Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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Netflix tests a mobile subscription only to make its service more affordable

Netflix tests a mobile subscription only to make its service more affordable

Netflix app icon
Netflix tests a mobile subscription only to make its service more affordable
Netflix application code
Netflix is ​​testing a low-cost mobile phone subscription as it explores a new package designed to expand its appeal in Asia and other emerging markets.

Red Hastings chief executive told Bloomberg last week that the company would test packages at lower prices, and it did not take long for these tests to emerge. The first reports from Malaysia, where Netflix quietly put a portable layer only at RM17, or about $ 4, every month. This is half the price of the company's lowest-priced "basic" package - sold at RM33, or about US $ 7.90 per month in Malaysia.

Netflix spokesman confirmed the Malaysian experience. Similar trials "are being conducted in a few countries", although they refused to provide details, they added. It remains to be seen whether this new subscription layer will be deployed to other parts of the world.

Please note that the mobile-friendly beta reduces Netflix in Malaysia by approximately 50%

This step is logical for Netflix. While it added a large number of international users - those outside the United States account for 79 million of its 137 million customer base - it has argued in the past that it lacks more customers because its stringent prices are prohibitively expensive in much of the world. In fact, to prove this point, a number of competitors in Asia are pricing their services more forcefully.

Competitors including Hotstar Fast-growing in India, iFlix - supported by SKY covers 28 countries - both HOOQ and Viu are priced from $ 3 per month. While it's not clear how many users are clicking from Netflix, it's clear that there is a price discrepancy, which is what this new mobile offer does in some way. It is also increasing the number of mobile users only in India and other parts of Asia.

Apart from offering cheaper options, Netflix will also double the local content in Asia. India is a major hub and this month the company unveiled a list of eight new Netflix movies and a new series from India.

The Mobile Pack is not the first time Netflix has used its pricing strategy.

The company tested a strategy to bypass Apple Store using its own online payment system during the summer. Instead of using in-app payments for billing, so Apple paid 30 percent of the booty, Netflix enabled it to raise all the money for itself. More money is better, of course, but the cost is that the user experience is clunkier without shop applications which may put some potential customers. It is not clear how good the test was done on Netflix.
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WeWork picks up another $ 3B of SoftBank

WeWork picks up another $ 3B of SoftBank

Adam Neumann (WeWork) at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2017
Adam Newman (WeWork) at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2017
WeWork received an additional US $ 3 billion in financing from SoftBank, not confused with SoftBank Vision. The transaction comes in the form of a note, allowing SoftBank to pay $ 3 billion to allow shares to be bought before September 2019 at $ 110 or more, ultimately leading to WeWork's $ 42 billion valuation.

In August, Softbank invested $ 1 billion in WeWork as a convertible note.

According to the Financial Times, SoftBank will pay WeWork $ 1.5 billion on January 15, 2019 and another $ 1.5 billion on April 15.

SoftBank is the largest investor in WeWork, with SoftBank Vision contributing $ 4.4 billion to the company last year.

Playing real estate in WeWork is just one aspect of the company's strategy.

More than physical ground, WeWork wants to be the central connective tissue to work in general. The company often contracts with top service providers at "full sale" prices by negotiating on behalf of its 300,000 members. In addition, WeWork has developed corporate products for large companies, such as Microsoft, who tend to sign longer and more lucrative lease contracts. In fact, these types of deals make up 29 per cent of WeWork revenues.

The biggest issue is whether WeWork can maintain its overheated growth, which seems to have been the key to its high valuation. After all, WeWork has yet to achieve profitability.

Can vision become a reality? SoftBank seems willing to bet on it.
WeWork picks up another $ 3B of SoftBank
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Top Android Apps 2018: Download it now

Top Android Apps 2018: Download it now

Best Android apps - introduction
The best free Android apps

Best Android Apps - Introduction
Ten years have passed since the announcement of Android, and it was a decade ago. But there was no better time to hop on board, as the Google Play store exploded in recent years, with applications spreading to meet all your needs.

The problem lies in: having a large number of them, even with Editors' Picks, Featured, Best Selling, Top Paid, and Top Free categories there to help.

There are things you can do to filter the winners of the wannabes. Google creates a list of apps that you recommend based on previous downloads, so this is often the place to start.

You can also filter by new versions if you just want to see the latest things to get to the store. Or, if you want an app similar to an app, look for that app and see what appears.

Of course, using user feedback and ratings is an essential part of ensuring that your applications are of high quality. But the easiest (and best) way to find high quality apps is to make someone else looking for you.

What is the best phone for 2018? Check the countdown for the video below!
That is why we put this list. Just like you want the best apps for Android phones. Applications that will revolutionize the functionality, or at least, offer something so great that it is one of the applications that should be downloaded when you get a new phone.

The following applications will be continuously updated and are a combination of paid and free apps selected by our Android experts. So, even if you're reviewing the actual money for one of these apps, you're safe knowing it's a worthwhile purchase.

New This Week: Mobi Goo

£ 7.99 per month

You may have come across Moby before - it's a streaming movie service that allows subscribers to access a new movie every day, with an emphasis on independent and global movies. Moby Goo is basically a movie.

The service selects a new movie version every week and gives you a free ticket. Or rather, it gives you a quick response code that can be scanned in some movie theaters in exchange for a ticket.

There seems to be a good range of cinemas, including big strings like Vue, although Moby Joe tends to choose specialized films that do not contain large versions, so if you are not in a big city your mileage may vary.

The service is included with a standard Mobi subscription, so if you are already a subscriber you can download the MobiJo app and instant access.

However, while Mobi itself is available in both the United States and the United Kingdom, Mobi Go is currently a British service only. We will not be surprised if that changes someday, but at the same time, American users always have a superficially similar MoviePass movie.
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Monday, November 12, 2018

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Vista snaps up Apptio for $1.94B, as enterprise companies remain hot

Vista snaps up Apptio for $1.94B, as enterprise companies remain hot

It seems that Sunday has become a popular day to announce large deals involving enterprise companies. IBM announced the $34 billion Red Hat deal two weeks ago. SAP announced its intent to buy Qualtrics for $8 billion last night, and Vista Equity Partners got into the act too, announcing a deal to buy Apptiofor $1.94 billion, representing a 53 percent premium for stockholders.
Vista paid $38 per share for Apptio,  a Seattle company that helps companies manage and understand their cloud spending inside a hybrid IT environment that has assets on-prem and in the cloud. The company was founded in 2007 right as the cloud was beginning to take off, and grew as the cloud did. It recognized that companies would have trouble understanding their cloud assets along side on-prem ones. It turned out to be a company in the right place at the right time with the right idea.
Investors like Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock and Madrona certainly liked the concept, showering the company with $261 million before it went public in 2016. The stock price has been up and down since, peaking in August at $41.23 a share before dropping down to $24.85 on Friday. The $38 a share Vista paid comes close to the high water mark for the stock.
Stock Chart: Google
Sunny Gupta, co-founder and CEO at Apptio liked the idea of giving his shareholders a good return while providing a good landing spot to take his company private. Vista has a reputation for continuing to invest in the companies it acquires and that prospect clearly excited him. “Vista’s investment and deep expertise in growing world-class SaaS businesses and the flexibility we will have as a private company will help us accelerate our growth…,” Gupta said in a statement.
The deal was approved by Apptio’s board of directors, which will recommend shareholders accept it. With such a high premium, it’s hard to imagine them turning it down. If it passes all of the regulatory hurdles, the acquisition is expected to close in Q1 2019.
It’s worth noting that the company has a 30-day “go shop” provision, which would allow it to look for a better price. Given how hot the enterprise market is right now and how popular hybrid cloud tools are, it is possible it could find another buyer, but it could be hard to find one willing to pay such a high premium.
Vista clearly likes to buy enterprise tech companies having snagged Ping Identityfor $600 million and Marketo for $1.8 billion in 2016. It grabbed Jamf, an Apple enterprise device management company and Datto, a disaster recovery company last year. It turned Marketo around for $4.75 billion in a deal with Adobe just two months ago.
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Bonobo AI raises $4.5M seed round to help companies turn interactions with customers into valuable data

Bonobo AI raises $4.5M seed round to help companies turn interactions with customers into valuable data
Managing the day’s inquiries
Bonobo AI, an AI-based platform that helps companies get insights from customer support calls, texts and other interactions, announced today that it has raised $4.5 million in seed funding led by G20 Ventures and Capri Ventures. Founded in 2016 and led by co-founder and CEO Efrat Rapoport, the Tel Aviv-based startup claims that its technology has been used to analyze more than a billion interactions so far and that it has signed up a “few dozen” clients, including DreamCloud and Honeybook.
The idea behind Bonobo is that even though customer service texts and voice calls can provide companies with a trove of valuable information, these data points are difficult to aggregate and analyze at scale. Bonobo’s technology integrates into the platforms that its clients use to communicate with customers, like Gmail, Zendesk or Twilio) and CRM platforms like Salesforce or HubSpot. Then it analyzes interactions for “events of interest in calls,” Rapoport told TechCrunch, like “when customers ask for a discount, complain, ask for a missing feature, become dissatisfied, etc.”
There are two main types of issues that Bonobo helps its clients with. One is opportunity detection, or identifying things that can either help the closing of a sale, like features that have proven popular among past buyers, or hinder it, such as customer questions that aren’t satisfactorily answered. By doing so, Bonobo is also able to help clients create very targeted marketing campaigns. For example, instead of sending marketing material to all customers who need to renew their subscriptions, Rapoport says Bonobo’s clients can create campaigns to help retain customers who need to renew their subscriptions but have complained about the price being too high or missing a feature.
Another example of how Bonobo can increase conversion rates is predicting customer cancellations and other potentially costly issues. For example, one vehicle repair company was losing millions of dollars due to cancelled jobs. Bonobo helped it identify factors associated with a higher likelihood of cancellations during customer interactions with the company’s representatives, which helped it retain thousands of customers.
The second is risk detection. For example, Bonobo detects if a customer starts mentioning a competitor, threatens to post their complaint on social media or brings up problems that are a legal or compliance risk. Rapoport says that Bonobo’s technology can identify specific segments in conversations, so companies can review it directly from Bonobo’s dashboard without having to perform a time-consuming search.
Rapoport says that she and her co-founders (CTO Idan Tsitiat, COO Barak Goldstein and VP of Research and Development Ohad Hen) began working on Bonobo after they realized that while there are many tools from companies like Tableau, Oracle, Microsoft, SAP and Salesforce for gathering insights from structured data (like customer behavior on websites), very few exist for analyzing unstructured data, including conversational data, at scale. “It’s easy to measure how many people go to their cart but then change their mind and exit, but how do you do the same on thousands of customers calls? How do you know what’s the reason customers change their minds?” says Rapoport. “That’s the gap we are filling.”
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Sunday, November 11, 2018

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Alibaba sets new Singles’ Day record with $31B in sales, but growth is slowing

Alibaba sets new Singles’ Day record with $31B in sales, but growth is slowing

alibaba singles day 2018
Alibaba scored another blockbuster Singles’ Day after customers around the world shopped in stores and online on the tenth edition of its November 11 shopping festival. That puts this year’s gross merchandise volume – a measure for the dollar value of total transactions – at a staggering $30.8 billion, although the company recorded its lowest-ever annual growth rate for the event.
The figure makes the spending bonanza more than twice the size of Cyber Monday and Black Friday combined in 2017.
This is by far the largest-ever Singles’ Day to date. Just 15 hours and 49 minutes into the spending spree, transactions leapfrogged that of 2017’s tally of $25 billion, the company announced on Twitter.
As the world anticipates when the supercharged shopping day will hit a ceiling, sales are already cooling. The final total of 2018 represents a 27 percent increase from last year. That’s the lowest Alibaba has seen in the history of Singles’ Day sales, and a drop from 36 percent in 2017 — still, it remains impressive given how large the target is each year.
The slowdown came on the heels of Alibaba’s weakest revenue growth since seven quarters ago and a cut in annual revenue forecast – though revenues were still increasing at a healthy rate of 54 percent year-over-year in its latest quarter.

New growth fuel

Consumers are expected to tighten their purse strings as an economic downturn hits China. The ecommerce giant is, however, unconcerned for it’s betting on the country’s rising middle class in the long run.
Shoppers “are looking for new ways to upgrade their lifestyles and make their lives better,” Alibaba executive chairman Joe Tsai  said at a media event on Sunday. “This will really offset a lot of the short-term cyclical effects.”
More than 300 million of China’s 1.4 billion people have entered the middle-income bracket, according to the national statistics bureau. That means discretionary items will drive much of the growth in the Chinese retail titan – and the upmarket trend is already underway. Health supplements, small home appliances, and skincare items are among the fastest growing categories by GMV during Singles’ Day this year.
Alibaba has also tapped into physical stores. The online retailer is poised to “digitize the whole consumer retail market,” Daniel Zhang,  current CEO and incoming chairman as Jack Ma hands over the helm next year, told media on Sunday. Over the past two years, Alibaba has been jostling with close rival to snap up strategic partnerships with brick-and-mortar retailers who remain keen to reach Chinese consumers.
Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang started the Singles’ Day shopping festival in 2009 when he was in charge of the company’s Tmall business (Photo Vivek Prakash/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
There are nuances in the sheer size of GMV, however, as it doesn’t reflect final revenues. A slew of factors could boost the figure. For one, refunds cannot be processed on November 11. Many vendors run pre-sales weeks in advance, taking deposits for items at the time but only processing full payments on Singles’ Day.
Alibaba also aired a star-studded gala on the night of November 10 to drum up sales. It said that over 240 million people – that’s almost one in five people in China – watched the show and its Singles’ Day commercials through two of China’s top TV broadcasters and Alibaba’s own Youku  video streaming site.

Next ten years

As Alibaba enters its 19th year, it’s turning to new channels to sell. “Voice will be an important entry point,” said Zhang. The firm’s efforts to brace for China’s transition from a mobile-first age into an AI-powered one include a tie-up with voice assistant startup Rokid.
Alibaba also has its sights set on international consumers. This year, merchants from over 200 countries participated in Singles’ Day, including those on Alibaba’s Southeast Asia-based Lazada platform. “From day one, our dream was to create a global shopping day,” suggested Zhang.
An 11.11 advertisement in New York
Alibaba celebrated another big milestone this year: over one billion packages were shipped throughout the shopping day. But the company is also under mounting pressure to address its packaging waste problem.
“We have to redefine packaging,” said Zhang. That means more than using recycled material. More important, the CEO wants items to travel at a closer distance. This is made possible by algorithms that optimize inventory management. Alibaba could also lean on, which it acquired this year and runs a fleet of food delivery staff, to process neighborhood orders which may require less or no packaging at all.
Singles’ Day was first popularized as an antidote to Valentines’ Day for the way the date is written numerically: 11.11, which represents four single people. Nearly a decade after Zhang first turned it into a sales promotion for Tmall, Alibaba’s online sales platform for brands, the one-day event has swollen into the world’s largest online shopping festival.
“We created this day for people who are lonely. Today, we totally redefined the day for how people shop,” concluded Zhang.
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Cloudflare rolls out its privacy service to iOS, Android

Cloudflare rolls out its privacy service to iOS, Android

Months after announcing its privacy-focused DNS service, Cloudflare is bringing to mobile users.
Granted, nothing ever stopped anyone from using on their phones or tablets already. But now the app, now available for iPhones, iPads and Android devices, aims to make it easier for anyone to use its free consumer DNS service.
The app is a one-button push to switch on and off again. That’s it.
Cloudflare rolled out earlier this year on April Fools’ Day, no less, but privacy is no joke to the San Francisco-based networking giant. In using the service, you let Cloudflare handle all of your DNS information, like when an app on your phone tries to connect to the internet, or you type in the web address of any site. By funneling that DNS data through, it can make it more difficult for your internet provider to know which sites you’re visiting, and also ensure that you can get to the site you want without having your connection censored or hijacked.
It’s not a panacea to perfect privacy, mind you — but it’s better than nothing.
The service is also blazing fast, shaving valuable seconds off page loading times — particularly in parts of the world where things work, well, a little slower.
“We launched to offer consumers everywhere a better choice for fast and private Internet browsing,” said Matthew Prince, Cloudflare chief executive said. “The app makes it even easier for users to unlock fast and encrypted DNS on their phones.”
You can download the app from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
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