Tech / Telecom news — 16 Feb 2017

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Video

Beyond pure statistics, audience crisis for live sports in the US, including the NFL, is already hurting content providers’ P&Ls. CBS reported yesterday a -2.8% advertising revenue fall in 4Q16, linked to decreasing NFL ratings, and said they were discussing with NFL executives on how to “make the product more efficient” (Story)

Asian Netflix imitator Iflix, supported by Philippines’ PLDT among others, is now expanding to the Mid East region through a partnership with Zain, and will offer specifically targeted content for these markets, including exclusive Arabic series. The service will be bundled within Zain mobile offers in the area (Story)

NETWORK TECHNOLOGY

Analysts interested in WING, the recently announced IoT product by Nokia, which in practice looks like a global MVNO specialised in connecting things across different network technologies. Wholesale network partners have not been revealed, but people speculate they could include alternative players like SigFox or Senet (Story)

More question marks on the future of Alphabet’s network access business, as they’re using the change at the top, with Craig Barratt leaving, to simplify / reduce the organisation, including the move of hundreds of staff to the core Google unit, as well as some layoffs. Google Fiber expansion to other cities has also been stopped (Story)

BIG DATA & ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Huawei could be developing their own virtual assistant, initially focused on the Chinese language, and aimed at the company’s smartphones sold in China. Huawei will keep using both Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa for international markets, but this is a sign that they see the assistant as a potential strategic asset (Story)

Facebook’s Instagram is looking for Machine Learning talent, to enable better feed personalisation, with plans to double their engineering staff in their NYC office this year, in an attempt to diversify geographically from more competitive Silicon Valley. And they seem to be targeting quants currently working for Wall St (Story)

M&A MOVES

It finally seems that the Verizon-Yahoo deal will happen, after Yahoo’s shareholders have apparently accepted a price cut of approx. -$300m (taking valuation to $4.5bn instead of the initial $4.8bn), to compensate for the impact of the recent revelations of massive cyber attacks on Yahoo’s users’ private data (Story)

At their 4Q16 Conference Call, Cisco stressed their need to increase sustainability of their business model, progressively shifting from selling routers to software and subscriptions. They see potential tax reform in the US as an opportunity to accelerate, with additional resources for large M&A in the new fields (Story)

Potential synergies and connections between SoftBank’s Vision Fund and the newly acquired Fortress Investment increasingly perceived as the key for the deal rationale. Fortress will bring personnel, support services and a stronger pillar for SoftBank in the US, where most of the Vision Fund investments are expected (Story)

Snap (Snapchat’s owner) could set the valuation for its coming IPO within the $14-$16/share range ($19.5-$22.2bn) at the low end of the initial targets. Investors are worried by growth deceleration in daily average users, by increasing competition from Instagram / Facebook, and by the limited control offered to new shareholders (Story)