June 2016

Brexit could have a devastating effect on the UK tech industry
June 3, 2016

If Britain votes to leave the European Union, many in the nation's technology industry fear it could have a ruinous impact. General opinion polls may be split, but the tech sector overwhelmingly opposes a “Brexit.”

In one poll, a staggering 87% of respondents opposed Britain leaving the European Union.

The industry's fears are numerous., according to a range of CEOs and lawyers surveyed by Business Insider. It will make it harder to recruit and keep the best talent. It could put international companies off coming to Britain. It may make it more difficult for startups to raise capital.

Perversely, given Brexiteers' attacks on “EU red tape,” it could make British tech businesses subject to even more regulation.

Even so, despite the tech industry's protestations, the Leave camp could still win the day. So if Britain votes to leave the European Union, what happens next?

British businesses might be subjected to two regulatory regimes
Let’s start with data, the lifeb..

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10 things in tech you need to know today (TWTR, YHOO, AMZN, FB, GOOG)
June 3, 2016

Good morning! Here's the technology news you need to know this Friday.

1. More people now use Snapchat on a daily basis than Twitter. The app has 150 million daily active users.

2. Prominent UK politicians are questioning crowdfunding after a string of high-profile failures. The chair of the influential Treasury Select Committee is asking questions about crowdfunding regulation.

3. Brexit could have a devastating effect on the UK tech industry. We take a look at the rules and regulations that could change.

4. A report claims that Twitter and Yahoo held merger talks. The New York Post says Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey didn't show up, though.

5. Analysts estimate that Amazon has up to 69 million Prime subscribers. People in the UK use Prime Video more than people in the US.

6. Facebook is changing its rules so that Mark Zuckerberg can’t keep control if he leaves. Zuckerberg cannot pass his majority control to his descendants.

7. Tribune Publishing is changing its name to tron..

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THE PAYMENTS INDUSTRY EXPLAINED: The Trends Creating New Winners And Losers In The Card-Processing Ecosystem
June 3, 2016

The way we pay is changing dramatically. For example, people are beginning to use their smartphones for every kind of formal and informal transaction — to shop at stores, buy songs online, and even split their rent.

At the heart of these changes in how we pay are thousands of companies competing and collaborating to facilitate transactions.

To understand why the payments industry has faced so much disruption in such a short time, there's just one key thing to understand: Payments is about transferring information from one party to another, and nearly every stakeholder in the industry benefits when that process runs on digital rails.

But payments is also an extremely complex industry that few fully understand.

In BI Intelligence's 2016 Payments Ecosystem report, we make it simple, explaining how it works, who the key players are, and where it's headed.

In this latest edition of the report, BI Intelligence drills even further into the industry to explain how a broad r..

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Ex-Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins thinks technology could undermine a fundamental principle of banking
June 3, 2016

Former Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins thinks technology could do away with maturity transformation — a core part of retail banking — according to a report in the Telegraph.

The paper reports that Jenkins made the comments in a speech to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales on Thursday night.

Maturity transformation is where banks take short-term deposits — current accounts, easy access savings accounts — and use it to fund longer-term products such as mortgages. This is central to how retail banks make their money, profiting between the difference in interest rate offered to savers and charged to borrowers.

The Telegraph report doesn't specifically say how this feature will be eroded but points to the rise of marketplace lenders like RateSetter and Funding Circle that match savers and borrowers directly, cutting out the banks who sit in the middle.

City AM reports that the end of maturity transformation is only one of several predictions made by Jenkins in ..

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THE WIRELESS CARRIERS REPORT: Industry shake-ups, ripple effects across mobile, and the big changes ahead
June 3, 2016

The wireless industry is in a state of flux. AT&T and Verizon have dominated the carrier market over the past seven years while T-Mobile and Sprint have struggled to gain subscribers. Then in 2013, T-Mobile tweaked its strategy to turn around its business.

This move, along with slowing smartphone adoption and other forces in the mobile industry, killed the two-year contract and initiated an ongoing price war between carriers. The movement away from the contract model is not only changing the way carriers operate, it’s affecting the myriad of industries that rely on carriers’ services.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we examine how the wireless industry has fundamentally changed since carriers began aggressively responding to the launch of T-Mobile’s “Un-Carrier” movement. We also look at the factors underpinning changes in the broader wireless industry and the challenges carriers face in 2016 and beyond, including the upcoming spectrum auction and the deployment of new wireless..

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One of Steve Jobs’ longtime advisors says Apple’s iPhone names are confusing customers (AAPL)
June 3, 2016

Ken Segall is a veteran advertising executive who worked closely with Steve Jobs at Apple for years. But he has written in The Guardian that the modern Apple under the leadership of CEO Tim Cook has created “confusing” products that he finds “bewildering.”

Segall worked on campaigns such as “Think Different,” and also created the name iMac. So he knows what branding worked for Apple after Jobs' return in 1997.

In his Guardian article, Segall criticises Apple's policy of “S” upgrades for iPhones. After every major upgrade (the iPhone 6, for example) comes another, more subtle upgrade (like the iPhone 6S.) Segall says this naming policy is an “absurdity” that “has only served to confuse customers, and make it significantly more difficult for marketing to do its job.”

This isn't the first time that Segall has spoken out about what he sees as flaws in Apple. He previously called Apple's product names “weak” and “awkward” in a 2013 blog post.

Elsewhere in the Guardi..

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Google has developed a ‘big red button’ that can be used to interrupt artificial intelligence and stop it from causing harm (GOOG)
June 3, 2016

Machines are becoming more intelligent every year thanks to advances being made by companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and many others.

AI agents, as they're sometimes known, can already beat us at complex board games like Go and they're becoming more competent in a range of other areas.

Now a London AI research lab owned by Google has carried out a study to make sure we can pull the plug on self-learning machines when we want to.

DeepMind, acquired by Google for a reported £400 million in 2014, teamed up with scientists at the University of Oxford to find a way to make sure AI agents don't learn to prevent, or seek to prevent humans from taking control.

The paper — titled “Safely Interruptible Agents [PDF]” and published on the website of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) — was written by Laurent Orseau, a research scientist at Google DeepMind, Stuart Armstrong at Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute, and several others.


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A startup that lets you anonymously review your boss and job just raised $40 million
June 3, 2016

Glassdoor, the website that lets people leave anonymous reviews of companies and jobs, has raised $40 million (£27.7 million) from funds and accounts advised by US investment powerhouse T. Rowe Price.

It takes the total raised by the California-based startup to over $200 million (£138.6 million). Existing investors Battery Ventures, Google Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures, and Tiger Global also participated in the round.

Henry Ellenbogen, a portfolio manager of T. Rowe Price's New Horizons Fund, says in an emailed statement:

We believe that Glassdoor is fundamentally changing the way job seekers search for jobs and companies recruit talent. Their unique user-generated data includes millions of reviews, which increases transparency in recruiting. Our view is that Glassdoor is executing well, and it can be a much larger company over time.

The website crowdsources anonymous information on things like pay rates, employee satisfaction, ratings of CEOs, and ease of progression, among o..

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