What’s new in tech
Foxconn’s factory flip-flop
The Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn has once again changed course on controversial plans for a giant Wisconsin factory after a conversation with President Trump, said Anna Hensel in VentureBeat.com. Wisconsin offered Foxconn $4 billion in incentives—$230,000 per job created—but critics have been skeptical that the LCD screen plant would ever be built. Last week, Foxconn said that the market had changed and it was no longer economical to produce the screens in Wisconsin. The company said it would still create a research and development lab, but not the cutting-edge production plant that Trump and former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had promoted. After its conversation with Trump, Foxconn said the factory was back on—but “with so many irons in the fire, it’s likely Foxconn’s plans will continue to change.”
Uber tries adding buses and trains
Uber will add public transit information to its app in a new pilot program, said Andrew Hawkins in TheVerge.com. In addition to the ride-hailing option, customers in Denver will see a train icon that opens “a list of bus or train routes as well as the expected fare price and end-to-end directions.” Eventually they’ll be able to buy train tickets through the app. Uber, which has faced criticism for draining customers from public transport—and faces an expected public offering later this year—hopes to boost its image with the addition. It also stands to benefit “by training its riders to use its app over all the other apps that purport to be one-stop shops for transportation.”
Another Bitcoin exchange bust
A Canadian cryptocurrency exchange can’t repay customers some $190 million because its CEO died suddenly—and nobody knows the password to his encrypted laptop, said Bill Chappell in NPR.org. QuadrigaCX founder Gerald Cotten, 30, died in December of complications from Crohn’s disease while traveling in India. Now his widow, in court filings seeking debt protection, says she can’t access the company’s “cold wallets,” which hold the exchange’s virtual currency, most of it in Bitcoin. Such “cold wallets” are not connected to the internet, and are designed to prevent hacking attacks. A security expert at QuadrigaCX couldn’t manage it, either. Now the firm’s 115,000 clients are “wondering when—and if—they’ll see their money.” Cotten’s widow said she’s faced death threats and skepticism about whether Cotten is actually dead.