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Source: Verizon kills Google Pixel deal, doesn't plan to sell Pixel 4a or Pixel 5 – Android Police

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Speaking to a source familiar with the company’s plans, but who was not authorized to speak on Verizon’s behalf, the carrier has allegedly put on indefinite hold any plans to sell new Google Pixel smartphones. No specific reasoning was immediately cited, but it’s not hard to guess: these phones just don’t sell.

At this time, our source believes the chance of the Pixel 4a coming to Verizon is now zero; it’s far too late for Verizon to change its mind. And while there is a possibility the Pixel 5 could end up there, that’s just because there’s still enough time on the clock for plans to change. At this point, Verizon allegedly has no intention of selling Google’s next-generation smartphone.

It’s not exactly a secret that Google’s Pixels haven’t been a roaring commercial success, and by all accounts, even the “better” sales of the Pixel 3a remain meager in the larger US smartphone market. Verizon was easily Google’s most important carrier partner, as Verizon was responsible for the lion’s share of total carrier advertising and promotion for every generation of Pixel to date.

It is difficult to overstate the devastating effect this loss would have on Google’s smartphone unit. Carriers are the lifeblood of phone manufacturers in this country, and Verizon was Google’s most important partner. It seems Verizon was so unhappy with the Pixel’s performance that it finally threw in the towel. Given we know the carrier is courting OnePlus, whose phone will likely land later this spring—around the time the Pixel 4a would have launched—perhaps that should have been a warning sign.

The fallout from the dissolution of this business relationship could be far reaching in Google’s hardware division. This would, without a doubt, represent an unmitigated failure for Google’s multi-year effort to become a significant player in the smartphone world. It is difficult to see such a loss not resulting in major changes to how the company approaches its strategy going forward, and whether it plans to continue making smartphones at all. After four generations of phones and no real signs of momentum, the powers that be inside Google are likely getting impatient with a business unit that has so consistently underperformed with an approach that arguably hasn’t changed much in those four years. It’s a damning track record, and one which will no doubt come under intense scrutiny if our source is correct.

Is it possible Google could knock Verizon’s socks off with what it’s planning for the Pixel 5? I mean, I guess it’s possible. But if you were to ask me if it was likely? I’m just not optimistic.

No doubt, speculation will run wild that Google could eventually exit the smartphone business entirely, but we currently have no reason to think that’s something on the table. But if the Pixel 5 really doesn’t end up Verizon, I can’t imagine that not being something Google executives will have to consider as an option.

We’ve reached out to Google for comment on this story and will update with any response they provide.

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Zoom Video stock slides as much as 15% after analyst joins in backlash on valuation fears – MarketWatch

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Zoom Video Communications Inc. shares stumbled Monday after one analyst downgraded the stock, joining a backlash against the videoconferencing company as it deals with an unprecedented surge of users stuck at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zoom
ZM,
-4.10%

shares fell as much as 15% Monday to an intraday low of $108.53, while the broader market rallied more than 5%. Shares, however, pared losses to finish down 4.1% at $122.94, following a 15% decline last week that tied for the stock’s worst week in its nearly yearlong history.

Read: Zoom Video lurches from boom to backlash amid privacy issues, ‘Zoom bombing’ attacks

Even with Monday’s fall, Zoom is still up 81% for the year, compared with an 18% drop in the S&P 500 index
SPX,
+7.03%

and a 12% decline in the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index
COMP,
+7.32%
.

Credit Suisse analyst Brad Zelnick downgraded Zoom to an underperform rating from neutral Monday and raised his price target to $105 from $95, on the basis that “the current share price embeds significantly greater conversion of free users than our upside model scenario.”

“We commend Zoom for being a superhero of the current health crisis, though our responsibility as equity analysts compels us to distinguish great companies from great stocks,” Zelnick said. In the long term, Zelnick said he believes Microsoft Corp.’s
MSFT,
+7.43%

Teams video service “remains the most significant competitive threat.”

For more: In just one week, Microsoft adds as many users to its Teams software as rival Slack has in total

In a note titled “No good deed goes unpunished,” Bernstein analyst Zane Chrane, who has an outperform rating and a target price of $125, said Zoom’s shortcomings are getting disproportionate attention given the surge with which the company has had to deal.

Chrane said “it’s to be expected that any company that has a 20x increase in demand in 90 days will inevitably have some growing pains, if they can even provide the service at all, so it’s worth considering the full context of Zoom’s oversights and alleged transgressions.”

Zoom shares started dropping from their March 23 record close of $159.56 as the COVID-19-fueled rise in the service’s popularity exposed security concerns. Back in January, Check Point Software Technologies Inc.
CHKP,
+5.36%

identified a flaw in Zoom that let intruders eavesdrop on meetings. While the flaw had been fixed, Check Point recently published guidelines on how Zoom users could better protect themselves while they used the service.

“Zoom’s exponential growth in usage has resulted in additional scrutiny of its technology, leading to a recent spike in security concerns,” Credit Suisse’s Zelnick said. “While many of these issues, especially those stemming from user error, will likely be resolved in short order, we anticipate others may linger for some time.”

On Friday, Zoom Chief Executive Eric Yuan responded to concerns that certain meetings had been allowed to connect to systems in China and that the company had failed to “fully implement our usual geofencing best practices.”

Those security concerns prompted New York City’s Department of Education to tell principal to stop using Zoom, suggesting they use Microsoft Teams or video services through Alphabet Inc.’s
GOOG,
+8.11%

GOOGL,
+8.28%

Google Hangouts, according to a CNBC report.

Of the 25 analysts who cover Zoom, nine have overweight or buy ratings, 12 have hold ratings, and four have sell ratings, with an average price target of $118.90, according to FactSet data.

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LRT's winter testing was done indoors, not on the tracks – Ottawa Citizen

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Article content

Cold-weather testing on the LRT system did high-tech lab work, but never actually drove the trains in an Ottawa winter.

Indoor lab tests by the National Research Council featured cold, wind, snow and ice that tested the Citadis Spirit’s ability to keep running.

But when they began real service, the trains ran into unforeseen factors — power losses, frozen switches and more — that caused breakdowns and a winter of discontent for passengers.

Rideau Transit Group has refused a councillor’s request to make public the details of its cold-weather testing.

The city clerk’s office will let individual councillors view the test results, but not have copies, so the public will never see either the results or even the testing methods.

City officials say the tests went well and issued a brief summary. But this summary indicates there was no actual driving involved.

And the summary makes no mention of testing for the effects of salt and dirt — factors that crippled LRT fleet by causing electrical arcing.

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Hashtag Trending – Schools ban Zoom; Skype introduces video meetings; Video chat tips – IT World Canada

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Schools in New York get cold feet about Zoom, Skype introduces video meetings with no sign-up, and ways to make video chats let’s painful for those who don’t like staring at their own mug.

Zoom banned from New York City schools due to privacy, security flaws. from technology

Teachers in New York City are once again scrambling to find a videoconferencing service after the city’s Department of Education announced that it was banning Zoom, citing security and privacy issues with the platform like the recent cases of Zoombombings. The department encouraged teachers to turn to Microsoft Teams. which is compliant with FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. According to Chalkbeat, the DOE has started training teachers and staff in using Microsoft Teams, and will continue those trainings in the coming weeks.

Skype introduces video meetings with no sign-up needed for those wanting a Zoom alternative from technology

Meanwhile, Skype has brought in a new type of video call that doesn’t require you to sign up for an account to join the chat, similar to Zoom. There’s one important difference though – the host doesn’t needs to sign up for the service, or install anything. Skype describes its new Meet Now feature as a “hassle-free way to connect” with others. The service can be accessed with the click of a few bottoms through Skype’s website.

And lastly, video chats are crucial during these strange times, but let’s face it, many of us hate them because it involves looking at your own mug on camera while talking to others. Thousands of LinkedIn users are talking about ways to get used to looking at ourselves, citing reports that indicate 72 per cent of employees feel distracted by their own appearance during video chats, while 58 per cent worry about looking tired or washed out. Another 2016 study from video-conferencing company Highfive found that 59% of employees feel more self-conscious onscreen than they do in real life. But remember, a few simple adjustments with lighting, room selection and laptop placement can lift you out from the land of the shadows — and ultimately help you come across as your best self.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing.


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