Welcome to “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
This week we highlight Yahoo’s spin-off of its core business, Walmart Pay, Twitter’s non-chronological feed, and Samsung’s move into the automotive business.
Yahoo to spin off core business and keep Alibaba stake
Yahoo’s board has decided to hold on to its Alibaba stake but spin off its internet business into a new company.
Yahoo abandoned plans to sell its stake in Chinese e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba, worth about $35 billion, to avoid a big tax hit.
Instead, the company will perform a “reverse spin-off” and create a separate, publicly traded company that includes Yahoo’s web and mobile properties. This will provide more transparency into the business and likely make the new company more attractive to investors and potential acquirers.
Might this be the end of Yahoo as we know it?
By the way, in the midst of all this, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer had twin daughters! Yay!
Walmart to enter mobile payments business
Walmart has launched Walmart Pay, which allows customers to pay for goods with their Androids or iPhones using the Walmart app.
Walmart chose to use QR codes to facilitate these payments, instead of near-field communications (NFC) like Android Pay or Apple Pay. QR codes can be more of a hassle than NFC payment methods but Walmart argues that this technology works with more devices.
The interesting thing is that Walmart is part of the retailer consortium that is developing CurrentC, a similar QR code-based payment system. CurrentC has been plagued with delays, which likely prompted Walmart to take matters into its own hands.
Around 140 million customers shop at Walmart each week, and 22 million of these shoppers use the Walmart app. So even though the company seems to be using inferior technology, the clout the retailer has all but ensures high adoption of its new payment platform.
Twitter is testing a non-chronological tweet feed
In an effort to make Twitter more accessible to the casual user, the company is experimenting with displaying tweets out of order.
Twitter has become the place where news breaks in real time, and the move to a non-chronological order would certainly hurt this.
Facebook has an algorithm called EdgeRank that determines what stories show up on your feed based on popularity, and not chronology. It looks like Twitter is trying to emulate this to potentially spur user growth.
CEO Jack Dorsey stated that the company will continue to “question our fundamentals in order to make our product easier and more accessible to more people.”
Samsung is getting into driverless cars
Samsung’s declining performance in the smartphone business is prompting the company to look at other ways to grow. They’ve set their sights on the automotive business, with autonomous driving technology part of the equation.
The company will create a team to develop automotive-related businesses, which may include sales of car components for in-car entertainment, satellite navigation, and driverless cars. The team will work independently but in cooperation with other divisions of Samsung.
While Samsung remains the world’s largest smartphone maker, profits from this division are expected to fall for the second consecutive year as the company loses ground to upstart phone manufacturers.
What do you think of these stories? Have you read other interesting mobile and technology stories this week that are worth mentioning? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.
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Photo courtesy of Yahoo.