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The Techday Weekender - Aug 25th 2012

25 Aug 2012

Hello and welcome to another round of the Techday Weekender, from company revamps to company declines - we have everything covered.

The big news and most recent to hit the Techday news server is the rebranding of Microsoft, with the soft company changing it's logo after 25 years, weeks before the company releases Windows 8 in October.

After announcing the change at the opening of a new Microsoft store in Boston, Seattle and Washington, the software maker says the change represents a shift in times as the company embarks on a new era within the industry.

"It’s been 25 years since we’ve updated the Microsoft logo and now is the perfect time for a change," says Jeff Hansen, Microsoft general manager, brand strategy.

Microsoft's decision to get with the times so to speak follows news that Apple has become the world’s most valuable company of all time after a surge in stock propelled its value to US$623bn.

Surpassing Microsoft’s milestone over a decade ago, Apple’s stock has hit new highs and with the impending release of the new iPhone 5 and potentially a smaller, cheaper iPad, it appears the sky is the limit for the California based company.

In the wake of such positive news for the company, Apple kept the momentum flowing by registering a company called Apple Rus, renewing speculation that direct sales and a retail store could be heading to Russia.

According to reports from Eastern Europe, the world’s most valuable company registered the name and assigned it to local legal adviser Vitaly Morozko with strong expectations that Apple’s foothold in Russia could begin as early as 2013.

While the Apple cartel rides all corners of the technology globe, a little closer to home the jury has begun deliberating in the company's lawsuit against Samsung, with the federal court expecting the process to span several days due to the complexity of the issues.

After talks between respective CEOs broke down on Monday, the nine selected jurors will begin deliberating over a verdict form containing over 700 questions for the multifaceted intellectual property case.

The complexity of the form, running 22 pages, suggests the struggle for industry supremacy will be a long drawn out process as both sides state their arguments in the biggest U.S. patent infringement case ever held.

If Samsung are being accused of 'fast-following' Apple in federal court, however, thousands of miles Down Under the South Korean company has again come in for copy cat criticism, after claims their new retail store bears striking resemblance to Apple designed outlets.

The new 'Samsung Experience Store' located in Sydney's George Street, only one block away from Apple's own store, has led The Sydney Morning Herald to question the company's motives, branding the shop 'uncannily Apple-esque.'

The witch hunt against Samsung remains a boring over-rated affair, however, with Apple die-hards keen to bash the electronics giant for even breathing if it so much as mirrors an action of their beloved organisation.

Another company under the spotlight for the wrong reasons is social networking site Facebook.

In yet another bad week for the social media platform, director Peter Thiel summed up company mood by cashing the majority of his stock in the social networking company, equating to 20m shares worth around US$400m.

After a selection of Facebook insiders became eligible to sell stock they own in the social networking company due to the expiry of a ‘lock-up’ period, up to US$1.91bn shares were available for sale.

The industry did not expect any action on the market, however, but Thiel sold his shares on Thursday and Friday – for prices ranging between $19.29 and $20.69 per share.

If Thiel knows something the market doesn't, his lack of subtly suggests the Facebook ship could be sinking faster than first thought.

The heat doesn't cool on Facebook that easily, however. The site has been accused of negligence over child pornography after users, some of which underaged, were encouraged to post naked pictures of themselves on the website.

Australian watchdog group The Watchers made the accusations following the creation of new pages which are in direct breach of Facebook’s ‘no nudity’ policy.

While Facebook insist they are helping with inquiries, it is yet another damaging blow to their reputation and once again leaves CEO Mark Zuckerberg with food for thought as he considers the future of one of the world's most popular companies.

On a positive note, the Government is inviting applications from Kiwi businesses for the 2012 Technology Development Grant with $45m available for investments.

Applications for the flagship investment programme, aimed to boost research and development in businesses, is now open for companies across the country seeking funding.

Aimed to help speed up the development of innovative products and services in businesses, the proposal offers a timely kick in the proverbial backside of businesses lingering between the rock and the hard plate - giving them an injection of cash in such gloomy times.

Continuing the feel good factor across the New Zealand business front, Rakon has agreed a deal with Chinese company Huawei Technologies, quadrupling its sales to US$56m over the next five years.

After working closely with the company for some years, Huawei says it will use Rakon’s frequent control products in its handsets, smart devices and infrastructure programmes.

The week that was yet again contained the predictable highs and the unpredictable lows. Companies such as Apple hitting new highs fails to shock, but when websites such as Facebook with such popularity and interest fail to capitalise on such potential often makes you wonder.

Of course, there is more to it than meets the eyes, and of course they are not exactly doing bad for themselves but in an era where competition is intensifying, going down the Microsoft route of renovation may not be a bad idea…as Facebook can no longer rely on the innocence of youth.

Have a great weekend as always!

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