The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Wednesday, May 20

U.S. charges six from China with stealing wireless technology

Three men who studied at the University of California and then went on to work at U.S. tech companies are among six Chinese citizens charged with economic espionage by the Department of Justice on Tuesday. The technology that the men allegedly stole from companies that employed two of them, Avago Technologies and Skyworks Solutions, is used in wireless devices to filter out unwanted signals and has both commercial and military applications.

ARM and Unicef team on wearables challenge

Mobile developers who really do want to change the world can tap into a new source of support: ARM has joined up with Unicef on a new “Wearables for Good” challenge program to encourage the development of low-cost and no-frills wearables that can be used to improve the health of mothers and children in emerging economies. Wearables could help track women’s health during pregnancy, or be used as part of an alert and response system during a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis, Unicef said.

Microsoft Word, Excel apps now previewing on Android phones...

Microsoft has released a preview build of new Word, Excel and Powerpoint apps for Android phones, PC World reports. The new apps will eventually replace Office Mobile for Android phones, and let anyone view and edit files, but only Office 365 subscribers have access to all the available options.

... but is even more mobile-friendly email in the works at Microsoft?

Microsoft appears to be developing a light-weight email app called Flow that will enable users to focus on “most important person-to-person conversations without the noise,” according to a copy of a purported confidential company document posted on Twitter and spotted by ZDnet. The app looks like it’s meant to be an adjunct to Outlook.

Bitcoin gets a listing on the NYSE

Bit by bit, the bitcoin cryptocurrency is gaining legitimacy. The august New York Stock Exchange said Tuesday that it’s launching a bitcoin price index (NYXBT) that represents the daily US dollar value of one bitcoin. The data will come from transactions taking place on bitcoin exchange Coinbase, Coindesk reports, but the NYSE will review other bitcoin exchanges and may include their data in the future.

Alibaba opens more data centers in cloud push

As Chinese e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba looks to expand into the cloud services business like its rival Amazon, it’s got a global data center push planned. On Tuesday, it said it would build out facilities in Europe, Japan, Southeast Asia and the Middle East—but it didn’t provide a timetable for the move.

Uber scoops up a third of research partner’s staff

Call it partnering the Uber way: since ride-hailing app company Uber announced its partnership with Carnegie-Mellon University to work on self-driving cars, the company has hired away 50 people, or about a third of the talent at the university’s National Robotics Engineering Center, the Verge reports. The engineers who have moved to Uber were among the center’s top staff; the fact that they retain access to the center and to its intellectual property is causing tensions with those who remain tied to the university.

Watch now

Get a close-up view on Google’s Project Loon and Project Wing, delivering Internet and packages from the sky.

One last thing

As R&D at U.S. companies focuses less on basic research and more on product development, some see the foundations of tech innovation growing weaker, the New York Times writes.

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