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2019年1月31日 星期四

Silicon Valley’s cold war heats up

Amazon profits, Nintendo sales, Uber exits Barcelona

Friday, February 1, 2019

Technology Intelligence 

Your daily dose of the best technology news and analysis straight from Silicon Valley

It’s complicated

By James Titcomb in San Francisco

The four horsemen of Big Tech - Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google - have an uneasy and complicated relationship. While appearing to be competitors on many fronts, Silicon Valley is more complicated than that.

Apple and Google compete fiercely in the smartphone world, for example, but Google pays Apple billions to be the iPhone’s default search engine. Amazon’s Alexa service runs Apple Music and is used on Facebook’s Portal speaker. Most access to Facebook is through the smartphone operating systems run by Google and Apple.

This week, that simmering tension boiled over. The revelation that Facebook was skirting Apple’s controls to track teenage smartphone habits (see our story here) and the subsequent news that Google was doing something similar, as Margi Murphy reported yesterday, seem to have opened a wound that might be difficult to close.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

APPLE FLEXES ITS MUSCLES

Both Facebook and Google had loaded its apps onto test subjects’ iPhones by bypassing Apple’s App Store, misusing a feature designed for its own employees to test apps.

Soon after this emerged, Apple revoked Facebook’s permission to do this. But because the feature was used for Facebook employee apps as well, shutting it down caused all sorts of chaos at Facebook headquarters. Lunch menus and transport apps stopped working, not to mention beta versions of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Yesterday, Apple did the same thing to Google, causing a similar panic at its headquarters (despite what you might expect, a lot of Google employees use iPhones). Last night, Facebook’s access was restored, with Google’s likely to follow soon, taking us back to where we were at the start of this week.

WARNING SHOTS

But that doesn’t mean that things have stayed the same. For one thing, Facebook’s privacy errors have been exposed once again, as Harry De Quetteville writes here.

But what we might remember from this week is how Apple’s ability to cause chaos at Facebook and Google HQ shows who is really in charge. For all the talk of Facebook’s dominance, its thousands of employees were left scrambling with one click of Tim Cook’s Magic Mouse.

It also shows that months of strong words between the company’s leaders have now turned to action. This may have just been a warning shot - Apple could, for example, remove Facebook from the App Store altogether. It may sound unlikely, but we may have only seen the opening salvos of the war between Big Tech.

 

Pick of the Day

If you read one thing today – Ethne Lever tells Chris Stokel-Walker why she was one of those responsible for bringing Birmingham to a halt to catch a glimpse of YouTube star James Charles.

 

This just in...

PRIME PROFITS

The story
Amazon has recorded a record profit, despite the increased costs of an employee wage rise in November. Read the full story.

Telegraph take
The Amazon juggernaut shows little sign of stopping, although it might be growing slower: the company said revenues could rise by a mere 10pc in the next quarter. The middling outlook sent shares falling after last night’s results, but investors should note that the company is now doing what it has always struggled to: report consistent profits.

Further reading
That wage hike has got employees lining up to work for Amazon, despite repeated reports of poor worker conditions (which the company has always denied). Here’s Quartz on Amazon’s job numbers.

GAME OVER?

The story
Nintendo has cut its sales forecast for its latest Switch console, as analysts say it must broaden the machine’s appeal. Read more here.

Telegraph take
In its two years on sale the Switch has revitalised Nintendo, bringing back a legion of gamers that had all but abandoned it. But the console still seems to be lacking a breakthrough hit that will see it appeal to a much wider audience, as Wii Sports and Wii Fit did two console generations ago.

Further reading
Tom Hoggins looks at Nintendo’s strategy as it looks to keep up its momentum, concluding that on a positive note, it has no shortage of options.

TAXI FOR UBER

The story
Uber has pulled its app from Barcelona’s streets due to new rules from the Catalan government, in a further regulatory blow as it battles established taxis. Read more here

Telegraph take
In recent months Uber has positioned itself as more of a partner to cities, rather than a party crasher, but this shows that the company still has plenty of work to do, especially in cities less amenable to big American tech companies.
This serves as yet another regulatory setback for the company as it gears up to go public in the coming months.

Further reading
Uber has started integrating public transport into its app in certain locations, a step towards it becoming a holistic travel app rather than a car sharing one. Engadget has the story.

 

Start me up

All your credit cards in one

What happens when a fintech startup tries to turn all your credit cards into one? It comes up against the might of big finance. Here’s the story of a spat between London upstart Curve and American Express, via TechCrunch

 

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Talking point

Robin Pagnamenta says the future belongs to lab-grown meat. Here’s what you thought.

Lab-grown meat

“A non sentient source of meat (as opposed to supposed veggie options) wouldn't bother me at all. It will be cruelty free.”

 

Martin Mitchel

“Stop talking, start doing - give me the best-tasting, healthiest, least environmentally damaging "meat" going.”

 

Adrien Wright

“The large food companies have largely adulterated the food they produce. Why should we trust them on manufactured meat or milk.”

 

Neil Sing

Have your say and join the debate

 

One more thing

Remember the world record-breaking egg, that pure, grassroots swell of Instagram joy that pipped Kylie Jenner to being the most liked post? Well surprise surprise, turns out it’s been co-opted by a marketing agency to sell to the highest bidder. The Atlantic has the story.

 

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Front Page AM: Heavy snow causes travel disruption

Plus - Lindo Wing on royal baby alert & Six Nations 'mind games'

Friday, February 1, 2019

Front Page AM 

Good morning. With snow affecting the morning commute, Danny Boyle has your Telegraph briefing - including the latest travel and weather

Friday morning in 60 seconds

A30

Motorists were stuck on the A30 in Cornwall for hours last night

Travel chaos on coldest day in seven years

Britain is held in an icy grip. Snow and ice are causing widespread travel disruption this morning after a freezing night. A pivoting wintry weather system means much of southern England and Wales is waking up to more snow following the coldest night since 2012 - temperatures plummeted as low as -15.4C. Many train firms are running amended timetables and motorists are warned of treacherous conditions. A Met Office amber alert is in place. Deciding how to get to work? Here are the latest warnings and travel information. If you do venture out on the roads, here is how to drive safely in snow and ice.

But if you thought what we were suffering was "cold weather", it is but a cool breeze compared with what some parts of the US have been enduring. There, a polar vortex weather system has sent temperatures to Antarctic levels. At least 12 have been killed amid -48C conditions. Click here for the incredible pictures.

Will Brexit date be delayed?

The clock is ticking. With 56 days until Britain is due to leave the EU, The Telegraph has learnt that Sajid Javid admitted to a Cabinet colleague that Brexit is likely to be delayed. My colleagues in Westminster understand nearly a third of senior ministers think Article 50 may be extended. Here's who they are. Meanwhile, James Crisp reveals that EU judges will block legal action against Britain for refusing to pay the entire £39bn divorce bill. Here is the full story.

Lindo Wing on royal baby alert

Remember the excitement outside the Lindo Wing for the birth of the Duchess of Cambridge's three children? Well, staff at the maternity unit have been advised not to take a holiday in the spring. Camilla Tominey explains why.

 

What's new

Duty of Care campaign | Church calls for fines on harmful social media

'Statins save lives' | All over-75s 'should get cholesterol-busting drug'

F-35 jets | Fighter fleet could blow hole in MoD's coffers, says scathing report

Fugitive's legal aid | Cutting speedboat killer's aid 'might mean others flee'

Divine intervention? | God 'wanted Donald Trump to be president'

 

Gallery: The big picture

Picture editor's daily selection of the best images from around the world.

Lanterns

People walk under decorative lanterns ahead of the Chinese New Year in Myanmar

 

Comment

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard | German anger builds over EU Brexit handling

Fraser Nelson | Theresa May might finally be able to get Brexit right

Eilis O'Hanlon | Ireland is again in the grip of Anglophobia

Oliver Brown | Liverpool's ice-shifting display was antithesis of class

Shane Watson | Together yet apart: Activities better done separately

 

Editor's choice

 

Business briefing

Plenty of ice creams and deodorant | Unilever has hired extra warehouses to stockpile Magnum ice creams as well as Lynx, Sure and Dove deodorants on both sides of the Channel. There are growing fears that a no-deal Brexit will disrupt its supply chain. Ashley Armstrong reports.

Mine's a double | Diageo hands investors £660m gin-infused windfall

Italy back in recession | How it could blow up the eurozone

Investment tip | Were we wrong to say 'hold' on this firm last year?

 
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Sport briefing

Six Nations | Eddie Jones insists Ireland must shoulder the burden of being the best team in the world when England visit Dublin tomorrow and warned: "Praise can make you weak". Mick Cleary reports on the ratcheting up of mind games. And it's not too late to sign up to the Telegraph's Fantasy Rugby - play our free game for a chance to win £5,000.

Second Test | England survive brutal onslaught to keep hopes alive

Transfer deadline day 2019 | Full recap of all the loan deals

Revealed | What Sarri said in Chelsea dressing room inquest

 

Tonight's dinner

One-pot sausage and bean stew | Angela Hartnett's stew is a one-pot wonder. Lightly spiced with a tomato-based sauce, it is one to hunker down with on a freezing Friday night. Click here for the recipe.

 

And finally...

Learn as you sleep | What did you achieve while sleeping last night? Turns out, you could have learnt a language. Well, at least a bit of one. A study has found it is possible to learn new words while asleep. Henry Bodkin explains.

 
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