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Alibaba’s decision to head to the US for its blockbuster IPO – perhaps the world’s largest ever – is undoubtedly a major blow to Hong Kong’s global ambitions.
But chucking out years of hard-won progress for a single pay-day – with the risk of opening
the market to myriad potential problems down the road – would have been the wrong move.
The BBC thinks its iPlayer service is “the best online television service in the world” – a platform so good that it’s the envy of Silicon Valley. So will Apple and Google be impressed by the platform’s latest redesign, unveiled in London on Tuesday?
This is a crucial time for the iPlayer: it will soon become the only home of BBC Three, the off-beat channel which is being taken off air to save costs. Tony Hall, the BBC’s director-general, wants the platform to be the “front door” to all the broadcaster’s content.
So what’s on offer in the new version? Read more
Almost five years after launching, crowd-funding platform Kickstarter has received pledges worth $1bn. Half of the money has apparently been in the past twelve months (see chart below).
If Kickstarter were a venture fund, it would be a fairly significant player. So how exactly has humanity been enriched, for its money? Read more
News that Sina has hired Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse to help spin off its Twitter-like Weibo service means it is the latest communications tool – after the acquisitions of chat apps WhatsApp and Viber – that investors will be asked put a value on.
Details about the potential New York IPO remain scant, other than that it could value Weibo at more than $5bn. The FT’s Lex has posed some probing questions about the floatation (i.e. Why?) but here are a few more. Read more
Is $19bn a lot of money? It certainly sounds like it – that’s what Facebook thought WhatsApp was worth when it scooped up the messaging app on Wednesday.
The fate of social networks depends on being able to turn huge pools of users into a source of cash. So one way to assess whether Mark Zuckerberg got value for money is to look at how much he paid per WhatsApp user compared with the price of each person in other networks: Read more
The company, run by Irish brothers John and Patrick Collison, is launching a feature allowing sellers who use its platform to price their goods in more than 130 currencies. Stripe takes a fee for the conversion, but handles the paperwork and bank transfers that can make cross-currency a hassle. Read more
A British tech entrepreneur has had his vision backed by a further $20.7m of US money, writes Andrew Bounds. Dan Wagner’s Powa group is developing a “revolutionary” ecommerce system that will allow customers to buy and order a product by photographing it with a smartphone.
PowaTag has attracted $96.5m in total, mainly from Boston-based fund Wellington Management, for around a quarter of the business. Read more
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
Are we seeing the emergence of a grand alliance between Google and Samsung for Android mobile devices, similar to the Microsoft-Intel alliance for Windows personal computers? It looks like that from events this week:
The rollout of Apple’s iPhone by China Mobile to 300 cities this year is going to be slower than many analysts expected – contributing to its outlook disappointing on Monday and its shares falling more than 7 per cent at the open today.
But new estimates for the rollout of 4G services promise rich pickings for Apple later in 2014 and beyond. Read more
Forecast that a market is going to grow by a third, investors start to salivate. Tell them it is smartphones and mouths go dry. There was a time when owning Samsung or Apple and shorting BlackBerry or HTC was an easy trade. But things got harder a year or two ago; competition appears to be eroding high-end handset profits.
On Thursday Eric Schmidt gave a fascinating talk on technological innovation, in which he warned that broad range of jobs that once seemed beyond the reach of automation are in danger of being wiped out by technological advances.
I raised two questions to neither of which in my view did I receive a good answer.
First, we see IT everywhere, except in the productivity statistics. It is really quite hard to reconcile the idea of a dramatic technology revolution with stagnant or near-stagnant productivity in high-income countries.
What is going on? Is most of the revolution in household production? Or is GDP even more mis-measured than usual?
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
The world’s most popular smartphone range is finally available to subscribers of the world’s biggest mobile carrier. Yes, the iPhone today went on sale to China Mobile subscribers.
But it does not come cheap. It is not quite Brazil prices (R2,799, or US$1,184 for the 16GB iPhone 5s from the Apple store) but iPhone in China is more expensive than it is in the US, at Rmb 5,288 ($872) versus $649 for the iPhone 5S 16GB. Read more
There’s an interesting note on François-Henri Pinault’s official bio page on the Kering website.Aafter a the usual title/school/professional background stuff, the last line is: “He takes a personal and professional interest in sustainability and the development of e-business.”
It’s the last bit that struck me, given that on Tuesday M Pinault (left, with wife Salma Hayek), through his holding company Artemis became a meaningful investor in Square, the mobile payments company started by Twitter guy Jack Dorsey.
M Pinault was staying mum about the private share purchase, but it makes sense to me on many levels, besides the obvious one above. And I think it may hint at some tantalising possibilities for the future. (Tantalising to speculate on, anyway.)