VENTURE CAPITAL MARKET MEDIA-REVIEW ISSUE I (July 12-18, 2014)
Third week of July will be remembered for IT-market members for few pieces of news, about Google, Microsoft, Qiwi, Amazon, Apple and others.
M&A. Apple and IBM announced the partnership
Apple and IBM announced on July 15, 2014 an exclusive partnership that will bring IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities to iPhone and iPad.
The landmark partnership aims to redefine the way work will get done, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change—grounded in four core capabilities:
- a new class of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad;
- unique IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration;
- new AppleCare service and support offering tailored to the needs of the enterprise;
- new packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.
The new IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions will be built in an exclusive collaboration that draws on the distinct strengths of each company: IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities, with the power of more than 100,000 IBM industry and domain consultants and software developers behind it, fused with Apple’s legendary consumer experience, hardware and software integration and developer platform. The combination will create apps that can transform specific aspects of how businesses and employees work using iPhone and iPad, allowing companies to achieve new levels of efficiency, effectiveness and customer satisfaction—faster and easier than ever before.
As part of the exclusive IBM MobileFirst for iOS agreement, IBM will also sell iPhones and iPads with the industry-specific solutions to business clients worldwide.
VENTURE. QIWI will invest USD 700 000 in 12 startups
Owner of the Russian biggest payment system, company Qiwi, announced the investment budget of USD 700 000. This money will be invested into 12 startups, chosen by company representatives and Moscow State University business-incubator. All 12 project teams deal with e-commerce, financial e-services and big data. These project are developed as a part of Qiwi Universe, acceleration program created in collaboration of Qiwi and MSU.
From the project’s start it has submitted over 500 applications from young companies. Winning startups will get a 4-month special intensive education course. It consists of different business-programs that must help young entrepreneurs to improve their business-processes. Qiwi Universe creators hope that it will help startups to progress and improve themselves and their businesses.
STARTUP. MIT presented “world first family robot”
The team of the roboticist Cynthia Breazela from Massachusetts Institute of Technology has announced a product designed to fundamentally alter the way we interact with technology: the “world’s first family robot,” called Jibo.
Jibo can perform relatively simple tasks like capturing video, relaying messages, and turning light switches on and off. The plan is also let outside developers create apps that interface with Jibo.
But the main issue is in communication: there are no conventional buttons, swipes, or commands to learn with Jibo; you’d simply talk to it as if it were a tiny robotic person. Jibo promises to let us experience technology in an altogether more natural way, and there’s good reason to believe such an interface would be enjoyable and compelling to use
Some technology companies have already begun exploring more “sociable” interfaces, with products such as Siri, Apple’s voice-activated assistant. However, slow progress highlights the difficulty of designing a machine to carry on a convincing conversation with person while respecting social nuance. So if Jibo’s voice interface is too limited, or if it fails to respond to social cues correctly, it will quickly prove more weird and bothersome than brilliant.
TECHNOLOGY. Amazon started e-book subscription service
Amazon e-book subscription service, Kindle Unlimited, is active since July 18, and it’s ready to help you consume an endless list of books for $9.99 a month.
The formerly rumored service launched on Friday with fanfare after few unsuccessful tries to start. Kindle Unlimited promises access to 600,000 books from the Kindle library that members can read on their Kindle e-readers and tablets, iOS and Android devices and on Windows and Mac desktops and laptops. The service will also offer unlimited access to 2,000 audio books from Audible.
Among the included titles are the Harry Potter series, Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games series, The Princess Bride and business titles like George Takei’s Oh Myyy! – There Goes The Internet and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
BUSINESS. Microsoft plans to fire about 18,000 employees
Microsoft on July, 17 announced it plans to cut up to 18,000 jobs this year — its deepest-ever cuts — as the company looked to digest its Nokia acquisition and reposition itself for the future.
Following the Nokia acquisition, completed in April, Microsoft had roughly 127,104 employees, meaning the cuts could reduce nearly 15 percent of its workforce.
Microsoft said the company is “moving now” on 13,000 of the job cuts, with the vast majority of the overall cuts coming in the next six months and fully implemented over the next 12 months.
Some 12,500 of the cuts are coming from the Nokia Devices and Services unit — roughly half that unit’s workforce. The company said it expects pre-tax charges over the next four quarters of $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion for severance and other costs.
The cuts are just the latest acknowledgment by Microsoft and new CEO Satya Nadella that the company is committed to making tough decisions to improve its position in the technology landscape.
M&A. Sotheby’s goes online with eBay
Bruno Vinciguerra, Sotheby’s COO, said the auction house plans to reach “the broadest possible audience around the world”. Sotheby’s said the number of lots purchased online increased 36% in 2013. Online art sales are expected to reach $13bn (£7.6bn) by 2020.
The venture will start with live auctions streamed from Sotheby’s New York headquarters, which will allow “real-time bidding from anywhere around the world”.
Sotheby’s will offer 18 categories to start, focusing jewellery, watches, prints, wine, photographs and 20th century design – categories the firm says have been particularly appealing to online buyers.