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Western Digital Acquires SanDisk

Western Digital has agreed to acquire rival storage and memory supplier SanDisk in a deal valued at about $19 billion.

The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

With the transaction, Western Digital will double its addressable market and expand its participation in higher-growth segments, the company said.

The deal also enables Western Digital to vertically integrate into the NAND market, securing long-term access to solid-state technology at lower cost through the maintenance of SanDisk’s 15-year joint venture with Toshiba, which provides a stable NAND supply at scale through a time-tested business model.

The two companies produce complementary product lines, including hard disk drives, solid-state drives, Cloud data center storage solutions and flash storage solutions.

Both companies have strong R&D and engineering capabilities with more than 15,000 combined patents issued or pending worldwide.

Milligan will continue to serve as CEO of the combined company, and the company will remain headquartered in Irvine, Calif. Upon closing, SanDisk CE Sanjay Mehrotra is expected to join the Western Digital board of directors.

The transaction will be financed by a mix of cash, new debt financing and Western Digital stock. It is subject to approval by SanDisk shareholders and is expected to close in the third calendar quarter of 2016.

Pepsi (Yes, Pepsi) Is Launching A Smartphone

The Pepsi generation is getting its own phone.

Pepsi will debut its first branded smartphone in the Chinese market later this month, according to a report from mobile news site Mobipicker. The Pepsi P1 will debut as a midpriced model running the Android OS.

No word of a stripped-down Diet Pepsi model, yet.

FAA Looks To Tighten Regulations On Drones

The federal government will seek to register all drones, including the lighter, remote- controlled crafts favored by hobbyists, so it can track down any drone pilots who collide with other aircraft or violate rules for safe flights.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the new rules will apply to hobbyists as well as commercial drone operators, who already register.

Government regulators and industry leaders are eager to get rules in place as interest in remote-controlled aircraft surges. Quadcopters equipped with a high-definition cameras cost little more than $40 and can be purchased easily online, while models that fly longer and higher can run thousands of dollars. Retailers expect drones to fly off the shelves as gifts this holiday season.

Hobbyists argue their lighter aircraft pose less danger than the heavier commercial models and should not be as strictly regulated. Such regulations and higher costs associated with registration could drive away recreational fliers with smaller models, said Dave Mathewson, executive director of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), which represents 180,000 hobbyists. AMA pilots put their membership number, name, address on their aircraft so the owners can be found if the drones are involved in a collision, Mathewson said.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) already requires registration numbers on commercial drones, but until now, the FAA has not required hobbyists to register, although hundreds of thousands of remote-controlled aircraft have already been sold.

“It’s a matter of responsibility that we will take seriously,” Foxx said. “We want to ramp up on enforcement,” he added, with $25,000 FAA fines and criminal penalties possible.

The Air Line Pilots Association, a union representing 52,000 pilots, has urged a national registry so that when a drone collides with a passenger plane, authorities can trace the drone debris back to its owner.

Verizon Phones Getting Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay is coming to select Samsung phones on the Verizon network.

Samsung’s mobile-payment technology went live on Sept. 28 in the U.S., but only with select Samsung phones activated on all other major U.S. wireless carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular.

Verizon customers with the Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ can now download and install the Samsung Pay app from the Google Play store, Samsung announced.

Samsung boasted of winning a three-way matchup with Apple Pay and Google’s planned Android Pay because Samsung Pay uses both MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) technology and NFC. MST technology works with existing magnetic card readers that are used for swiping cards. As a result, Samsung said Samsung Pay works in more retail stores than the other mobile payment services.

“With the widest acceptance of retailers, Samsung Pay works almost anywhere you can swipe or tap your card,” said Nana Murugesan, strategy and operations VP at Samsung Electronics America.

With Samsung Pay, consumers swipe up their Samsung phone’s screen, scan their fingerprint on the display, and make a payment, Samsung said. The service uses tokenization, Samsung hardware-based Knox security, and fingerprint authentication to protect transactions, the company said. No credit-card or personal information is personal information is exchanged during a transaction, the company noted.

Samsung Pay has the backing of American Express, Discover, Master Card, Visa and such major U.S. banks as Chase, Citi, Bank of America and U.S. Bank. It is also backed by financial institutions such as Synchrony Financial, which calls itself the largest provider of private-label credit cards in the U.S. based on 2014 purchase volume.


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