Global Tech Roundup: Jeff Bezos Could Be World’s First Trillionaire, Facebook’s Africa Internet Cable and Others
It’s the end of another busy week in the global tech space. Stories of acquisitions, product upgrades, fundraising among others made the round across the space today.
Here is a quick roundup of some of the major stories you might have missed.
Jeff Bezos could become the world’s first trillionaire
The company said that Bezos’ net worth grew an average of 34% over the last five years. It added that based on the average percentage of yearly growth over the past five years and applying it to future years, Jeff could be a trillionaire in the next five years.
According to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, Jeff’s net worth is currently estimated at $143 billion. This is a significant $28 billion increase from his worth last year, and we haven’t even crossed halfway of 2020 yet.
Doomsday bunker market is booming
The coronavirus pandemic is fueling a boom in the Doomsday Bunker market. The shelters which were once a signifier of a small community of people worried about doomsday have now become vacation homes to a host of people who would have thought it crazy in the first place.
Although the real estate market has been grounded, doomsday bunkers which hardly had a market pre-COVID is now at an all-time high. Robert Vicino, the CEO of Vivos, a global community of apocalypse bunkers, said he made more than a million dollars on a single Friday and $500,000 the following Monday.
Vivos has sold more than 50 bunkers and still has 500 to go.
A downmarket bunker costs roughly N13.6 million ($35,000) while the luxurious bunkers like the Vivos Europe, which is marketed as ‘the ultimate life-assurance solution’ cost upwards of N778.96 million ($2 million).
Tesla starts production of its Long Range Model 3 cars
Popular electric vehicle maker, Tesla has started building its Long Range Model 3 vehicles in its Chinese factory. Production had initially been delayed due to the outbreak of coronavirus but with factories already opening up, Tesla said it has started production and delivery to customers will begin soon.
The Tesla Model 3 Long Range is the company’s new long-distance electric vehicle. The car was initially billed to have a range of 310 miles on a single charge but Tesla has found some battery optimizations in recent months leading to an increase of EPA-rated range to 322 miles. The company said the model would be sold at N18.88 million ($48,495).
Apple acquires virtual reality event startup NextVR
Apple’s interest in virtual reality (VR) appears to be growing as it has purchased a VR startup, NextVR. Best known for its partnership with NBA to produce and broadcast basketball games in virtual reality, NextVR leverages the full field-of-view of VR headsets, to broadcast VR content users in a wholly 3D environment.
Although Apple didn’t disclose the terms of the deal, NextVR was rumoured to cost around $100 million. If true, this price would be a major loss to investors as they have collectively invested about $115 million into the VR company.
It’s not clear what Apple plans to do with NextVR’s expertise but the VR company probably won’t be making sports productions moving forward as the company’s new landing page says “NextVR is heading in a new direction,”.
Facebook’s $1 billion Internet Cable across Africa
Facebook in partnership with some of the world’s largest telecom carriers including MTN is building a giant sub-sea cable to bring more efficient and high-speed internet connectivity to citizens of Africa.
This comes after two damaged undersea cables affected internet users across several sub-Saharan African nations earlier this year.
The new 37,000-kilometer (23,000 miles) long cable called 2Africa will cost just under $1 billion. Facebook claims the length of the cable equals the total distance around the planet and will connect 16 African countries including Nigeria to Europe and the Middle East.
2Africa is expected to come into operation by 2024 and will provide nearly three times the total network capacity of all the subsea cables serving Africa today. Facebook said it has assigned Nokia-owned cable systems providers and others to build the subsea cable.
France moves against illegal content on social media
France has passed a law that mandates social media platforms in the country to remove the worst illegal content within an hour of notification or face fines.
From July 1, any social media platform that does not remove problematic content like child abuse, hate speech or terrorism-related content will be fined up to 1.25 million euros ($1.36 million), or up to 4% of their global revenue for serious, repeat offenders.
France new focus on prioritizing the removal of the most harmful content mirrors the German government law requiring social media companies to remove harmful content within 24 hours in 2017.
Tackling illegal content is an ongoing battle across social media platforms, however, France has made a major move to force platforms to speed up the removals by introducing their own laws and penalties.
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