Netflix plans a choose-your-own-adventure ‘Black Mirror’

Netflix is about to let you decide how your favorite show will end. The streaming service is developing a slate of specials that will let viewers choose the next storyline in a TV episode or movie, according to people familiar with the matter. The company expects to release the first of these projects before the end of this year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are still private. Viewers will get to choose their own storylines in one episode of the upcoming season of "Black Mirror," the Emmy-winning science-fiction anthology series. The show is famous for exploring the social implications of technology, including an episode where humans jockey to receive higher ratings from their peers. The fifth season of the show is expected to be released in December. Continue reading at

VW steps up digital push connecting cars through Microsoft cloud

Microsoft Corp. and Volkswagen are set to strike a deal to use the U.S. software giant's cloud technology to connect the auto manufacturer's entire vehicle fleet as the world's biggest carmaker steps up its transformation into digital and mobility services. VW will channel all of its digital offerings through Microsoft's Azure software, creating the world's largest automotive cloud of its type in an effort that'll help streamline future developments, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said Friday in a joint statement. By 2020, more than 5 million new cars per year will connect using the software. The two companies didn't disclose the value of the deal. "The strategic partnership with Microsoft will turbocharge our digital transformation," said VW Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess. "We will play a key role in shaping the future of auto-mobility." Continue reading at

Facebook says security breach affected about 50 million accounts

Facebook says it discovered a security breach earlier this week that affected almost 50 million accounts. The company says it has fixed the breach, which allowed hackers to take over people's accounts. The social-media network said in a statement Friday that it has told law enforcement authorities about the breach. Shares declined about 3 percent on the news. There was a loophole in Facebook's code for a feature called "View As" that let people see what their account looks like to someone else. The vulnerability allowed people to steal access tokens -- digital keys that keep people logged into Facebook so they don't need to re-enter passwords. Once logged in, the attackers could take control. Continue reading at

Barstool Sports CEO defends site against harassment claims

Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini, a woman overseeing a controversial and male-dominated business, defended the sports website following a Daily Beast article describing a history of sexual harassment and cyberbullying. In a blog post, Nardini acknowledged that employees of Barstool, which is majority owned by the Chernin Group, "make mistakes." But she said Barstool's politically incorrect commentary isn't mean-spirited and is why the site has developed a devoted fan base. "We are offensive and people will be offended," she said. "If you believe there is malicious intent and an agenda behind it, we'll never convince you otherwise." Continue reading at

Instagram founders exit Facebook as Zuckerberg tension grows

The founders of Instagram are leaving Facebook after growing tensions with CEO Mark Zuckerberg over the direction of the photo-sharing app, people familiar with the matter said. The stock dropped 2 percent in pre-market trading Tuesday. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who have been at the company since Instagram's acquisition by Facebook in 2012, had been able to keep the brand and product independent while relying on Facebook's infrastructure and resources to grow. Lately, they were frustrated with an uptick in day-to-day involvement by Zuckerberg, who has become more reliant on Instagram in planning for Facebook's future, said the people, who asked not to be identified sharing internal details. Without the founders around, Instagram is likely to become more tightly integrated with Facebook, making it more of a product division within the larger company than an independent operation, the people said. Continue reading at

Apple, Salesforce join forces to boost mobile business apps

Apple Inc. and Inc. announced a partnership Monday that aims to increase the number of mobile applications for businesses available on iPhones and iPads. As part of the agreement, Salesforce is updating its app with Apple's latest features, including integrating it with digital voice assistant Siri, Face ID security and Business Chat, an iMessage customer service function. The companies are also working on a software development kit that will more easily allow businesses to write apps for iPhones and iPads that run on the Salesforce platform. "Einstein could not be more excited to be friends with Siri!," Salesforce Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff tweeted. "This is the best of both worlds." Continue reading at

Toyota agrees to add Android auto in its cars

Toyota Motor Corp. agreed to add Android Auto to its vehicles, according to a person familiar with the matter, ending years of resistance to the Google infotainment software due to safety and security concerns. For the first time, Toyota will allow Android Auto devices to connect directly to its cars, after announcing compatibility with Apple Inc.'s CarPlay in January. Previously both platforms could only connect with Toyota vehicles using SmartDeviceLink, a telematics system developed by Ford Motor Co. that controls how Android Auto and CarPlay look on the dash and limits their access to car data. The addition of Android Auto may attract customers who had stayed away from Toyota vehicles because of the lack of connectivity. More than 80 percent of smartphones use the software from Alphabet's Google, with the rest using Apple's iOS system, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence. An announcement could come as early Continue reading "Toyota agrees to add Android auto in its cars"