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Spotify Tops 140 Million Users

Spotify is on the way up in a hurry. Back in March, they claimed to have 50 million monthly users - which is the same amount that Netflix has in the USA - not a bad crowd at all. Things have been heating up since then however, as they now have nailed the 140 million user mark. While this seems like a fantastic service, currently Spotify hasn't secured licensing deals with Sony or Warner music, and until that happens, they are just one meeting from virtual oblivion. With this kind of user base, Sony and Warner think they can milk the service, and that in turn could push it deeper in debt and into the pages of history as another failed streaming service.

The numbers are truly massive, and they show just how much of a lead Spotify has over Apple Music, which recently announced it has 27 million subscribers. Given its subscriber growth rate, Spotify should have no trouble keeping its lead as the biggest paid music streaming service over Apple. But while that may be comforting to Spotify, right now its troubles are largely financial.

Source: TheVerge

YotaPhone 3 is Coming

It's been a while since the original YotaPhone was launched and the dual-screen (one LCD and one e-Ink) device showed promise. The YotaPhone 2 was a worth successor as it had a solid hardware package as well as better screens front and back. Now the YotaPhone 3 is coming and while I hoped for a mid-range to high-end device to help curb my eBook reader and mutlimedia desires, it looks like the YotaPhone 3 is going to be mid-range at best. The phone will be priced my more attractively though - which I'm sure is the biggest reason for the lower specs. 

Now, a couple months after its last update in May, at an event in China, the firm has once again announced that the YotaPhone 3 is coming. Although the company was fairly mum about a majority of the details of the handset, it did manage to give pricing, which should see the phone come in at $350 for the 64GB version, while the 128GB model will arrive at $450. Naturally, like its predecessor, the handset will arrive with a dual screen, one full color and the other being an E-ink.

Source: Neowin

Tech stocks dropping, Apple leading the way

Technology stocks have been taking a beating in the past few weeks and Apple is leading the way with investors dumping shares at a higher than normal pace. Apple had been riding a pretty good surge for quite some time but has seen a 7% drop in the past 5 days alone. Alphabet (Google), Facebook, and Amazon have al seen 4-5% drops during the same period as for some reason investors are trying to shed technology shares from their portfolios. A few of these companies are probably a bit inflated in their values so it was a matter of time before this happened but only time will tell how much the big technology players lose in stock value before it bottoms out. Reuters has the story.

Shares of Apple have been more bruised than those of other Silicon Valley heavyweights by a technology stock selloff this week, with many on Wall Street cautious following the iPhone maker's rally in recent months.

While its stock may not appear expensive in terms of expected earnings, some investors believe further gains in Apple will be less likely as an expected iPhone launch approaches.

"Anticipation of a new iPhone has been out there for a while now, and maybe we're entering a period where the stock is topped out," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York. Apple accounts for about 4.5 percent of his firm's equity exposure.

Amazon to buy Whole Foods for $13.7 Billion

Not sure who saw this coming but Amazon has announced that they'll be buying the Whole Foods chain of grocery stores in a deal worth $13.7 billion dollars. In a way it's a bit ironic that the company (Amazon) that's killed numerous brick and mortar stores is now buying up brick and mortar stores, but more often that not it seems like Amazon has a pretty good plan before they make any acquisitions. Whole Foods will continue to operate as a separate unit of Amazon, but it's probably a safe bet to say that we'll see some collaboration and options for Amazon customers to order Whole Foods products online in the near future. CNN Money has the full story.

The online retail giant announced Friday that is buying organic grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in cash. The deal values Whole Foods at $42 a share, 27% higher than where the stock was trading Thursday.

Amazon said Whole Foods stores will continue operating under that name as a separate unit of the company. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey will stay on to lead Whole Foods, which will keep its headquarters in Austin, Texas.

The deal shows Amazon's interest in moving into the business of operating traditional brick-and-mortar stores, even as many retailers that have been crippled by Amazon's growth have announced a series of store closings.

Weekly Tech Update #402 - Microsofts Xbox One XOXOX

We have just posted up Episode #402 of Weekly Tech Update! In this episode, we will be discussing Apple launches the HomePod to a bunch of puzzled people, Microsoft shows off the Xbox One X, and is Microsoft getting ready to jump into the mobile market for the 16th time? We have those stories and more at the links below...

WTU

Download Episode #402
Show Notes
Subscribe to the feed.
Subscribe in iTunes!
Get it on Google Play! --New--

Yahoo's CEO exits with $23 million dollar cheque

The "is Verizon going to buy Yahoo or not" saga is now complete with the deal officially going down this week.

The next questions was "Is Yahoo's CEO going to get a huge payout?". That question was also answered with a big yes.

As part of Yahoo's CEO contract there was a clause that she'd be a bonus if Yahoo was purchased, that bonus comes in at $23 million dollars. Not surprisingly, as soon as the deal closed it was announced that Yahoo's CEO, Marissa Mayer, was resigning and taking her $23 million dollar parting gift.

Unfortunately now that this whole deal is done we'll have much less news to report and the Yahoo saga provided many hours of entertainment as they repeatedly tried to shoot themselves in the foot as they were up for sale. CNBC has the full story.


Mayer, Yahoo CEO since July 2012, is expected to receive a "golden parachute" payment that filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission say is worth more than $23 million.

Netflix hits 50 million US users

Netflix has passed the 50 million user mark in the US alone, which is a huge milestone. If you compare that to cable users (48.6 million) and satellite users (33.2 million) its a pretty impressive feat. Everyone else is lagging far behind when it comes to streaming and on demand systems and Netflix is pretty much the go-to service if you are giving up your traditional TV service. 

On a side note, as Netflix hit 50 million users in the US, 760,000 people in the US cut the cord on their cable service which is up significantly from 120,000 in the same quarter of the year previous.

Engadget has the full story.

If it wasn't already clear that Netflix has become a mainstay of the American media landscape, it is now. A combination of official data with Leichtman Research estimates shows that, as of the first quarter of 2017, there are more Netflix subscribers in the US (50.85 million) than there are customers for major cable TV networks (48.61 million). This doesn't make it bigger than TV as a whole (the figures don't include 33.19 million satellite viewers), but it's still a big milestone for a streaming service that had half as may users 5 years ago.

Also, internet-only TV subscriptions are playing a small role. Leichtman reckons that there are 1.36 million Sling TV subscribers, and 375,000 DirecTV Now members.

Why people cut the cord on cable

Every month or so there is a new study that polls people and asks them if they'll be cutting the cord from their cable provider in the next year. The folks over at TiVo asked the question just to people who've made the switch "why did you cut the cord?". Not surprisingly cost was a factor, I'm just a little surprised at how big of a factor it was. Poor customer service and quality of service were also factors but not the deciding factor. DSLReports has the story.

"37.1% of respondents spent at least $101 per month -- with some spending more than $150 per month -- on pay-TV services alone," notes the report, which indicates that this is a percentage of users that increased 2.3% quarter over quarter.

With a growing number of streaming alternatives emerging, and companies like Charter now blindly imposing rate hikes in utter tone-deafness to what should be obvious industry trends, there's every indication this pattern (both cable TV price hikes, and the subsequent defections by frustrated consumers) will only accelerate.

After price, the survey found that use of streaming alternatives (57.6%) and use of over the air antennas (32.5%) were the most common reasons given by users that cut the cord.

Alienware & Dell Bet Big on Threadripper

Dell and Alienware are betting big when it comes to AMDs Threadripper CPU. Alienware has two separate systems based on the new Threadripper CPU and is betting big that VR will start to really matter this year. In addition to Threadripper, they are putting some serious graphics power in their laptops with the GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q. It looks to be a good summer for hardware.

Alienware and Dell head into this year's E3 with a triad of new PC gaming systems and components – high-end Alienware gaming desktops with new multi-core processor options, a full range of performance gaming monitors and peripherals with Alienware's signature design and a new Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop bringing VR to all. Alienware and Dell continue to demonstrate why, together, they have become a leading PC gaming brand worldwide with gaming solutions for players of all levels and budgets.

Source: PRNewsWire

5 Billion Mobile Accounts Globally

Wireless phones are ultra popular and it's amazing how many people rely completely on wireless devices - rather than a hardline. The downside is that networks can get congested, but the good news is that companies like Samsung are doing quite well. As of this week, there are now 5 billion active mobile subscribers globally. That means that only about 2 billion people (adults and children alike) are NOT connected. Zing!

Because of the relatively low subscriber penetration in India, the country is expected to lead the market growth with an expected 310 million new unique subscribers by 2020. By the same time, GSMA predicts the world will achieve 5.7 billion unique mobile subscribers.

Source: Neowin

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