Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week.. Microsoft backs away from smartphone business, Tim Cook on Iphone’s expense in India, fraud in gaming costs $6.3bil and much more.
Microsoft is signalling the end of its Nokia experiment today. After acquiring Nokia’s phone business for $7.2 billion two years ago, Microsoft wrote off $7.6 billion last year and cut 7,800 jobs to refocus its phone efforts. Microsoft is now writing off an additional $950 million today as part of its failed Nokia acquisition, and the company plans to cut a further 1,850 jobs.
Most of the layoffs will affect employees at Microsoft’s Mobile division in Finland, with 1,350 job losses there and 500 globally. Around $200 million of the $950 million impairment charge is being used for severance payments.
Apple CEO Tim Cook made an uncharacteristic admission today in an interview with Indian news channel NDTV — that iPhones are too expensive. He immediately qualified it, and the context really is important, but it’s just one of those things you don’t hear very often.
A report from Deutsche Bank found recently that India is among the most expensive places in the world to buy an iPhone, with prices averaging 31 percent higher than the U.S. — only Sweden, Indonesia and Brazil have it worse.
After some opening softballs (or rather, cricket balls), Cook faced some serious grilling on this topic from NDTV’s Vikram Chandra.
The Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner has taken a keen interest in promoting and ensuring the privacy compliance and security of mobile apps. On 21 April 2016, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (the PCPD) held the ‘Mobile App Development Forum on Privacy and Security’ (Forum) for the mobile app industry which discussed key issues for mobile app developers, businesses and stakeholders to consider when developing and operating mobile apps in terms of ensuring compliance with the provisions of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance and safeguarding users from cybersecurity risks.
Businesses operating in the mobile app industry and related stakeholders are advised to take note of the below key points raised at the Forum and related issues that they should consider.
A gaming studio can easily pay 10 times its development budget on acquiring players, and the frightening truth is that companies are flushing a lot of that cash down the toilet drain.
Marketing fraud extracted $6.3 billion from developers last year, and Singaporean publisher GoGame says developers should only work with publishers that understand that problem. Speaking at the Casual Connect conference in Singapore last week, GoGame chief executive officer David Ng explained that mobile studios desperate for new players are often paying for bots instead.
With Clash of Clans maker Supercell and Candy Crush publisher King spending $500 million on advertising each, player acquisition costs are already sky-high. For a developer to survive in the $36.9 billion mobile gaming industry, they need to minimize the harm of fraud.
Norwegians have spent more than 30 hours reading out terms and conditions from smartphone apps in a campaign by the country’s consumer agency.
The average Norwegian has 33 apps, the Norwegian Consumer Council says, whose terms and conditions together run longer than the New Testament. To prove the “absurd” length, the council got Norwegians to read each of them out in real time on their website.
The reading finished on Wednesday, clocking in at 31:49:11. Some of the world’s most popular apps were chosen, including Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, Skype, Instagram and Angry Birds.
“The current state of terms and conditions for digital services is bordering on the absurd,” said Finn Myrstad from the Norwegian Consumer Council.
WhatsApp’s fast approaching the possibility of becoming more than just a chat app in India.
On Friday, one of the country’s largest payment enablers FreeCharge announced a new feature with the messaging app. If two WhatsApp users have approved a certain setting within the FreeCharge app, they can now transfer money to each other while chatting by typing “FC” after the amount of money. “200FC”, for example, will transfer INR200.
The feature is activated by tweaking certain privacy settings so FreeCharge can read what’s written in a WhatsApp message. While it’s something that any developer can include in their Android app, its adoption by a payment enabler the size of Freecharge is what makes it exciting.
Frank Adu Jnr, Managing Director of CAL Bank, has called for policy direction in the mobile money sector.
According to him, the situation whereby the mobile money sector has been allowed to develop and grow without any policy direction does not auger well for stakeholders and would soon create problems just like what happened in the micro-finance sector.
Mr. Adu Jnr, who was speaking to journalists after the bank’s ‘Facts Behind the Figures’ at the Ghana Stock Exchange in Accra recently, said that “financial inclusion is good, and we must all go for it but what I am saying is that it must be controlled; it must be within a policy framework.”
He said many things have been left to develop without control and “I don’t think this one should be allowed to happen that way. That is why I am calling for policy direction.”
As much as 85 per cent of Facebook’s video views are occurring in silence, as the social network’s decision to make video content default to muted results in the vast majority of promoted and organically shared videos playing out with no audio.
According to Digiday, multiple publishers are seeing high figures for silent video consumption.LittleThings, a feel-good story site, and millenial-focused new service Mic, both of which average 150m monthly views on Facebook, both reported that around 85 per cent of views occur without users turning the sound on, while celebrity news sitePopSugar said figures range between 50 and 80 per cent.
On June 30th, PayPal is forcing all its Android and iOS users to update their apps to version 6 if they haven’t yet. Notice how Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Android Fire users aren’t included in that list?
That’s because the company is killing its apps for those platforms on the same day. PayPal didn’t explain why it decided on shutting down its non-Android and non-iOS applications. In her announcement post, PayPal VP Joanna Lambert only mentioned that everyone can still access the mobile website and that it’s still possible to send P2P payments via BBM or to send money from their inbox on Outlook.
The thousands of endpoints in IoT systems may have to protect themselves against thousands of dangers. A decades-old IT lab wants to tell you if they’re up to the task.
On Wednesday, ICSA Labs announced a program to test the security features of IoT devices and sensors. If the products pass, ICSA will give them a seal of approval. It can also keep testing them periodically to make sure they’re still safe.
Consumers and enterprises are wary about security in the Internet of Things, where hardware, software and even use cases are brand new in many cases. Tiny connected devices that run all the time in the background could be vulnerable to completely new kinds of attacks.
ICSA will test both consumer and enterprise IoT products, mostly for vendors but also for some large enterprises trying to implement IoT in a secure way, said George Japak, managing director for ICSA Labs.