5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

A rendering of the new Sydney Microsoft Store. Image supplied.

Here’s what you need to know in tech today.

1. Significant Investor Visas aren’t helping fund startups. The visas require foreigners to invest a minimum of $5 million in Australia over four years. The government had changed the rules to force at least $500,000 to be put into “high risk” opportunities, like venture capital or private equity. However, since the changes were implemented, applications for the visas have dropped off significantly.

2. The Sydney Microsoft store opens today. The two-story store in Sydney’s bustling Pitt Street Mall is the first outside of North America and features the full range of Microsoft’s offerings. But the store manager puts the emphasis on the technical and business support Microsoft will be able to provide through its physical presence.

3. Malcolm Turnbull has restored funding to big data research institute NICTA. The 2014 budget only allocated two years of funding to the institute that specialises in data and partnering with the commercial sector. From next year, the organisation would have been left to fend for itself, through grants and private investment. But as part of next month’s innovation statement, the funding is expected to be restored.

4. SurfStitch has made another play in the digital content space. The company, which previously splashed out on surf weather and news sites, has announced a $15 million acquisition of Garage Entertainment. The Sydney-based company has the largest collection of online sports titles.

5. Microsoft can tell how you are feeling. The company has implemented facial recognition in a suite of services designed for app developers. Called Project Oxford, it can recognise emotions in the photos we upload.

Bonus. The government is investigating the baby formula shortage. In a sign of how the internet is bringing down barriers, premium baby formula is disappearing off Australian supermarket shelves as entrepreneurs buy it up and sell it online. Intervention is the last resort, but the government is talking to retailers about the issue.

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