iFive: Verizon iPhone Sales, Email's Decline?, Instagram Photo Sharing Expands, Microsoft Management Re-Jig, Smartphone Gaming

Fifteen years ago today, President Bill Clinton signed a historic act to overhaul the telecoms industry in the U.S., noting "Today, with the stroke of a pen, our laws will catch up with the future." It let cable companies offer phone and Net, and spiked a huge wave of social and political controversy that's still rolling along today. On with the news:

1. Verizon's iPhone is all over the tech news. It's been torn apart, and engineers have found it could've been a world phone, sharing GSM and CDMA functions. There's also a fuss about sales: Some estimates say it sold over 500,000 units inside 15 hours on day one of pre-orders.

2. Is email at a tipping point between useful and defunct? Could be: Comscore's latest figures show a 59% decline in web-based email use among 12- to 17-year olds compared to last year, and an 18% slump for 25- to 34-year olds. Email's ceding users to Facebook's messaging system, IMs, and texts.

3. iPhone photo-sharing app phenomenon Instagram, blessed with growth of two million users in just four months, is opening up its services and launching an API so code and user data can be accessible for developers—with the result that users get "more out of" their images. It could allow the app to begin to challenge social media-sharing giants like Flickr.

4. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, is said to be arranging a big management shake-up—designed to reintroduce some buzz into a company that has, to some, lost its grip on the cutting edge. People with engineering experience will go into senior product management roles so that decisions are informed by technology, not financial thinking.

5. Taiwan firm HTC is said to be investing $40 million into OnLive—fresh-faced experts in cloud-based gaming systems. The aim is to strengthen the capability for gaming on smartphones by leveraging OnLive cloud tech. Considering Chinese firm Tencent is also buying big-name Riot games, it looks like the gaming market is swiftly going in an Eastern direction.

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  • Todd Singleton

    With regards to point #2, the decline of email, remember your forum. Fast Company is the prolific Apple worshiping, 20 something hipster hoping that everything changes as rapidly as possible to keep them relevant. The decline of email has been predicted for 20 years.

    Yep, I text and I didn't a few years ago. I message my friends through social networking sites. But damn the day the cloud starts being responsible for truly sensitive corporate documents, their security and internal distribution. It's the very same reason RIM and Blackberry's still exist, security. Do you really think a whole lot of CFO's are considering putting all their sensitive financials on Google Docs to be shared on Facebook?

    Why don't we ask the CFO of Fast Company if he's ready to get rid of his local networks secure financial shares and put in the cloud so he can share reports and spreadsheets with his colleagues on Myspace?

  • Matt Petryni

    If I read the article correctly, it didn't say e-mail is going away. It said it's in decline.

    E-mail very likely will lose a large percentage of its "social users" to other messaging services while possibly retaining its functionality for business and networking communications. You yourself are testimony to this phenomenon, as you now "message your friends through social sites." If social users leave e-mail and business users remain, it will be accurate to say that the use of e-mail has declined.

    That being said, I'm not sure you know what "the cloud" is. It's not just collaborative documents. It's simply the virtualization of data so that it can easily be made location-independent. Documents can be "in the cloud" and still be secured to certain users. Many companies already use some form of internet storage for projects, though they might have a local back-up. The question is how much risk they'll willing to take in order to lower costs and improve earnings reports.

    The other question is how much of that risk is offset by the risks of local servers: for some companies, losing data and mobility can be more costly than exposing it to competitors.