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The Last Week In Digital - 18th July 2016

MasterCard enters mobile payment war, Microsoft offers new data qualification

18Jul

Microsoft unveils degree program

In an effort to plug the skills gap that exists in data science, Microsoft has launched its Professional Degree program, hosted on edX.org, a not for profit online resource founded by Harvard University and MIT. There are currently more data scientist openings than there are candidates, and Microsoft hopes it can change that, with its Data Science Curriculum.

The complete course costs $516 but those with the qualification will be able to exploit an under-staffed market. According to edX the course will teach ‘data science fundamentals, key data science tools, and widely-used programming languages from industry and academic experts in this unique program created by Microsoft, but in collaboration with leading universities and employers, the Microsoft Data Science Curriculum will develop the skills employers value by teaching you to explore, transform, model, and visualize data, and to create the next generation of intelligent solutions.’

Facebook brings Instant Articles to Messenger

A major part of Facebook’s strategy over the last couple of years has been its bolstering of the Messenger app and the centralization of the services it facilitates. The next step is seemingly to bring Instant Articles - which make articles on the web much faster to load thanks to a simplified format - to the app, giving users even less reason to leave it.

Instant Articles has been available for publishers to use since April and is a major element of reading content on the main mobile app. The update has first been rolled out on Android, with iOS users having to wait a little longer. Facebook will hope that the increased spread of Instant Articles will encourage more publishers to use the service.

Pokemon Go’s T&Cs are questionable

In one of the strange news stories to come out of Pokemon Go’s overnight ubiquity is that the game’s Terms of Service demand that the user waive their legal rights, unless they opt out within a 30-day window. Go’s demanding of extensive access permissions (why does a Pokemon game need access to your emails?) has already made headlines, and this just means that any disputes this causes will have to be settled outside of a courtroom.

The section reads: ‘ARBITRATION NOTICE: EXCEPT IF YOU OPT OUT AND EXCEPT FOR CERTAIN TYPES OF DISPUTES DESCRIBED IN THE “AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE” SECTION BELOW, YOU AGREE THAT DISPUTES BETWEEN YOU AND NIANTIC WILL BE RESOLVED BY BINDING, INDIVIDUAL ARBITRATION, AND YOU ARE WAIVING YOUR RIGHT TO A TRIAL BY JURY OR TO PARTICIPATE AS A PLAINTIFF OR CLASS MEMBER IN ANY PURPORTED CLASS ACTION OR REPRESENTATIVE PROCEEDING.’ Given that most users fail to read Terms and Conditions before using app, this surrendering of legal rights is troublesome.

MasterCard moves to up mobile payment adoption rate

As mobile payment takes off with the spread of Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, major providers are beginning to catch on. MasterCard’s MasterPass is the financial services giant’s step toward the ‘future of commerce.’ The tool allows for not only mobile payments, but secure digital payments ‘across various channels and devices, whether they’re shopping online, in-store or in-app,’ according to Tech Times.

A press release from MasterCard declares the company ‘the first network to deliver an omni-channel, all-digital payment service for consumers, issuers and merchants leveraging the most advanced methods of payment security available today.’ Apple users will be excluded thanks to Apple’s protection of its NFC chip, but MasterCard has teamed up with the likes of the Bank of America and Citi to bring the service to market.

ARM Holdings to be sold for $32 billion

Since Britain’s famous Brexit vote, technological and financial firms are exiting the country at an astounding rate. ARM Holdings is the latest in a long line, but is one of the major deals to take place in the turbulent post-vote period. The chip designer is to be sold for $32 billion in cash to Japan’s SoftBank Group. The company will stay headquartered in Cambridge, UK.

On top of its core business of designing chips for mobile handsets, ARM is also heavily involved in the developing IoT sector, which TechCrunch report to be the area SoftBank is most keenly interested in. ARM’s acquisition of IoT startup Sensinode back in 2013 seems to have been a major reason for the deal. Brexit’s implications are still being properly determined but, with one of the UK’s most promising tech companies jumping ship, it seems the decision could be just as disastrous as warned.

Sources

Matthew Corley / Shutterstock.com

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