Monthly Archives: May 2013

Chris Nuttall

Microsoft’s attempt to introduce consumers to the wonders of touch with Windows 8 amounted to a rough shove. The operating system’s poor reception has prompted a rethink and details of an updated version were unveiled on Thursday.

Windows 8.1, available as a preview from June 26, will bring back features familiar to and missed by Windows 7 users, including a Start button – but no Start menu – and the choice of not beginning their bootup experience with the touch-optimised “Modern” tile interface. Read more

KPCB’s 2013 internet trends report from Mary Meeker is, as ever, a densely packed read (117 pages) that’s become essential reference material.

Whilst many of the trends identified are well known – the rise of mobile access to the internet and wearable technology – here are the five standout charts and tables that provide food for thought.

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Tim Bradshaw

As the hardware startups battling for a place in your “smart” home multiply, one area has become a key battlefront: the front door.

Lockitron, Kwikset’s Kevo, Kisi and others are already in various stages of development to create door locks that can be opened with a smartphone.

Now a San Francisco startup called August, led by serial entrepreneur Jason Johnson, is hoping to unlock the market with help from its designer co-founder, Yves Behar of Fuseproject. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Two Silicon Valley companies delivering thousands of entertainment channels over the internet have announced significant funding rounds and milestones for their services.

Roku, whose set-top box delivers more than 700 channels of movies, TV, music, radio and web content, has received $60m in a Series F round, while TuneIn, which gives access to more than 70,000 radio stations, has bagged $25m in Series C funding. Read more

Apple chief executive Tim Cook’s comments overnight about the growing threat from Android will no doubt spark more speculation about a possible change of tack for Apple, such as producing a second iPhone with a larger screen or a lower price-point.

Cook wasn’t going to rule out a change – what level-headed CEO would? But it would also be unfair to say that Apple’s strategy isn’t working. Read more

A New York man who rented his apartment through Airbnb was found to have violated the city’s residency laws, marking the first legal setback for the peer-to-peer home rental start-up as it faces a growing number of regulatory questions.

An administrative law judge ruled that Nigel Warren had broken a 2010 New York City law when he accepted about $600 from a Russian tourist to stay in his apartment for a few days while he was out of town. The law prohibits apartment owners from renting property for less than 30 days, and was intended to crack down on landlords who bought affordable housing units and then converted them to hotels to make more money. Mr Warren was fined $2,400. Read more

African-American teenagers are more likely to use Twitter than their white counterparts, according to a study out today from the Pew Research Center.

Researchers noted a significant jump in Twitter use among teens in general, but found that 39 per cent of African-American teens used the microblogging site compared to 23 per cent of white teens. Read more

Richard Waters

Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook took the hot seat on Tuesday morning in Washington to answer questions about a tax planning strategy that has enabled it to avoid billions of dollars of taxes.

Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate investigations committee, set the tone with his opening remarks, noting that just in 2012, Apple had exploited tax loopholes allowing it to avoid $9bn in US taxes. Such practices, he said, did “real harm” to the US economy, disadvantaging domestic companies that don’t make use of “tax gimmicks”.

You can watch the hearing here, read Mr Cook’s written testimony here and read the Senate committee’s report on Apple’s tax structure here.

 

Tim Bradshaw

Yahoo bought Tumblr for its rambunctious community. Despite the coat of paint rapidly applied to its email, homepage and various apps since Marissa Mayer arrived as chief executive less than a year ago, Yahoo was still in need of an injection of youth and energy.

But in solving that problem, Tumblr may have created another for Yahoo. Ad execs and Wall Street analysts alike are voicing concerns about – along with gifs and memes – one of Tumblr’s most popular types of content: pornography. Read more

Paul Taylor

A new mobile service operator called ItsOn aims to shake up the US smartphone business by offering users the ability to tailor their voice, text and data plans precisely, and – perhaps most interestingly – buy data by the app.

The company’s Zact service – a play on the word ‘exact’ – operates as a cloud-based mobile virtual network operator, buying capacity on Sprint Nextel’s 4G/LTE network and reselling it to its own customers via a smartphone app or web page.

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