Tech

Robert Cookson

The New York Times Company and Axel Springer are hoping that a little-known Dutch start-up called Blendle may hold the key to making money from news online.

The two media groups have paid a combined €3m to acquire a 23 per cent stake in Blendle, which was founded last year and styles itself as the “iTunes for journalism”.

Blendle was launched in the Netherlands in April and sells individual articles from a number of newspapers and magazines to internet users through its website and app. On average an article costs 20 cents. The pricing per article is set by the publishers and revenues are split 70:30 between the publisher and Blendle. If a reader doesn’t like an article, they can ask for a refund. Read more

Hannah Kuchler

It’s #ThrowbackThursday, where the internet celebrates all things Michael Jackson and dodgy haircut-related. For Facebook, it is a chance to announce a retro app called Rooms from its Creative Labs team, the engineers and designers who play around with creating different kinds of social apps that may not be every Facebook users’ cup of tea.

According to the blogpost that accompanied its launch on Thursday, Rooms is a throwback to the “early days of the web” when it was about “connecting to people who you would never encounter otherwise in your daily life”. Read more

There is something peculiarly impressive about the video below of Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, talking in Mandarin to students at Tsinghua University in Beijing. If nothing else, it shows a dedication to the country’s customs that very few foreign business leaders can match.

Mr Zuckerberg clearly has business motives for making the effort, in addition to his personal connections – Priscilla Chan, his wife, comes from a Chinese family and her mother speaks mostly Mandarin. Facebook is blocked in mainland China, along with other US internet companies, and wants restrictions to be loosened. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

London’s burgeoning fintech scene is about to get a bit bigger as a US start-up with a board of former Wall Street chief executives starts expanding internationally.

Orchard, a online direct lending platform, just raised $12m in venture funding with plans to open an office in London to tap into the UK’s growing demand, and government support, for direct lending.

 Read more

John WrenTelevision’s $70bn advertising business isn’t dead yet. So says John Wren, chief executive of Omnicom, one of the world’s biggest advertising companies.

But Mr Wren’s message on Tuesday may be cold comfort to network executives who are seeing digital outlets grab more money once firmly earmarked for broadcast and cable.

“I believe that trend will continue. I don’t think TV’s dead,” Mr Wren told investors on Omnicom’s earnings call on Tuesday. He is the latest industry executive to acknowledge that the digital ad business is getting a boost from the proliferation of online content and from the valuable targeting data held by companies like Facebook. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The Silicon Valley crowd loves Nest’s $250 thermostats and $99 smoke alarms. But while its $3.2bn acquisition by Google confirmed Nest as a defining company of the smart home, for many its designer appliances might seem a little on the pricey side.

Enter Leeo, a new smart-home company that wants to be the Nest for the rest of us. Read more

Barely two months after Apple admitted it was storing users’ data online in mainland China, reports emerged that hackers have tried breaking into its iCloud data.

Apple representatives in China declined to comment on the reports of the hacking attack, which were posted on GreatFire.org, a group that conducts research on Chinese internet censorship.

The revelations, if true, would be little surprise to China observers. But it would be a comeuppance for Apple whose decision to store users’ data in mainland servers underlined the tenuous balance that foreign tech companies must strike between commitment to customer security and the realities of the Chinese market. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Apple just disrupted another industry: the analysts who are tasked with predicting its quarterly numbers.

During Monday’s earnings call, Tim Cook, chief executive, revealed that Apple will not disclose sales figures for its forthcoming Watch when it is released early next year. Read more

Hannah Kuchler

Jan Koum, WhatsApp’s chief executive officer and Facebook’s newest board member, apologised today for harassing an ex-girlfriend in a series of incidents that led to a restraining order being taken out against him.

Mr Koum‘s ex-girlfriend said he verbally and physically threatened her, harassed her at work and followed her through the campus of her community college. In court documents, filed in 1996 but discovered by Bloomberg, she also complained of “sexual harassment”. Read more

First it was Vice, then came Buzzfeed. Now, Ozy has become the latest news start-up aimed at young, digital natives to ramp up its offering on the back of a new injection of cash.

The California company backed by German publisher Axel Springer and Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, is stepping up advertising and has hired Jonathan Dahl to become news editor from the Wall Street Journal. Read more