company’s Windows system fell with a sharp drop in sales of personal computers.

But under CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has found stability by focusing on software and services over the internet, or the cloud, with long-term business contracts.

That 1990s personal-computing powerhouse is now having a renaissance moment, as it eclipses Facebook, Google, Amazon and the other tech darlings of the late decade.

Apple had been the world’s most prosperous firm since claiming the top spot from Exxon Mobil earlier this decade. Microsoft surpassed Apple briefly a few times this week, but didn’t close on top until Friday, with a market value of $851 billion to Apple’s $847 billion. Microsoft hadn’t been at the top since the height of the dot-com boom in 2000.

Microsoft became a contender again in large part because Apple’s stock fell nearly 20 percent in November, while Microsoft hasn’t done any worse than the rest of the stock market. But the fact that it hasn’t done poorly is a reflection of its steady focus on business customers in recent years.

Microsoft lost its luster as people were shunning PCs in favor of smartphones. In 2013, PC sales plunged 10 percent to about 315 million, the worst year-to-year drop ever, according to research firms Gartner and IDC. It didn’t help that Microsoft’s effort to make PCs more like phones, Windows 8, was widely panned.

But a turnaround began when the Redmond, Washington, company promoted Nadella as CEO in 2014. He succeeded Microsoft’s longtime CEO, Steve Ballmer, who initially scoffed at the notion that people would be willing to pay $500 or more for Apple’s iPhones.

That bet paid off. Windows is now a dwindling fraction of Microsoft’s business. While the company still runs consumer-focused businesses such as Bing search and Xbox gaming, it has prioritized business-oriented services such as its Office line of email and other workplace software, as well as newer additions such as LinkedIn and Skype. But its biggest growth has happened in the cloud, particularly the cloud platform it calls Azure. Cloud computing now accounts for more than a quarter of Microsoft’s revenue, and Microsoft rivals Amazon as a leading provider of such services.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said Azure is still in its early days, meaning there’s plenty of room for growth, especially considering the company’s large customer base for Office and other products.

“While the tech carnage seen over the last month has been brutal, shares of (Microsoft) continue to hold up like the Rock of Gibraltar,” he said.

Being less reliant on consumer demand helped shield Microsoft from holiday season turbulence and U.S.-China trade war jitters affecting Apple and other tech companies.

President Donald Trump amplified those tariff concerns when he told The Wall Street Journal in a story published late Monday that new tariffs could affect iPhones and laptops imported from China.

The iPhone maker had already seen its stock fall after reporting a mixed bag of quarterly results in early November amid fears about how the technology industry will fare in the face of such threats as rising interest rates, increased government regulation and Trump’s escalating trade war with China.

Apple also spooked investors with an unexpected decision to stop disclosing how many iPhones it sells each quarter. That move has been widely interpreted as a sign that Apple foresees further declines in iPhone sales and is trying to mask that.

While smartphones caused the downturn in personal computers years ago, sales of smartphones themselves have now stalled. That’s partly because with fewer innovations from previous models, more people choose to hold on to the devices for longer periods before upgrading.

Daniel Morgan, senior portfolio manager for Synovus Trust, said Microsoft is outperforming its tech rivals in part because of what it’s not. It doesn’t face as much regulatory scrutiny as advertising-hungry Google and Facebook, which have attracted controversy over their data-harvesting practices. Unlike Netflix, it’s not on a hunt for a diminishing number of international subscribers. And while Amazon also has a strong cloud business, it’s still more dependent on online retail.

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