Welcome to this edition of “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
Today we highlight IBM’s shedding of its chip-making unit, Yahoo’s mobile strategy paying off, Twitter’s new developer tools, Snapchat’s first ad, and the launch of Google Inbox.
IBM sheds chip-making business
IBM became a technology icon primarily because of the hardware the company has developed over decades. All that is continuing to change.
In an odd move, IBM will shed its semiconductor business by paying $1.5 billion to Silicon Valley chipmaker Global Foundries, who will receive the cash, patents, factories, and employees in the deal.
This move joins the past sales of commoditized hardware business units like its hard drive, PC and x86 server divisions, which all sold to Lenovo. IBM has been struggling to compete in the fast-growing mobile and cloud computing fields and continues to jettison its legacy businesses one by one.
Yahoo’s mobile strategy may be finally bearing fruit
Yahoo reported its third quarter earnings on Tuesday and beat analysts’ estimates. But the key takeaway was that the company generated $200 million from mobile ad revenue, disclosing for the first time how large that business is.
Yahoo has been on a shopping spree, with most of its purchases focusing on mobile. The company purchased mobile analytics company Flurry in July, scooped up location recommendation app Zofari in August, and is nearing an investment in messaging app Snapchat.
Mobile still drives the minority of Yahoo’s overall traffic, but it looks like the company is on the right track in growing its mobile business to one that is significant and impactful.
Twitter launches developer tools to spur growth
Twitter’s user growth has been lagging but the blue bird is looking to change that with the launch of a developer suite called Fabric.
At its first developer conference, Twitter announced the software developer kit that the company hopes will expand its secondary audience – those who interact with tweets outside of Twitter’s core platform, such as in other mobile apps or in a news article.
Fabric contains three components:
- MoPub, which allows developers to incorporate native advertising into their apps
- Crashlytics, a platform for identifying and troubleshooting bugs
- Digits, which allows users to log into apps with their mobile phone number
By giving developers tools to easily integrate Twitter technologies into their app, the company can theoretically expand their user audience even if they aren’t using Twitter directly.
Snapchat runs first ad
Snapchat, the ephemeral messaging app which investors value at around $10 billion, needs to make money to justify its valuation. The company just took the first step in doing so.
Snapchat ran its first advertisement, a 20-second trailer for the horror movie Ouija, which appeared in the app’s “Recent Updates” section. Users were able to choose if they want to watch it; if so, the ad disappeared after viewing, and if not, the ad went away after 24 hours. Ouija producer Universal Pictures called the ad campaign a success and claimed that millions viewed the trailer.
Snapchat will continue to experiment with advertising options, but this is certainly a good start to proving that the company is worth its lofty valuation.
Google previews new email app Inbox
In 2004, Google reinvented internet email with Gmail. Now they’re looking to repeat history with the soft launch of a new email app called Inbox.
While email is essential, everyone gets too much of it and reading and responding to hundreds or thousands of messages is a time sink. Inbox looks to solve that problem with the following features:
- Bundles, which group together similar emails like those including purchase receipts or messages from social networks
- Highlights, which emphasize important information like flight and event information
Inbox also takes a page out of Google Now by providing reminders for events and aggregating information from the internet, such as flight statuses, to augment the content in your emails.
There are hundreds of apps that aim to solve the email problem. Can Inbox be the one that actually succeeds?
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.