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SoftBank eyes discounted stock buy as new Uber CEO preps for 2019 IPO

(Soft)Banking on ridesharing 

While Uber will be happy to put 2017 in its rearview mirror, what with CEO and founder Travis Kalanick stepping down, the recently revealed hack of 57 million user accounts, and several other mis-steps, lawsuits and stumbles. But now comes news from Bloomberg that Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is looking to buy a large piece of the still-private company, which was recently valued at $69 billion dollars – more than the market caps of Ford or GM.

But it’s not your usual stock purchase: SoftBank and its partners are looking to buy the stock at a 30 percent discount, which would give them about a 15 percent share of the company. If the deal goes through, it would drop Uber’s market cap to under $50 billion – which is more in line with what analysts really think it’s worth. Despite its problems, Uber is still the top ride-sharing platform and they’re also developing self-driving vehicles, another hot tech market segment.

This isn’t a new fiscal adventure for SoftBank, either. They have stakes in ride-sharing services around the world, from China to India to Asia. Uber’s new CEO is said to be in favor of the deal as a stepping stone to taking Uber public sometime in 2019. Stay tuned.

Pandora’s Relay Box

If what we see in this video is for real, owners of certain luxury cars have a new worry: high tech thieves that can unlock cars wirelessly, and then just drive them away.

In this security camera video from the UK, two guys target a Mercedes sedan using something called a “relay box.” Police told CNN that the crooks used devices that essentially repeated and relayed the car’s key fob signal to unlock the late-model Benz. You can see one guy putting the relay device up close to the garage in hopes that it’ll come close to where the car’s key fob may be. And yep, it does. They’re in and the car is gone in, yes, less than 60 seconds.

And so far, the jacked Mercedes has yet to be recovered. The incident clearly illustrates a shortcoming in the security tech that comes with just about every new car these days. So far, Mercedes hasn’t commented on the video, so we suggest you make like it’s 1993 and get one of those fashionable steering wheel clubs just to be safe.

Where’s the “on” button again?

It’s probably an understatement to say that most people don’t make use of most of the features on their smartphones or tablets, so Apple has set up a YouTube channel to show customers just what their fancy devices can do – and how to do it. Called the Apple Support channel, the page is currently hosting about a dozen short videos on how to do things like take a screen shot, update the OS, print from your iPhone and iPad, and how to make the most of iOS 11’s many changes.

They even have a couple videos on how to get that sweet portrait shot with the iPhone 8, and our favorite: how to copy and paste stuff across devices. Some of the videos are a few months old and some were just posted, so if you just got a new iPhone, or are expecting something shiny from Apple over the holidays, it looks like a good place to quickly learn how make the most of your new Apple gadget.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

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