Welcome to this week’s edition of “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
This week we cover Buzzfeed’s big fundraise, the rumored iPhone 6 announcement, Amazon’s launch of a mobile credit card reader, and the continuing battle between Uber and Lyft.
The top 10 reasons BuzzFeed raised $50 million. You won’t believe #4!
Buzzfeed takes a lot of crap for their click-bait headlines and listicles, but in reality they’ve changed how we all consume content. Moving above and beyond GIFs and LOLs, the company has hired editorial staff, now over 200 and counting, in all major categories including politics, business, and technology.
Chris Dixon, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, led the investment. He calls Buzzfeed a “full-stack startup”, meaning that they’ve built all their underlying technology, such as their content management system, analytics engine, and advertising network, from the ground up. And that’s why he believes Buzzfeed will be the pre-eminent media company of our time.
iPhone 6 to launch on September 9
Rumors about the iPhone 6 are aplenty, and it looks like the much-anticipated phone will launch on September 9.
Apple will launch two larger phones – a 4.7 inch iPhone 6 and a 5.5 inch version reportedly called “iPhone Air” – to more closely match the bigger Android and Windows phones. The new phone is rumored to be thinner than existing iPhones and the new A8 CPU will make it faster as well.
The launch of the iPhone 6 will be an extremely important one for Apple. The most recent iPhone, the 5S, was just an incremental upgrade over its predecessor, and significant product launches have been few and far between as of late. Something tells me this launch will change all of that.
Amazon launches mobile credit card reader
And consistent with its strategy of undercutting its competition, Amazon is offering a limited-time introductory rate of 1.75% per transaction – a full 1% lower than Square’s 2.75% per swipe – until the start of 2016. After that, the flat fee will be 2.5% per charge, still lower than its competitors.
Square has been around for five years, so Amazon is clearly a late bloomer in this space. But the combination of a lower transaction rate and tremendous brand recognition will surely help Amazon take some share from the market leaders.
Uber and Lyft sabotage each other with cancelled rides
This rivalry between Uber and Lyft is getting cutthroat!
Last week the two companies launched carpooling services within a day of each other. Now Lyft is accusing Uber employees of sabotaging its drivers by booking thousands of rides then canceling them. Then Uber followed up with their accusations that Lyft drivers, employees, and founders have booked and canceled 12,900 trips on Uber.
Uber, the much larger of the two companies, claims that Lyft is using these cutthroat tactics to pressure them into acquiring the company, a remark that has been denied by Lyft investors. I chalk these shenanigans up to good old competition.
What do you think of these stories? Have you read other interesting mobile and technology stories this week that are worth mentioning? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.