APP STORE SCAMMER: Industry insiders have noticed the rise of a $US0.99 app, “Red Bouncing Ball Spikes,” into the Apple App Store’s top-10 rankings, and are sceptical of how it got there. The paid app was released in December 2012 but shot into the top charts at the end of January 2014. Other developers suspect a specific app store scam in which the developer tampers with the app’s gross sales figures in order to skyrocket the app to the top of the charts. With increased visibility, more people pay for the app and the developer gets an easy profit. It also takes away the benefits of greater visibility that other apps get by reaching the top of the charts organically. (TechCrunch)
19 BILLION DOLLARS: That’s how much Facebook is shelling out to acquire the globally popular mobile messaging service WhatsApp. In their formal announcement, Facebook revealed some stats about WhatsApp usage. The app has about 450 million monthly active users, with 70% of those users also active daily, and they are adding nearly 1 million new users per day. Also, WhatsApp messaging volume is approaching the total global messaging volume for SMS.
The terms of the deal are that WhatsApp will receive about $US4 billion in cash and $US12 billion in Facebook shares. In case that’s not enough, Facebook will also provide WhatsApp with an additional $US3 billion in restricted stock units that will vest over four years.
WhatsApp gives Facebook the leader in the burgeoning mobile messaging platform space and also gives Facebook another piece to add to their growing portfolio of mobile apps. With so many messaging apps available, the market is highly fragmented, but WhatsApp is far and away the app with the most active users, and is particularly popular in parts of Europe and emerging markets, Facebook’s next areas for growth. Facebook will lean on mobile to get into those markets, so adding WhatsApp alongside Paper and other planned mobile apps gives the social network multiple ways to reach new users. (Facebook)
For more in-depth analysis, check out our FIRST TAKE: Here’s Why Facebook Acquired Messaging App WhatsApp For $US19 Billion.
QUOTE OF THE DAY — “What puzzles me more is that T-Mobile did not speak with us before or after they launched this clearly inappropriate and ill-conceived marketing promotion.” — BlackBerry CEO John Chen on his outrage over T-Mobile’s recent marketing ploy to convert its current BlackBerry users over to iPhone 5S by offering the iPhone for no money down. (The Verge)
PHABLETS TAKE OVER: Digitimes is reporting that the share of sales from tablet devices in the 7- and 8-inch segment will drop to 56% in 2014 after hitting 70% in 2013 due primarily to increased competition from sales of larger smartphones and phablets. We recently concluded that the tablet market’s growth has peaked as a result of phablets. (Digitimes)
TINDER SECURITY FAIL: A white-hat hacking company called Include Security has found a loophole in the code for popular dating app Tinder that will pinpoint any user’s location to within 100 feet, despite the app only allowing users to search for others within one mile. While location-based services are growing in popularity for activities like shopping and dating, the amount of personal, sensitive data flowing through these apps should convince developers to consider security the highest priority. (Bloomberg Businessweek)
NEW YAHOO MOBILE AD PLATFORM: Yahoo Gemini is the company’s new “unified marketplace” where advertisers can bring together strategies for mobile search ads and native ads. “By bringing the two together, advertisers can now buy, manage and optimise their mobile search and native ad spend in one place — driving greater performance and higher impact for their businesses and brands,” said Jay Rossiter, senior vice president of Yahoo’s cloud platform group. (VentureBeat)
GLASS DO’S AND DON’TS: The Google Glass preliminary Explorer program has grown, and more people are starting to use the device out in public. Before the smart eyewear hits the mainstream, some of the biggest concerns Google must address are privacy and social etiquette. To start, Google has posted a list of Do’s and Don’ts for its Explorers to help them adjust to social life with Glass. The list includes advice like asking for permission to use Glass in a public place and to not “be creepy or rude.” (Google)
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