Tech / Telecom news — 28 Jun 2017

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Applications

The global applications market is expected to grow +$5trn in the next five years (+37% CAGR) to reach $6.3bn in 2021, according to a just published report from analytics firm AppAnnie. This would be driven by doubling the user base (from 3.4bn to 6.3bn) and growing hourly spend in apps (from $0.80 to $1.81/h, globally) (Story)

In this very interesting post, Facebook seems at a crossroads, with saturation of penetration in US & Europe (73% revenues) forcing them to increase revenue per user to maintain growth momentum, while saturation of “natural” news feed’s ad “real estate” limits potential to show more ads without affecting user experience (Story)

Regulation

A massive, apparently not very rational fine ($2.7bn) was announced yesterday by the EU vs. Google, for having biased search results in favour of own shopping offers. The stock fell -1.1% (a -$5.8bn loss). Interestingly, Amazon seems in a better regulatory position, as rival retailers do “want them to do part of their services” (Story)

Enterprise / Cloud

Box is partnering with Microsoft to offer customers to specify Azure as their storage option, in a move that does not look so good for Google Cloud (itself rumoured to be interested in acquiring Box). Up to now, Box used own storage servers and backed up in AWS. In exchange, Microsoft will pitch Box to its Azure customers (Story)

Security

A new massive cyber attack is under way globally, apparently exploiting similar vulnerabilities and with same modus operandi (ransomware) as last month’s WannaCry attack. Multinationals like Merck or Maersk reported to be affected, and this increasingly looks like a “new normal”. Good for cybersecurity firms (Story)

SOFTWARE ENABLERS

Artificial Intelligence

IBM is trying to reduce political resistance to Machine Learning adoption, on claims that there are “existential risks” in AI. They’re probably right to say that fear of an “AI Overlord” dominating humanity has been exaggerated, but they still would need to address more realistic potential impact on jobs, privacy and security (Story)

More optimistic forecasts point to AI becoming a key enabler for all innovation, and no longer a differentiating element for some specialist startups (as it is now). So “in 2 years” Venture Capital will discount state-of-the-art AI as a must operational engine and will look for differential applications and business models, instead (Story)

IBM Watson will be present at Wimbledon this year, with an app that visitors will be able to download and that will help them navigate the venue, provide them with tournaments statistics, and even suggest, through a voice-enabled virtual assistant named after Fred Perry, the most interesting matches to view (Story)

M&A DEALS

An opinion piece in the WSJ suggests that revealed negotiations with cable players would be a nice way for SoftBank to reduce exposure to Sprint, to concentrate in much more diversified investments, with the $93bn Vision Fund as a vehicle. Even after (partial) recovery, Sprint still threatens to continue consuming cash… (Story)

At same time, news of a Sprint deal with Charter & Comcast wouldn’t be so good for the wireless industry as a whole, as it would perpetuate the 4-player structure, at least initially, and increase the capacity of the fourth to invest more aggressively. Of course, unless T-Mobile was also included in the pack (but this looks remote) (Story)

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