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Despite WeChat being ubiquitous in China, its stock has fallen due to a mobile gaming ban

When I handed cash to the cashier at a restaurant in Shanghai, he looked at me blankly for a moment. In front of the register were prominent signs for WeChat Pay and Alipay, the two dominant forms of mobile payments which are used by hundreds of millions of Chinese instead of cash. He took my money, and I ate my noodles overlooking the pond in the famous Yu Gardens, feeling uncharacteristically li...[Read More]

What science fiction got wrong about our retail future

You can tell you’ve reached adulthood by the things you wish were real in your favourite sci-fi. When I was a kid, it was KITT and the flying skateboard from Back to the Future. Nowadays, the sci-fi tech that really gets me excited is the everyday stuff – the ability to pop a pill in the microwave and get a full meal out of it like in The Jetsons. Or the AI assistants like Iron Man’s JARVIS ...[Read More]

Calling founders of Instagram “product leaders” being interpreted as the ultimate put down

When it first burst onto the app scene in 2010, Instagram was a revelation. This little picture-sharing app let iPhone users not only share their pictures but add clever filters at the touch of a button. Suddenly everyone could be Obie Oberholzer, the extraordinary South African photographer whose richly coloured images are artistic genius. Earlier this month the co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike...[Read More]

This time there can be no excuses about whose fault it was for 50m users being hacked

This time Facebook can’t blame a third party for last week’s major hacking of some 50m accounts, nor its seemingly scandalous use of cellphone details for marketing purposes when they were logged as security backup numbers. When the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, Facebook tried desperately to paint itself as the victim by an outside party that said it would delete user details but didn&#...[Read More]

Has smartphone innovation peaked? Has our interest in these devices peaked?

As expected… I began writing about this month’s iPhone XS launch and realised that phrase summed up the last few years of Apple product launches. The Steve Jobs years were characterised not only by his showmanship but by his iron-clad insistence on secrecy. No supplier would dare leak any details about upcoming product launches. When an iPhone was mistakenly left in a bar one year, it was co...[Read More]

Twitter initially laughed off the hashtag and now it’s a truly global internet phenomenon

Just over 11 years ago a small word entered our global internet lexicon and is now a part of our cultural firmament: the hashtag. It was first used on August 23 2007 by Chris Messina, who – appropriately – tweeted: “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?” Amazingly, Messina was told by Twitter – when he suggested it to them at the time – that the idea w...[Read More]

A month after Apple, Amazon has also passed the magical $1tn valuation figure

Just a month after Apple became the first company to pass the magical US$1tn threshold, Amazon has done the same. Amazon isn’t called the “everything store” for nothing. From its humble origins as an online bookseller, it has morphed into an ecommerce giant and the largest provider of cloud computing. Its annual revenue is a staggering $178bn and it accounts for 49 cents out of every d...[Read More]

No wonder the telecoms ministry is in disarray, its ministers are among most corrupted by Gupta state capture regime

Perhaps because he seemed like such a breath of fresh air, it seemed like Roy Padayachie was the communications minister South Africa had been waiting for. After the train wreck that was Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri and the wayward TV format that Siphiwe Nyanda tried to introduce, long-serving deputy minister Padayachie seemed not only rational but someone who understood his portfolio. But weekend revela...[Read More]

Conspiracy theories, falsehoods have no place in freedom of speech debates. Social networks need to find their backbones

A very interesting debate about free speech is unfolding over the banning by Facebook, Apple and YouTube – but controversially not Twitter – of notorious right-wing internet troll Alex Jones and his Infowars conspiracy channels. Jones is a divisive figure, loved by a large clique of right-wingers who believe what he spouts, but which is patently nonsense to anyone who reads and watches the news. I...[Read More]

In just nine years Huawei has overtaken Apple and has eyes on Samsung’s number one spot

Most people only know Chinese telecoms giant Huawei because of its smartphones, which this month overtook Apple to take the number two spot both globally and locally. They deserve it. Huawei only started making Android smartphones in 2009 and now make superb devices with luxurious materials, excellent quality screens and superb cameras. But Huawei is a global telecoms giant whose telecommunication...[Read More]

Apple defined the mobile internet age, was always on track to be first $1tn company

It was inevitable that Apple would become the most valuable listed company ever by being the first company to reach the magical $1tn figure. It is Apple – with is stylish minimalist design and must-have gadgets – that has come to define this mobile internet age we live in and has had a stratospheric share price despite a number of scandals. Apple dropped the word “computer” from its title years ag...[Read More]

Having lost $120bn in a day, Facebook has been torn down to earth for its tardy privacy policies

Facebook’s critics would have experienced a fair amount of schadenfreude last week when it lost a fifth of its value when weaker-than-expected results wiped 24% off its share price, the eye-watering amount of $120bn. It’s now the largest one-day sell-off in history, but also the biggest sign to date that Facebook’s past privacy transgressions are finally catching up with it. Finally. It seemed Fac...[Read More]

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