Digital media

Sirgoo Lee, chief executive of the South Korean mobile messaging company Kakao, chuckles when asked about Facebook’s acquisition of rival WhatsApp for $19bn. “All I can say is that’s a lot of money,” he says.

While it has a strong presence in India and Hong Kong, WhatsApp is a marginal player in many parts of Asia writes Simon Mundy. Kakao, Japan-based LINE and China-headquartered WeChat dominate mobile messaging in their respective home territories, and are fighting for control of the market in southeast Asia. The Japanese internet company Rakuten, meanwhile, last month spent $900m on Viber, an Israeli company that provides similar free calling and messaging services. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Millions of addicted gamers are in a flap over the untimely death of Flappy Bird.

The Vietnamese creator of the most popular mobile game of 2014 has removed the app from sale after saying its internet fame “ruins my simple life”, despite making him tens of thousands of dollars a day. Read more

In the battle between old and new media, Time Warner’s premium cable channel HBO still rakes in more money and global subscribers but television streaming service Netflix is quickly gaining ground, writes Emily Steel.

Time Warner released separate financial figures for HBO for the first time on Wednesday, prompting comparisons with Netflix which famously overtook HBO in US subscribers in November. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

It may not be the biggest Microsoft story around today, but it’s a big deal for Foursquare: Microsoft is investing $15m in the social-location app as part of a new four-year commercial partnership.

The $15m investment comes in addition to the $35m that Foursquare raised in December last year from DFJ Growth and Capital Group. The app lets users share their location with friends by “checking in” and then recommends new places based on where they’ve been in the past.

Although uptake hasn’t quite lived up to the hype when it launched in 2009, it has collected a lot of data since then: 5bn check-ins, 60m places and 40m tips, all crowdsourced from some 45m users. Read more

Richard Waters

Like any widely hyped online phenomenon, Moocs – massive open online courses – are facing a reality-test.

Hardly anyone who starts one of the online courses actually finishes it. But even if the formula is being rethought, the potential impact on education hasn’t diminished. Read more

This just in from Facebook – it’s entered the news business, with an app called Paper. Read more

Have we been taking too many tablets?

It seems markets are reaching saturation point with growth in the category slowing to 28 per cent year-on-year in the fourth quarter – down from 87 per cent a year earlier. Read more

US politicians are swinging from Vines at President Obama for the first time in their reaction to last night’s State of the Union speech. Read more

Apple doesn’t do down-market.

We’ve always known this about the premium device maker, but its first quarter results hammered home how this is becoming a problem for the iPhone creator. Read more

Robert Cookson

For a company that distributes content to more than 390m web users each month, Outbrain has so far maintained a relatively low profile outside the worlds of online publishing and marketing.

But the fast-growing Israeli start-up is attracting an increasing amount of attention, having installed its content recommendation engine on more than 100,000 websites including 700 “premium publishers” such as The Independent, CNN and Rolling Stone. It is reported to be gearing up for an IPO that could value the company at $1bnRead more

Robert Cookson

Criteo has started delivering personalised advertising within mobile apps, a big shift for the $2bn technology group that built its business on targeting ads within web browsers on desktops.

The Nasdaq-listed company is one of many ad tech groups rushing to bring techniques that are common on the web to the nascent but fast-growing market for targeted, real-time advertising in apps. Read more

It was a skunkworks project that whiffed for Intel’s incoming chief executive.

Now the world’s biggest chipmaker has announced the sale of its nascent internet TV service to the communications-provider-with-big-TV-ambitions Verizon. Read more

Apple’s App Store economy was worth more than $10bn last year, the maker of the iPhone said today, after a record-breaking December saw more than $1bn in sales and almost 3bn app downloads. Read more

Robin Kwong

Monday was all about the big technology companies planting their flags in the areas believed to have a mainstream impact in 2014 – but it was telling that their choices of which segment to claim leadership in was rather varied: Read more

Robert Cookson

Endemol, the television production company behind Big Brother and Deal or No Deal, has placed a bet on the growth of social casino gaming with the acquisition of a $13m stake in London-based startup Plumbee.

The deal, which values Plumbee at $40m, brings together the world’s largest independent TV production company with a two-year-old startup whose flagship title Mirrorball Slots is among the top ten highest grossing social casino games on Facebook. Read more

Robert Cookson

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, has thrown his weight behind a new campaign to encourage people across the world to fight back against online censorship and surveillance.

In a letter to the Financial Times on Thursday, Sir Tim wrote that “now is the time for citizens to mobilise to demand that governments and companies respect and protect our basic freedoms online”. Read more

Hannah Kuchler

Apple, the world’s largest public company by market capitalisation, has a problem. The lawyer appointed to ensure it is not price-fixing e-book sales is just too expensive.

The iPhone and iPad maker complained to the New York court this week that Michael Bromwich’s $1,100 an hour fee is “excessive” and he has not justified it as either “reasonable” or customary”. Read more

Hannah Kuchler

The first advert on Instagram, the social photo app owned by Facebook, was published on Friday to a chorus of complaints from users. Read more

The BBC’s iPlayer is arguably the most successful effort by a broadcaster to embrace the internet age, so when the market leader talks about a next-generation version, the industry ought to sit up and take notice of what could become the future of TV. Read more

Robert Cookson

If any single piece of technology underpins the $100bn global online advertising market, it is the cookie.

So news that Google plans to ditch cookies and replace them with its own tracking solution has big implications for advertising technology companies and the venture capital funds that have poured billions of dollars into the sector in recent years.

Rocket Fuel, a real-time ad-buying platform that went public in the US this week, and Criteo, a French ad tech company that this week filed for an IPO on Nasdaq, have both warned about the reliance of their businesses on cookies. Read more