Tech / Telecom news — 5 Jul 2017

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Applications

The FT publishes a rather interesting claim for government action on big internet platforms, based on the concurrency of a large, quasi-monopolistic market power (triggered by network effects) with a “systemic importance” for current society, from being essential for living and from their ability to shape access to information (Story)

Video

Shift from traditional TV to online streaming is not just a US-centric phenomenon, and is affecting the UK so much as to provoke a significant ($44m) commitment by the BBC to spend in online children’s content in the next 3 years, to compete vs. YouTube, which is now the favourite TV brand for 70% UK children aged 6–12 (Story)

Videogames

In an example of the extreme reactions characterising investors in digital companies, Tencent lost $15.1bn of its value yesterday, as a consequence of their announcement of playtime limits for children in their top-grossing game, Honour of Kings, which had been accused of being too addictive (“electronic heroin”) (Story)

Financial services

Payment processing services are becoming trendy, with demand increasing as customers shift to mobile payments. And now the US (and global) leaders JPMorgan and Vantiv seem interested in acquiring the UK / European leader, Worldpay, a $10bn spinoff from Royal Bank of Scotland, which saw its shares rise +20% yesterday (Story)

Cyber security

Companies affected by the new ransomware attack last week are struggling to recover, with e.g. Maersk, world’s largest shipping firm, still being forced to reroute ships to alternative destinations after being unable to dock / unload containers at some ports. Investigation goes on, but all points to the work of a hostile government (Story)

SOFTWARE ENABLERS

Big Data & Artificial Intelligence

Samsung’s struggles to adapt its new virtual assistant Bixby to English-speaking markets, which have delayed its US release, are due to their lack of access to enough English speakers’ data to train the language processing algorithms. Similar dynamics could favour Alibaba & Tencent (vs. Google, Amazon) in China (Story)

Artificial Intelligence is the exception in a landscape of declining corporate research, with firms outsourcing to universities that struggle to maintain momentum, under political pressures. In AI, Google, Facebook & Microsoft lead, and a challenge is to balance researchers’ interests with companies’ own business needs (Story)

HARDWARE ENABLERS

Networks

It seems Ofcom’s regulation to make BT Openreach legally separate from the BT Group is having the desired effects, with Openreach now preparing to consult with BT’s Fixed BB rivals Vodafone, Sky and TalkTalk about accelerating FTTH deployments, and wanting to become an “industry ally” and compete better vs. cable (Story)

Meanwhile, in Germany, the regulator has defined conditions to determine a breach in a Fixed BB service contract, to be triggered when users cannot reach 90% of maximum agreed speed during 2 days, or if minimum speed is not reached for 2 days. A software tool will be provided for customers to measure performance (Story)

Chips

Samsung is expected to report its best-ever quarterly profit in 2Q17, driven by the impressive performance of their memory chips, a consequence of exploding demand in smartphones and servers’ processing power. So they could now become the #1 chip company by revenues, and surpass Intel for the first time (Story)

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