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The Techday Weekender - Dec 3rd 2011

03 Dec 11

As this story goes live, TelstraClear will have already started its much-discussed ‘free broadband weekend’, a bold gambit whereby the telco is switching off its data meters for the weekend and allowing customers unlimited internet download capacity.

Much speculation has taken place as to the wisdom of the move, which could backfire horribly if customers all leap on at once and overload the network (indeed, this may have already happened – TelstraClear customers, feel free to post your comments below, assuming you can get online).

However, if the network does handle the pressure, it will raise further questions about data caps and why telcos don’t offer customers more data, especially as the tight restrictions may be preventing overseas businesses from bringing their services here.

On the subject of big gambles, the head of a French company has proposed to do away with email as an internal communication tool, proposing instead that his 80,000 employees communicate solely via phone, text message, Instant Message and social network-style tools. Thierry Breton, CEO of Atos – an IT firm – says he hasn’t sent an email in three years, and would rather people call, send a text message, or just come in for a visit. Here at TechDay we can’t help but wonder if the time saved on dispensing with unnecessary emails would balance out the time wasted playing telephone tag, but it could definitely be worth a shot.

Possibly not worth a shot is Microsoft releasing a tablet running Windows 8, one industry researcher suggested this week. The company is renowned for playing ‘fast follower’ to new technologies, waiting to see what sticks and what doesn’t, then coming out with its own version and counting on its massive brand power to take over the market. With tablets, though, Microsoft just hasn’t been fast enough, Forrester researcher JP Gownder says, given that the iPad is already on its second generation, and will probably have reached its third by the time Windows 8 is released. Our readers were divided, but one in particular summed the situation up well: ‘It’s never too late, if you have a great product at a great price’. Basically, they can do it, it may just cost them a lot of money, a la Amazon with the Kindle Fire.

Speaking of a lot of money, rumours about Facebook going public gained steam this week, with the Wall Street Journal reporting the IPO could come around May next year, and be worth as much as US$10 billion, pushing the value of the whole company to US$100 billion. The talks were soon overshadowed by the deal between Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission, the regulators slapping the network on the hand for privacy violations, and laying out a series of requirements for future operations, including being subject to regular third-party privacy audits for the next 20 years.

Finally, from a skyrocketing business receiving its first major dressing down to a business that’s risen, fallen and risen again, one of Apple’s founding documents – the contract signed between Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne to signal the establishment of the company in 1976 – is being put up for auction. The document, which once belonged to Wayne, will be sold on December 13, along with that confirming Wayne’s withdrawal from the company.

Have a great weekend everyone – only three more til Christmas!