It’s 2015 and the thought on everyone’s minds (at least those dominating the tech world) is what the year will bring us. 2014 saw the release of the long anticipated iPhone 6, security breaches from celebrities to Sony and what is now known as the infamous “Instapurge.” From wearable tech to cars that drive themselves, we’re ready for 2015.
Here’s five things that happened in tech this week:
Snapchat launches Discover feature
Snapchat made headlines when it reportedly turned down Facebook’s offer for $3 billion; now, this past summer, the company raised a round of funding valuing the young company at $10 billion. Must be nice. In its biggest update since Snapchat launched in 2011, the relatively young company has primarily focused on user growth.
The new Discover feature shows Snapchat heading in a new direction, focusing on monetization – something that has proved to be an obstacle for many social media companies, including Twitter. Discover features big names such as National Geographic, VICE, CNN, Food Network and other publishers and moves the disposable image-sharing app closer to becoming a revenue generating business.
- Read more on Financial Post
Microsoft and Apple earnings calls
Apple crushes with biggest quarterly profit in history
Both American tech giants had their earnings calls, and while Apple was reaping in the benefits and seeing a staggering boost in numbers, Microsoft was….not. Microsoft recently wowed at the Microsoft 10 event with impressive new products such as Hololens, however, executives warned investors that revenue and profit likely won’t be skyrocketing for 2015.
A strong dollar, amongst other factors, means unfavourable foreign-exchange rates for both American companies. However, not all is doom and gloom. Apple’s earnings call reported a net worth of $18 billion – the largest amount for a public company. Ever.
And it looks like Apple has China to thank. In the last quarter, Apple has become the number one smartphone company in China soaring the number of iPhones sold to 74.5 million globally. Hats off to you, Apple. #CantStopWontStop.
Twitter adds private, group messaging and video recording
Twitter is finally delivering on their promise of private, group messaging and mobile video recording. This follows the release of Twitter’s Recap feature that rolled out last week. Direct, private messaging and video recording rounds out the largely public experience Twitter offers by adding user enticement to the company who was faced with slow user growth and usage from existing ‘twits.’
The ability to converse privately share and discuss tweets allows users to customize their Twitter experience by filtering conversations with smaller groups. The video recording feature allows users to capture lifes moments while they’re happening- along the lines of Snapchat. While hardly groundbreaking, the latest features from Twitter bring the company up to speed with big competitors like Facebook. Wait, #FacebookIsDown?
- Read more on Engadget
Facebook and Instagram went down on Tuesday – chaos ensues
Facebook and Instagram (as well as Tinder, AIM and Hipchat) all went down on Tuesday for approximately 40 minutes. And the internet lost it’s mind. Memes and hashtags #facebookdown and #ThingsIDidWhenFacebookWasDown amongst others began popping up on Twitter. Lizard Squad, the hacker group that recently attacked Malaysia Airlines’ website, has claimed responsibility for the attack. However, Facebook later released a statement saying that the outage was not the result of third party attack but rather a change that affected their configuration systems they recently introduced. The sites were back up an hour after they went down and everyone relaxed as all was right in the world again. #FacebookIsBack.
- Read more on RT
IBM layoffs imminent
Rumours reported that IBM will be cutting 100,000 jobs, which the company initially denied. However, the IBM axe has begun to swing with widespread layoffs. It’s no secret the company has been struggling, having posted its eleventh consecutive quarterly decline.. Former employees are taking to a website to voice their experience with exiting the company, many of whom have been working there for 15+ years.
The forced reduction of IBM will consist of a combination of layoffs, contract reductions, accelerated retirement, and resource actions- the fancy way of saying, “you’re fired.” No better way to say thanks for all the hard work. The global impact will likely see big hits for Canada, Australia, India, and the US.
- Read more on Forbes