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Apple stole the software show from Microsoft under Steve Jobs, when he undermined Windows’ expensive licensing strategy with annual announcements of free updates to the Mac operating system. The iPhone’s App Store also soon eclipsed the Windows software ecosystem.
Today, Microsoft unveiled Windows 11 and finally went over to the Apple model of a single annual update to its operating system, available on devices this year from the holiday season.
It also made itself more competitive in the app world, announcing it would bring Android apps to Windows 11. As The Verge reports, they will be downloadable from Amazon’s Appstore, via a new Windows store that’s included in the OS. Android apps on Windows 11 can be pinned to the taskbar or snapped alongside traditional Windows apps.
In a poke at the 30 per cent cut taken by Apple, and Google, Microsoft said developers for the Windows store would be able to keep 100 per cent of their revenue “if you do bring your own commerce engine”.
Oh, and there’s also a simplified design and user experience and a new Start button.
Meanwhile, Google has delayed a plan to end support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser by nearly two years, after mounting pressure over an idea that strikes at one of the foundations of today’s online advertising industry, reports Richard Waters.
It says it is holding off to allow more time for discussion with regulators and companies involved in digital advertising and to “avoid jeopardising the business models of many web publishers which support freely available content”. The respite was greeted with relief in the digital advertising world, which has faced uncertainty with the looming end of one of its main ways of targeting online messages.
The Internet of (Five) Things
1. John McAfee’s extraordinary life
John McAfee, the antivirus software pioneer whose scandal-plagued life made him a staple of tabloid headlines, was found dead in a Spanish prison cell, after a court ruled he should be extradited to the US on tax evasion charges. Here’s our obituary on his extraordinary life.
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2. BuzzFeed to list via Spac
BuzzFeed has agreed to go public in a deal with a blank cheque company that it said gave the group an implied valuation of $1.5bn, as digital media companies rush to raise funding to compete better with technology giants such as Google and Facebook. The 14-year-old company will merge with 890 Fifth Avenue Partners, a special purpose acquisition company that raised $288m earlier this year.
3. Pony Ma rides out China tech troubles
In a torrid year for Chinese Big Tech, it has been more or less business as usual for the country’s most valuable tech company, and its founder, now China’s second-richest man. Tencent, the $730bn social networking and gaming giant, and Pony Ma, its 49-year-old chief executive, have avoided significant public censure at a time when Alibaba, Ant Group and Meituan have faced serious questions from regulators over their businesses and market power.
4. China’s missions to Mars
China intends to send a crewed mission to Mars by 2033, setting a clear timeline in Beijing’s ambitious effort to take on Washington as a superpower in space. Beijing wants to send astronauts to the red planet over five missions running from 2033 to 2043, Wang Xiaojun, head of China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, told a conference on Thursday. Beyond that, trips to Mars would become commonplace, he said, with the possible use of multiple space stations to form a “sky ladder” of stops for travellers along the route.
5. Siemens’ tech tonic
Siemens has come a long way in its 170-odd years. On Wednesday, the one-time titan of German industry showcased its new stripes as a tech wunderkind, providing hardware and software for everything from running buildings to streamlining production for a Covid vaccine, reports Lex.
Forwarded from Sifted — the European start-up week
Nato is planning to harness the knowhow of start-ups to develop its next generation of war machines, announcing this week that it is to launch a start-up accelerator programme and a €1bn investment fund focused on “deep tech” start-ups. The disruptive technologies that Nato is interested in include artificial intelligence, data and computing, autonomy, quantum-enabled technologies, bioengineering, human enhancements, hypersonic technology, and space.
Elsewhere in European start-up news this week, Visa announced that it had signed an agreement to acquire Swedish open banking platform Tink for €1.8bn, a landmark acquisition for European tech and open banking. If completed, this would be the third-largest acquisition of a European VC-backed fintech, according to Dealroom data. Finally, a Swedish robot company BonBot is now serving ice creams; plant-based meat start-up Heura raised new funding and Peter Thiel’s investment firm Mithril Capital has backed a new mortgage lender called Generation Home.
Tech tools — Eco Beko
Beko, the Turkish home appliance brand owned by Arcelik, introduced seven sustainable products today, including a washing machine/washer dryer, oven, tumble dryer, refrigerator, espresso coffee maker and dishwasher. Among the eco-friendly appliances, the new oven uses recycled fishnet waste and industrial thread waste, the egg trays in the fridge are actually made from eggshell waste and bioplastics and the espresso machine’s componentry includes five cups of coffee residue recycled.
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