Top tech news stories from the last week

It seems there’s been lots of big stories breaking in the last week or so. Here are might thoughts on a few of them…

Google has a break

Google and Nestlé announced that the newest release of the Android operating system would be named “Kit Kat”. While this has no bearing whatsoever on the technology, it has provided both brands with some excellent and amusing opportunities for hype. When you get a chance to “have a break”, take a look at http://kitkat.com/#/home enjoy!

Skype developing 3D

As Skype celebrated its 10th birthday, news also broke that it is working on 3D video calling. On the face of it, this seems like a great leap forward (once the hardware in our offices and homes catches up – do you have a 3D webcam?). I do feel though that video calling is more of a planned event (connecting to the board meeting remotely), rather than a day to day working practice (calling customers or suppliers), and because of this, the productivity gained by upgrading a video call to 3D is likely to be limited at first.

I do welcome anybody that is pushing communications technology forward, but at the same time I wonder, in the business setting would it be more useful to have 3D video, or HD voice?

Vodafone sells Verizon stake for $130bn

Commentators have noted that Vodafone will pay very little tax either in the UK or US on the $130bn (£84bn) raised by the sale of its majority stake in US telco Verizon. I’m more interested in what it is that Vodafone plans to do with the cash. The company intends to return £54bn to its shareholders, with a relatively small investment of £5bn in its 4G network.

It’s not often that any corporation gets the opportunity to raise tens of billions of pounds in one go, and I can’t help wondering just how much businesses, consumers, and Vodafone itself could benefit if the company invested the majority in developing its network to increase competition, provide a platform for innovation, and even have a positive environmental impact.

But then, I don’t hold any shares in Vodafone.

Microsoft and Nokia cross the Finnish line

You probably haven’t missed this story. It’s been all over the news with so much media commentary (especially in light of Steve Balmer’s departure in the next year), that the news feels almost life-changing. But then we realise the share that either party has in the smartphone market and have to wonder, “why the fuss?”

I think there are a couple of points worth making here though. Firstly the smartphone market is still growing, we should remember that there are still huge numbers of people around the world that still don’t own one, so is current market share even relevant?

Secondly, what will happen if the newly formed division of Microsoft makes its mission to produce the world best enterprise smartphone? Could they do it? Despite recent sales performance, Nokia has a heritage of simple, attractive and intuitive hardware. And Microsoft has an unrivalled history of strategic software acquisition. If Microsoft put its financial might into buying up the best and brightest apps around, suddenly I’m not sure I’d want to bet against them.

Cheers,
Peter

2013-09-08T21:49:35+00:00

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