The Five Biggest Things In Tech You Missed This Week: 1/2/16

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things that happened in the world of technology this past week and why they’re important for your business (and mine). Did you miss them?

1 – Verizon joins the wireless carrier pricing wars.

From Fortune:  What Verizon is offering is that anyone who ports their existing number to Verizon, purchases a new smartphone on an installment plan, and trades their old device in, can receive up to $650 in the form of a Visa prepaid card, depending on the value of their phone, although switchers will have to pay contract termination fees out of pocket.

Why this is important for your business:

The major wireless carriers face a tightening market and increased competition – and they’re all offering deals to attract and retain their customers. If you haven’t done so recently, this is a good time to re-negotiate your wireless and internet contracts to keep you cost of technology as low as possible.

2 – Microsoft Bing is now eroding Google’s core business.

From the Dallas Business Journal:  Google still has a formidable lead with 64 percent of the market share, but Bing captured 21 percent of users last month, according to the latest comScore report. That’s a significant step forward for Microsoft’s search engine, which back in 2011 bled more than $1 billion per quarter. Microsoft reported Bing’s first profitable quarter in the company’s most recent earnings report and said the search engine contributed more than $1 billion in revenue.

Why this is important for your business:

One in five people use Bing search – mainly because it’s pre-installed with Windows 10, which is used throughout Microsoft’s universe and a Yahoo partnership. When considering your mobile and online ad spend for this year, don’t rule out this audience.

3 – The suit against Uber in California slows down.

From Insurance Journal:  Uber Technologies Inc. won a ruling that may put off the outcome of a bid by California drivers to be treated as employees in a lawsuit that has grown dramatically in both size and potential liability.

Why this is important for your business:

This is a very important case for the large number of small business owners who outsource work, particularly development and database work, to independent contractors. A ruling against Uber would reverberate across the business community and result in even more government scrutiny and potentially other lawsuits. If your company relies on independent contractors you’ll want to keep a close eye on developments here.

4 – Comcast announces a major breakthrough in Internet speed.

From the company’s blog:  The next-generation technology that will deliver gigabit Internet speeds moved from the laboratory to the living room late last month when we installed what we believe to be the world’s first DOCSIS 3.1 modem on a customer-facing network. At a home in the Philadelphia area, we took the next important step forward in delivering gigabit speed broadband over our hybrid fiber coaxial network. The test used the standard cable connections that we have in homes across the country. All we needed was a new modem, a software upgrade to the device that serves that neighborhood, and a few good engineers.

Why this is important for your business:

It looks like Comcast can now accomplish significant increases in Internet speed without overhauling its network. This will give the company a competitive leg-up. It will result in more productivity for Comcast customers. And possibly increased prices for the faster services too.

5 – 2015 was…what???…an astounding year for one cassette tape factory.

From Ars Technica:  National Audio Company (NAC) President Steve Stepp told Ars that his Springfield, Missouri, company had been seeing a (very) healthy 20 percent year-over-year growth in demand for audiocassette tapes for several years. But 2015 was even better. As of the beginning of October, NAC reported a 31 percent increase in order volume over the previous year. NAC is in a curious position, because in addition to being the largest audiocassette factory in the US, it’s also one of the last remaining. “We never believed that the audiocassette was finished,” Stepp told Ars.

Why this is important for your business:

Old school technology, whether it’s cassette tapes or vinyl records, still has a role in the world. And smart entrepreneurs like Sepp (and many of my clients who use older technology in their businesses) have made the right moves to maximize opportunities and profit from what most considered to be out of date. Sometimes newer isn’t necessarily better.

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