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 the FCC’s outline for net neutrality, Google and Uber potentially butting heads, and Twitter’s earnings report.
FCC outlines plans to ensure net neutrality
On Wednesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed major changes to net neutrality rules with hopes of achieving and maintaining a free and open internet.
The primary debate over net neutrality is that internet service providers like Comcast want the option to charge companies for faster access to their network, as well as slow down the delivery of other types of content. This “paid prioritization” heavily favors big companies with deep pockets who can pay for faster content delivery, thus stifling innovation by shutting out smaller companies who can’t afford to cough up cash for speed.
The FCC’s proposal would ban this paid prioritization and treat broadband Internet access as a public utility, like electricity. Additionally, the new rules would apply to mobile broadband providers such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint, who were originally left out of the last net neutrality ruling in 2010.
Consumers will gain by being able to access any service with equal ease and speed, and small companies and startups can continue to innovate without being hamstrung by slow connections.
Google developing ride-sharing service?
In 2013, Google Ventures invested $258 million in Uber. Now, Google looks to be developing a competitive ride-sharing service of its own.
Google employees have been testing a ride-sharing app internally, and the company looks to be developing these services alongside its driverless car project.
Uber is one of the hottest companies on the planet but the threat of Google as a competitor is alarming and concerning. First of all, Google is a very rich, innovative company that can seemingly enter any technology market with success. But maybe more importantly, Uber is very much dependent on Google’s services. Uber uses Google Maps for its drivers and riders, giving the company troves of valuable transportation data to analyze. Without Google Maps, Uber will have to employ a lesser mapping tool such as MapQuest or Apple Maps. Also, Uber is integrated into Google Maps’ public transportation searches, and if Google takes that feature away, Uber loses out on an effective customer acquisition channel.
Uber has forged a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University to develop autonomous cars of its own, but is clearly way behind Google.
This is certainly a potential battle worth watching.
Twitter’s revenue grows but user base stalled
Twitter raked in the cash last quarter but still can’t figure out how to accelerate growth of its user base.
The company garnered $479 million in revenue, well above expectations of $453 million, and 97% more than the same quarter last year. Twitter also made $79 million in non-GAAP profit (where stock options are discounted).
While the financials look stellar, the growth in users is anything but. Twitter reported having 288 million monthly active users, a paltry 2% growth rate from the 284 million MAUs from last quarter. Wall Street analysts predicted a conservative 2.8% increase, and Twitter couldn’t even achieve that.
Successful social networks typically see huge gains in user growth but delayed financial success. Twitter seems to be doing the opposite. What that means for the future of the company remains to be seen.
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.