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  • Microsoft to give startups a free flight to the cloud

    Microsoft is set to give a select group of early stage startups free access to its cloud offering. Under the initiative, which is part of its global BizSpark Plus accelerator programme, the software giant says it will be giving away US$60 000 of free software to South African startups over 10 years. According to Clifford de Wit, developer and platform lead at Microsoft SA, the initiative is aimed at building a vibrant local software development community in South Africa: “We really want to give small software developers the incentive they need to not only develop local software, but also...

  • Google buys Quickoffice, looks to integrate into app suite

    Looks like the acquisitions team at Google has been given free reign over the company cheque book. Just one day after the internet giant bought out social and sharing outfit Meebo, it announced the acquisition of Quickoffice. In an official press blog post, Google said that it was "happy to announce" that we had acquired the "leader in office productivity solutions". It also made it pretty clear what its intentions for the company were: Today, consumers, businesses and schools use Google Apps to get stuff done from anywhere, with anyone and on any device. Quickoffice has an established track record of...

  • 100k apps published on Windows Phone store

    Over 100 000 apps have now been published on the Windows Phone store at a rate of 313 a day, with nearly 10 000 added in the last month. That's according to All About Windows Phone (AAWP) -- a site dedicated to well, everything Windows Phone. It should be noted however that those numbers come with a bit of a caveat. One hundred thousand plus apps might have been published, but just under 90 000 are currently available for download. According to AAWP, the 10 000 or so missing apps have either been removed by Microsoft or unpublished by their...

  • Airtime: Napster team launches video-based social network

    Napster founder Sean Parker has launched a video based social network called Airtime, which connects people based on their Facebook interests. The social network has been in development for the past year. In an official statement, the Airtime team claims that it "is not just a product, it’s a network service designed to create live shared experiences online, between two sets of people: those that you know and those who you want to know". "The service," it claims, "allows you to share live experiences through content, and expand beyond your social graph to discover new people through similar interests in an...

  • DStv, etv join SABC in refusal to air Nando’s ad [Update]

    South African digital satellite TV service DStv has joined the country's national broadcaster, the SABC, in refusing to air a Nando's ad on the grounds that it could inflame xenophobia. According to the Citizen newspaper, DStv Media Sales CEO Chris Hitchings confirmed that the broadcaster had "suspended flighting of the ad. Per our terms and conditions we have the right not to broadcast any material that we believe may be offensive to viewers.” In the advert, a narrator says, “you know what’s wrong with South Africa? All you foreigners”. Various population groups from Zimbabweans, and Nigerians, to Indians and Chinese...

  • China’s Renren signs deal with Japanese mobile gaming company DeNa

    Chinese Facebook clone Renren and Japanese mobile gaming company DeNa have signed a deal in what seems to be a bid by the latter to increase its presence on Chinese mobile devices. Under the terms of the deal Renen will feature a number DeNa titles on its mobile app for Android. In fact, the Japanese gaming manufacturer will have its own dedicated section in the app. Users can download games from the Mobage section and log in to Mobage with their Renren IDs. “DeNA China’s goal is to bring high-quality mobile games from around the world to the ever-increasing...

  • Primer: Programming languages & databases. Which is best for startups?

    According to the TIOBE index you’re more likely to overhear a Java, PHP, Python, Perl or Ruby developer riffing on an idea for a new web startup, than, let’s say, a PL/SQL developer. Programming languages are developer community argots. To me, the lesser-known lexicon of Oracle’s PL/SQL has been a subject of study for quite some time. I love it. Far beyond its corporate pedigree, I've seen it being used to build an online music store, course search database and microblog. Perhaps I’m partisan, then again, perhaps so are you. But, despite being part of disparate developer communities, we are...

  • Does your social media campaign have an online PR plan?

    While social media continues to evolve world-wide on the social web, it is still a very scary medium for many organisations. All of a sudden social media means that the public, customers, and prospects now have a method with the use of all the social media channels to make their voices heard with relative ease. Despite the fact that everyone can be a "citizen journalist" online, only a small percentage of the people involved with social media are creating content. Most of the others are only consuming the content on this medium or making minor contributions and commenting on...

  • Best of British: How brands upped their social efforts for the Diamond Jubilee

    For years I have been a lover of the Royal Variety Performance. The only problem is that before the days of PVR it coincided with my annual end of year festivities. So as I sit back and watch the Diamond Jubilee with old favorites like the two Ronnies, it brings back fond memories. On 4 and 5 June the UK (and the rest of the world, clearly) celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It’s been interesting to note how companies residing under Her Royal Highness’ rule have taken advantage of the (uncommonly) lifted mood of British citizens. Turn that frown...

  • Facebook’s IPO honeymoon was over before it began… where to next?

    Ah shame, poor Facebook. In the short time its stock has been on the market, it's taken a complete pumelling. Not exactly the honeymoon present Mark Zuckerberg would've hoped for. His company’s listing was one of those memorable events that you have to have watched. I was not watching because it was my daughter’s seventh birthday party (that was a success too). Okay, so the listing did not actually go off as planned -- a glitch of sorts by NASDAQ saw many an investor and folks hoping for a giant pop confused and mad. I guess Morgan Stanley...

  • Google acquires Meebo — will we see adverts in Google+?

    In the latest round of acquisitions to hit the tech scene, chat service Meebo has announced that it will soon be part of Google. Meebo -- which started out in IM and now focuses their efforts on their social media and sharing bar -- posted about the acquisition on their blog in a flurry of exclamation marks and excitement: We are happy to announce that Meebo has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Google! For more than seven years we’ve been helping publishers find deeper relationships with their users and to make their sites more social and engaging. Together...

  • $1.5bn Undersea cable to link BRICS by 2014

    Investors including the likes of Google are reportedly mulling a massive undersea cable that will link all of the BRICS countries. The US$1.5-billion cable will reportedly link Brazil, India, China, Russia, and South Africa to each other as well the US. According to Andrew Mthembu, chairman of technology group i3 Africa which is promoting the project, it could be online as soon as 2014. "I'm hoping within the coming six months we will all be in a position to get all the consortium members into some sort of agreement, and then from there it's then a 24 month period...

  • AFP claims first with Arabic iPad app

    Global news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) has launched an Arabic version of its iPad app. It claims it is the first of the major global news agencies to do so. The new offering is a free app from the App Store allowing access to a selection of news stories, photographs, video and graphics produced by the agency’s Arabic editorial desk backed by a global network of AFP journalists. “Thanks to its 16 offices in the Near and Middle East, AFP is the leading news agency in the Arab-speaking world. We bolstered our presence in the field in 2011. The launch...

  • Naspers shutters Indian online classifieds in OLX consolidation move

    Naspers has dumped its Indian classifieds platform TradusAds in favour of the internationally renowned OLX, the world’s largest free classified site with over 130 million unique visitors per month. The move appears to be part of an effort on the part of the emerging markets internet and media giant to consolidate its online classified properties. In the latter part of 2012, it scuppered its South African Kalahari classifieds property. According to Indian online news site Medinama, Naspers' Indian ecommerce site Tradus.in will continue operating as usual, which would match what happened in South Africa. Speaking to Medianama, Amarjit Singh...

  • New daily deals site promises ‘clever twist’, less emails

    Yawn. Another daily deals site. That's so 2011. Promisingly however, the latest entrant into the market SaveMeDeals.com claims that it won't clog up your inbox. The site, which will be operated in South Africa by the MIH-owned online price comparison service PriceCheck, is a deal portal aggregator. This means that instead of offering its own deals, the site displays all the advertised deals from group buying sites in one place. Its entry into the South African market is part of an attempt to globalise the platform, which was previously only present in Latin America. PriceCheck CEO Andre De Wet...