This Week in Tech: The Chips Fall, and Rebuilding Notre-Dame

It looks like Spring has finally sprung here at SHIFT SF – just in time for the weekend! These are some of the stories that our B2B tech teams have been monitoring throughout the week:

Apple, Qualcomm settle  

In tech legal news, Apple and chipmaker Qualcomm reached a settlement in their two-year legal battle over royalty fees. At the core of the lawsuit was a dispute over the formula used to calculate how much Apple paid Qualcomm to use its chips in iPhones. In the last-minute settlement, agreed to as the trial was set for opening arguments in Silicon Valley, Apple agreed to pay Qualcomm an undisclosed amount estimated by analyst firm UBS to be as steep as $6 billion (a price that Apple can well afford). The companies also pledged to continue working together on future phones.

That last part of the settlement might have the larger impact on future 5G smartphones. Qualcomm is the only major U.S. supplier of 5G wireless chips. The settlement could mean future Apple devices will incorporate Qualcomm chips to connect to the ultra-fast 5G networks that are starting to deploy around the nation. It also could mean Apple could end up paying a premium for 5G chips, given that premier foreign suppliers like Huawei and Samsung make chips for their own devices. Other 5G chipset makers’ products typically are not suitable for high-end devices like the iPhone.

Rebuilding Notre-Dame

For a tech take on the tragic fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris earlier this week, The Atlantic tells the tale of an architectural historian who had 3D mapped the entire structure inside and out. “When you’re working on medieval buildings, it’s difficult to have the impression you can say anything new. They’ve been looked at and written about for ages,” the historian, Andrew Tallon, is quoted as saying. “So I’ve been using more sophisticated technology these days to try to get new answers from the same building.”

It’s a wonderful long-read on how technology can capture the essence of one of the world’s most popular landmarks and shed light on hidden features that can influence the eventual rebuilding of the cathedral.

Timing is everything

On Thursday, Facebook updated a March blog post, which we covered here, admitting that the passwords of millions of Instagram users were stored on an unencrypted file accessible to Facebook employees. From a PR perspective, the timing was brilliant: slide the update into the news cycle while the rest of the world was focused on the release of the Mueller Report. From a user perspective, this was just the latest security blunder by a company that, as the tech site Recode phrased it “doesn’t convey the message that Facebook cares strongly that users are aware of this issue.”

(Un)related pro tip

We’re hiring here at SHIFT. If spring has you itching for a new beginning, careerwise, come check out our Job Openings.

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