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Tech News: The Data Black Hole That Could Destroy the Internet Economy


Plus, Apple sales are way up in India, LinkedIn posts a strong 4Q, Microsoft attacks Google, and why Vine is not quite working for journalism yet.

This column brings you the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary on technology from around the Web every day.

Link: The Data Black Hole That Could Suck the Life Out of the Internet

"Data is the fuel that powers the Internet economy: whether consumers realise it or not, in order to use pretty much any website or online service, they hand over some form of data, which is then re-used or resold.

"It's an exchange that is so common that it's even spawned a catchphrase: if you're not paying for a product, you are the product.

"The Internet economy is based on the assumption that this data will be freely available and plentiful forever. But what if that's wrong - what if we've already passed 'peak data' and, thanks to increased awareness of the value of their data, consumers are becoming reluctant to share what, until now, they've given away for free?

"The Internet's reliance on an unending stream of free data could be unwise, according to analysts Ovum. It has conducted a survey in which 68 percent of the respondents across 11 countries would select an online "do not track" feature if it was easily available."

Link: Apple's iPhone Sales Grow by as Much as 400% in 3 Months in India, But There's a Huge Gap to Close

"Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) next big growth market could be India – a country where it has failed to find significant purchase with consumers up until this point. The Economic Times (via @ScepticGeek) is reporting that sales of Apple devices, with iPhones leading the way, rose by between 300 and 400 percent in the past quarter. That growth, identified by research firm IDC, is likely being propelled by Apple's distribution partnerships with Redington and Ingram Micro.

"According to Convergence Catalyst founder Jayanth Kolla in conversation with the Economic Times, Apple's strategy in India mirrors the route it took to success in China; the company spent time studying the market, learned what it needed to do to sell handsets in India and then got aggressive about executing its sales strategy. Apple's India team grew by 500 percent in six months to help make that happen, going from 30 to 150 people, Kolla says."

Link: LinkedIn Posts Exceptionally Strong Fourth Quarter Earnings
(NYSE:LNKD) posted strong fourth quarter earnings on Thursday, reporting revenue of $303.6 million, which beat analyst estimates of $280 million and was 81 percent higher than Q4 2011 revenue. Earnings per share were $0.35, much higher than analyst expectations of $0.19. Fourth quarter net income was $11.5 million, compared to fourth quarter 2011 net income of $6.9 million.

"The company has so far demonstrated that its combination of subscriptions and advertising revenue can work, although whether it can keep engagement up and continue to grow its international base remains to be seen.

"'We exited 2011 having successfully revamped our underlying development infrastructure,' said CEO Jeff Weiner in a released statement. 'Based on that investment, we said that 2012 would be a year of accelerated product innovation, and it was. The products we delivered throughout the year drove member engagement and financial results to record levels in the fourth quarter.'"

Huffington Post
Link: Microsoft's New Google Attack Ad Tells Users Not To Get "Scroogled"
(NASDAQ:MSFT) wants to keep you from getting 'scroogled.'

"Determined to wrestle the title of top email provider from Gmail, Microsoft is directly attacking Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) in new commercials for its Outlook service. In the ads, Microsoft warns that Gmail reads through emails to create targeted ads -- which Microsoft declares an invasion of privacy -- and cautions people to avoid being "scroogled" by Gmail and switch to Microsoft Outlook.

"Google has been going through everyone's emails for a long time.

"On the company's 'Scroogled' website, Microsoft describes how Google's Gmail service scans through users' sent and received email messages to display targeted ads."

The Verge
Link: Turkish Bombing Footage Shows Why Vine May Not Work for Journalism (Yet)

"In early February, a suicide bomber attacked the American Embassy in Turkey. The moments and hours afterwards were captured on video by Turkish TV reporters and CNN - and by a contributor for news site Al Monitor, who captured some of the first Vine-based breaking news. In a series of Vines, Tulin Daloglu broadcast short scenes from after the blast, showing reporters and police crowded around the area. It was a novel use of the platform, a test case for a potentially new form of journalism. Unfortunately, it was also a prime example of how we're still not sure how Vine-based news could work."
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