The Tech scene has been on the brim over this past week both locally and regionally. Locally, Telecel’s long awaited mobile money service Telecash was finally launched but the launch may have been overshadowed by the short lived EcoCash Droid app created by the Gedion Moyo’s – at least here on Techzim.
Internationally, Lenovo’s purchase Motorola from Google was the biggest headline because it signals an end to Googles short lived experiment (22 months) as a smartphone maker and also signals Lenovo’s ambition in the smartphone space. According to the breaking article in the Wall Street Journal, Google was struggling to command a strong position in the smartphone business with just 1% of the market share. Selling Motorola at a loss may also indicate that Google was keen to dispose this part of their business myriad. Google had bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in May 2012 and they have sold it for $2.9 billion to Lenovo. Although Google still retains the majority of Motorola’s patents, there is no doubt that Lenovo is the winner in this deal.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Lenovo’s purchase will purchase of Motorola will move it from fifth to third after Apple and Samsung in the smartphone market. Lenovo is already the leading PC maker thanks to it’s purchase of IBM’s PC business in 2005.
Meanwhile, Google’s main search competitor, Yahoo announced that there was an attempt to mass hack Yahoo Mail. This is still a developing story and the incident is serious enough that Yahoo had to reset user passwords on affected accounts.
Closer to home, an uneasy storm is brewing in South Africa as the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) introduces new termination fee regulations that favor small players like Cell C and Telkom. Techcentral reports that due to the new asymmetry measures, Vodacom and MTN will pay R44c/minute to carry calls from their networks to Cell C and other smaller operators. The smaller operators will pay 20c/minute to terminate calls on MTN and Vodacom.
MTN and Vodacom share prices fell when these new regulations were announced. Icasa says the move will help smaller players develop infrastructure and reduce retail prices.
Still in South Africa, Instant Messaging app (now platform?) WeChat has been in a promotional drive to sign up users in South Africa. The Chinese instant messaging app partly owned by South African Nespers has been running a promotion were people who sign up to the app and follow radio stations like Metro FM and 5FM on WeChat can stand to chance to will cash prices between R1,000 to R25,000 (R200,000 total in one week). The Radio stations will then randomly call live on air any of the new WeChat account holders following them and announce that they have won the cash price. The total amount won is set by raffle.
WeChat is currently doing another promotion in the US were users are being asked to refer their Google contacts to WeChat and those with 5 successful referrals will be rewarded with a $25 gift card from Restaurant.com.
Clearly WeChat is in an aggressive drive to expand in every region and it will be interesting to see if rivals like Whatsapp will respond.
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