News Roundup: Big Data Pokemon, Searching Sputnik and Dre's Billion Dollar Beat

A round up of the week's tech news including the Death of Antivirus, NeRDs and the Groufies.

The Sound of Acquisitions

It’s now official; Yahoo! were the busiest tech shoppers of last year, gobbling up 22 different startups. A new M&A report from Privco shows that although Marissa Mayer’s company were busiest, Cisco spent more and Google wasn’t far behind.

Elsewhere it’s been a busy week for the money men at tech companies. Microsoft has bought PaaS firm Greenbutton, EMC has acquired storage startup DSSD, FireEye has got their hands on nPulse Technologies and Apple now own LuxVue. Google had a mini-spree and acquired Rangespan, Stackdriver and Appetas, while Walmart’s R&D center @WalmartLabs has snapped up Adchemy. And finally Ageing Scottish microchip maker Wolfson Microelectronics has now been bought by American rival Cirrus Logic.

While that’s all well and good, Apple have outshone the lot with the news that they will probably  buy Dr. Dre’s Beats Electronics for a company record of $3.2 billion. A lot of outlets are saying it’s not about the headphones so much as the Beats streaming service, which is in healthier shape than iTunes Radio and could offset the decline of MP3 downloads. Even if he is the first billionaire rapper, the Dr. is Still D.R.E.

Although no one has stepped up to the offer, ERP peddlers Epicor are available to anyone with $3.5 billion going spare. Analysts have been naming potential buyers, mostly players already in the ERP space or possibly a big company like Dell. Watch this space.

More Hardware from Non-Tech Companies

I’ve already written about how companies you don’t think of as tech companies are moving into the hardware/software space. Tesco, a supermarket-cum-tablet maker & streaming service, is now becoming a smartphone maker as well. It will run Android and come pre-installed with a host of Tesco apps. The Navy are also developing their own tablets for sailors to help stave off boredom, dubbed the Navy eReader Device, or NeRD, and Epson are trying to get in on enterprise wearables.


The usual dose of NSA-related headlines…

-          Google may not have been entirely honest about their relationship with the NSA.

-          The NSA have a sense of humour when it comes to recruitment.

-          You can use Emojis to thwart NSA snooping, if you can string a full message together.

-          Ex-NSA Chiefs still aren’t fans of Ed Snowden.

-          Bulk collection may finally be coming to an end after a House Panel vote.

And following the VK vs. Putin affair, the Kremlin may be moving into search with the announcement it’s to launch its own search engine named Sputnik. Whether anyone would trust it enough to use it is another matter entirely.


So antivirus is dead, according to the world’s largest antivirus software vendor. "We don't think of antivirus as a moneymaker in any way," said Symantec’s Brian Dye to the WSJ. The claim didn’t go down very well with rival firm Kaspersky, whose CEO said it was very much “alive and kicking”

Facebook’s founder is an American Zionist. That’s according to Iranian officials who have banned WhatsApp from the country. Apparently other government officials disagree with this, but it’s not going to stop Instagram being banned soon as well.

Amazon have issued a rebuttal following Greenpeace’s attack on the Dirty side of their Cloud Web Service. “Our datacentres are energy-efficient,” said vice-president Stephen Schmidt. "We are much better at this than just about every other company out there. Why are we doing that? Because it reduces cost which also means a reduction in energy consumption." That didn’t stop a cupcake protest against Pinterest however, with bakers politely requesting the social network to move away from Amazon services to a greener choice.

COYD & Groufies

There are going to be 3 billion people online by 2015. The danger is that the rate of stupid internet buzzwords will grow at an even more rapid rate. The latest two to desecrate the English language are 'Groufies' (Group Selfies) and ‘CYOD’ (Choose Your Own Device), which is the new BYOD.

Meanwhile Mark Zuckerberg (probably not an American Zionist) is trying to change US immigration policy using selfies. His lobbying group created an app that lets people bother Congress with self-portraits and messages in favour of reform. Using the hashtag #Selfies4Reform of course.

Luckily there’s a silver lining in the shape of a new tool for all you grammatical nit-pickers out there. Literally replaces the word "literally" with "figuratively", removing literally all traces of over exaggeration from your internet viewing experience. Literally the best thing ever. Figuratively.

Pokemon, or Big Data?

Big Data can do a lot of cool things. It can tell you which members of the Wu-Tang Clan have a vocabulary comparable to that of Bill Shakespeare. But there’s also of a lot Big Data technology companies with very odd names and it can be difficult to keep track. So difficult in fact, that someone created a quiz to see if people know their Big Data companies from their Pokemon. Turns out the answer is not really – most people know their Hadoop from their Vulpix, but aren’t so sure about their Crebases and Toketeks.