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U.S., EU advocacy groups warn against Google's purchase of Fitbit – Yahoo Canada Finance

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U.S., EU advocacy groups warn against Google's purchase of FitbitU.S., EU advocacy groups warn against Google's purchase of Fitbit
FILE PHOTO: Fitbit Blaze watch is seen in front of a displayed Google logo in this illustration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Twenty advocacy groups from the United States, Europe, Latin America and elsewhere signed a statement Wednesday urging regulators to be wary of Google’s $2.1 billion bid for fitness tracker company Fitbit Inc <FIT.N> because of privacy and competition concerns.

The 20 organizations – which include the U.S.-based Public Citizen, Access Now from Europe and the Brazilian Institute of Consumer Defense – argued that the deal would expand the already considerable clout in digital markets of Alphabet Inc’s <GOOGL.O> Google.

Acquiring Fitbit would give Google such intimate information about users as how many steps they take daily, the quality of their sleep and their heart rates.

“Past experience shows that regulators must be very wary of any promises made by merging parties about restricting the use of the acquisition target’s data. Regulators must assume that Google will in practice utilize the entirety of Fitbit’s currently independent unique, highly sensitive data set in combination with its own,” the groups said.

Australian and Canadian groups were among the signatories.

A Google spokeswoman said the tech wearables space was crowded.

“This deal is about devices, not data,” she said. “We believe the combination of Google’s and Fitbit’s hardware efforts will increase competition in the sector.”

Google announced the deal in November to take on competitors in the crowded market for fitness trackers and smart watches. Fitbit’s market share has been threatened by deep-pocketed companies like Apple Inc <AAPL.O> and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd <005930.KS>.

Australia’s competition authority said this month that it may have concerns about the deal and would make a final decision in August.

EU antitrust regulators will decide by July 20 whether to clear the deal with or without concessions or open a longer investigation.

In Washington, Google is under antitrust investigation by the Justice Department, a congressional committee and dozens of states for allegedly using its massive market power to harm smaller competitors.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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For people with disabilities, mannequins can hurt — not help — the shopping experience – CBC.ca

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For Abigayle Quigley, mannequins can amplify difficulties in shopping, as they often depict how clothing would look only on an able-bodied individual. (Submitted by Abigayle Quigley)

In Canada, the average household spends close to $3,500 annually on clothing and accessories, with a key part of the shopping experience tied to stores displaying their clothes on mannequins.

But for people with disabilities, the mannequins can be bitter reminders of exclusion.

Sheldon Crocker’s first memory of shopping for clothes includes asking his mother why the mannequins didn’t look like him. Experiences like that continue to affect his self-esteem, he said.

“I used to feel excluded [and] feel out of place. It played a big part [in] my growing up and even a little today,” said Crocker, who has arthrogryposis, which is characterized by joint contracture, causing muscle shortening.

As someone living with spina bifida and using a wheelchair, Abigayle Quigley says clothes on mannequins pose a practical problem. 

“Say if there’s, like, a knee-length skirt or, like, a dress or just a regular skirt. On a mannequin it could be knee-length. On me, it could be ankle-length,” said Quigley. 

Both Crocker and Quigley said they want to see representation in mannequins not only for different types of physical disabilities but also for a variety of genders, colours and body types. 

Unrealistic body expectations

As a woman, Quigley said, she is aware of the unrealistic beauty standards the industry pushes on her gender. Tall and skinny mannequins depict an image of how a person should look as opposed to actual reality, she said. In the 1960s, the stick-thin mannequin — inspired by the fashions of the day — began to sweep aside rounder figures, often only found in plus-size stores. 

Several N.L. stores contacted by CBC declined to comment on the matter although some store representatives said they keep mannequins until they need to be fixed or replaced. “Until they’re broken,” was how a representative from one store put it.

Quigley said she finds that upsetting.

“If a mannequin is broken, keep it on. So what if it doesn’t have an arm or doesn’t have a leg? Keep it on display because they’re not broken. They’re beautiful in their own way and I think that should be displayed.”

Crocker said stores’ attitudes are close-minded to different ideas of beauty and reality.

“Just because a mannequin has a broken finger — to throw it away, then that’s to represent or signify that persons with disabilities are thrown to the side and that they don’t matter.”

Moving from performative gestures to action

Diversity is often used by big brands to promote their core values, said Crocker and Quigley, but despite the fact they pay the same amount of money for the same clothes, they still don’t see representation in their shopping experience.

Brands should move away from performative demonstrations of diversity and engage a range of voices from a plethora of communities in decision-making, said Crocker

His demand is simple: “Start not just talking the talk but walking the walk — or rolling the roll in the chair.”

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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Microsoft’s new Xbox Series S console confirmed in leaked controller packaging – The Verge

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Microsoft is rumored to be unveiling its second, cheaper next-gen Xbox console this month, and it looks like it will definitely be called Xbox Series S. The Verge has obtained photos of Microsoft’s new next-gen Xbox controller in white, complete with packaging that mentions the Xbox Series S. Twitter user Zak S was able to purchase the controller today, and we’ve confirmed it’s genuine.

The new controller was sold on a resale site today, and the side of the packaging notes that the controller works with both Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles. Microsoft has not officially unveiled an Xbox Series S yet, nor has the company even confirmed a white Xbox Series X controller.

Xbox Series S on the packaging.

A mysterious white Xbox Series X controller also appeared online last month, complete with the new D-pad, textured triggers, and new share button. This new leak matches the previous controller leak, and retail packaging suggests that these could be appearing in stores soon.

The Xbox Series S will likely be Microsoft’s second cheaper next-gen Xbox, that’s been codenamed Lockhart. A Microsoft document, leaked back in June, shed some further light on the company’s plans for two next-gen consoles. Microsoft’s Xbox Series X devkit, codenamed “Dante,” allows game developers to enable a special Lockhart mode that has a profile of the performance that Microsoft wants to hit with this second console.

The Lockhart console is expected to include 7.5GB of usable RAM, around 4 teraflops of GPU performance, and ship with the same CPU found on the Xbox Series X. Microsoft is rumored to be unveiling the Xbox Series S some time in August, and it will likely play a big part of the company’s Xbox All Access subscription plans that bundle an Xbox console and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass) for a monthly fee.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft to comment on the next-gen Xbox controller leak, and we’ll update you accordingly.

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Huawei's chipset production lines are to close in September 2020 – Notebookcheck.net

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Deirdre O’Donnell, 2020-08- 9 (Update: 2020-08- 9)

I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general.
This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.

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