Morning Beat: Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA), and Apple Inc. (AAPL)

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is working on a new feature for Windows 10 mobile that will support fingerprint readers in addition to facial recognition. The tech giant made the announcement at the ongoing WinHEC conference where it said the update would come as part of the Anniversary Update to Windows 10 mobile.

The first device that will support the new feature will be HP’s Elite x3 as it remains unclear which other handset makers will join the bandwagon. Given that the fingerprint scanner could require more work on its integration to Windows Hello functionality, many handset makers could opt out of installing it.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) and its largest shareholder Softbank have teamed for the formation of a joint venture dedicated to offering cloud services. SB Cloud is the name of the new joint venture that will open a new data center in Japan for offering an array of cloud services.

The joint venture will target startups, tech giants, as well as global organizations. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) is to provide data storage and processing services as it continues to invest big on one of its fastest growing business away from e-commerce. Alibaba will control a 40% stake in the joint venture with Softbank controlling 60%.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-sharing service Didi in a move that confirms how serious it is about pursuing opportunities in the auto industry. The tech giant will help the Chinese firm bolster its platform that already serves about 300 million users a day while handling more than 11 million rides.

The iPhone maker has until now remained numb due to claims it is developing its own driverless car. Its investment in Didi, however, does not come as a surprise as it is under pressure to pursue new opportunities as the smartphone business continues to contract. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) joins Alibaba and Tencent that that have already invested in the service.

Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is paying drivers in Arizona $20 to test ‘drive’ its driverless car as it continues to polish its self-driving technology. To qualify for the test-driving job, one needs to have a clean driving record, no criminal record, and a bachelor’s degree. Prospective candidates should also be able to type at least 40 words a minute.

According to the job postings, selected candidates will have to ‘drive’ the self-driving car at least 6-8 hours a day, in a team involving two people. While in the car the team will have to monitor the car’s system and file daily reports.

Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is carrying out the tests in Phoenix Arizona as part of an effort that seeks to monitor the car’s performance in desert conditions.

Viraj Shah

Viraj Shah has completed M.Com (Finance) and is currently pursuing his CFP. He tracks US markets along with other global markets like India very closely. He is very passionate about stocks, real estate, and technology. He also believes that money can always be made in the market.

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