FutureFive NZ - The Techday Weekender - May 26th 2012

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The Techday Weekender - May 26th 2012

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg may not look back on his first few days of marriage with great fondness, after his company took a battering this week for dropping the ball on its much-hyped Initial Public Offering.

Zuckerberg announced his wedding to long-time girlfriend Priscilla Chan the day after the IPO, but that didn’t stop critics from stomping on the company for needing to be propped up by underwriters in order to avoid losing ground on its first day.

When shares finally started selling unassisted, they went steadily downhill, dropping around 10% on day 1 and a further 9% on day 2.

Matters weren’t helped by the news later in the week that shareholders would be suing Facebook and its underwriters for allegedly not disclosing changes in their forecasts to all interested parties.

Still, Facebook at least managed to end the week on a note that, if not positive, at least wasn’t negative, with the launch of its Facebook Camera app. Although early reviews were lukewarm, the company couldn’t really lose with the release, given that it already owns the leader in the space, Instagram, having acquired it for a billion US dollars six weeks ago.

In other news, the popular Spotify music streaming service launched in New Zealand this week, giving kiwis another option in the subscription music space. The special ‘kia ora’ playlist is particularly worth checking out, if only for its inclusion of Flight of the Conchords’ ‘Too Many Dicks (On The Dance Floor)’.

Although the launch signifies the growing competition in the music streaming space in New Zealand, the same can’t be said for video, which the Commerce Commission said on Monday is going to be a big factor in driving consumer uptake of the government’s Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) network. In response to that report, our telecommunications expert put together his own top 5 factors that will slow uptake of the service, adding a few that the Commission doesn’t seem to think are a priority.

In the biggest surprise of the week, Yahoo released a new search product, Axis - and it turned out to be actually really good. Although the release wasn’t totally smooth, with one blogger quickly uncovering a security vulnerability for users accessing the tool via Google’s Chrome browser, the initial reviews were glowing, calling Axis ‘an important new design concept for search’. Guess it was part of the great work former CEO Scott Thompson was talking about just before he left the company following an ugly resume scandal.

Speaking of embattled tech giants, HP announced massive job cuts this week, with 27,000 staff from around the world to be shaved off from the company in the next few years, or 8% of its total workforce. CEO Meg Whitman plans to re-invest all the resulting savings back into the company, so we’ll hopefully be seeing some exciting things from them over the next few years as well.

Finally, both Telecom and Vodafone this week announced their pricing for the latest iPhone challenger, the Samsung Galaxy S III. Both will sell the device for $1049, and both will give it away for free to customers willing to sign up for a two-year, $120 per month contract; however, Vodafone is also offering one lucky New Zealand buyer a free trip to space worth $270,000, which is sure to sway a few fence-sitters their way.

By the way, we’ve picked up our review copy of the handset, and will be posting our thoughts very soon!

Enjoy your weekend.

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