Displaying items by tag: apps

Spotify recently made an official complaint against Apple to the European Commission, accusing it of anti-competitive behavior and their complaints have now warranted an investigation.

Published in Apps

Apple has announced news, gaming and TV/streaming services which will be launched later this year.

Apple has set out to build a streaming and TV service which will offer original content and programs, on-demand and ad-free.  The price of this new service is yet to be determined.

Several people have been recruited to collaborate with Apple on this project such as Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Jennifer Aniston.

Apple TV is expected to be launched in May and be available on all Apple devices with a new feature for Channels where users will be able to subscribe to a variety of additional streaming services such as Showtime and HBO.

The app will also be available on Amazon Fire TV as well as smart TVs from Sony, LG and Samsung.

In addition to this, Apple has also been working to increase the popularity of mobile gaming so it also plans to launch Apple Arcade. This service will require the user to subscribe to it where they would receive access to over 100 exclusive games which could be played on any Apple device whether it be online or offline.

As part of its offer, Apple emphasized that privacy was part of their new offer and mentioned that Arcade will not track what gamers play or which devices they play from.

Apple has not disclosed the expected price of this service as well but they have stated that it will be offered to more than 150 countries.

Apple also announced a news service called Apple News+ which will collect content from 300 magazines. There will also be live covers, infographics, lists of trending stories and personalised recommendations to give the users a more interactive experience.

The News+ subscription would cost $9.99 per month according to Apple, which includes family sharing.

The service was made available in the US on Monday and will be released in Canada soon before it reaches the rest of the world.

Published in Apps

War of words between Spotify and Apple escalates

Written on Sunday, 17 March 2019 12:53

Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple to the European Commission. Spotify claims that Apple gives itself an “unfair advantage at every turn” as it takes a 30 per cent cut of digital goods sold via iOS apps.

Published in Apps

US technology behemoth Google is at the centre of an investigation by Indian competition officials after it was alleged that Google may have engaged in anti-competitive practices.

Google stands accused of abusing the market dominance of its Android platform. The European Union conducted a 3-year investigation that only concluded last year.

The European Commission determined that the deemed requirements for Android device makers to use Google apps were illegal. The US tech leader was subsequently fined €4.3bn.

Reports emerging from India claim that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) began probing potential abuse of Android’s position six months ago, following a complaint filed by a group of individuals.

In addition to this, it has been further disclosed that Google executives met with Indian officials to discuss the matter in greater detail. The CCI must now make their deliberations before deciding whether the case merits a further investigation, or if it should be dismissed.

A source told Reuters, “It is on the lines of the EU case, but at a preliminary stage. The EC’s action would make it difficult for the CCI to reject further investigation without demonstrating the problem has been addressed.”

Following the decision handed down by the EC, Google announced its intentions to stop bundling preinstalled apps with its Android platform and instead charge manufacturers a fee to licence its apps, as part of a bid to avoid additional fines.

Google has been in trouble in India before.

In February 2018, the CCI imposed an INR1.36 billion ($19.3 million) fine on the company for abusing its dominance in online web search and search advertising markets.

Google appealed against the fine, stating it could cause irreparable harm and reputational loss.

Published in Apps

Facebook’s new app will cover news across 400 US cities

Written on Thursday, 29 November 2018 12:27

Facebook has announced it is expanding its local news alert to 400 US cities, and is testing the feature in Australia. “Today In” includes previews that link to news websites and relevant government pages about top headlines, current discussions, weather and more. A separate section within the app will allow users to receive local updates.

A decline in the number of local news organizations is said to have inspired Facebook’s “Today In” section. It is understood the social network will monitor the app in a bid to remove fake news and biased sensationalism.

"Earlier this year, we started testing Today In after we did research in which over 50 percent of people told us they wanted to see more local news and community information on Facebook -- more than any other type of content we asked about," said product manager Andrea Watson Strong in a blog post.

"The research showed that people wanted both what might be traditionally understood as local news -- breaking news or information about past events like city council meetings, crime reports and weather updates -- as well as community information that could help them make plans, like bus schedules, road closures and restaurant openings.

The app will also feature a First Responder page which could be used to inform citizens in emergencies such as floods or hurricanes. 

"People tell us it is important to receive timely, local updates in situations that directly affect them or that require them to take action, such as major road closures, blackouts or natural disasters," Strong said.

Published in Apps

Facebook under fire from former colleague

Written on Thursday, 29 November 2018 12:10

A former strategic partner manager at Facebook has shared a public memo about Facebook’s failings in regards to their black workforce and users. In a post to his personal profile during his last week at the company, Mark Luckie openly criticised the Californian social network, claiming they have a ‘black people problem’.

 Luckie, who is black, felt he had to resign from his position as he had ‘lost the will and the desire’ to advocate on behalf of Facebook, and felt his authenticity whilst at the company was compromised. He believes the multi-billion dollar service does not hire enough workers from ethnic minorities and carelessly removes positive content from the black community despite adhering to its terms and conditions.   

Luckie states he was one of only a small number of black people at Facebook and is cynical about his inclusion in that he was only hired as a bid for the company to appear diverse. "Facebook's disenfranchisement of black people on the platform mirrors the marginalization of its black employees," He states, “We need black employees, women, and people of colour to feel good about working at this company.”

He shared a personal account, in which a fellow colleague he would pass in the corridor would clutch at his wallet, suggesting that he felt Luckie would steal from him.  He noted that whilst the number of black and Hispanic workforce had increased from 2% to 4% from 2016, he alleges that colleagues would often remark, ‘I didn’t know black people worked at Facebook.’

Luckie also asks that Facebook must do more to provide a ‘safe haven’ for the black community, who - as one of the most engaged demographic - rely on the social media platform heavily to be heard.  He reports that positive material posted is being wrongly interpreted as ‘hate speech’ and reported; despite it not violating any of Facebook policies.  He claims Facebook is removing content and suspending accounts without properly investigating, and that underrepresented voices will be deterred from sharing content on its platform.

Published in Apps

UAE ride-hailing services company Careem has invested $500,000 in a start-up entity which focuses on connecting commuters with private buses in the Egyptian capital city of Cairo. Careem, which is seen as Middle East rival to global ride-hailing colossus Uber, acquired the minority stake in SWVL after weeks of negotiations. It has also been disclosed that in addition to the investment, CEO and co-founder of Careem, Magnus Olsson will also join the board of SWVL.

SWVL is only three-months old, but has already generated the interest of prospective investors after making an immediate impact in the transportation sector in Egypt. Careem, which operates in 12 countries, mainly in the Middle East will look to accelerate SWVL operations, although it declined to disclose the exact size of its minority stake in the organization.

SWVL was founded by a former Careem executive in April, and the company provides a bus transportation service which enables passengers to reserve and pay their fare through SWVL’s mobile application. The application formulates and maps the shortest journey time home based on the passenger’s location and destination by identifying the nearest bus station that travels along fixed routes.

Careem CEO expressed his desire to see the Egyptian start-up develop quickly, and he believes the best way of enabling that is by keeping the entity independent. Olsson said, “We want them to run and learn and develop at a very high pace and high agility and we believe the best way for them to do that is to stay independent.”

Careem announced last month that it had raised $500m from investors such as German car manufacturer Daimler and Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding. It said the investment would help them accelerate their expansion plans. SWVL is unlike Careem and Uber in the sense that it isn’t an on-demand service, but it has a strong foundation of over 50,000 passenger and 200 buses using the mobile application.

Chief executive of SWVL, Mostafa Kondil said its primary objective is to really improve the product and disclosed that it is targeting 300,000 monthly trips by the end of 2017. Analysts have suggested that SWVL will utilize the investment made by Careem in order to increase its workforce, develop new app features and expand into other cities beyond Cairo, and to Middle Eastern and Asian countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Pakistan next year.

Published in Apps

Facebook announced it will be rolling out new apps for Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire and Samsung Smart TV. The apps will allow people to view videos posted on Facebook via their smart televisions. Ultimately, the apps will provide a more convenient way to view Facebook videos on a large screen.

Some analysts suggest that Facebook could be moving to compete against Google-owned YouTube or even with streaming services like Netflix to become a premium source of online content for both small screens and large screens. But for now, the apps will simply make it easier to view and share user-generated video.

“Last year we rolled out the ability for you to stream videos from Facebook to your TV, and today’s announcement expands this capability,” said product manager Dana Sittler and engineering manager Alex Li in a blog post. “With the app, you can watch videos shared by friends or pages you follow, top live videos from around the world, and recommend videos based on you interests.”

The new apps should be available “soon” according to Facebook, for users of Apple, Amazon and Samsung, with additional platforms likely to be added in the future. The social media giant also indicated it was modifying video playback for users, with sound to play automatically unless users silence their devices.

Published in Apps

Aetna, a major U.S. health insurance firm, recently confirmed that it will help people to buy Apple Watches in a move to integrate smartwatches into health management programs. Aetna will be the first company to subsidize “a significant portion” of the cost of an Apple Watch, making it an option for large employers and individual customers.

As one of America’s leading diversified health care benefit firms, serving an estimated 46.3 million people, Aetna said it will let customers pay off the balance of an Apple Watch purchase using a monthly payroll reduction plan. The company also said it plans to give each of its employees an Apple Watch if they partake in its wellness program which involves use of the gadget.

“We are incredibly excited to use iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch to create simple, intuitive and personalized technology solutions that will transform the health and wellness experience for our members,” said Aetna CEO, Mark Bertolini in a press release. “This is only the beginning – we look forward to using these tools to improve health outcomes and help more people achieve more healthy days.”

Aetna is said to be working with Apple to devise health initiatives exclusively tied to Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, which is used in the Apple Watch. It will include health apps tailored for the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. Features in the apps, which are planned for release early in 2017, will include assistance with understanding illnesses or remembering when to take medicine. Apple released its second generation smartwatch this month, with strong emphasis on supporting healthy lifestyles.

Apple Wallet will also play a role with its digital billfold which will be incorporated into the Aetna apps, enabling users to pay their medical bills or prescription costs remotely. The Apple Watch has built-in software features that make it a powerful and personalized tool for individual health, as well as broader medical research.

“We are thrilled that Aetna will be helping their members and employees take greater control of their health using Apple Watch,” said Apple CEO, Tim Cook. “Aetna’s new initiatives will be a powerful force toward creating better customer experiences in health care.”

Gartner research shows that smartwatch shipments steadily increased by five million units in 2014 to 40.3 million in 2015. But the pace of growth has since slowed, with 60.4 million watches to be shipped this year, and 66.3 million in 2017.

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Indonesian mobile platform GO-JEK gets $550m boost

Written on Sunday, 07 August 2016 06:56

A consortium of global investment firms has pumped $550m into 18 month old Indonesian mobile platform GO-JEK. The consortium includes KKR, Warburg Pincus, Farallon Capital and Capital Group Private Markets, existing shareholders and other international investors. Previous investors include Sequoia India, Northstar Group, DST Global, NSI Ventures, Rakuten Ventures and Formation Group.

GO-JEK’s services include motorcycle ride-hailing, online food delivery, instant courier deliveries, lifestyle services, e-wallet and car ride-hailing. It is claimed to be the first Indonesian mobile platform that touches across socio-economic classes and verticals at a high transaction frequency that includes transportation, food delivery, same-day delivery, grocery shopping, household cleaning, beauty and health and ticket sales.

GO-JEK’s motorcycle transport service, GO-RIDE, is the biggest service of its kind in Indonesia with more than 200,000 drivers. GO-FOOD is the second largest on-demand food delivery service in the world outside of China with over 15 million meals delivered since inception. GO-PAY, launched in April 2016, is a fast-growing e-wallet solution. With credit card penetration in Indonesia at less than two percent and online payment nascent, GO-PAY is essential to enable a seamless transaction experience on GO-JEK services.

According to KKR, GO-JEK’s mobile applications have been downloaded more than 20 million times and in June 2016 only, there were over 20 million bookings on the GO-JEK platform, translating to roughly eight bookings per second throughout the month.

KKR, said: “GO-JEK will additionally leverage the new investors’ investment experience in the telecommunications, media and technology (TMT) space as well as their global network of partners to deepen its offerings in Indonesia and potentially across the region.”

KKR Asia director, Terence Lee, said: “GO-JEK is unique in its ability to be the number-one service provider across almost all key categories and the company has a real opportunity to strengthen its position as a leading mobile platform in Indonesia. The foundation of GO-JEK’s success is its focus on providing innovative, convenient and cost-effective online solutions that improve its customers’ everyday lives.”

The head of Southeast Asia for Warburg Pincus, added: “With a rapidly expanding middle class, increasing urban density and a young demographic [in Indonesia] that is internet savvy, GO-JEK is well positioned to become the ‘go to’ platform for high frequency daily services including transport, food, logistics and payment.”

GO-JEK co-founder and CEO, Nadiem Makarim, said: “GO-JEK is poised to build on its initial success to become the largest on-demand application of choice for all Indonesians and improve the daily lives of more than 200,000 motorcycle and car driver partners, more than 35,000 GO-FOOD merchants whose businesses we helped grow and more than 3,000 service providers on our other on-demand services.”

The company currently operates in 14 cities: Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Bali, Makassar, Medan, Palembang, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Balikpapan, Malang, Solo, Manado and Samarinda.

With more than 250 million people Indonesia has the world’s fourth-largest population and is rapidly becoming a digital nation. The country has 88.1 million active internet users and 36 percent of the population carry smartphones.

 

Published in Telecom Operators
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