Legal Capsule by Acuity Law

The Liabilities of Investor Nominee Directors in Indian Start-upsIntroductionIndia has seen an unprecedented number of private equity and venture capital investments in the year 2021 - Indian companies raised over US$ 62 billion, across nearly 1200 deals. While such high and continuously increasing numbers are indicative of the growing faith of investors in Indian technology companies, a worrying

Apple confirms that the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro do not support noise cancellation during phone calls

iphone 13
Photo credit: Gadgets Now

 Apple has confirmed that  iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro do not cancel noise  during phone calls, including  iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 Pro Max. Apple included the feature in the iPhone 12 series and earlier models to improve call quality in noise environment. 

No reason was given to remove this feature from the iPhone 13 series noise cancellation during phone calls. By reference, by  iPhone 13 series, we mean  iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro and  iPhone 13 Pro Max. On previous iPhones, the feature was available in Settings under  Audio/Visual, which is found in Accessibility.

According to Apple, the setting reduces ambient noise when making calls, but only when you hold the iPhone to your ear. By default, Apple has the feature enabled, although it's hidden in Accessibility.Theoretically, the feature made it easier for people to be heard when making calls from busy areas, such as in the  near heavy traffic. 

Apple has now confirmed to 9to5Mac that the lack of noise cancellation on the iPhone 13 series is not a bug in iOS 15. Instead, Apple ruled out the feature but didn't explain why. However, older iPhone models still support "phone noise cancellation" in iOS 15. Currently, the only workaround is to enable the voice isolation feature in Control Center, although this doesn't work with all apps.

Pfizer CEO: Virus will be here for years but this may be last wave with restrictions

Pfizer CEO
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla speaks during a ceremony in Thessaloniki, Greece, on October 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos, File)

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Monday that while the "most likely scenario" is that the coronavirus will circulate for many years, he believes the current wave of infections will be the last to require restrictions.

Bourla gave an interview to the French medium BFM. TV to commemorate the announcement of an investment package by the pharmaceutical company in France. Bourla also touted the vaccines' effectiveness and safety, saying  he believed people would still need booster shots. "It's important that people get Pfizer's three-dose regimen. coronavirus vaccine and will likely  require yearly booster shots, although the immunocompromised may need them every four months," Bourla said.

“Children need to be vaccinated  to protect them. Its effectiveness in children is very, very, very good. Bourla also said  the company's anti-COVID pill, Paxlovid, is "changing everything" as a new way to fight serious illnesses. Pfizer said in December that its Paxlovid pill had reduced hospitalizations and deaths by nearly 90 percent in vulnerable people.

In the interview, Bourla said the company was working on a plan that would invest 520 million euros ($593.7 million)  in France over the next five years, including a partnership with French company Novasep to develop an anti-inflammatory treatment -COVID pills.

France, like many other countries, is facing a record number of infections caused by the highly contagious Omicron variant. France's parliament passed legislation on Sunday barring unvaccinated people from all restaurants, sports stadiums and other venues, the centerpiece of the government's effort to protect hospitals. in the middle of the wave.

The government of French President Emmanuel Macron is hoping the step will be enough to limit the number of patients filling up strained hospitals nationwide without resorting to a new lockdown.


More than 76% of French ICU beds are occupied by virus patients, most of them unvaccinated, and some 200 people with the virus are dying every day. Like many countries, France is in the grip of the Omicron variant, recording more than 2,800 positive cases per 100,000 people over the past week.


Warren Buffett says these are the best businesses to own — 3 examples from Berkshire’s portfolio


Warren Buffett says these are the best businesses to own — 3 examples from Berkshire's portfolio

While we're constantly bombarded with confusing investment mumbo jumbo, we must never forget that, for the most part, companies  exist for one primary reason: to take capital from investors and make a return on it. For this reason, it makes sense for investors to look for companies with enduring competitive advantages that are capable of consistently delivering high returns on investments.

As Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, once said, "The best company to own is one that  can deploy large amounts of incremental capital at very high prices at very high rates of return. With that in mind, here are three Berkshire holdings with double-digit returns on invested capital.

Moody's (MCO)

With returns on invested capital consistently in the mid-20% range, credit rating leader Moody’s leads off our list.

Moody’s shares held up incredibly well during the height of the pandemic and are up nearly 220% over the past five years, suggesting that it’s a recession-resistant business worth betting on.

Specifically, the company’s well-entrenched leadership position in credit ratings, which leads to outsized returns on capital, should continue to limit Moody’s long-term downside

Moreover, Moody’s has generated about $2.4 billion in trailing twelve-month free cash flow. And over the first three quarters of 2021, the company has returned $975 million to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends.

As of Q3 2021, Berkshire holds more than 24.6 million shares of Moody’s worth just under $8.8 billion. Moody’s has a dividend yield of 0.7%.

Apple (AAPL)

Next up, we have consumer technology gorilla Apple, which boasts a five-year return on invested capital of 28%, much higher than that of rivals like Nokia (-3%) and Sony (12%).

Even in the cutthroat world of consumer hardware, the iPhone maker has been able to generate outsized returns due to its loyalty-commanding brand and high switching costs (the iOS experience can only be had through Apple products).

And with the company continuing to penetrate emerging markets like India and Mexico, Apple’s long-term growth trajectory remains healthy.

In the most recent quarter, Apple’s revenue jumped 29% to $83.4 billion. The company also returned over $24 billion to shareholders.

The stock currently sports a dividend yield of just 0.5%, but with a buyback yield of 3%, Apple is doling out more cash to shareholders than you might think.

It's no wonder that Apple is Berkshire's largest public holding, owning more than 887 million shares in the tech giant worth roughly $125.5 billion.

Procter & Gamble (PG)

Rounding out the list is consumer staples giant Procter & Gamble, with a solid five-year average return on invested capital of 13.5%.

Berkshire held 315,400 shares at the end of Q3, worth around $44 million at today’s price. While that’s not a big position by Berkshire standards, something does make P&G stand out: the ability to deliver rising cash returns to investors through thick and thin.

The company offers a portfolio of trusted brands like Bounty paper towels, Crest toothpaste, Gillette razor blades and Tide detergent. These are products households buy on a regular basis, regardless of what the economy is doing.

In April, P&G’s board of directors announced a 10% increase to the quarterly payout, marking the company’s 65th consecutive annual dividend hike.

P&G share currently offer a dividend yield of 2.2%.

Source: Yahoo News


Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro ready to fire on all cylinders as January OTA update brings dozens of vital fixes

Google pixel 6 6 pro
 Image Credit: Eric Zeman/ Android        Authority
The January OTA pack for  Google Pixel 6 (“oropiole”) and Google Pixel 6 Pro (“raven”) has started rolling out. The software update brings fixes from December and January that should help  Pixel 6 series smartphones run at full speed after numerous bugs and problems seemed to affect the functionality.


Google has revealed that the January software update for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro is now available as factory images and full OTA images via the Google Play services website (12.0.0 (SQ1D.220105.007), Jan 2022 - specific device/images links can be found in "sources" below). Those who prefer to wait for the OTA package to arrive with a “check for update” notification may start receiving the update from Monday January 17 onwards according to a report from 9to5Google. The list of fixes for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro in the December and January patches is extensive and an installation should help relieve some of the serious teething issues users have experienced.


We recently reported on Google's flagship smartphones being criticized for their flaws, including a scathing comment from tech blogger Marques Brownlee who claimed he would return to his Galaxy S21 Ultra for now. However, it looks like it's ready to give the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro another chance as it's been busy downloading the software update (215MB of fixes in this particular case, presumably  from November) . Google took a lot of flak when the December update appeared to leave many Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones with critical issues like signal reception issues. Also, many users have complained about the battery drain issue in cellular network standby mode and the slow fingerprint sensor.


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Browsing through the list of fixes (see drop-down element "changelog" below for full list) one can find several for battery and charging and for network and telephony. One of these is “general improvements for network connection stability and performance”, which will hopefully alleviate two of the more serious issues mentioned above. There are fixes for biometrics too, with a “general improvements” update coming for the fingerprint sensor. While it’s unlikely every single problem with the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro can be fixed with this December/January OTA package, it does seem that Google is at least paying attention to the growing din of complaints about the new Pixel phones and doing something proactive about the situation.

Buy The Google Pixel 6 Pro On Amazon

Buy the Google Pixel 6 on Amazon


Source: NoteBook Check


2022 predictions for AR/VR, Metaverse tech and gaming

We all know intuitively that forward-looking predictions can be wrong, or self serving, but we love them any way. It’s enough to look at the predictions from 2019 (that didn’t see Covid coming…) to understand how big trends can missed due to an unpredictable sequence of events.

But if anything, predictions offer us a forward looking view into existing trends, by extending the line from today to a near future. I collected some of the more interesting tech predictions for the coming year in some of the areas that interest us at Remagine: Metaverse tech (virtual worlds, immersive tech, web3), gaming and consumer tech from interesting reputable sources.

The list is by no means exhaustive, but it reflects predictions I generally agree with.

AR/VR

AR and VR are both growing in consumer adoption. The Oculus Quest became the first mainstream VR headset, with more than 10 million units sold in 2021. If we apply Moore’s law, assuming that more engineering and money are poured into VR, it’s possible that AR/VR headsets could replace smartphones in the future. But there are several things that are still unsolved for that to happen:

  1. Technical issues like AR Optics
  2. Practical use cases beyond gaming and entertainment
  3. Question whether 3D everything is the future of our tech interaction

It’s tempting to see AR/VR as the potential device that would replace smartphones. But Benedict Evans rightfully questions if it’s not premature to do so, in his excellent Tech questions for 2022.

AR and VR might be the next smartphone, but they might also be the next smart watch, drone, or games console – very cool but a narrow market

Benedict Evans

Another trend that is connected to AR/VR is semiconductors. Supply chain challenges which have caused shortages around the world will have an impact on the speed that AR/VR enabled’s devices penetrate the market.

“AR and VR might be the next smartphone, but they might also be the next smart watch, drone, or games console – very cool but a narrow market” (Source: Benedict Evans)

Metaverse

Activate Technology and Media outlook 2022, created by Active Consulting, offers a very interesting take on the future of the Metaverse.

I agree with their overall narrative:

  1. Pursuit of the metaverse will drive companies to make extensive technology and experience investments (see previous point re: Moore’s law, making the tech to access the metaverse chaper)
  2. Games are the starting point and most viable path towards the metaverse
  3. We expect to see an expansive set of metaverse activities; eventually all digital behavior and many daily activities will take place on metaverse platforms
  4. We expect to see NFT growth across a broader set of industries, driven by consumer interest
  5. The winners in the NFT space are far from decided; new players, technologies, and use cases will continue to emerge
NFTs will become a mainstream behavior, while creating value for consumers and IP owners; every technology and media company will need an NFT strategy (Source: Activate Consulting)

Another interesting report on Gen-Z trends is Dazed Media’s 2031 Future World report. One of its predictions that stood out for me, was on virtual events in the Metaverse, coming from the head of Music at Roblox:

“As more and more people spend more time online and technical capabilities expand,
we’ll increasingly see the metaverse play host to massive, immersive, virtual events, pioneering new forms of live, participatory entertainment.”

Jon Vlassopulos, VP, Global Head of Music, Roblox

For more on the Metaverse, read my previous post ‘A very short peak into the Metaverse‘.

Gaming

Dean Takahashi, the editor of GamesBeat (VentureBeat’s gaming focused publication) covers gaming with passion. In his 2022 Gaming predictions there are a number of themes that will no doubt impact the gaming industry in the year to come. Here are the top 3:

  1. Consolidation in the gaming industry will continue (read: more M&A) as long as the economy stays healthy
  2. Play-to-Earn games will continue to grow, especially in emerging markets.
  3. In the same vain, NFT games will go mainstream.
The biggest gaming transactions in 2021, already eclipsed by the TakeTwo and Zynga $12.4 billion merger in Jan 2022. (Source: VentureBeat)
Not only gaming companies will buy studios, also the tech giants looking to compete on the user’s attention (Source: Activate Consulting and WSJ)

Given the shortage in gaming consoles (see semiconductor issue above), and thanks to growing smartphone penetration, mobile gaming will continue to grow rapidly in 2022. According to Unity’s mobile gaming trends 2022 report, the majority of gaming revenues will be from mobile by 2023.

Nearly four billion smartphones will be in people’s pockets in 2021,2 and nearly
1.8B people have downloaded games for these smartphones. By 2025, it’s estimated that this number will have exploded to more than 2.2B… Worldwide, mobile gaming (smartphones and tablets) will generate revenues of over $85B in 2021 and over $100B in 2023, with an overall compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 18%.

Unity, Mobile Gaming Trends 2022
Number of Smartphones available (Source: Statista)

According the State of Mobile 2022 report by App Annie, in the top 10 mobile markets, consumers spent 4.8 hours a day on mobile. Games represent about 10% of the time spent.

Mobile gaming grew to $116 billion an increase of 15%, fueled by the growth of hypercasual games. And interest in the metaverse catapulted leading avatar apps forward with 160% year-over-year growth

App Annie, The state of mobile in 2022

Overall, 2022 is poised to be a very interesting year for entertainment tech, metaverse and gaming. It’s hard to predict much these days but one thing is clear. More and more of users attention is spent on screens. And money follows attention. A lot of changes are happening in the world of work – but they are also happening in how we spend our time and money outside of work: entertainment, education, physical and mental wellbeing, dating, commerce etc. Backing the future leaders of these new trends is what gets us up in the morning at Remagine Ventures.

The post 2022 predictions for AR/VR, Metaverse tech and gaming appeared first on VC Cafe.

Microsoft discloses malware attack on Ukraine govt networks

In this undated handout photo released by Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Press Service, the building of Ukrainian Foreign Ministry is seen during snowfall in Kyiv, Ukraine. Ukrainian officials and media reports say a number of government websites in Ukraine are down after a massive hacking attack. While it is not immediately clear who was behind the attacks, they come amid heightened tensions with Russia and after talks between Moscow and the West failed to yield any significant progress this week. (Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP)

Microsoft said on Saturday that dozens of computer systems in an unknown number of Ukrainian government agencies were infected with destructive malware disguised as ransomware, a revelation that suggests a defacement attack that draws attention to official websites was a diversion. 

The extent of the damage was not immediately clear. The attack comes as the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine looms and diplomatic talks to resolve the tense standoff appear to have stalled. Microsoft said in a short blog post that this amounted to the sound of an industry alert that it first detected the malware on Thursday.

This would coincide with the attack which temporarily took some 70 government websites offline. The disclosure followed a Reuters report earlier in the day quoting a senior Ukrainian security official as saying the disfigurement was indeed a cover for a malicious attack.

Separately, a senior private sector cybersecurity official in Kyiv told The Associated Press how the attack was successful: intruders entered government networks through a shared software vendor in a self -so-called SolarWinds 2020 Russian cyber-espionage campaign-style supply chain attack against Microsoft said in another technical article that the affected systems "spread across multiple government, non-profit, and  technology and information Technology Organization.

 "The malware is disguised as ransomware but, if activated by the attacker, would render the infected computer system inoperable," Microsoft said. In short, there is no ransom recovery mechanism. 

Microsoft said the malware "runs when an associated device is turned off," a typical initial reaction to a ransomware attack. Microsoft said it was not yet able to assess the purpose of the destructive activity or associate the attack with a known threat actor. 

Ukrainian security official Serhiy Demedyuk was quoted by Reuters for claiming that the attackers used malware similar to that used by Russian intelligence services. He is Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council.


 

WhatsApp inches forward on bringing Reactions to its app

WhatsApp, owned by Meta, is actively developing its app and working on new features. The app's latest beta  on iOS reveals that a new feature may be coming soon worked on reactions to iMessage-like messages. 

In their latest findings, they discovered that a relevant setting has appeared in the new beta  on iOS. WABetaInfo shared that WhatsApp version 22.72  on iOS adds a new Reactions Notifications toggle to app settings. 

With this toggle  visible to beta users, the feature may come to the platform fairly quickly. Alternatively, the company may have accidentally revealed this setting and may remove it in future betas if the Reactions feature is not yet ready.

In 2020, Mark Zuckerberg shared that Meta (Facebook at the time) planned to merge the messaging systems of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. He said plans won't materialize until 2022. With WhatsApp likely to add reactions to messages soon, the gap between it and Facebook/Instagram direct messages (DMs) is narrowing even further. 

The merger between Facebook and Instagram DMs has already happened, as both platforms support the same messaging features (for the most part). WhatsApp is still far from becoming similar to either of these two services. It remains to be seen whether the merger of the three will take place this year. It is also possible that the company is prevented from making this potential move for monopoly reasons.

North Korean hackers said to have stolen nearly $400 million in cryptocurrency last year


North Korean hackers stole nearly $400 million worth of cryptocurrency in 2021, making it one of the most profitable years yet for cybercriminals in the severely isolated country, according to a new report

Hackers launched at least seven different attacks last year, mostly targeting corporate investments and centralized exchanges with a variety of tactics including phishing, malware and social engineering, according to a report by Chainalysis, a company that tracks cryptocurrencies. 


Cybercriminals attempted to gain access to organizations' "hot" wallets: Internet-connected digital wallets, and then transfer funds to accounts controlled by the DPRK. The thefts are the latest indication that the heavily sanctioned country continues to rely on a network of hackers to help fund its domestic programs. 


A confidential UN report previously accused North Korean regime leader Kim Jong Un of carrying out "operations against formerly moving financial institutions and virtual currency" to pay for weapons and keep the country afloat North Korean economy. 


Last February, the US Department of Justice  charged three North Koreans with conspiring to steal more than $1.3 billion from banks and businesses around the world and orchestrating crypto thefts. digital currency.


"North Korea is, in most respects, cut off from the global financial system by a long sanctions campaign by the United States and its foreign partners." said Nick Carlsen, an analyst at blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs. “As a result, they have taken to the digital battlefield to steal cryptocurrencies, essentially [a] high-speed internet bank robbery, to fund weapons programs, nuclear proliferation and other activities. 

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North Korea's hacking efforts have benefited from this.The rise in value of Rising prices and the use of cryptocurrencies have generally made digital assets increasingly attractive to malicious actors, which led to more successful cryptocurrency thefts in 2021. 


According to Chainalysis, most of the thefts in the past year were committed by the Lazarus Group, a hacker group with ties to North Korea that was previously  linked to the  Sony Pictures hack, among other incidents. ie North Koreans, in addition to sanctiones cybersecurity defensive measures such as crimes such as criminql have no real chance of being extradited. 


As the cryptocurrency market becomes more popular, "we are likely to see continued interest from North Korea in targeting cryptocurrency companies that are young and that are building  cyber defenses and anti-virus controls. -money laundering," Carlsen said.

TechCrunch 2022-01-14 06:42:00

A healthcare worker administers the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine to a pregnant woman, amidst the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron, in Johannesburg, South Africa, December 9, 2021. REUTERS/ Sumaya Hisham
A healthcare worker administers the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine to a pregnant woman, amidst the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron, in Johannesburg, South Africa, December 9, 2021. REUTERS/ Sumaya Hisham

Unvaccinated people infected with the Omicron variant of coronavirus may be less prone to severe illness and requiring hospital care or dying than was the case with previous variants, a South African study showed on Friday.

The study, by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in the Western Cape region, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, concluded.compared about 11,600 patients from the first three COVID-19 waves with about 5,100 from the Omicron-driven wave that began in November.

Omicron globally has tended to cause less severe disease, and proportionally fewer hospital admissions and deaths, than previous variants.

Scientists are trying to determine the extent to which this is because of higher immunity rates engendered by vaccination or past illness, or Omicron is intrinsically less nasty.

The study concluded that about a quarter of the reduced risk of severe disease with Omicron was attributable to characteristics of the virus itself.

“In the Omicron-driven wave, severe COVID-19 outcomes were reduced mostly due to protection conferred by prior infection and/or vaccination, but intrinsically reduced virulence may account for an approximately 25% reduced risk of severe hospitalisation or death compared to Delta,” the study said.