Apple Music executive Ian Rogers reportedly leaving the company

Reuters / Robert Galbraith

It seems that Apple Music has missed a beat today, with key executive Ian Rogers reportedly leaving the company, according to the Financial Times.

The music streaming service signed up 11 million users to its free trial in the first four weeks of its launch at the end of June. Spotify, meanwhile, claims 75 million active users, and Pandora has about 80 million.

Rogers was instrumental in crafting Apple’s online radio strategy, joining the company last year when it acquired Beats in a $3 billion deal. The timing of the departure is unexpected, coming only two months after Apple launched its Beats 1 radio service.

He is going to work for a Europe-based company in an unrelated industry, the FT said. Apple has reportedly confirmed the move to the newspaper.

Earlier this month, the company refuted claims that almost 50 percent of Apple Music users had stopped using the service.

We’ve reached out to Apple for comment, and will update you if we hear back.

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iZettle Gets $67M To Expand From Mobile Payments To Small Business Financing

cYn8okcNG665Iv0HkJ8ph-TlcbQXRYcninzdbuHmfKU European mobile payments player, iZettle, is expanding into what amounts to small business loans — announcing a capital advance product, called iZettle Advance, which will be available to select iZettle customers who need funds to grow their own businesses. So it’s basically moving onto even more of the territory where traditional banks fear to tread. Read More

European payments processor iZettle raises $67M and launches a cash advance service for SMBs

iZettle

European mobile payments processor iZettle has announced a fresh €60 million ($67 million) raise. The round was led by Intel Capital and Zouk Capital, both existing investors, and takes the company’s funding to almost €150 million ($168 million).

While Jack Dorsey’s Square has been setting out to disrupt the epayments market for small to medium-sized businesses in North America and Japan, iZettle has been doing the same in its native Sweden, as well as Finland, Denmark, Norway, U.K., France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, and Mexico.

As with Square, iZettle offers merchants a physical card reader and app, allowing them to easily accept card payments from customers. There are a number of other similar players in Europe, including Rocket Internet’s Payleven, based out of Germany, and London-headquartered SumUp.

Today’s news also heralds a brand new service from the Stockholm-based startup — iZettle Advance will offer merchants a cash advance on future card sales. It’s effectively a lending program, with companies borrowing against projected income, paying the money back in instalments each day in proportion to card sales.

iZettle Advance

Above: iZettle Advance

Image Credit: iZettle

This follows a trend we’ve seen elsewhere in the online payments realm — Square has offered Square Capital to U.S. businesses for some time, and is a near-identical offering to iZettle Advance. PayPal has been doling out loans to small businesses for a while, too.

iZettle says that there are no payback deadlines, and the automated repayments vary in accordance with the merchant’s sales. The company says the advance comes with a fixed fee attached to it, rather than a percentage interest rate, and although the percentage will vary from customer-to-customer, we’re told a typical ballpark fee for repayments is around 10 percent of the borrowed sum.

“We have aimed to build a financing service that’s completely tailored to the needs of small businesses,” explains Carl-Richard Häggman, iZettle’s chief risk officer. “The service allows for small businesses to make the necessary investments in their operations, on their own terms and with minimal administration.”

Part of the company’s new $67 million cash influx will be used to help support the rollout of iZettle Advance, as well as fueling the company’s overall business.


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Line delays IPO plans until ‘earnings and market conditions improve’

Reuters / Toru Hanai

Seoul (By Joyce Lee, Reuters) — South Korea’s largest web portal operator Naver Corp won’t decide on when to IPO its messenger app service unit Line Corp until its earnings and market conditions improve, Naver’s CFO said on Friday.

Hwang’s comments were in answer to questions prompted by a Wall Street Journal report on Thursday that said that Japan-based Line had scrapped its plans for an initial public offering (IPO).

Documents for Line’s IPO continue to be under review by authorities in both the United States and Japan, CFO Hwang In-joon told Reuters, but said markets were currently too volatile to give a timetable for the listing.


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“When choosing when to go to market, we need to consider whether we’ll take our second quarter performance results with us, or third quarter or fourth quarter results. Our results in the second quarter were not that great,” Hwang said.

Naver Corp reported weaker-than-expected second-quarter profit in July, weighed in part by lower revenues at Line Corp due to falling advertising sales.

Line, which operates the No.1 chat app in Japan, Taiwan and Thailand by number of users, reported second-quarter revenue of 27.8 billion yen, down from 28.1 billion yen the previous quarter, after at least three straight quarters of revenue growth.

Naver decided not to list the unit last year, on the belief that Line could command a better valuation by further building its revenue and profit.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Muralikumar Anantharaman)


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Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard joins the S&P 500

Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops III.

Activision Blizzard, the publisher of video games from World of Warcraft to Call of Duty, announced today that will soon join the S&P 500 stock market index.

The addition of the video game company to the S&P 500 is a milestone that will likely raise awareness of the company among investors, as the index of 500 publicly traded American companies is a bellwether for the overall economy.

Starting after the close of normal trading on Friday, Activision Blizzard will replace Pall in a transaction that is pending final approvals. Activision Blizzard will be part of the home entertainment software sub-industry index.

“Joining the S&P 500 is a reflection of our talented teams’ passion, hard work and commitment to excellence. We believe we are well-positioned for long-term growth, and we look forward to continuing to deliver value to our audiences and investors,” said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, in a statement.

 

 


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Xiaomi’s reported move to in-house chips could spell trouble for Qualcomm

Reuters / Bobby Yip

Fresh reports (link in Chinese) surfaced Thursday that Xiaomi, China’s number one smartphone maker, is planning to use in-house chips for its low- and mid-range smartphones in 2016.

The rumored move, which first appeared earlier this month (link also in Chinese), is notable because of the sheer size Xiaomi has grown to. Any changes in its business verticals will have a rippling affect on other players and suppliers in those industries.

The Chinese upstart was the fourth largest smartphone maker in Q2 by shipments, behind rivals Samsung, Apple, and Huawei.


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The move spells bad news in particular for already-struggling chip maker Qualcomm, who supplies Xiaomi with the more lucrative chips in its mid-range and flagship devices. These include the recently launched Mi Note Pro in January ($480) that runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810, and the Mi 4i in April ($200) that runs on the slower Snapdragon 615.

Xiaomi’s lower-end devices, like the Redmi Note 2 ($168) that launched this month, are already running on chips from Chinese chip maker MediaTek. If we backtrack to last year, we have the case study of Xiaomi-owned Pine Cone Electronics working with Chinese chip maker Leadcore Technology to develop the LC1860 processor. That processor ended up in the low-end Redmi 2A ($96), which proved a lucrative model for Xiaomi and allowed it to keep prices low. Qualcomm’s comparable processor would have reportedly cost double — $8 apiece instead of $4.

Qualcomm recently saw its quarterly profits slide by as much as 46 percent, and is reportedly preparing to lay off several thousand employees. Like an increasing number of technology companies, including Apple, the California-based chip maker is over reliant on sales from Asia.

In Qualcomm’s case, as much as 84 percent of its annual sales come from this part of the world, as of July data, and Xiaomi is no doubt one of its biggest customers. But the move seems to be part of a wider trend that is leaving Qualcomm in the lurch.

South Korean giant Samsung moved away from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon earlier this year, which it had been expected to supply, opting instead to use its own in-house chips for the flagship Galaxy S6.

It’s not unforeseeable that Xiaomi will ultimately look to do the same with its own flagship devices. For now though, they are still running on Qualcomm’s technology — a Snapdragon 820 is expected to power the Mi 5, rumored for a November release.

Xiaomi is eyeing a U.S. entry for its smartphones in 2016 (it already sells some products there), but owning as many verticals as possible first is a logical move if it wants to compete against local players. Producing its own chips is part of that wider vision of control, much like Apple.

A report in May by the EETimes quoted a Leadcore executive as saying that “Xiaomi wants its own custom-designed processors to differentiate its products and control its destiny.”

Meanwhile, a separate report by a Chinese-language newspaper (via DigiTimes) said that the company has obtained the right to gain access to ARM processor technology.

Xiaomi declined to comment for this story. Qualcomm has not replied to our request for comment, but we’ll update you if we hear back.

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Xiaomi’s reported move to in-house chips could spell trouble for Qualcomm

Reuters / Bobby Yip

Fresh reports (link in Chinese) surfaced Thursday that Xiaomi, China’s number one smartphone maker, is planning to use in-house chips for its low- and mid-range smartphones in 2016.

The rumored move, which first appeared earlier this month (link also in Chinese), is notable because of the sheer size Xiaomi has grown to. Any changes in its business verticals will have a rippling affect on other players and suppliers in those industries.

The Chinese upstart was the fourth largest smartphone maker in Q2 by shipments, behind rivals Samsung, Apple, and Huawei.


From VentureBeat
VB just released The State of Marketing Analytics: Insights in the age of the customer. $499 on VB Insight, or free with your martech subscription.

The move spells bad news in particular for already-struggling chip maker Qualcomm, who supplies Xiaomi with the more lucrative chips in its mid-range and flagship devices. These include the recently launched Mi Note Pro in January ($480) that runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810, and the Mi 4i in April ($200) that runs on the slower Snapdragon 615.

Xiaomi’s lower-end devices, like the Redmi Note 2 ($168) that launched this month, are already running on chips from Chinese chip maker MediaTek. If we backtrack to last year, we have the case study of Xiaomi-owned Pine Cone Electronics working with Chinese chip maker Leadcore Technology to develop the LC1860 processor. That processor ended up in the low-end Redmi 2A ($96), which proved a lucrative model for Xiaomi and allowed it to keep prices low. Qualcomm’s comparable processor would have reportedly cost double — $8 apiece instead of $4.

Qualcomm recently saw its quarterly profits slide by as much as 46 percent, and is reportedly preparing to lay off several thousand employees. Like an increasing number of technology companies, including Apple, the California-based chip maker is over reliant on sales from Asia.

In Qualcomm’s case, as much as 84 percent of its annual sales come from this part of the world, as of July data, and Xiaomi is no doubt one of its biggest customers. But the move seems to be part of a wider trend that is leaving Qualcomm in the lurch.

South Korean giant Samsung moved away from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon earlier this year, which it had been expected to supply, opting instead to use its own in-house chips for the flagship Galaxy S6.

It’s not unforeseeable that Xiaomi will ultimately look to do the same with its own flagship devices. For now though, they are still running on Qualcomm’s technology — a Snapdragon 820 is expected to power the Mi 5, rumored for a November release.

Xiaomi is eyeing a U.S. entry for its smartphones in 2016 (it already sells some products there), but owning as many verticals as possible first is a logical move if it wants to compete against local players. Producing its own chips is part of that wider vision of control, much like Apple.

A report in May by the EETimes quoted a Leadcore executive as saying that “Xiaomi wants its own custom-designed processors to differentiate its products and control its destiny.”

Meanwhile, a separate report by a Chinese-language newspaper (via DigiTimes) said that the company has obtained the right to gain access to ARM processor technology.

Xiaomi declined to comment for this story. Qualcomm has not replied to our request for comment, but we’ll update you if we hear back.

More information:

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Vine launches Music on Vine to help you discover and create music

music-on-vine

Vine today announced Music on Vine for iOS and Android to help users discover and create music on the short-form video sharing service.

“Music has been part of Vine’s culture since the beginning,” the company says on its website. “Now, we’re connecting you to the music you love, starting with new ways to discover and create with music on Vine.”

Developing…