Wednesday’s episode of The Apprentice was an unalloyed joy from start to finish – and not only because Lord Sugar seems at last to have regained his natural gift for sniffing out bull in a Burton suit. The challenge laid down to the assembled troupe of unsheathed superegos and corporate automatons was to develop an app – apps being, as Lord Sugar earnestly explained, ‘pretty much where it’s at now’. Sir Alan compounded the general impression of being quite-a-lot-like-your-Dad by referring to apps “going live on the internet” – which is sweet to the power of bless, and should remind us to be grateful that the UK version of the show is helmed by an irascible but ultimately cuddly bear, and not, as Stateside, by a bouffant with unnerving fantasies of power.
Microsoft’s Woefest There can barely have been a dry undergarment in the house over at Microsoft HQ this week, following its seemingly unfathomable decision to buy Skype, which lost $7m on its $860 million revenue last year, for a stomach-lurching $8.5bn.
Anxiety-levels will have been pumped further by reports that, amongst businesses, approval ratings for arch-rival Google’s Chromebook are so high they’d look right at home on Charlie Sheen’s wipe-clean couch. Since a humongous $20bn of Microsoft’s annual revenue reportedly comes from enterprises, via upgrades to Windows and the Office suite, this is grim news indeed.
Microsoft was not the only company to have been throwing come-hither glances at Skype recently – rivals Google and Facebook had both been sniffing around, with Google actually laying $4bn on the table, according to reports. That Microsoft should shell out more than double Google’s figure, when Skype was valued at only $2.5bn 18 months ago, is perplexing to say the least. All may soon be revealed – but at this stage of the game, Google and Facebook are looking a lot like the Twins of Win.
Facebook’s ‘dirty tricks’ shocker Despite their shared schadenfreude at Microsoft’s woes, Google and Facebook won’t be cuddling up any time soon. The two companies are now the Katie Price and Kerry Katona of the tech world, endlessly augmenting their considerable assets in the hope of filching eyeballs from their rival – and their enmity will only have been enhanced by yesterday’s revelation that Facebook had secretly paid a PR firm to spread anti-Google smear stories through the tech press. According to reports, the company offered to help one blogger write an anti-Google op-ed, and to expedite its publication on high-end sites like The Washington Post, Politico, and The Huffington Post. Poor, very poor.
Mark Zuckerberg ejected from Facebook Facebook sunk further into our bad books when it summarily deleted the account of Mark S. Zuckerberg, an entirely unexceptionable bankruptcy lawyer from Indianapolis whose only crime is to share a name with Facebook’s own CEO. Facebook put their hands up and agreed to reinstate the account, but given that they’d already demanded a driver’s license, birth certificate, and Bar Association details when it was first set up two years ago, poor MSZ must be feeling peevish. As those of you who’ve also been summarily ejected from Facebook will confirm, it’s the social media equivalent of donning a giant burkha – communicating with the world becomes considerably more of a challenge.
Dressed by Disney. The Giddy Social Whirl came close to a Damascene conversion this week, when a widely-tweeted meme revealed that the Royal Wedding outfits of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie exactly replicated those of the stepsisters in Disney’s animated masterpiece Cinderella. So startling was this delicious coincidence that we almost admitted the existence of a benign hand directing the universe – but alas, the images turned out to have been doctored.
A bientôt, mes amis!
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