Each week the MEF team curates mobile stories from around the world. Essential news you may have missed, the latest market insight & data nuggets, the Global Mobile News Round-up offers an instant international mobile content and commerce snapshot.
Global News Stories
Apple reported a net profit of $18bn (£11.8bn) in its fiscal first quarter, which tops the $15.9bn made by ExxonMobil in the second quarter of 2012, according to Standard and Poor’s. Record sales of iPhones were behind the surge in profits. Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones in the three months to 27 December – well ahead of most analysts’ expectations. In a conference call with financial analysts Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook said that demand for phones was “staggering”. However, sales of the iPad continued to disappoint, falling by 22% in 2014 from a year earlier.
A recently fixed vulnerability in the BlackPhone instant messaging application gave attackers the ability to decrypt messages, steal contacts, and control vital functions of the device, which is marketed as a more secure way to protect communications from government and criminal snoops. Mark Dowd, a principal consultant with Australia-based Azimuth Security, said would-be attackers needed only a user’s Silent Circle ID or phone number to remotely exploit the bug. From there, the attacker could surreptitiously decrypt and read messages, read contacts, monitor geographic locations of the phone, write code or text to the phone’s external storage, and enumerate the accounts stored on the device. He said engineers at BlackPhone designer Silent Circle fixed the underlying bug after he privately reported it to them.
Apple Pay will soon be coming to thousands of self-service pay stations across the U.S. as a result of a wireless payment tech provider’s adoption of the technology.
USA Technologies said today it will be adding Apple Pay support to wirelesspayment terminals on 200,000 coffee brewers, vending machines, kiosks, laundry equipment, parking pay stations and other self-serve appliances.
“USA Technologies has always sought to provide convenience, security and an easy way to pay for consumers who are less and less likely to carry cash,” said USA Technologies CEO Stephen Herbert in a statement. “We recognized early on the potential for mobile payment, and promoted the technology to ensure our customers were ready for this shift to occur.”
Google is reportedly eyeing up an acquisition of Softcard to expand Google Wallet services to more points of sale with retailers; but it also wants to grow its position in the wider world of mobile-based transactions to compete with the likes of PayPal, by way of its Instant Buy API.
Originally launched for Android in 2013, today the Instant Buy API is taking a step forward: Google is looking to expand use of the API by partnering with other payment companies to integrate it. First up, payments provider WePay has integrated the API into its payment backend.
2014 was a big year for Android apps and games; Google Play outpaced Apple’s App Store in downloads by about 60 percent, according to a new report from analytics firm App Annie.
But fortunes were reversed when it came to monetization, as the App Store made more than 70 percent more in revenue than Google Play last year. This is a continuation of a long-running trend observed by developers: Apple has less market share than Android, but its users tend to be far more willing to make in-app purchases.
For example, the mobile puzzle game Monument Valley — a $4 paid title with one optional purchase and an extra set of levels for $2 — recently reported that 81 percent of its nearly $6 million in sales came from iOS.
Today Facebook shared its latest revenue numbers, revealing that it brought in $3.59 billion in ad revenue over its fourth fiscal quarter, 69 percent of which unsurprisingly originated from mobile ads.
Back in October, Facebook’s mobile ad revenue represented 66 percent of the total pie. In July, 62 percent. In April, 59 percent. And last January, 53 percent. This time around, at least one analyst predicted mobile ad revenue would make up 68 percent of the company’s ad revenue — obviously, Facebook beat that estimate.
Stats from the Postal and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe reveal a significant rise in the country’s use of mobile payments.
It said transfers and transactions for the nine months to September 2014 increased by about 36 per cent to $403 million from $296 million recorded in the previous period.. It’s not payments that are rising: the number of agents was up 4,181 too, while the total user base hit 11.4m. According to Finextra, the largest operator in the country, Econet Wireless, now has 3.5 million users of its EcoCash Mobile Money service.
More than a quarter of all online transactions were carried out using mobile devices in Q4 2014, a 37 per cent increase year-on-year and the first time the figure has passed 25 per cent.
December showed the highest proportion of mobile payments, with 26.6 per cent of all transactions carried out via mobile, while November was close behind with 26.1 per cent. The end-of-the-year spike suggests that retail consumers are more likely to make purchases on mobile, as the global peak shopping period drives people to purchasing via mobile.
Talks between Three owner Hutchison Whampoa and O2 haven’t yet reached a conclusion, but already some of the UK’s biggest companies are keen to take advantage of a future merger. After briefly flirting with Vodafone in a recent trial, Sky has confirmed it will become a quad-play provider with the launch of its own O2-powered mobile network in 2016. According to Sky, O2’s current owner Telefónica UK will provide access to the carrier’s 2G, 3G and 4G services, allowing it to go up against BT, Virgin Media and also TalkTalk, which signed a deal with the operator in November, to offer phone, broadband, TV and mobile bundles.
Global News Round-up – These articles are not written by MEF and do not represent any views of individuals, members or the organisation.