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

Welcome to iFive, your handy daily guide to early news:

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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