Web Dominance: Game of Acquisition by Tech Giants Google, Apple, Microsoft

In Nature, the big fish eat the small fish, and web dominance in cyberspace is no different with tech giants taking over partners, competitors, and promising start-ups. The movers and shakers in various industries have many strategies to keep them on top like consolidating, designing new products, going into other services, and expanding capabilities – all of which make them hungry for acquiring both established and fledgling solution providers to either crush emerging competition or expand their core strength without the downtime. According to a ten-year study, Microsoft and Google are the two companies that are most focused on AI and machine learning and buy-outs are in the billions – but nothing close to the $32B purchase of ARM, a U.K. based chip design company by Softbank in 2016 and its $33B purchase of Fortress Investment Group, an asset management company in 2017

In 2012, Google, one of the pack leaders in this PACMAN-like game of M & A spent more than the combined acquisition spending of its biggest competitors using a simple guide, “create beautiful, intuitive services and technologies that are so incredibly useful that people use them twice a day (like a toothbrush)”. Enroute to Google Home and Alexa, the path was strewn with successes and curveballs.

From 2006-2014, it spent over $24.5B on acquiring YouTube for (only) $1.6B, Waze, Double Click, NestLabs, ITA, AdMob, and other companies that supported Google’s vision of dominating online advertising, mobile ads, home automation technology,  travel, satellite imaging, and GPS Technology. It lucked out on Motorola, an expensive acquisition at $12.5B which was eventually sold to Lenovo. Its acquisition of Deepmind in 2014 entrenched it in the world of machine learning. Although acquisitions slowed down in 2015-2017, Alphabet (Google’s mother company), remained as the company of choice of start-ups. 11% opted for Google to take over their company, 5% favored Facebook while Amazon and Salesforce tied at 4%. From 2017 to the present, Google is definitely eyeing more cloud, AI, AR, and hardware companies – aside from software that could see Google Assistant (already available in 400M devices worldwide) reigning supreme. Proof of this is the acquisition of Kaggle, an online community of 600,000 data scientists known for hosting data science and machine learning competitions. Brainpower on steroids that could push Google Assistant on even more Android phones, iPhones, Google home products, and other electronic equipment and gadgets.

“I used to have this debate with Steve Jobs, and he would always say, ‘You guys are doing too much stuff.’ He did a good job of doing one or two things really well. We’d like to have a bigger impact on the world by doing more things.”

   Larry Page, Google CEO in Business Insider

Speaking of Steve Jobs, Apple uses M & A to strengthen their core products. Focusing on innovativeness and functionality, Apple stays ahead of the game by taking some shortcuts -mainly, buying-out technologies from start-ups for integration into their existing computer and smartphone technologies. However, compared to Google, Apple is definitely more frugal at $6B total M & A spending.  Eleven acquisitions cost Apple between $200M-$500M, and only BEAT Electronics surpassed the billion mark in 2014 at $3B. In fact, NeXT Computer was bought for only $400M and SIRI for what seems to be a paltry sum of $250M. The drive has now shifted from Mac support to mobile and AI. Turi and Lattice Data are focused on AI, PA Semi and Anobit Technologies target chip performance, C3 Tech for mapping, and Authen Tec for Apple Pay.

Typically, Apple completed the buy-out of Workflow, an automation tool for iPad and iPhone and will be hiring its creators. In what seems to be a surprise move wrapped up 2017, by buying Shazam, a London-based company that has gained unicorn status on the strength of its song recognition app. Apple also acquired Lattice.io for less than $200 and according to Computer World, “The startup provides an AI-enabled engine that can take unstructured ‘dark’ data and turn it into meaningful and structured insights.” Something definitely to look forward to as Apple expands its realm from purely consumer electronics to machine learning.

“Overall, these top deals reflect Apple’s strategy evolution, from a focus on the Mac platform (NeXT Computer) in the late 1990s to mobile (PA Semi, Anobit Technologies) and AI (Turi, Lattice Data) more recently.”

– CB InsiGHTS, Dec. 2017

Yahoo, one of the strongest players in the Internet age has been bought by Verizon for  $4.5 billion. Yahoo will be combined with AOL to form a new subsidiary called OATH. It will eventually be on top of 50 media brands affecting about 1billion people globally.

With Google attempting to dominate the machine learning space, Microsoft seems the runaway leader in AI with its focus on AI products and solutions. It has steered away from computer products to generating 2/3 of its almost $30B revenue from its intelligent cloud platforms, consulting services, and enterprise software licenses. True to the Bill Gates vision, Microsoft is attempting to provide AI access to more people. CEO Satya Naella said, “we acquired AI deep learning startup Maluuba, whose work in natural language processing will help advance our strategy to democratize AI for everyone.” Of course one of the biggest news is the acquisition of LinkedIn – the social media of choice of professionals, entrepreneurs, and decision-makers.

The infographic below shows the dominance of certain tech titans running through the intricacies of the web. While the jury is still out on whether this dominance is a good or bad thing, it is clear that all these competition has made life more convenient for users who can do more, play more, and think more artificially.



Watch out for Part 2: Facebook, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba


Where does Facebook come in all of these? Mark Zuckerberg has kept “enemies” close to his chest by acquiring them – Friendster, WhatsApp, Instagram and now Oculus, a virtual reality company are now part of the Facebook family.


Credits: Kathnik Reddy, Who Owns Who?

Microsoft Rolls Out Party Chat For Xbox App On Android and iOS

Software giant Microsoft has released a new app for its gaming console Xbox. The app which is called as the Party Chat is an Xbox app. Microsoft released the Party Chat app after several months of testing, a report said on Thursday.

With Xbox’s Party Chat app, players could now send messages through text and voice if they are inside a party.

So how does Party Chat app works?

According to Microsoft, the new Xbox app works on both Android and iOS mobile operating system platforms. And just like any app on the gaming console running on Microsoft Windows 10, it works with parties.

This means that a party chat could be initiated if players would navigate the “Parties” section which could be found at the top of the screen. The only thing that players should do is to select the “Start a Party.”

After doing so, Xbox players could send information via voice or text chat after they have successfully joined a party. The software giant also said that the app’s feature offers players other functionality. This includes, among others, the feature to change audio device and mute other players.

Meanwhile, gamers described the Xbox app’s feature as fitting for players who want to chat with friends while playing the game. It can be recalled that this feature was not available on console because it is limited only to mobile.

Download now the app and Microsoft will soon be rolling out an update in the coming days.

VPN: A Way To Browse Anonymously Online and Secured

What is VPN?

What is VPN and what is its effect in our lives?

Today, we live in a modern world wherein internet is a big part of our daily lives and routine. We use the internet to communicate with loved ones and co-workers. We use it to do research for our jobs and our projects in school. Some might even say that they can’t live without internet. But with the internet bill skyrocketing, can all of us handle it?

Virtual Private Network

Also known as Virtual Private Network enables users to send and receive data through a private network which extends to a public network. By using this application, a user can have the benefits from the functionality, security and management — the same as a private user’s benefits.

What are the PROs and CONs of VPN?

It actually has many benefits. When you use it, you will be able to browse anonymously, which means your privacy is very secured. Whoever want their privacy blurted out to the whole world, right?

Second, this is actually cheaper than the normal internet plan. You can avail a VPN for as low as $3 a month.

But of course, all good things come to an end.

Virtual Private Network apps are limited. There are websites that they can’t access because of added security. One example is the KissAsian website. I tried to access it using a VPN but to no avail.

Also, when using this application, you will be using a different server. So if the website that you are visiting is only available to a certain country, then I’m sorry but you can’t access it as well.

And don’t forget about repairs and maintenance of a VPN. Once it’s on going a maintenance, then it’s unusable.

Malware kills your net by July 9!

Read up dear readers, and read it well. Many of us may no longer be able to access the Internet pretty soon. How soon? Talk about July 9, 2012 soon! A piece of Malware has been floating around in the internet that we all share. You may want to triple think about going to those Malware heavy sites for a while.

It turns out, that there is a Malware called DNSChanger that has been running around for as far back as 2007. The group that created the Malware was just recently detained and their operations put to an immediate halt. Since the capture 8 months ago, the FBI and their affiliates have been out on a campaign to notify the denizens of the internet to update their computers and anti-viruses as well as to check on their computers if they have been compromised.

The Malware has affected users by changing the DNS settings on your browser, thereby redirecting the user into Advertisement-laden sites, and have reaped the benefits of both the Ads, and any information that may have been stolen in the process.

Despite the many efforts of the FBI to inform the denizens of the net, it is estimated that at least 275,000 or more users are at risk of no longer being able to access the net by July 9, 2012 because of this Malware and the DNS problem.

However, there is no need to lose hope, as there is a way to quickly identify if you are hit with the Malware. The DNSChanger Working Group has created a simple web tool to identify if you are infected and might have problem with your DNS. Make sure to visit http://dns-ok.us/

If the color is green, then you are safe from the Malware. If the color is red, then you need to change your internet settings pronto before it is too late. Fortunately, McAfee has a DNS Check tool that also checks for the infection of the Malware as well as take care of the tedious task of manually removing the said Malware, protecting your DNS settings.

Speaking of manual removal, please visit the following site: http://www.dcwg.org/fix/

Spread the news and do not let any of your friends be infected!

Image sources: whatdoesitmean.com

Research: Majority of televisions have internet by 2016

Internet TV?

Well, it sound like a pleasant idea and according to a report by NPD InStat, the Internet will be soon connected to our beloved boob tube which will enhance the audiences viewing experience.

The firm forecasts that by 2016, about 100 million television sets in the US and Western Europe will have Internet access with new hybrid TVs set to conquer the digital world.

The TV set for the future will have a combination of technologies so as for viewers to keep on engaged on the screen. Nielsen also predicts that about 60 percent of individuals already have a smartphone, a laptop or tablet and other devices in their hands, their attention is being divided into watching TV and web surfing and texting.

According to NPD InStat, the first wave of Hybrid Broadcast Broadband television sets will hit Europe by 2013 and will soon spread to North America.

In fact, this year’s French Open, French television will use the hybrid technology. Fans will be able to press a button on the remote show interactive menus to display other scores of on-going tennis matches, bios of players and others.

About 12 million households in the US have television connected to the internet. But about 25 million have the ability to do so.

Image source: techinasia.com

2011 internet stats: 2.1 billion internet users and 555 million websites surfed

A data shows a staggering number of internet users last year.

According to a report by Yahoo!, there were 2.1 billion internet users last year. Surfing 555 million websites, 300 million of which were only created in 2011.

Asia had the most drastic increase as its internet population spiked from 825.1 million June of 2010 to 922.2 million March of last year.

On the other hand, 476.2 million Europeans were internet users, 271.1 million came from North America, 215.9 million came from Latin America. African users meanwhile were pegged at 68.6 million and Middle Eastern users were at 68.6 million.

According to the report, the average internet user normally has 1.5 email accounts. If we total the number of email accounts, the world has 3.146 billion accounts.

Microsoft Outlook was the most popular email client. The largest web-based mail client went to Hotmail with a total of 360 million users.

The average number of email being sent and received by a corporate user a day is 112. Among this, about 19 mails received by the latter are considered spam.

China had the most number of internet users a year ago with 485 million Chinese surfing the net.

Image source: thenextweb.com

In-Flight Wi-Fi Revenue to Surpass $1.5 Billion in 2015

New research has shown that in-flight Wi-Fi revenues will surpass the $1.5 billion mark in 2015.

According to In-Stat Senior Analyst Amy Cravens, ““While airlines initially viewed in-flight broadband as a competitive differentiator, it is now simply viewed in the US market as a competitive requirement. The future of in-flight Wi-Fi will be less about convincing airlines of the merit and more about leveraging the network to provide a broader breadth of services. As in the hotspot market, Wi-Fi access is likely to become a commodity in the in-flight market, with the revenue opportunity resting on the services and features, not the connection.”

Ever since wi-fi internet became available on airplanes, we loved the idea. Now it seems we can’t get enough and want to install it on all of the airplanes we can get our hands on, and for good reason. In the not so recent past, we had *gasp* NO internet on airplane flights and would suffer for hours without it before we landed at our destination.  Personally I think this is a pretty good idea and the statistics are positive. Now if only I can try out the wi-fi on a plane myself…

Adobe seen as top 2010 hacker target

Net-security firm McAfee predicts that Microsoft will no longer be the primary target for hackers next year. Instead, these evil villains of the Web will turn their attention to Adobe.

Evidence of this is the already growing number of attacks targeted to the vulnerabilities in Acrobat Reader and Flash this year. And with the tricky update process that users need to go through, as well as the overall lack of awareness that their software need updating makes it even more easier for hackers and virus writers to prey on them.

Adobe however, isn’t the only one that’s in danger in 2010.

McAfee also predicts that attacks on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook will be stronger and will cause more damage in the coming year. Trojans and malwares will also gain power in 2010. The security firm predicts that banking Trojans may gain the ability to interrupt legit transactions as well as make unauthorized withdrawals without being detected.

Lastly, McAfee discusses in their report how HTML5 could give “cybercriminals new opportunities to write malware and prey on users”.

HTML5 holds all the promises that today’s web community seeks – primarily that of blurring and removing the lines between a web application and a desktop application. HTML5-based attacks will become even more tempting once the Google Chrome Operating System is released. (It’s scheduled for second half of 2010.)

Google Chrome OS is intended for use with netbooks, and HTML5 enables not only a rich Internet experience, but also offline applications. Another motivation for attackers is HTML5’s anticipated cross-platform support, which will allow attackers to eventually reach users of many mainstream browsers.

Although the new web technology is still in the development phase, some elements are already being used by Google Chrome which means there’s also trouble brewing up for the browser.

Source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/12/29/security_predictions_2010/

Webby Awards’ top 10 Internet moments of the decade

The last decade has been, more than ever, a period of great milestones on the internet.

As the year is coming to end, the New York-based International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences bestows its annual Webby Awards to some of the most notable happenings in the digital world.

“The Internet is the story of the decade because it was the catalyst for change in not just every aspect of our everyday lives, but in everything from commerce and communication to politics and pop culture,” David-Michel Davies, the executive director of the Webby Awards, said.

“The recurring theme among all of the milestones on our list is the Internet’s capacity to circumvent old systems and put more power into the hands of ordinary people,” he said.

The top 10 most influential Internet moments of the decade according to the Webby Awards are as follows:

– Craigslist online classified site expands outside San Francisco (2000)

– the launch of Google AdWords (2000)

– the launch of online encyclopedia Wikipedia (2001)

– the shutdown of file-sharing site Napster (2001)

– Google’s initial public offering (2004)

– the online video revolution led by YouTube (2006)

– Facebook opens to non-college students and Twitter launches (2006)

– Apple’s iPhone debuts (2007)

– the use of the Internet in the US presidential campaign (2008)

– the use of Twitter during the Iranian election protests (2009)

The 14th Annual Webby Awards will be announced on April 2010.

Source: http://tech.yahoo.com/news/afp/20091119/tc_afp/usinternetwebbyawards

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