Online mortgages and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

Quick note this week on online mortgage applications – they can be painful! As I’ve mentioned in the past, we’ve been house hunting and we’re now looking at mortgages. First of all, not all the banks I’ve checked out have an easy online form that you can submit for the most ornery of information – past addresses, income/past employment. In fact, our search simply excluded those sites that we could not easily send an online form to. Because in the end, even if you talk to someone, you’ll end up giving all that information over the phone anyway. Anyway, even those with an online form, still won’t accept digital signatures. As if hand-written signatures (scanned and sent are fine) signatures are the greatest deterrent to fraud. If it makes everyone feel better, I guess we’ll go with that. For now.

Here are this week’s most relevant news in tech and retail:

In tech:

  1. Apple acquires Virginia based-startup Foundation DB to boost iMessage; reports also emerge of another acquisition from a year ago of big data analytics company Acunu; Apple could release 3 new phones this year according to reports from from Taiwan
  2. Facebook‘s solar-powered Aquila drones aims to beam Internet access from the skies
  3. Periscope, a live-streaming app acquired by Twitter in January for $100M, is finally live; competitor Meerkat raises $14M round of funding
  4. Workplace messaging app, Slack, doubles valuation in 5 months to $2.76B, as company raises new round of $160M
  5. Google to collaborate with Johnson& Johnson for the advancement of surgical robots 

In retail:

  1. Amazon news: Amazon in talks to buy luxury online retailer Net-A-Porter; Amazon to launch Home Services marketplace; Amazon launches Unlimited Cloud Storage; Amazon launches ad-free Prime Music app on iOS; Amazon’s 1-hour delivery, Prime Now expands to Dallas
  2. Lululemon Athletica shares jump on on strong fiscal Q4 sales
  3. India-based fashion discovery site, Roposo, raises $5M in Series A funding
  4. US mall operator Simon Property Group ups hostile takeover bid of Macerich to $23.2B
  5. Adidas AG outlines growth strategy to lift net profit by 15% a year through 2020

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