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  • Israeli Vice Prime Minister’s blog, email, social accounts hacked

    A pro-Palestinian group calling itself the Z Company Hacking Crew (ZHC) has claimed responsibility for a widespread hack of a number of social accounts held by Israel's Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom. The group has managed to gain access to Shalom's Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, YouTube, Picasa, LinkedIn and Gmail accounts -- and it's threatening to release information it's found, including his contacts and personal phone number. It seems that Shalom either used the same password for multiple accounts, or that he registered for all the services using his Gmail address, which allowed ZTE to reset the passwords once they had...

  • ‘Spotify of Bollywood’ launches English-language service

    Indian digital music platform Saavn, which bills itself at the "Spotify of Bollywood", has launched an English-language service incorporating a quarter of a million songs into its database of Bollywood and South Asian content. The new service will bring songs from the likes of Jay-Z, Pitbull, Shakira, and Michael Jackson to Saavn's Indian web platform. The reserve of English-language songs, says Saavn, comes from its partnerships with Sony and Universal Music. The company reckons that launching an English-language service will give it "an even larger Indian user base that's seeking Western music instead of, or in addition to, regional...

  • Emerging markets growth, convenience push mobile content and commerce

    If you think mobile content and commerce are just buzzwords at the moment, or concepts you should look at for the future, think again. Nearly 90% of mobile users already engage in mobile content and commerce. That's up from 82% last year. That growth isn't about to start slowing down either, especially as people in emerging markets get access to increasingly affordable, sophisticated mobile technology. According to the latest annual survey conducted by MEF -- a global community for mobile content and commerce -- around 88% of mobile users now use their devices for research, to purchase products or...

  • HP admits to overpaying for Autonomy, says it misrepresented its financials

    HP has admitted that it overpaid for software company Autonomy, saying that it was misled by management about the company's finances. The purchase means the tech giant took a US$9-billion hit following accusations an investigation into "improprieties" at the British company. The investigation was reportedly triggered by a someone from within Autonomy. According to HP: “senior member of Autonomy’s leadership team came forward, following the departure of Autonomy founder Mike Lynch, alleging that there had been a series of questionable accounting and business practices at Autonomy prior to the acquisition by HP.” That's nearly as much as the US$10-million...

  • Tencent’s WeChat gets a mobile payments injection

    Chinese internet giant Tencent is set to bring payment services to its mobile chat app WeChat. According to the Wall Street Journal Lai Zhiming, the head of TenPay -- Tencen't third-party payments platform -- told media that the WhatsApp-style app will integrate with the payments service in the next couple of months. At this point its unclear how the service will work, although users will reportedly be able buy items by scanning their codes at stores. The new service could be potential boon to the service, which recently hit the 200-million user mark. In turn it could provide a...

  • Intel CEO decides to call it a day, announces retirement

    CEO Paul Otellini, an Intel Corp employee for nearly 40 years, has announced that he will retire at the age of 62. This comes during a difficult time for the world's largest and highest valued semiconductor chip maker -- in existence since 1968 -- as the traditional PC market flails in the face of the ever increasing push towards mobile computing. Otellini's retirement comes as a surprise to many. Jeff Kagan, an independent technology analyst and consultant said: "I don't think anyone expected Otellini to retire until he hit 65. This is a few years early and takes everyone by...

  • The Mxit mix-up: the rise and fall of Alan Knott-Craig Jnr

    The Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter at Mxit's Wonderland By Michelle Atagana and Matthew Buckland Just over a year ago, on a rainy August morning, Alan Knott-Craig Jnr took a long walk along a river bank in Stellenbosch with Herman Heunis, the founder of Mxit, Africa's largest mobile social network. They were sharing an umbrella and engaging in small talk. Towards the end of the walk, Knott-Craig broke the news to Heunis that he had been unable to raise enough money through his venture capital firm, World of Avatar, to buy Mxit. He felt he'd lost his chance when...

  • Online security: if you’re dumb, you must suffer

    I've just finished reading Matt Honan’s (Wired Senior Editor) exhaustive, but very good piece, Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore. For all its merit and accurate advice I feel there’s on issue that wasn't adequately addressed, and it’s something that’s particularly relevant to people in emerging markets. I have long advocated, albeit only in my personal capacity, the advantages of keeping as much of your digital life as possible offline. Yes, there are certain modern-day conveniences that are nigh unavoidable: online shopping, online banking, social networking, etc. However, that does not mean you...

  • Social basics: 10 of the best engagement and analytics tools

    Social media has revolutionised the ways in which the game of marketing, advertising and promotion is played. Almost every brand that exists is now roaring out loud on social media. But there is a lot of skepticism over what makes an impact and what goes unheard. To let brands gauge the impact of their efforts and the direction in which they should focus, social media tools were introduced to make managing and analyzing the data that emanated from overflowing conversations easier. Now, with so many tools cluttering the space, it’s an ordeal to decide what might work for you. If...

  • Leaked doc suggests Myspace is not dead yet, aims to be the next Spotify

    Myspace faithful, rejoice. It seems that the team running the former social media powerhouse has a plan to make the service profitable again -- and it involves a push into the subscription music space already filled by services like Spotify and Pandora. Oh, and it only needs another US$50-million in funding to get started. According to a confidential leaked presentation posted by Business Insider, Interactive Media Holdings (the rebranded company that bought Myspace from News Corp for US$35-million last year) is looking for investors to finance the marketing, renewed licensing fees and operation costs it needs to expand its services...

  • Online travel explodes in Latin America

    Online travel is big business in Latin America and it's only going to get bigger as internet penetration increases across the region. In fact, a recent study by Barclays Capital suggests that it will lead the world when it comes to online travel growth through to 2016, increasing by more than 30% through 2013. The interesting thing is the degree to which online travel sales growth is eclipsing that of the travel industry as a whole. While travel sales are set to grow six percent this year, online travel sales are likely to grow by as much as 35%,...

  • The Mayer effect: Yahoo! shares hit new 18-month high

    So it may not actually be in talks with Facebook for a search deal, but investor confidence in Yahoo! is higher than it has been for a long time. According to Reuters, the company's shares reached its highest level in a year and a half. The Sunnyvale internet giant has come a long way in the last 18 months, rocked by internal battles with a quick CEO turnaround in the last year. The appointment of ex-Google executive Marissa Mayer has however given the ailing giant a new lease on life. According the report, bigwig hedge funds such as Tiger Global...

  • Color: the app that never had a chance closes down

    After creating massive initial buzz and getting US$41-million in funding for development, the free for iPhone social networking app Color has been shut down. "Alert: We hope you've enjoyed sharing your stories via real-time video. Regretfully, the app will no longer be available after 12/31/2012," the leading message on the app's site reads. That's a fast fall for a company that Google was reportedly willing to pony up US$200-million for at one stage. Color, the brainchild of Bill Nguyen, seemed to fade very quickly after its release. A less than stellar launch, the departure of its president and a co-founder...

  • Socialbakers raises $6m in new round of funding

    Popular social analytics site, Socialbakers has just raised US$6-million in a new round of funding to aid its expansion plans according to the company's website. The company, which was launched in 2009, offers analytics for businesses running marketing campaigns across social media platforms so they are able to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. The new round of funding comes courtesy of Index Ventures, with additional funding from first-round investors such as Early Bird Ventures. "There is no question that Socialbakers lead this space. Their name is now synonymous with intelligent social media measurement and benchmarking," said Partner at...

  • Blogging on the run: John McAfee swears to keep site alive if captured

    Anti-virus pioneer and now murder suspect John McAfee has vowed to keep his blog alive if he's captured by Belizian authorities. McAfee is the lead suspect in the murder of his neighbour Gregory Faull. The American retiree was found floating in his pool with a gun shot wound to the back of his head. The software billionaire has since been on the run, claiming to have hidden in sand with a box over his head while police searched his property on the island of Ambergris Caye off the coast of Belize. At the time he said there was absolutely...