Displaying items by tag: Controversies

UK University declines additional funding from Chinese vendor

Written on Tuesday, 22 January 2019 06:22

Embattled Chinese telecommunications vendor Huawei has endured a miserable number of months – and is under intense scrutiny globally.

Huawei has become embroiled in a series of controversies and has been subjected to lurid allegations which claim the telecommunications behemoth is a security threat to nations that deploy its equipment due to its close ties with the Chinese government in Beijing.

The under-fire company suffered another setback when one of the world’s most famous academic institutions Oxford University, declined the opportunity to receive additional funding from the vendor.

A spokesman for the University said that it would not be pursuing new funding opportunities for both research contracts or philanthropic donations from Huawei and related group companies, although it did confirm that existing projects currently in place will continue.

The spokesman said, “We currently have two such ongoing projects, with a combined funding from Huawei of £692,000. However, after careful consideration we have decided to turn away future funding from Huawei and have informed them of our decision.”

Oxford confirmed that the decision to decline future funding from Huawei was due to the public concerns which have been expressed regarding the company’s operations. A Huawei executive was arrested in Poland last week on suspicion of espionage. In December, its CTO, Meng Hanzhou was arrested in Vancouver for alleged fraud in Iran.

The US have banned them for participating in the rollout of its 5G networks and has its allies New Zealand and Australia have followed suit. Washington is also instructed the UK and Japan to ban Huawei, whilst both the German and Canadian governments are considering banning them from their 5G programs over the security concerns raised by US intelligence. 

However, Huawei has contradicted what Oxford University has stated, and is adamant that it has not been informed of any decision by the academic institution in relation to funding.

A Huawei spokesman said, “We have operated in the UK since 2001, employ 1,500 people here and have long standing research collaborations with 20 other UK universities working to develop the technologies of the future. We will await their decision.”

Published in Telecom Vendors

Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick has sensationally resigned as CEO of Uber after coming under increased pressure from investors who raised serious concerns over his leadership. The co-founder of the ride-hailing service which has upended the taxi industry on a global scale has been under intense scrutiny over a series of scandals that have rocked the organization.

However, just last week it was announced following a board meeting that Kalanick had agreed to take a leave of absence for an undetermined period of time in an effort to grieve for his mother who had recently been tragically killed in a boating accident. His father was also seriously injured in the accident, and Kalanick said he needed a break to spend time with his family and work on his leadership skills.

It was expected he would return quietly in a few months when the controversies surrounding the organization blows over. However, it has been announced that Kalanick has now resigned as CEO after a letter from venture capitalist firm Benchmark called for his resignation.

In a statement given to the New York Times, Kalanick said it was imperative that Uber went back to building rather than becoming embroiled in a fight – and that he accepted the investors request. He said, “I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors' request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight.”

Uber has been under the spotlight following an investigation into the culture that exists within its workplace and the practices employed by the firm which Kalanick co-founded in 2009. Uber is now the world’s most highly valued start-up business. A growing momentum of voices demanded changes at the helm, and it was the call from Uber’s biggest investors that ultimately forced Kalanick to concede that his position was now untenable.

One of Uber’s largest shareholders Bill Gurley is a partner in Benchmark and he also sits on the board. Other venture capital firms such as First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Menlo Ventures and Fidelity Investments, all called for the CEO to step aside. It has been reported that they delivered a letter to Kalanick when he was in Chicago. It is believed that Kalanick will remain on Uber’s board.

Gurley, one of Kalanick's closest confidants, praised the CEO on Twitter, after calling for his resignation. He tweeted, "There will be many pages in the history books devoted to @travisk - very few entrepreneurs have had such a lasting impact on the world.”

An Uber spokesman has expressed his shock and surprise at the decision taken by Kalanick. Some analysts felt that it was inevitable he had to go after an extensive investigation was initiated by former US Attorney General Eric Holder. Uber hired Holder to examine its culture and workplace practices after a former employee accused the company of engaging in brazen sexual harassment. Uber is now valued at $68 billion, which completely shattered the norms for Silicon Valley startups, and many feel the organization embodied many of Kalanick’s aggressive and pugnacious personality traits.

Published in Apps