26/04/2013

IDG Connect – News Roundup: Pirate Bays, Bitcoins and eBookworms

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News Roundup: Pirate Bays, Bitcoins and eBookworms
Posted b y Dan Swinhoe Company IDG Connect 04/26/2013

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Apple losing its bite? The b ig Apple-related news of the week was that the company made a net profit of just $9.5b n in the last quarter. Column inches proclaiming Tim Cook's company were going down the spout multiplied like rab b its. Yes, the company made a little less than this they did this time last year, and yes they have lost a lot of it value in the stock market, b ut it's not the end of the world. They are still massively valuab le, have $100 b illion+ in cash, and had its b est quarter ever in China. The smartphone market was never going to b e a monopoly for long, and who knows how the rumoured iWatch could change things? Smartphones KO feature phones In more mob ile tech news, IDC reports that smartphones have outsold feature phones. While that's not b ig news in places like the US or UK, in regions such as LatAm and Africa feature phones are still the norm for many. So the news that smartphones made up 51.6% of phones sold in the first quarter of 2013 b odes well for the likes of Samsung, b ut Nokia looks increasingly shaky. And with the first phone carrying the Firefox OS shipping this week and selling out within hours, it could b e an interesting year for mob iles. Pirate Bay accepting Bitcoins The b ub b le might have b urst, b ut Bitcoins are still as viab le as ever. This week Pirate Bay started accepting the cryptocurrency, and other torrent sites quickly followed suit. The Pirates join the likes of Wikileaks, Reditt and Wordpress in accepting them, plus independent physical vendors are now starting to accept payments too. Top that off with Paypal's President David Marcus saying he might b e considering it too and it looks like BitCoin is refusing to leave the spotlight. Facebook Mark Zuckerb erg and his company make the headlines almost as often as Apple. This week is the news that Faceb ook acquired Parse, a mob ile app development company. Some of the tech press are viewing it as a way to "get as much of the value of owning an OS as possib le without actually b uilding one." And in another b low to Faceb ook's credib ility, Iran's internet police this week b lamed the company for a third of divorces in their country. And for b eing a dangerous and disgusting spy tool deployed b y the US. It's not the first time this claim has b een levelled, b ut it ob viously carries a b it more weight when accused b y a country the site is meant to b e b anned in. Oz loses its whiz Akamai have just released their quarterly ‘State of the Internet' Report. And it's good news; glob ally the average connection speed has risen 25% year-on-year, to 2.9 Mb ps. Countries such as China, Vietnam and Indonesia all saw large rises, as did many parts of Africa. So why has Australia's speed dropped b y over 25%? The average speed for the land down under may b e a lot higher than the glob al one (4.2 Mb ps to 2.9), b ut it's still anything b ut progress. Failure to keep up with data growth will only cause more slowing down.

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Following Manchester United's win over Aston Villa on Monday, which confirmed their place as Premier League champions for the 20th time, Rob in Van Persie was inundated with Tweets congratulating him on his hat-trick. Except he wasn't. The Twitter handle @RVP b elonged to an Indian IT consultant Ravi Visvesvaraya Sharada Prasad, and the poor guy received thousands of mentions in just a few hours. Luckily he took it all in his stride, joking the limelight might get him a trial, b ut it does raise an interesting point ab out identity on social media. The Metro ran an interesting feature on the issue, and how easy it is to create a social media celeb rity [http://metro.co.uk/2013/04/19/meet-santiago-swallow-the-b iggest-social-media-star-youve-never-heard-of3640048/]. Bookworms Some new research shows that while eBooks take up some 22% of total b ook spending in places like the US, in Vietnam that figure is less than 1%. This is despite efforts from the government to digitize textb ooks and training material. Piracy and a lack of eReaders actually on sale are cited as the main inhib itors. And in a related b it of self-promotion here, our Reading Hab its survey released this week found IT people don't just read Sci-Fi. No, they like fantasy too, and Jane Austen. And The Economist. Check it out here.

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