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Wedbush’s Dan Ives says Apple could buy these three Hollywood studios

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Dan Ives thinks the time has come for Apple to open up its wallet and buy a piece of Hollywood.

Like others on Wall Street, Ives, an analyst who covers the iPhone maker for Wedbush, thinks the company’s future is in its services business. A key component of that business going forward is likely to be the subscription streaming video offering it’s widely expected to launch this year.

But even as Apple is spending more than $1 billion a year to develop new video content, it faces a big challenge going up against Netflix, not to mention the new and upcoming streaming services from Disney and the combined AT&T-Time Warner — it has little in the way of a library of movies and TV shows.

“Now is the time for Apple to rip off the band-aid and finally do significant content [mergers and acquisitions],” Ives said in a new research note. Should the company pass on the opportunity, he continued, “it will be a major strategic mistake … that will haunt the company for years to come, [because] content [is] the rocket fuel in the services engine that is currently missing in the portfolio.”

Read this: Investors focused on Apple’s disappointing iPhone sales are missing the company’s hidden goldmine

Making such an acquisition would represent a major shift for Apple. While the iPhone maker has purchased lots of smaller companies, it has traditionally eschewed big mergers. To date, the biggest acquisition deal Apple has ever completed was its $3 billion purchase of headphone maker Beats in 2014.

But with some $237 billion in cash and investments as of the end of September, Apple has plenty of money with which to go shopping. And now would be an ideal time, argued Ives. With AT&T having completed its merger with Time Warner last year and Disney expected to close its deal to acquire 21st Century Fox this spring, consolidation is about to become the name of the game in the content business, he said.

While Apple has been trying to build up its content library piece by piece, it risks being left far behind by rivals that are spending many times what it is each year and which already have significant holdings of movies and TV shows, Ives said.

“Apple significantly lacks the core content to get its loyal customer base to pay $10 per month,” he said, adding that CEO Tim “Cook, Jony Ive (Chief Design Officer), Eddy Cue (head of Apple’s content strategy), and others on the leadership/strategy team continue to drive in the right lane at 55 mph, while competitors from all areas of technology and media are passing the technology stalwart in the left lane driving 100 mph in their new content sports cars.”

So where should Apple put its money? What content companies should it buy?

Here are the ones that Ives thinks could be prime targets for Apple:

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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