Microsoft jumps headfirst into the education space, Apple will share your location when you call 911, and Google invests in Chinese e-commerce.
First up from LinkedIn is news that Microsoft has acquired Flipgrid, an education startup and app that lets users create and send videos to each other. The company’s platform is used by more than 20 million students and teachers today, and that number will grow thanks to this partnership. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Microsoft is making Flipgrid free for schools to use, with existing subscribers getting refunds. Microsoft explained the move in a blog post yesterday, saying that social interaction in learning can help deepen students’ understanding of curricula and help build their collaborative, social and emotional skills. The purchase comes at a time when competition for the classroom ramps up. Microsoft will be competing with the likes of Apple and Google for the space.
Next from Reddit, Apple announced a number of new services and updates at its Worldwide Developers Conference a couple weeks ago and it unveiled another one yesterday. As part of its new iOS 12, the company will automatically share a user’s location with emergency services when they call 911 in the future. Apple says this will help emergency services locate a person more quickly and efficiently when in need. It also emphasized that the data will not be used for any non-emergency purposes. Only the responding 911 centre will be able to access the location. This will be available in the US first, but is likely to expand to other regions.
And last but not least from Reddit again, Google announced yesterday that it’s investing $550 million in Chinese e-commerce platform JD.com in exchange for 27 million shares. JD.com is China’s second largest e-commerce player behind the massive Alibaba. The strategic partnership combines JD.com’s experience and technology in supply chain and logistics, with the tech giant’s customer reach, data and marketing capabilities. The two will reportedly work together to develop retail infrastructure in Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia. The announcement comes amidst growing tensions between the US and China, however, so it will be interesting to see how a potential global trade war could affect this partnership.