Your 90-second guide to the day in tech

- March 23, 2021 2 MIN READ
A still from the NFT video clip Saccade produced by Flume and Jonathan Zawada.

Hello from soggy Sydney. It’s Tuesday and here’s what’s happening.


AVEVA’s $6.4bn buy

UK industrial software firm AVEVA has acquired California industrial data managment SaaS OSIsoft for US$5 billion (A$6.4bn) in a merger the British software giant says will combine their complementary offerings to help industrial customers accelerate their digital transformational strategies.

OSIsoft’s client base includes more than 1,000 of the world’s leading power and utilities companies, nearly all of the world’s top 40 oil and gas companies, the 10 metals and mining companies, and a bunch of other industrial firms.

Acer’s $64m hack

Hackers who stole files from Taiwanese computer maker Acer have demanded a US$50 million (A$64m) ransom.

The hackers, who call themselves REvil, posted photos of spreadsheets and financial documents as proof of the alleged hack. In January, the same hackers demanded a US$30m ransom from the Hong Kong company behind Wellcome supermarkets, and last year were responsible for the attack on Travelex.

Acer has neither confirmed nor denied, but issued a statement to Bleeping Computer saying “Companies like us are constantly under attack, and we have reported recent abnormal situations observed to the relevant law enforcement and data protection authorities in multiple countries.”

The hack is believed to have involved a Microsoft Exchange server.

While the $50m price is believed to be a record, the hackers offered a 20% discount if it was paid by March 17. REvil’s threatening to double the figure if they don’t have the cash by March 28.


NFT of the day

Startup Daily went to an art auction on the weekend where someone paid $27,000 for a plate painted by Australian artist John Olsen. The price estimate was $1000-$2000. At least they got a plate.

Which brings us to NFT of the day, courtesy of the Australian-born musician and DJ Flume (his mum calls him Harley), who teamed up with his animation collaborator, Jonathan Zawada, to produce a blinking eye set to 90 seconds of music, before turning it into a W̶T̶F̶  sorry, NFT titled Saccade, which he then flogged on Foundation for US$50,789 (A$66,000), paid in – wait for it – the cryptocurrency ethereum. 28.2828 ETH, to be precise.

In a moment that seems like the love child of Monty Python and the Dadaist art movement, it was bought by someone called @nobody (“Sorry, Grimes” their bio says), who paid 28.28 ethereum to own the non-fungible token – a blockchain-based digital certificate of ownership – of an eye dilating in strange ways to Flume’s electronica, which sounds a bit like a Humpback whale smoking opium.

Still, it’s a bargain compared to the $89 million spent on Beeple’s digital artwork Everydays: the First 5000 Days.

Here’s the clip Nobody bought, for free.


Tempus becomes Folklore

Eight-year-old VC firm Tempus Partners has rebranded as Folklore Ventures, promoting Hannah Field to partner along the way.

The business, which has invested in 16 startups, has also added another four hires to the team as it prepares to raise for a third fund with an unspecified value.


Open the Gates

Microsoft founder Bill Gates did an AMA on Reddit. It was his 9th. He’s a big fan of synthetic meat and eats it. And thinks the Covid-19 conspiracy theories about him, involving 5G and microchips are “pretty crazy. Why would I want to do that?”


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