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Daily Nation : February 7th 2014
12 BE FAMOUS. daily NATION February 7, 2014 what’s up? TECHNO BYTE >> WITH KIUMBUKU MUCHUKU FACEBOOK TURNS 10 GROWTH— after 10 years, Facebook has hit its peak. Growth has significantly slowed down over the last 2 years. As it has been noted, Facebook already lost the app wars to smaller companies, and with that, it lost some segments of users. The more users Facebook gains and retains, the more potential it has to sell advertisements and mine business data. GOOGLE SELLS MOTOROLA MOBILITY TO LENOVO Motorola Mobility has been a disaster for Google who have cut their losses and sold the handset manufacturer to Lenovo, the emerging powerhouse from China for computing devices. Lenovo recently acquired IBM’s x86 server business, a few years after acquiring its consumer devices business, and with the Motorola Mobility purchase, Lenovo has become the 3rd largest handset manufacturer in the world after Samsung and Apple. Lenovo acquired Motorola at shy of US$ 3 billion (Sh258 billion), a huge discount, while Google bought Motorola Mobility about 2 years ago from its parent company for US$ 12 billion (Sh103.2 billion), making this the dearest write-downs in Google’s history. DAILY SECRET IS COMING TO AFRICA F acebook has finally turned 10 years old and it comes as no surprise that the Social Network has finally learned the need to grow up, alongside its youthful cofounder. In the 10 years that everyone has experienced Facebook, it has gone along to become a multi-billion business, garnered 1.23 billion users and is now close to earning itself the title for the fastest company to reach US$ 150 Billion in valuation, faster than Google, Apple and Microsoft. The company has had its ups and downs and it is now finally struggling with an identity crisis; its initial users are experiencing Social Media fatigue and the rebellion that is being seen among teenagers. So, what are the current challenges 10 years in? Growth This has been a struggle, and after 10 years, Facebook has hit its peak. Growth has significantly slowed down over the last 2 years. As it has been noted, Facebook already lost the app wars to smaller companies, and with that, it lost some segments of users. The more users Facebook gains and retains, the more potential it has to sell advertisements and mine business data, both lucrative businesses needed to keep the balance sheet looking healthy. So, how does a company giving its product ideally for free keep growing? The keyword there is innovation. And while Facebook possesses the ability to remain innovative, it has also lost its potential to create custom new user experiences. Mark Zuckerberg has realised that the company is slowly losing segments of users one at a time and has decided to take a step back and explore future opportunities against the current position of the company. The advantage of that is that Facebook could find a new breath of fresh air, but the downside is that failing to do so could spell disaster for the company. Mobile First Facebook’s mobile strategy is still considerably weak and the one challenge they have faced over the years is how to keep their mobile first strategy going. They have attempted to take over the mobile ecosystem by creating Facebook home for phones running Android. While it seemed brilliant at the time, it did not go very well, and it made sense, since people do not buy Facebook phones. That also meant that their attempt at building a mobile device had to be dumped, and in this case, forcing Facebook to go back the very same war it lost on the very same battleground — apps. The new strategy is to ship as many apps as it can, from its newly constituted Creative Labs. It is a good idea, but one they may lose since they are coming in on the tailend of the app wars. Apps are also beginning to lose their flavour owning to a multitude of challenges like customer data privacy, app fatigue and battery life woes on new devices. Paper Facebook is its own worst enemy. However, its greatest driver has been flexibility. The Facebook ecosystem has not been as flexible as they may have wanted, and this has also been its downside and the last bastion of hope for Google and other competitors. At the end of the day, Facebook has been a big megaphone, but on the other side, there is not much you can do outside of Facebook. When it looked at companies like Feedly and Flipboard, Facebook saw an opportunity to deliver curated news and try compete, but here is the scary part for Facebook; the companies it’s trying to compete with are simply not scared. While it does marshal the true beginning of curated apps making a bigger splash, Facebook’s Paper platform is simply not seen as worthy to fear, though it does signal the doldrums of a new war. Why doesn’t it scare competitors? For one, this is Facebook at its best but outside its core business, and even though this sounds a bit confusing, since they make apps and help deliver user generated content, it also shows a bit of creeping desperation from Facebook. It has been a brilliant 10 years for Facebook. While the company looks towards being more intuitive by trying to achieve its user’s expectations, one does wonder if it will even be around in the next 10 years and if it is, whether it will still be the powerhouse it currently is. Daily Secret is a company that pushes daily offerings on city-specific trips through emails. The free delivery service offers custom content for users that allows them to find deals and other information that would allow a customer to explore and discover new adventures in different cities. Daily Secrets offers feedback from its correspondents around he world on pubs, shops, restaurants as well as other hidden places that one may consider spending a day exploring. The company recently announced its Africa strategy and Nairobi is expected to be one of its first Africa markets. The advertisement driven company recently raised capital to execute its Africa strategy, so expect to see more deals and opportunities. OLYMPUS’ OM-D EM10 MIRRORLESS CAMERA DUE SOON The tiny mirroless Olympus OM-D EM10 camera has been announced for delivery next month. The tiny camera is the first sub-US$ 1000 (Sh860,000) mirrorless camera, which is priced at US$ 700 (Sh602,000) per unit, a bargain for those who could not afford the EM 1 or the EM 5. The “too-goodto-believe” deal gets you the camera, with shortcomings like having only 3-axis stabilization against 5 on the other pricier model as well as lack of an all weather body sealing for the outer case, but it will be compatible with two power zoom lenses which start at US$ 400 (Sh344,000) per lens. The camera weighs less, costs less and lacks few features, making this worth the wait and the price. MOBILE OPERATORS NOT DEALING WITH PRSP WOES It seems two mobile operators in Kenya are ignoring the fraud by Premium Rate Services Provider (PRSP) who have taken it upon themselves to start automatically subscribing users to premium rate services without their knowledge. The Mobile operators seem to be will-fully refusing to end the PRSP nightmare for many subscribers who find themselves paying subscription fees for services the do not need. The Regulator has also not addressed the issue. PRSP services are supposed to be voluntary opt-in services, but now secretly opted-in as is currently happening. Mobile operators earn a portion of the revenue from the PRSP’s services which can reach hundreds of millions of shillings.
February 6th 2014
February 8th 2014