10 things in tech you need to know today

Good morning! Here’s the technology news you need to know this Wednesday.

1. Powa Technologies, the London payments business that went into administration last Friday, has laid off 74 of its 311 staff. A source close to the company told Business Insider that most of Powa’s European sales staff have been let go since Deloitte came in as administrators.

2. Bill Gates has disputed Apple CEO Tim Cook’s assertion that the FBI is trying to get Apple to create a “back door” to the iPhone. Gates denies that he’s backing the FBI in its battle with Apple.

3. Uber has picked Bangkok for the launch of its first motorbike taxi service. The Thai motorbike move is Uber’s latest attempt to find ways of delivering new services to suit budget-conscious Asian consumers.

4. Spotify has chosen Google Cloud Platform to power its backend infrastructure. It’s a big win for Google given the Google Cloud Platform is seen as a third-place player — at best — next to leading competitors Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

5. Kanye West’s new album isn’t in the charts because Tidal hasn’t released streaming data. Whether or not Tidal releases streaming data is down to the artist — and in this instance West has opted not to make it public, and he’s not in the charts as a result.

6. Mastercard announced at Mobile World Congress that it will roll out an app this summer that lets people approve online payments with selfies and fingerprints. The app would make traditional passwords obsolete.

7. London startup Pact Coffee is hoping to secure an additional £1 million in crowdfunding as it looks to change how people get their coffee. The Pact Coffee Crowdcube campaign allows customers and the general public to invest in Pact Coffee from just £10.

8. Snapchat has added a way to wish your friends a happy birthday over its platform. The company is introducing lenses that let friends send each other images with a special birthday message.

9. Apple shipped 4.1 million Apple Watches in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to an estimate from International Data Corporation. That’s only a 5% increase on the amount sold in the third quarter of 2015.

10. Activision Blizzard has completed the purchase of King Digital Entertainment, the makers of “Candy Crush Saga,” for $5.9 billion (£4.2 billion). Bobby Kotick, Activision’s chief executive, said the company now reaches more than 500 million users “making us the largest game network in the world.”

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