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SiriusXM buys stake in Pandora

SiriusXM has agreed to buy a stake in Pandora, a $480 million dollar stake. The rumors had been swirling that SiriusXM would buy Pandora fully but instead they're just buying 19% of Pandora. The new influx of cash should help Pandora compete against the likes of Apple Music and Spotify. The partnership seems like it could potentially help both companies but only time will tell how it all pans out. The Verge has the full story.

SiriusXM has agreed to invest $480 million in Pandora, giving it a 19 percent stake in the streaming music company.

The investment ends months-long speculation that SiriusXM would buy Pandora outright. It’s not clear why plans changed, but SiriusXM says the cash injection “will allow Pandora to make targeted investments” — though it doesn’t elaborate on what those might involve.

Pandora CEO Tim Westergren says the influx of money will give his company “the flexibility we need to attack what is becoming a larger and larger opportunity as digital music enters a new golden age."

Verizon to cut jobs at Yahoo and AOL

Looks like there will be yet another round of cuts over at Yahoo, this time though it going to be by their new owner Verizon. Verizon will be cutting somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 jobs with most of the cuts coming from their Yahoo and AOL divisions. It looks like these cuts will account for around 15% of the two companies total workforce. Reuters has the full story.

Verizon Communications Inc is expected to cut about 2,000 jobs when it completes its $4.48 billion acquisition of Yahoo Inc's core assets next week, a person briefed on the matter said.

The cuts are expected to come from Verizon's AOL and Yahoo units and represent about 15 percent of the staff at the two units. About 14,000 people work at AOL and Yahoo.

Many of the jobs are in California and some are outside the United States, according to the source, who asked not to be identified because the matter is not yet public.

Apple joins war on autoplay ads

A couple weeks ago Google announced that they'd be coming up with their own ad blocker shortly and one component of that will be stopping those horribly annoying auto play ads. Apple has now joined the fight and will be doing the same which hopefully means the end of auto play ads. I can't see too many people being sad that auto play ads are being stopped. Mashable has the story.

Online advertisers beware—Apple is coming for you.

The company announced on Monday that a new update to its Safari web browser will block autoplay videos.

The update will also feature a new security feature that stops ad tracking technology from watching where users go on the web.

Apple HomePod

Apple announced their HomePod at WWDC, which in a sense Apple's response to the Amazon Echo and Google Home digital assistants. HomePod is aiming more for a "music first" approach but you'll be able to use Siri for some digital assistant tasks. Basically it ends up that the HomePod is probably more competitive with products from Sonas than other digital assistant devices which has people scratching their heads a little and wondering how this product will do in the marketplace. The Verge takes a closer look.

Much of Apple's presentation was centered around this music-first approach, highlighting things like beamforming audio designed to tune music to the space the speaker is in. The fact that HomePod includes Siri support for home assistant queries like unit conversion, news, weather, traffic, sports, reminders, and timers almost seemed like an afterthought, as did the fact that it serves as a hub for controlling HomeKit-powered smart home devices.

GOG Summer Game Sale

If you've started to catch up on your Steam library purchases and have played through a bunch of those games, GoG has kicked off their summer sale. While most of these games are not the latest titles, there are some pretty big names in the mix. From RPG to platformer, adventure and FPS, there is something for everyone - starting at about a buck.


Source: GOG

Microsoft Offers Refurbished Surface 3 at Discount

If you missed out on the discounted Surface 3 units last month, Microsoft has found another pile of the non-Pro tablets and hase them up on their site again. These are powered by an Intel Atom CPU, and pack in 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for $369. This is a solid device for a great price and if you're looking at a entry-mid range tablet for a good price, this is pretty much as good as you're going to get. More details below.

The best of a tablet
With its 10.8-inch Full HD display and thin, light frame that weighs under 1.5 pounds, Surface 3 is just the right size to take anywhere. And with Dolby Audio, an integrated 3-position Kickstand, and front and rear cameras, it's perfect for hands-free entertainment wherever you go.

Source: Microsoft Store

Microsoft Re-Re-Enters Mobile Again for Another TIme

Microsoft had a winner (in their minds) with Windows Mobile 5, 6, 7 and 8. Then came Windows Phone 10. That was incredible. The only downside is that they have pulled their own app support from their own devices. Also, no one is developing for it because they keep pulling the plug on everything they do. That being said, I'm sure the new Surface Mobile device will be so much better. It comes with a projector after all and is pretty much guaranteed to have a life cycle of less than a year. Still if you want to throw your money at a device that won't be supported for very long, consider the upcoming Surface Mobile.

Two new codenames are also dropped: ‘Surface Peking’ and ‘Surface Slavonia’. It’s unclear what these could be but they are mentioned alongside the word “terminal” which suggests they could be some sort of hardware similar to the Microsoft Display Dock used for Continuum functionality. ‘Surface Peking’ can be interpreted as ‘Surface Beijing’ as the names are interchangeable.

Source: OnMSFT

Battleborn Goes Free to Play

Battleborn is a hero shooter game from Gearbox and they've recently rolled things over to change the game to a Free-to-Play model. The player base has been slipping and in order to make things a little more appealing, they've switched the model over. This is a "trial" model, but in the end, it looks like it could stay free.

Although titled a trial, all of the game's competitive multiplayer modes are freely available without any time restrictions. This includes access to Incursion, Meltdown, Capture, and Face-Off modes, as well as the upcoming Supercharge mode.

Source: Neowin

Google Killed Andormeda

It appears that Google has killed off the development of it's Android/Chrome Hybrid OS. This OS was supposed to revolutionize and put the conveince of a mobile OS on a device that offers much more productivity that a mobile OS can offer. It seemed like a great idea at the time, but in the end, there isn't much of a demand overall, so it met the axe.

Does this mean the company is giving up on its efforts to bring together the separate, and often disjointed, experiences offered by its mobile and desktop offerings? Given the industry trend toward favoring such an approach, it's unlikely that Andromeda's demise also signifies the end of Google's ambitions in this regard.

Source: Neowin

WWDC and More!

Apple's WWDC kicked off this week and they've got a few updated bits that are worth mentioning. First off, one thing they don't really cover is the Macbook Air. They haven't updated it for a couple of years and now every laptop is thin and light like the original Macbook Air. There is however an updated Macbook Pro, iMac and a few other new bits worth checking out. For starters, you can watch the condensed Keynote (down to 15 minutes) below.


For more detailed coverage, you can check out the iMac Pro (specs here), the Macbook Pro here and more over at MacRumors.

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