Two New Zealand companies were showing what kiwi innovation is all about this week, offering new products that are sure to have the incumbents paying close attention.
First up, high-end ISP Maxnet launched a sub-brand called Fyx, which promised to let subscribers access the internet ‘the way nature intended’.
Due to licensing agreements and other legal boundaries, New Zealanders aren’t supposed to access overseas content services like Netflix and Hulu. However, as with most things online, with a little technical know-how and maybe a US bank account it is possible to sidestep these restrictions; all Fyx does is offer everyday kiwis access to this sort of trickery.
The question is, will anyone put a stop to it? For their part, Maxnet are confident Fyx is legit, although they stress on their website that they are an ISP, not a content provider, and even posted a tweet shortly after the launch warning users ‘to be very aware of the terms and conditions on any website they go to’.
In a side note, figures released this week show the second season of HBO’s Game of Thrones – which is released on an extremely restrictive basis – is set to become one of the most pirated shows in history, which should provide some food for thought for the content barons out there.
In further telecommunications news, 2degrees followed up the release of their Touch2Pay mobile payment app last week with the announcement that customers will now be able to share data between their devices.
Up to five devices can be connected to one account, including USB modems, tablets, and even other mobile phones; the service will be free until December 7, after which users will pay a little over $5 per month.
We’re predicting this will be a big drawcard for 2degrees, as devices are on the rise and it’s infuriating to have to keep track of data on different accounts.
While we’re on the subject of innovation, two more companies launched special apps for their customers this week; the first was Domino’s, with their Facebook app allowing people to place orders and share their choices within the network, and the second was Countdown, with their iPhone app (coming to Android soon) streamlining the grocery shopping process.
Overseas, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was hitting the street – Wall Street, to be exact – to drum up support for the company’s Initial Public Offering (IPO), which could take place as early as next week (though probably not by Zuck’s 28th birthday, which is on the 14th).
However, rather than questioning whether Zuckerberg was trying to pull the wool over their eyes, commentators were more interested in what he was pulling over his head – a dark hoodie. One analyst in particular thought Zuck’s choice of attire was disrespectful, leading to much to-ing and fro-ing about Wall Street and Silicon Valley, money and power, young and old, and of course Steve Jobs and all that he accomplished in his iconic turtleneck/jeans combo.
Speaking of CEOs behaving badly, new Yahoo boss Scott Thompson continued to feel the burn this week as disgruntled investor Daniel Loeb turned the screw over inaccuracies in Thompson’s resume.
The latest news is that Thompson has claimed the discrepancy dates back to an error by an executive placement firm he was working with before he started with PayPal in 2005. This report hasn’t been verified by Yahoo, and nor has the claim that Patti Hart, the board member who was responsible for checking Thompson’s credentials, has agreed not to stand for re-election at the company’s next annual meeting. What we do know is that Yahoo is conducting a review into the incident, so it’ll all come out in the wash eventually.
Addictive mobile game Angry Birds topped a staggering 1 billion downloads this week, prompting makers Rovio to issue a short video thanking fans for their support. The video features a young boy with a striking similarity to Casey from another mobile game, Casey’s Contraptions, suggesting Rovio might be working on a new project as well as additional material featuring the disgruntled avians.
Finally, in case you missed it, I appeared on the NZ Tech Podcast this week - I haven’t been able to bring myself to have a listen yet but you can go here to check it out.
See you Monday!