This week in tech features giants’ adventures in emerging markets. Microsoft makes more TV content available with its latest Xbox Live update and remains in the hunt with Yahoo. Google and Verizon, meanwhile, spar over mobile payment systems. SAP’s big SuccessFactor acquisition fills its critical gap in cloud computing.
10. YouTube’s New Design is Here
In a drastic change from the video-streaming site’s former design, Google updated YouTube’s layout to feature content channels instead of individual videos. The redesign closely mimics Google+ and the newly updated GMail. More importantly, it sets YouTube up to mimic television and serves as an indication for future content plans.
9. Facebook Buys Gowalla
Employees of the former competitor to Foursquare was bought out by Facebook, but the social networking giant did not purchase Gowalla’s services or technology. Most of Gowalla’s former employees will work on Facebook’s timeline feature while Gowalla itself will cease to exist.
8. Apple Loses iPad Trademark Case in China
A court in China recently declined to give Apple the iPad trademark because a rival Chinese company, Shenzhen, trademarked IPAD nine years before Apple. Shenzhen is also working to get the iPad blocked in numerous cities in China. Analysts suspect that the rising Chinese middle class will sharply increase tablet demand in China.
7. Patricia Dunn, Former HP Chairman, Dies at 58
The former HP CEO had been battling three types of cancer since 2002, but passed away as a result of complications from ovarian cancer on Monday. Dunn started her career as a secretary for Barclay’s Global Investors, and worked her way through the ranks to become CEO of the company. Recruited by HP in 1998, she was ousted in the midst of a pretexting scandal, though she was later cleared of criminal charges.
6. India asks Google, Facebook to Screen User Content
Tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo, along with Indian Internet service providers, are being asked by the Indian government to screen and remove any defamatory content created by users before it goes online. The government also requested that the content be screened by humans and not by software. Executives from Facebook and two Indian ISPs will meet with the government on Monday and argue the request is impossible to fulfill.
5. Are Carriers Logging Every Action on Your Cell Phone?
Carrier IQ made headlines this week when mobile developer Trevor Eckhart made a video showing Carrier IQ’s software logging all user activity from the phones it was installed on. The software comes installed on some Android phones, is invisible to many users and impossible to opt out of unless the phone with Carrier IQ is rooted. Carrier IQ demanded Eckhart remove the video and threatened him with legal action, but rescinded the letter and apologized after the Electronic Frontier Foundation came to his defense. Mobile carriers are scrambling to distance themselves from Carrier IQ in reaction to the scandal. Proof that privacy is absolutely important even in this era of massive information sharing.
4. AT&T Deepens China-Telecom Ties
AT&T will receive access to China-Telecom’s China infrastructure while providing China-Telecom with access to AT&T’s infrastructure in North America, allowing the two companies to provide better services to consumers in both regions at a lower cost. The two telecom companies also plan to partner to expand their network in other regions, such as Latin America.
3. War Over the Digital Wallet
Verizon will not carry Google Wallet, Google’s mobile payment system, on Google’s Nexus smartphone. The wireless company argues that Google’s payment system accesses the Nexus’ hardware and is not secure for consumers, and will likely join AT&T and T-Mobile on a different mobile payment platform called “Isis.” Google is trying to market the Nexus as a pure “Google phone.”
2. With TVs, Microsoft Gets it Right Before Apple
Microsoft released an update for its Xbox Live service that provides members with content from channels such as ESPN and MSNBC. Kinect owners with a Live account can search for content by talking to their Kinect system. Wired’s Tim Carmody declared that Microsoft beat Apple to producing a successful television content model, saying that the smart TV market “…is really about having the right kind of user interface for the task at hand.” Score one for Microsoft.
1. SAP Buys SuccessFactors for $3.4 Billion
SAP CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe hope that the acquisition will improve SAP’s standing in the cloud computing and mobile applications markets. Gartner’s Thomas Otter calls the acquisition an admission by SAP that their cloud strategy was not working. This is a big bet on the future for SAP.
Disclaimer: Microsoft and Verizon are Weber Shandwick clients.