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MWC hangs by a thread after Nokia, DT and other big names back out





MWC hangs by a thread after Nokia, DT and other big names back out – TechCrunch




























More big names are stepping Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest phone and telecom trade fair, prompting the organizers to urgently decide what they wish to do going forward.

Nokia, one of the omnipresent firms at major tech trade conferences, won’t be attending this year’s Mobile World Congress. It cited health and safety concerns over coronavirus outbreak. Electronics giant HMD, which sells smartphones under Nokia brand, cited similar reasoning for its withdrawal, too.

The iconic Finnish firm, one of the cornerstone companies at MWC, and HMD have become the latest to back out of the trade fair. In recent days, scores of firms including Ericsson, Amazon, Vivo, LG, Facebook and Sony have withdrawn their participation from the world’s biggest smartphones-focused trade show.

German telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom, BT, Britain’s biggest telecommunications group, and London-headquartered telecoms giant Vodafone have also backed out citing coronavirus outbreak, they announced on Wednesday. French-Italian semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectronics is also not attending, it said.

However on Wednesday afternoon (CET) Orange denied a Reuters report it won’t attend, telling us it still hadn’t taken a decision on whether to pull out or not. “We are awaiting further communication from the GSMA regarding the event,” a spokeswoman for the operator said.

Orange CEO Stéphane Richard is the current GSMA chair.

MWC attracts over 100,000 attendees, abd thousands of companies and high-profile executives use this global platform to broker deals and unveil their upcoming gadgets and innovations to the world.

The trade fair also contributes to the bottom line of Barcelona city. This year, the four-day trade show was scheduled to take place from February 27.

“While the health and safety of our employees is our absolute priority, we also recognize that we have a responsibility to the industry and our customers. In view of this, we have taken the necessary time to evaluate a fast-moving situation, engage with the GSMA and other stakeholders, regularly consult external experts and authorities, and plan to manage risks based on a wide range of scenarios. The conclusion of that process is that we believe the prudent decision is to cancel our participation at Mobile World Congress,” Nokia said in a statement.

The high-profile no-shows should put more pressure on GSMA, the body that organizes the event, to cancel this year’s edition of the trade show. GSMA acknowledged the safety risks to attendees in an email on Sunday, but it ducked away from assuming any liabilities at the trade show. As my colleague Romain Dillet pointed out, the email appeared to have triggered companies to withdraw their participation.

On Tuesday, Spanish publication El Pais reported that the GSMA executives would meet on Friday and consider their next steps, which could include suspending this year’s event. A spokesperson declined comment to TechCrunch.

The GSMA executives have moved to have that talk today, according to a report. Earlier local press had reported the operator association had decided to go ahead with the event — but in a more recent update La Vanguardia reports the GSMA has called another meeting to discuss the future of MWC 2020.

The organization has previously declined to comment on internal meetings.

You can check out the full list of companies that have withdrawn from MWC so far this year below.

This report was updated with additional information about Orange and the developing situation at the GSMA


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Blue Origin says it will deliver the first two production BE-4 engines this year, with deliveries to ULA to integrate them on the Vulcan for its first static hot fire tests. Blue Origin also aims to fly New Glenn equipped with the engines for their first test flight in 2021. It’s in the process of running longer tests to prove out the engines, and will aim to qualify them in their entirety through life cycle testing, which aims to replicate the kind of stress and operating conditions the hardware will undergo through its actual lifetime use.n

Part of Blue Origin’s testing process will include retrofitting and upgrading Test Stand 4670 at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, allowing the company to test a BE-3 engine one side and a BE-4 engine on the other.n

It’s an exciting time for Blue Origin and its BE-4, and the engine has been a long time in the making. What comes next could set it up as an integral and core part of the U.S. space launch program going forward, regardless of how its own launch vehicle plans proceed.n”,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

Blue Origin is opening its new rocket engine production center in Huntsville, Ala. on Monday, the company said today on Twitter. The new Huntsville facility will be able to produce its rocket engines at a much higher rate than is currently possible, which will be useful as the company is using its in-development BE-4 engine […]n”,”protected”:false,”author”:5302483,”featured_media”:1946613,”comment_status”:”open”,”ping_status”:”closed”,”sticky”:false,”template”:””,”format”:”standard”,”meta”:”outcome”:””,”status”:””,”crunchbase_tag”:0,”amp_status”:””,”relegenceEntities”:[],”relegenceSubjects”:[],”jetpack_publicize_message”:”Blue Origin’s new rocket engine production facility opens on Monday https://tcrn.ch/2vA1fPO by @etherington”,”categories”:[576702152,174,17396],”tags”:[8017,728166,429683886,303232,99651,428593023,438229],”crunchbase_tag”:[428589270],”tc_stories_tax”:[],”tc_event”:[],”jetpack_featured_media_url”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/BlueOrigin_BE4_hotfire.jpg”,”jetpack_publicize_connections”:[],”shortlink”:”https://tcrn.ch/2vA1fPO”,”rapidData”:”pt”:””,”pct”:””,”featured”:false,”subtitle”:””,”fundingRound”:false,”seoTitle”:””,”seoDescription”:””,”premiumContent”:false,”premiumCutoffPercent”:1,”tc_cb_mapping”:[“slug”:”blue-origin”,”cb_name”:”Blue Origin”,”cb_slug”:”blue-origin-organization”,”cb_link”:”https://crunchbase.com/organization/blue-origin”,”slug”:”united-launch-alliance”,”cb_name”:”United Launch Alliance”,”cb_slug”:”united-launch-alliance-organization”,”cb_link”:”https://crunchbase.com/organization/united-launch-alliance”],”associatedEvent”:null,”event”:null,”authors”:[5302483],”hideFeaturedImage”:false,”_links”:”self”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1946490″],”collection”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts”],”about”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/types/post”],”replies”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/comments?post=1946490″],”version-history”:[“count”:5,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1946490/revisions”],”predecessor-version”:[“id”:1946633,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1946490/revisions/1946633″],”authors”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/5302483″],”https://techcrunch.com/edit”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1946490&action=edit”],”author”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/5302483″],”wp:featuredmedia”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/media/1946613″],”wp:attachment”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/media?parent=1946490″],”wp:term”:[“taxonomy”:”category”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/categories?post=1946490″,”taxonomy”:”post_tag”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tags?post=1946490″,”taxonomy”:”_tc_cb_tag_taxonomy”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/crunchbase_tag?post=1946490″,”taxonomy”:”tc_stories_tax”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tc_stories_tax?post=1946490″,”taxonomy”:”tc_event”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tc_event?post=1946490″],”curies”:[“name”:”wp”,”href”:”https://api.w.org/rel”,”templated”:true],”_embedded”:{“authors”:[“id”:5302483,”name”:”Darrell Etherington”,”url”:””,”description”:”Writer covering space, science and health tech. Formerly covering automotive and mobility tech, and previously an employee of Apple and also of Shopify.”,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/darrell-etherington/”,”slug”:”darrell-etherington”,”avatar_urls”:”24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/188039e12983eb749171a75cfd01378d?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/188039e12983eb749171a75cfd01378d?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/188039e12983eb749171a75cfd01378d?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”,”links”:”homepage”:”http://techcrunch.com”,”facebook”:”http://www.facebook.com/darrell.etherington”,”twitter”:”https://twitter.com/etherington”,”linkedin”:”http://www.linkedin.com/in/etherin”,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/darrell-etherington”,”position”:”Writer”,”cbDescription”:”

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Week in Apps: YouTube TV cancels Apple’s rev share, more bad news for mobile voting, WhatsApp hits 2B users”,”content”:{“rendered”:”

Welcome back to Thisu00a0Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.n

The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads in 2019 and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019, according to App Annieu2019s recently released u201cState of Mobileu201d annual report. People are now spending 3 hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps arenu2019t just a way to pass idle hours u2014 theyu2019re a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.n

In this Extra Crunch series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.n

This week, we look at YouTube TV’s decision to stop revenue-sharing with Apple, another mobile voting app with serious flaws, new Apple launches in coding and AR, Microsoft’s game-streaming service Project xCloud arrival on iOS and other notable app news and trends, including WhatsApp’s big 2 billion user milestone, and more.n

Headlinesn

YouTube TV fights back against Apple’s cut of in-app subscription revenuen

This week, YouTube emailed customers subscribed to its YouTube TV service by way of Apple’s in-app purchases to let them know that this subscription offering will be discontinued starting on March 13, 2020. Current subscribers will have their subscription canceled automatically on their billing date after March 13, the letter said.n

This is a pretty severe way for Google to end its subscription revenue-sharing with Apple, however. Most companies that decide to shut off in-app subscriptions still continue to honor those from existing subscribers — they just stop selling to new customers. In YouTube TV’s case, it’s actually ending its relationship with all its customers on Apple devices with the hope they’ll return and resubscribe. That’s quite a risk, given that YouTube TV is not the only streaming TV service out there, and customers getting their subscription canceled may take this opportunity to shop around. The timing is also poorly thought-out, given that YouTube TV just picked up new subs following Sony’s PlayStation Vue shutdown — and now it’s kicking them out.n

The move makes Google the latest company to rebel against Apple’s 30% cut of all in-app payments (which drops to 15% in year two). A growing number of app publishers are refusing to share a cut of their revenue with Apple — even saying that Apple’s decision to charge this fee is anti-competitive. For example, Spotify believes Apple’s fee makes it more difficult to compete with Apple’s built-in music service, and has raised the issue repeatedly to regulators. Netflix also stopped paying the “Apple tax” over a year ago.n

Mobile voting app Voatz, used by several states, was filled with security flawsn

""n

Above: Voatz, via The NYTn

Last week, we looked at how a smartphone app meant to tabulate votes from the caucuses really screwed things up in Iowa. This week, MIT researchers took a look at mobile voting app Voatz, which has been used to tally votes for federal elections in parts of West Virginia, Oregon, Utah and Washington as part of various mobile voting pilot programs. The researchers found the app was riddled with security flaws that would let attackers monitor votes or even change ballots or block them without users’ knowledge. Attackers could also create a tainted paper trail, making a reliable audit impossible — despite Voatz’s promise of using blockchain technology to increase security. One security expert, speaking to VICE, called the app “sloppy” and filled with “elementary” mistakes.n

Coming on the heels of the Iowa caucus mobile voting disaster, this latest news delivers another huge blow to the promise of mobile voting in the U.S.n



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