Broad Range Of Public Tech Firms Trade For Record Prices

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2067062407_c0ebf2204e_o All the talk of a bubble isn’t slowing down public interest in technology shares. Today, Apple, TubeMogul and Arista Networks set new record highs. TubeMogul and Arista both recently went public.
Other firms, like Microsoft are trading near local maximums. MobileIron set an all-time high yesterday, managed a new intra-day high today, and is up strongly in the past few trading sessions. Read More

August 28th 2014 apple

Apple May Reveal A Wearable Alongside New iPhones In September

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iwatch Apple should have a very busy schedule for its (yet-to-be-confirmed) event on September 9: Re/code is now reporting that it will show off its wearable device on that day alongside new iPhone hardware. The report from John Paczkowski says that Apple’s wearable will incorporate HealthKit, the upcoming software found in iOS 8 that adds fitness and health tracking features to its mobileRead More

August 28th 2014 apple, iphone, Mobile

AdTech Is Alive and Well: I’ll Have the Full Stack, Please

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The post AdTech Is Alive and Well: I’ll Have the Full Stack, Please appeared first on John Battelle's Search Blog.

National-Pancake-Day-at-IHOPReading The Information’s piece on Facebook’s reported re-introduction of the Atlas ad-serving technology, I wondered – Does the market really need six or more full stack adtech solutions?

Google is the undisputed leader in the field – it’s spent nearly ten years stitching its own technology into acquisitions like DoubleClick (the original ad server), AdMeld (supply side platform), AdWords (search), AdMobs (mobile), Teracent (targeting), Invite Media (demand side platform), (anti-fraud), Adometry (attribution) and many others.

So why would anyone want to challenge Google’s dominance? Because if you’re a major Internet player, you can’t afford to hand Google all the leverage – both financial as well as data and insight. If you have hundreds of millions of logged in customers (all of whom create valuable data), you need to be able to understand their actions across multiple channels and offer those insights to your marketing clients. And that means you need to own your own ad stack.

This is why Facebook is building its own adtech stack. This is why Yahoo! and AOL are once again investing in their stacks. And this is why Twitter is building out a similar stack with MoPub (mobile), AdGrok (search), RestEngine (email marketing), Bluefin (video analytics), Trendr (social analytics), Gnip (analytics), Namo (native ads), TapCommerce (retargeting), and certainly more to come.

I think the most interesting one to watch in all this is Apple, which has a rather Microsoft-like approach to advertising – it’s in the game, big time, but seems uncertain of how it wants to play in the space. Apple has made significant purchases – Quattro (mobile) and Topsy (analytics) come to mind, but it hasn’t fully committed, and its data use policies and general philosophy are famously confusing to marketers.

And beyond Apple, there’s Amazon – which is quietly building out a full stack solution of its own. Oh, and there are several point-solution companies that are now public, or near-public, who want to play as well – AppNexus, Turn, Rubicon, and RocketFuel, which recently bought DMP X+1. Not to mention the consolidators – Oracle, Salesforce, Adobe, IBM, even SAP – any of which may decide they want to get into the full stack game as well.

Given my point of view on what adtech really represents, I think the truth is no major Internet company can afford to outsource its ability to gather, process, leverage, and exploit real time information on the database of intentions. Adtech may be today’s poster child of stock market slumps, but I think the market is failing to understand adtech’s true value proposition. And that means more deals are on the way.

The post AdTech Is Alive and Well: I’ll Have the Full Stack, Please appeared first on John Battelle's Search Blog.

August 26th 2014 adobe, apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, yahoo

Apple Cracks $100 on NASDAQ

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Whatever the iPhone 6 (set for release on or around Sept. 9) will mean for Apple’s bottom line, the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant is already feeling some love—from Wall Street. Investor confidence in Apple’s new products pushed the company’s stock above the $100 per-share barrier today, Apple’s best performance since 2012.

The much-buzzed iPhone 6 won’t just be a new and bigger smart phone; Apple has also promised wearable wristwatch technology. Both products are a counterpunch that Apple brass hopes will grab some market share back from Samsung. It’s a big pie, with more than 2 billion smartphone users worldwide, most of them using the Android operating system.

After becoming the world’s bigger smartphone maker in 2013, Samsung and its Galaxy phone have lost some luster, owing to competitive pressures from China and slower sales in Europe. Apple’s new product releases are apparently boosting confidence that the brand has not lost its innovative mojo under the stewardship of Tim Cook.

To whet market appetite and rebuild brand confidence about its new products, Apple has also made available the Beta 2 release of its Yosemite operating system from the Mac App store to members of its OSX Beta program; the public release of a beta version of the new operating system happened in July.

The staged, downloadable releases demonstrate Apple’s re-engagement with its worldwide fan base and an opportunity to promote the Apple App store, moves that are also exciting investors.

Activist investor Carl Icahn, who owns more than $5 billion in Apple stock, claims the rise in share prices is a validation of his claim the company’s stock is undervalued.

The market may be catching up to his views.

August 22nd 2014 apple, Technology

Why I’m Watching Deep Linking In Mobile

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The post Why I’m Watching Deep Linking In Mobile appeared first on John Battelle's Search Blog.

first web page

The first ever web page, created by Sir Tim Berners Lee to explain, naturally, the WWW.

We are at a turning point in the mobile app ecosystem where deeplinking is becoming a priority and not just a feature.URX blog

This week marks the beginning of a journey I’m taking to understand “deep linking” in mobile. I’ve kept one eye on the space for some time, but it’s clearly heating up. Last Spring three major mobile players – Facebook, Google, and Apple – all announced significant developments in deep linking. Twitter has also fortified its deep linking capabilities of late, as has Yahoo.

Most of these major players are supporting deep linking for commercial reasons – their business is driven by advertising, and a huge cut of mobile advertising revenues are in turn driven by app installs. Marketers want to be able to link directly to specific places inside their apps, so they can drive qualified leads to convert (and measure effectiveness/optimize campaigns). To be clear, these are the ads that show up inside apps on your mobile phone encouraging you to download a free game or service. These install ads make up a huge percentage of mobile advertising revenue, though it’s hard to find hard figures for exactly what percentage. Current estimates range between 30 and 50% - either way, that makes them the largest category of mobile advertising, period.

This all reminds me of how search played out on the desktop Web – search was a huge percentage of overall “online advertising” revenues in the early days, but it took a while before analysts started breaking search out as a category independent of “online advertising.” Twenty years into search, that category still represents more than 40% of all online ad revenues. So yep, I’m watching deep linking, because I think there’s a big there there.

But there’s a funny hitch to the evolution of linking inside our mobile ecosystem. On the Web, the link is pretty much the atomic unit of value – from the get go, *anyone* could create a link from one web page to another. The web was built on links, and in the early days those links were built, for the most part, by *users* of the web – people like you and me. We built link-heavy websites, we blogged and linked profusely, we emailed links around, and in doing so we connected static web pages one to another, all in the name of navigation, discovery, and ease of use. It was only later, as search rose to prominence and people started to realize the commercial value of links, that the SEO industry became a commercial monster. In short, linking behavior predated commercial exploitation.

But in the mobile web, commercial exploitation is driving linking behavior, and I find that fascinating. Certainly there’s any number of reasons for this, from Apple’s early iOS design decisions to the fact that apps are, for the most part, personalized experiences that are not driven by the early web’s model of static pages meant for consumption by any and all comers. Regardless, I’ve got a hunch about deep linking - I’m hoping it’s the seedbed for a major shift in how we experience mobile computing. For now, mobile deep linking is the purview of developers and savvy mobile marketers. But I think in time this may change. I wrote a bit about that hunch here:

…while developer-driven deep links are great, the next step in mobile won’t really take off until average folks like you and I can easily create and share our own links within apps. Once the “consumers” start creating links, mobile will finally break out of this ridiculous pre-web phase it’s been stuck in for the past seven or so years, and we’ll see a mobile web worthy of its potential.

I imagine a time when applications encourage their users to share links from inside apps, and everyone finds that sharing behavior will create a positive feedback loop similar to the one that drove the rise of the original Web. From there, any number of innovations will arise, speculating on what those might be is worthy of several future posts.

For now, I’ve come across a crop of startups focusing on deep linking as well various industry efforts in the field (I have Semil Shah and Roy Bahat, among others, to thank for my early lessons in the space). In the coming weeks, I’m meeting with many of them, including URX, Kahuna, DeeplinkAppboy and several stealth startups, and of course larger players like Twitter. As I get smart, and if I find interesting stuff, I’ll report back here. In the meantime, if you’ve got any suggestions for me, please leave them in comments or ping me on Twitter. Thanks!

The post Why I’m Watching Deep Linking In Mobile appeared first on John Battelle's Search Blog.

August 19th 2014 Android, apple, Facebook, Google

Lenovo Overtakes Samsung, Becomes No. 1 Smartphone in China

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Lenovo overtook Samsung as the No. 1 smartphone maker in China and the fourth largest worldwide in the second quarter of 2014, according to the company and research firm IDC. 

The latest market gains show how the world’s largest personal computer maker is positioning itself as a major global competitor against top smartphone brands Apple and Samsung. At the same time, the China-based Lenovo is preparing for further growth as it completes $5 billion in acquisitions of Google’s Motorola Mobility handset unit and IBM’s low-end server unit.

Lenovo said second-quarter profit rose 23 percent to $214 million, largely the result of strong smartphone sales in international markets. Overall revenue increased 18 percent to $10.4 billion.

It was a record quarter for Lenovo smartphones, with sales up 39 percent, outpacing PCs for the first time. In what was also a company first, Lenovo’s smartphone shipments surpassed 1 million devices in the market that includes Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where the company also took the top position in notebook sales.

Lenovo’s mobile device business, including smartphones and tablets, increased 32 percent year over year during the quarter to $1.6 billion, representing 15 percent of the company’s total revenue. Desktop PC shipments were up 12 percent year-over-year compared to the overall industry increase of 2.4 percent, the company reported.

In the most recent quarter, Lenovo’s world market share for smartphones was about 5 percent compared to 25 percent for Samsung, 12 percent for Apple and 7 percent for Huawei, according to IDC’s report.

August 15th 2014 apple, Mobile, Technology

Apple’s Next iPad Could Sport Anti-Reflective Coating For Easier Daylight Use

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twotap-ipad Apple has a new iPad that has just gone into production, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The next Apple tablet will reportedly will reportedly come in both 9.7-inch (iPad Air) and 7.9-inch (iPad mini) flavors, per the news network’s sources, and will be equipped with a new anti-reflective coating that should make it easier to read in bright light situations. The new iPads could… Read More

August 12th 2014 apple, ipad, Mobile

Apple Poised to Dominate the Fall Market

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September is shaping up to be a big month for Apple. The tech giant is expected to hold an event introducing its long-awaited iPhone 6 on Sept. 9, according to Re/code

Apple svp Eddy Cue, who heads up the company’s PR initiatives, first generated excitement for Apple’s upcoming fall offerings at the annual Code conference in May. With typical Apple discretion, he only alluded to upcoming news: “We’ve got the best product pipeline that I’ve seen in my 25 years at Apple.” On Sept. 9, consumers may finally get some specifics.

What will be the key features of Apple’s next-generation iPhones? In addition to faster A8 processors, rumor has it they will offer larger displays. This increase is Apple’s response to consumer demand for bigger screen sizes, which have long been offered by competitors Samsung and Galaxy.

Why the September timeframe? Some tech analysts believe it’s a strategic move to pre-empt Samsung’s newest smartphone launch, which is scheduled for mid-September at the IFA trade show in Berlin.

Even with the upcoming product launch, Apple saw robust iPhone sales at the end of Q2, up 12.7 percent from last June. 

August 7th 2014 apple, Technology

Bomb Gaza and 6 Other Mobile Games Banned by App Stores

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The Israel-Palestine conflict is playing out in app stores with games like Bomb Gaza being used as a new kind of information warfare. In fact, Google started pulling apps from its Play store that it found unsuitable for its mobile platform. 

This week, Bomb Gaza, Gaza Assault and Whack the Hamas were banned. And it’s not the first time real conflict caused virtual ramifications. In past wars, Apple removed an app called Third Intifada, a hub for pro-Palestinian information that Israeli officials said incited violence.

Even with Bomb Gaza and the other games removed from the Play store, there are still titles inspired by the Mideast conflict. There are games based on Israel’s Iron Dome defense, which has been successful during the latest fighting in limiting damage from rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.

Another whack-a-mole style game disappeared today—Hamas a Mole, which was similar to Whack the Hamas where terrorists pop out of holes in the ground and need to be bashed back down.

Games that cause outrage have been a staple of mobile apps since Apple launched its iPhone software store in 2008. Apple is tight about regulating content in its App Store while Google has fewer restrictions on the types of games and products it allows. Still, they both have cracked down on offending games.

Here is a look at some of the most controversial games:

Weed Firm
Players grow pot and build a drug empire. Apple pulled Weed Firm from its store this year. 

Smuggle Truck
You can drive immigrants through the desert but don’t let them bounce out the back of the truck. Apple rejected this game in 2011. 

Boyfriend Trainer

Whack, slap and put your boyfriend on a leash are supposed to be part of the fun in this game from last year. 

Dog Wars
This 2011 app let players train dogs for fighting before Google removed it. 

Zombie School
Turns out a shooting game in a school wasn’t a good idea, even if the targets were zombies. Apple removed the game in 2008. 

Baby Shaker
Perhaps the most tasteless of all, this game was about simulating newborn deaths by vigorously shaking an iPhone. It was pulled after slipping through the Apple censors in 2009. 

August 6th 2014 apple, Google, iphone, Mobile, Technology

Apple Secretly Acquired “Pandora For Books” Startup BookLamp To Battle Amazon

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BookLamp Apple Feature TechCrunch has learned that Apple has made another acquisition, one that it is using to boost its e-books effort and “beat Amazon at its own game.” It has bought BookLamp, a startup based out of Boise, Idaho, that developed big data-style book analytics services. A second source says Apple bought BookLamp’s employees and technology for a price that was “higher than… Read More

July 26th 2014 apple