January 30th, 2013 § § permalink
In it’s 2012 Q4 results, Facebook made $1.59 billion (£1.06 billion) in revenue, or roughly $0.17 per share. This exceeded Wall Street’s estimates of $1.53 billion (£968 million), or $0.15 per share. Facebook’s Q4 results are up from their Q3 efforts, where they made $1.13 billion in revenue, and a loss of $59 million.
TechCrunch notes that 23% of Facebook’s revenue, roughly $305 million, comes from mobile, an area that Facebook was having difficulty in monetizing. Facebook made $1.09 billion from advertising and $170 million from payments, mostly from games. Facebook also increased the Revenue Per User (RPU) to $1.54 globally, up from $1.38.
Facebook has also announced that they now have more mobile users than desktop, a major milestone in the history of the social network. Facebook also announced that they now have 1.06 billion monthly active users, an increase of 25% year-over-year. Daily active users increased 28% yoy to reach 618 million. Mobile monthly users increased 57% yoy to 680 million.
Facebook spent $1.06 billion, an increase of 82%. Share-based compensation, payroll tax expenses and non-GAAP expenses were up 67% to $849 million.
Facebook now has $9.63 billion in cash and marketable securities.
Facebook’s stock has declined 4% in after-hours trading despite beating Wall Street estimates.
January 30th, 2013 § § permalink
After the riots of August 2011 in London and many other cities in Britain, the prevalence of social networking in organising crime became apparent. Whilst many network providers such as O2 pledged to provide any information required by police to carry out any investigations, social networking giant Twitter has always remained very reticent to reveal users’ identities.
Despite many widely-publicised cases of ‘trolling’ and related forms of Internet vandalism, Twitter only provided information to law enforcement agencies once in the second half of 2012, compared to the 25 request it received from British authorities.
In the United States, the country in which Twitter is based, authorities requested information on 815 occasions and those requests were complied with 562 times (at the time of writing).
So why is Twitter so intentionally cagey about handing over information in Britain?
Well, spokespersons from Twitter UK claim that the requests it received were ‘overly broad’, or ones that did not relate directly to the activity of a single account. For example, authorities may investigate a single Twitter user by attempting to collect information about other users with which the user may communicate.
Facebook, however, after dealing with years of privacy disagreements with lawmakers, have staff in Ireland dedicated to working with British police. Twitter however maintains that the methods investigations from the UK use to obtain information take advantage of ‘international treaty arrangements’.
Additionally, unlike Facebook, Twitter has a policy of informing users if they are under investigation, which in the UK (in some cases) can be a breach of legal proceedings.
By nature, Twitter receives less requests than other social networking platforms, due to the public nature of most users’ activities. It is only once an account holder makes a conscious decision to remove information that investigators may send a request, if necessary.
Whilst the importance of privacy on the Internet has never been higher, Twitter should co-operate fully with British law, especially considering the minimal corporation tax it begrudgingly pays in the UK.
January 21st, 2013 § § permalink
MacRumors is reporting that Apple could be considering making, and selling, a larger 4.8-inch iPhone. According to the China Times, the phone could possibly be called the “iPhone Math” but that doesn’t sit right with Apple’s current naming strategy.
The rumoured iPhone is reported to have a larger, 4.8-inch screen along with an 8 megapixel camera. The iPhone Plus is expected to be launched alongside the redesigned iPhone 5 — possibly called the 5S — sometime in 2013, along with a 12 megapixel iPhone. The report from the China Times goes into great detail about the manufacture of Apple’s larger iPhone, giving the names and locations of some of the suppliers. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. will take up to 90% (8 million) of the orders for the camera lenses, while Foxconn Technology and Coxon will provide the moulding parts Apple needs.
This isn’t the first rumour of a larger iPhone. Analyst, Peter Misek, suggested that Apple could be building a larger iPhone back in December. Recently, analyst, Brian White, suggested that Apple could be considering launching the iPhone in multiple sizes, supported by the WSJ‘s Mini, or cheap, iPhone report.
9to5Mac are sceptical about the rumoured iPhone Plus, citing Apple’s “Thumb” advert as a reason for Apple’s reluctance to change screen size; arguing that the iPhone 5 is still useable with one hand unlike other phones. Additionally, changing the screen resolution yet again would cause hassle for developers who have recently had to tweak their apps to support the 1136×640 iPhone 5 screen. Apple doesn’t like the release too many products within a short timeframe, unless it’s to support new technology (like the iPad 4′s Lightening port switch), which could be another reason for this rumour to be pure speculation. Companies like Samsung and HTC have histories of releasing multiple products, with multiple CPU configurations and screen sizes and seeing what sticks. Apple, however, releases one product and then sticks with that for a year. If the rumours are true, Apple could be releasing four separate iPhone variants in June: The iPhone 5S (upgrade from the iPhone 5), the iPhone Mini, an iPhone with a 12 megapixel camera and the iPhone Plus. However, this seems unlikely.
January 19th, 2013 § § permalink
Mega, Kim Dotcom’s new startup and the spiritual successor to Megaupload, is launching today (January 19th), so Tabbloid thought we’d take a look at some of the best features.
The service, which TechCrunch calls “a simplified version of Dropbox”, aims to replace Megaupload which was shut down by the US government in 2012. The service offers 50GB of free space, with the options to pay for up to 4TB of storage.
Storage and pricing:
Pricing of Mega’s storage options:
For comparison, Dropbox offers up to 500GB to “standard” users and anywhere from 1TB for teams. Prices range start at $9.99/month for 100GB on Dropbox, and go up to $49.99/month for 500GB. Google Drive offers up to 16TB of storage, with plans ranging from 25GB for $2.49/month, up to $800/month for 16TB. When compared to Mega, Google Drive comes off worse, offering 400GB for $19.99/month (roughly €15/month) compared to Mega’s 500GB for $13/month. Dropbox does very badly when compared to Mega, coming out at roughly $37 per month more expensive (for 500GB). It’s fair to say that Mega is very cheap.
When Ars Technica were testing their pre-launch version, they were getting roughly 100-250kbps upload speeds. Both Dropbox’s and Google Drive’s upload speeds depend on the Internet connection being used. I can’t find any exact numbers for each, but I should imagine that they’re competitive. Chances are, if you Internet is quick, so will Mega.
Free vs Pro?
When you sign up for Mega, you get 50GB of free space. This is down from Dotcom’s original 200GB promise, but is still more than Google Drive’s 5GB, Dropbox’s 2GB and even Microsoft SkyDrive’s 25GB. As highlighted above, the “Pro” accounts get you between 500GB and 4TB, depending on how much you need/your available funds. Mega uses Euros, which is strange considering Dotcom is based in New Zealand. Just like the other cloud storage services, Mega can generate publicly available links for your files which allow you to share around your content.
Mega is very secure. According to TorrentFreak, Dotcom wants to “bring encryption into the mainstream.” Mega uses a 2048-bit RSA key which will keep your content away from the prying eyes of government officials, for good and for bad. To keep the end-to-end security, Mega works best with Google Chrome — which they call the “most advanced browser currently in existence” — as not doing so would “adversely affect file transfer performance.” The masterstroke of Mega, however, is that all files are encrypted on the machine that uploads them so Mega has no idea what it’s hosting. Gizmodo describes it as a “masterstroke of copyright subversion.” Mega does stipulate that users should stick to their own countries copyright laws.
When you try and share a file, Mega will warn you that: “The cryptographic security of your files depends on the confidentiality of the associated encryption keys. Make sure that you transmit them via protected channels only! Standard e-mail, for example, is not good enough. With that in mind, select one or multiple files in your file manager, then right-click and use ‘Get link.’ A dialog with the public link(s) to the file(s) you have selected will open. You can choose to export each link and key separately or as a single combo link.”
According to Gizmodo’s resident lawyer, Jesse Ma, has said that Mega’s legal notice which exemplifies Mega from any responsibility for the files stored on their servers. Gizmodo have a fairly good run down of how the service works, with a step-by-step guide of how everything works. Gizmodo went on to say: “[Mega is] Megaupload with a file manager”.
Who is Mega for?
Many have been burnt by Megaupload (none of the files that were hosted could be salvaged after the CIA pulled the plug), so may be cautious when signing up for Mega. Because Mega offers such a massive amount of cloud storage — up to 4TB, with 8TB of bandwidth — for such a cheap price, I can see Mega becoming a hit with small, cash-strapped businesses. Megaupload of old had prestigious users, such as Apple and Rolls Royce on their client list. If Kim Dotcom can convince them to come back, he could be onto a winner.
More can be found out about Mega at Techmeme.
January 19th, 2013 § § permalink
Former employee of video streaming service and app Color, Aubrey Johnson, has shared two stories of Apple’s acquisitions of Color and Lala, a music streaming service widely believed to contribute to the developing of iTunes Match. Both companies were founded and maintained by Vietnamese businessman Bill Nguyen.
Lala was an online music site founded by Nguyen, allowing members to create online playlists with uploaded tracks, stream music on a one-time basis and talk to their friends about what they’re listening to (as Ping was such a runaway success for Apple…).
Owing to a placement deal with Google (as well as partnering with them to create Google Music), Lala found itself at the top of many music-related searches. As obviously no such deal would ever be reached between Apple and Google, Lala was effectively robbing sales from rival service iTunes.
Nokia offered a small sum (around $10 million) for the company around 6 months before the Apple acquisition. Disgusted, Nguyen contacted Google, stating that an offer had been made and time was limited for them to act – unbeknownst to Google was Nguyen’s grave dissatisfaction with Nokia’s offer. Google tried to play safe, offering a similar lowball offer to test the water, losing its opportunity.
Within hours Nguyen organised a meeting with Apple executives at Jobs’ Palo Alto home, granting him an audience whom he believed to take him seriously. The rest is history:
In late November , Nguyen was seated at the dinner table in Steve Job’s home on Waverly St in Palo Alto. Also present were Eddy Cue and Tim Cook and other Apple executives. Steve led the conversation while eating a beet salad:
“I’m going to give you a number, Bill, and if you like it, let’s do it and just be done with this whole thing. Okay?” Bill agreed.
Jobs passed a piece of paper to Nguyen and Bill nodded. The deal was done.
Jobs had offered Nguyen an amount a staggering eight times greater than Nokia’s initial offer. Whilst it pales into insignificance when compared to Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, 80 million dollars passed via scrap paper over a dinner table is hardly a sum to be sniffed at.