Ford enters scooter wars with acquisition of startup Spin

Ford is entering the e-scooter market with the acquisition of California startup Spin (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2018
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Ford enters scooter wars with acquisition of startup Spin

  • News reports said the value of the deal was between $80 million and $100 million
  • The two-wheeled scooters offer promise to reduce auto traffic, according to backers

NEW YORK: Ford Motor Co. agreed Thursday to acquire the electric scooter-sharing startup Spin, entering the fast-growing segment of last-mile urban mobility.
“The acquisition of Spin is the latest strategic move by Ford in the mobility space, as the company builds a mobility portfolio to help customers get places more easily, more quickly and less expensively,” Ford said in a statement.
The purchase price was not disclosed but news reports said the value of the deal was between $80 million and $100 million.
The California-based startup said on Twitter: “We’re excited to announce that Spin is joining the Ford team! Over the next year, we plan to launch in 100+ markets in close collaboration with cities, transportation planners, advocates, & community and workforce group.”
Ford’s move adds a major new player to the hot segment that includes Uber, Lyft and others operating in dozens of cities worldwide, allowing smartphone users to unlock and ride the scooters and leave them anywhere, with no dock required.
The two-wheeled scooters offer promise to reduce auto traffic, according to backers, but have been criticized for creating clutter and potential road hazards. The luster of scooters has been dimmed by a handful of high-profile accidents, some fatal.
Spin said in a statement it hopes to address concerns about the new kind of transport.
“In the cities where we operate, we plan to help with enforcement around safety and parking, as well as provide rich data to inform urban planning and bolster sustainability initiatives,” said a statement by the founders.
“And we’ll continue to hire locally, while partnering with the highest quality operations teams to ensure our scooters are well-maintained and integrating well among small businesses, city institutions, and transit infrastructure.”


US in criminal probe of China's Huawei

Updated 17 January 2019
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US in criminal probe of China's Huawei

  • The Wall Street Journal said the US justice department is looking into allegations of theft of trade secrets from Huawei's US business partners
  • Huawei forcefully denied accusations that his firm engaged in espionage on behalf of the Chinese government

WASHINGTON: US authorities are in the "advanced" stages of a criminal probe that could result in an indictment of Chinese technology giant Huawei, a report said Wednesday.
The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, said the Department of Justice is looking into allegations of theft of trade secrets from Huawei's US business partners, including a T-Mobile robotic device used to test smartphones.
Huawei and the Department of Justice declined to comment on the media report.
However, Huawei noted that "Huawei and T-Mobile settled their disputes in 2017 following a US jury verdict finding neither damage, unjust enrichment nor willful and malicious conduct by Huawei in T-Mobile's trade secret claim."
The move would further escalate tensions between the US and China after the arrest last year in Canada of Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is the daughter of the company founder.
The case of Meng, under house arrest awaiting proceedings, has inflamed US-China and Canada-China relations.
Two Canadians have been detained in China since Meng's arrest and a third has been sentenced to death on drug trafficking charges -- moves observers see as attempts by Beijing to pressure Ottawa over her case.
Huawei, the second-largest global smartphone maker and biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, has for years been under scrutiny in the US over purported links to the Chinese government.
Huawei's reclusive founder Ren Zhengfei, in a rare media interview Tuesday, forcefully denied accusations that his firm engaged in espionage on behalf of the Chinese government.
The tensions come amid a backdrop of President Donald Trump's efforts to get more manufacturing on US soil and slap hefty tariffs on Chinese goods for what he claims are unfair trade practices by Beijing.
In a related move, lawmakers introduced a bill to ban the export of American parts and components to Chinese telecom companies that are in violation of US export control or sanctions laws -- with Huawei and fellow Chinese firm ZTE the likely targets.
"Huawei is effectively an intelligence-gathering arm of the Chinese Communist Party whose founder and CEO was an engineer for the People's Liberation Army," said Republican Senator Tom Cotton, one of the bill's sponsors.
Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen said in the same statement: "Huawei and ZTE are two sides of the same coin. Both companies have repeatedly violated US laws, represent a significant risk to American national security interests and need to be held accountable."
Last year, Trump reached a deal with ZTE that eases tough financial penalties on the firm for helping Iran and North Korea evade American sanctions.
Trump said his decision in May to spare ZTE came following an appeal by Chinese President Xi Jinping to help save Chinese jobs.