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Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.

This week..  Microsoft buys LinkedIn for $26bn, Asian brands dominate world smartphone sales, all the news from the Apple Developer conference, and much more…

Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26bn


Microsoft is buying the professional networking website LinkedIn for just over $26bn (£18bn) in cash.

The software giant will pay $196 a share – a premium of almost 50% to Friday’s closing share price.

The deal will help Microsoft boost sales of its business and email software.

Microsoft said that LinkedIn would retain its “distinct brand, culture and independence”.

Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight, said the deal would give Microsoft access to the world’s biggest professional social network with more than 430 million members worldwide.

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Apple Pay introduces website payments but punts on peer-to-peer money transfer

Ars Technica

In the keynote presentation of this week’s World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, Apple announced that it would allow website developers to add an Apple Pay button to the checkout part of their sites.

The company also revealed that iMessage will now be open to apps from third-party developers, and one of Apple’s spokespeople demonstrated this new openness by sending money to a friend using an iMessage-compatible Square Cash app. Both of these new announcements will make buying things easier in the Apple ecosystem, but neither seems to be the kind of development that will (singlehandedly) propel Apple to dominate the payments market.

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Tesco Bank and MasterCard Form Mobile Pay Partnership

Mobile Marketing Magazine

MasterCard has announced a strategic partnership with Tesco Bank that will aim to enhance the mobile and digital payments options available to customers at the retailer, as well as identifying and delivering new safe and secure digital payment solutions for customers, whether they are shopping in-store, online or via mobile devices.

“Tesco has recognised how important mobile and digital payments are for customers,” said Mark Barnett, president of MasterCard UK & Ireland. “As today’s shopper’s shift between online, mobile and in-store transactions depending on the circumstances, this partnership will strengthen Tesco’s payment offerings with new safe, secure and convenient solutions for customers.”

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Asian brands absolutely dominate the world’s smartphone sales

Tech in Asia

The smartphone may have been invented in the West, but it’s being perfected in Asia if the latest sales numbers are anything to go by. Market research firm IC Insights recently released its smartphone sales analysis for the first quarter of 2016, and the results are very telling.

In the chart below, you can see the top 12 global smartphone brands by Q1 shipments, according to IC Insights. The Asian companies are highlighted in gold. Perhaps you’ll notice a pattern:

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Everything Apple announced at WWDC 2016

Venture Beat

Apple kicked off its annual developer conference today in San Francisco on a somber note, as CEO Tim Cook asked attendants to stand up in silence to commemorate the shooting victims in Orlando.

Then, the company launched into a two-hour keynote detailing the changes coming to iOS, OS X (now macOS), watchOS, and more. Lots of updates and no new devices — that sums up this year’s WWDC.

Here’s a rundown of everything Apple announced.

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Three’s mobile ad-blocking trial starts today


Three is trialling network-level ad-blocking in the UK today. The experiment, which is sure to put advertisers and publishers on edge, will affect a small number of Three customers that were approached beforehand. It’s been described as a “technology test” for Shine, an ad-blocking specialist that Three has recruited to explore the idea.

Three has stressed that “not all participants will experience the full Shine service” over the 24 hour period. That means it could come on intermittently, or only affect certain sites. “You might still see some ads on some websites, or notice some formatting errors,” Three explains to trial participants. “Don’t worry — this is something we’re aware of, and we’re working to fix it.” The technology only works on Three’s own network too, so testers won’t see the benefit while they’re connected over Wi-Fi.

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Android continues market share gains around the world as Apple’s iPhone slips


Thanks to the growing wave of first-time smartphone buyers, Android is expanding its market share lead over Apple’s iOS.

That conclusion was part of Kantar Worldpanel ComTech’s latest smartphone report.

Kantar found that for the three months ending April 2016, Android grabbed 76 percent of smartphone sales in Europe’s five largest markets, up 5.8 percent from the 70.2 percent it had for the same three months a year ago. (Those five markets: Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.)

Meanwhile, in the U.S., Android had 67.6 percent of smartphone sales for the three months ending in April 2016, up from 62.4 percent one year ago. Apple’s iOS saw its market share decline from 33.2 percent to 30.7 percent in the most recent period.

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Facebook’s new ads will track which stores you visit


Facebook ads are typically meant to sell you something. Tracking whether or not they actually work can be tricky, since people use Facebook on lots of different devices and often shop somewhere else altogether — like in an actual, physical retail store.

To fix that problem, Facebook on Tuesday released an ad update specific to offline shopping. Facebook advertisers can now include an interactive map displaying their physical store locations as part of a carousel ad so users can find, and maybe even visit, the actual stores.

Facebook will then use the phone’s location services to track how many users who saw the ad actually visited the store. Advertisers will then get that data to see if their Facebook ads attract shoppers to their brick-and-mortar stores.

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To beat SMS, Facebook Messenger eats SMS


Surround and conquer is Facebook’s new strategy for getting people to switch from SMS to Messenger. You can now read and send old-school text messages from inside Facebook Messenger for Android.

With this near-global rollout of the SMS feature, Facebook is touting ease, as you won’t have to jump back and forth between chat interfaces if your friends are split between them. “There are other SMS clients out there. Some are quite popular, focused on customization,” says Facebook product manager Andrea Vaccari. Apps like GO SMS Pro and QKSMS let you select special color themes and more. “But what we think we can provide is convenience,” Vaccari tells me.

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