Philippine Internet turns 22 today, but it hasn’t aged a lot



Today marks the 22nd anniversary of the Philippines’ connection to the World Wide Web, which might set off waves of nostalgia for some of you who may be old enough to remember the infancy of Internet culture in the country. 

I can hardly remember when I first hooked up my computer using a prepaid dial-up service — Internet cards were all the rage back in the early 2000’s — but I’m certain my use of the Internet involved a lot of time spent listening to the now-iconic modem handshake tone and waiting, and then more waiting. Oh, how I wish I could get all those idle hours back. (Insert situational GIF here.)

But enough about me, let’s talk about how where the Philippines is right now in terms of Internet adoption. Spoiler alert: Things don’t look rosy if the latest State of the Internet Report by networking-services company Akamai Technologies is to be believed. In fact, judging by how local Internet service providers have performed the past quarter, you could argue that the Philippines hasn’t matured enough with time. Which is a bit like saying the rest of the world has moved on to HTML5, whereas we’re still collectively living in the Adobe Flash Player era. Or that we’re rooting for Michael Jordan and the 90’s Chicago Bulls to win the NBA championship in 2016.

Akamai State of the Internet Report Q4 2015

PH ranks second-worst in terms of average download speed in the Asia-Pacific region

The Philippines, based on Akamai’s Q4 2015 survey, has the second-worst average broadband connection speed in the Asia-Pacific region, barely besting only India (3.2Mbps vs. 2.8Mbps). The country’s peak download speed of 27Mbps also trails most of its Asian neighbors, with only China and India faring worse. On a slightly positive note, the numbers have improved drastically year-over-year, which might indicate better days are ahead. Or at least I’d like to think so, what with the proliferation of residential fiber-broadband access and increasing competition between service providers. And I don’t mean the kind of competition that’s led to Australian telecom giant Telstra waving the white flag on a joint venture with San Miguel Corporation, as unfortunate as the situation with the local telecom industry is.

Speed is the metric by which consumers judge ISPs — and this holds true even for the nation with the second-slowest Internet speed in all Asia. Thankfully, more and more broadband companies are learning that lesson, as shown by the recent surge in fiber-network rollouts since the previous year. Akamai estimates around 2 percent of broadband subscribers in the Philippines are able to connect to the Internet at speeds higher than 10Mbps, which represents a triple-digit growth (from a low base) compared to the same period a year ago. So what’s the takeaway from all of this? We’re not where we want to be, but the industry is moving somewhat in the right direction, if at a snail’s pace. Which means it could be some time before things get much better.
Source: Akamai
Image credit: The Taft Life


Google faces anti-competition case against Android in Europe

Could pay more than EUR 2.4 billion in fines



For almost a year, Android has dominated the mobile operating system market alongside Apple’s iOS. Unfortunately, Android’s dominance has earned the ire of governments in Europe. Google is now facing a critical case that threatens to break apart Android from the company.

According to the region’s regulators, Google’s actions are stifling healthy competition in the mobile industry.

These actions include requiring phones to have Chrome and Google Search pre-installed to access the Google Play Store. The regulators have also claimed that Google offers financial incentives to implement Google’s software.

So far, Google has pleaded innocent across all allegations. Regardless, regulators — headed by European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager — will call their verdicts next month.

Sadly, Google’s previous track record with the EU indicates that the case will not favor the US company. In 2016, Google also faced a similar case in the region. In that case, the company suffered a record-breaking EUR 2.4 billion in fines.

With this current case’s progress, Google will likely fall under a heavier fine.

More than a financial setback, additional violations might force Google to separate Android from Search. Fortunately for others, the case will open the industry for smaller competitors, as demonstrated by previous instances of anti-competition cases.

Years before, Microsoft suffered the same case when it required certain apps to come installed with Windows. Likewise, the case enabled competitors to encroach into Microsoft’s territory. Ironically, one of the competitors who benefited from Microsoft’s legal troubles was Google.

SEE ALSO: Oreo is now in almost 5 percent of Android phones globally

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Microsoft acquires GitHub for $7.5 billion in stock

Promises to retain GitHub’s developer-first policy



Today, software development remains one of the most valuable career opportunities in the workforce. Thousands of startups have made their impacts felt throughout the world already. With that in mind, Microsoft has forged a partnership that brings the industry to new heights.

Following a set of rumors from the past couple of weeks, Microsoft has announced that it has acquired the world’s largest software development platform, GitHub.

Together, the two parties hope to empower developers with a combination of their individual services.

Since its inception in 2008, GitHub has maintained a sprawling network of developers with its open platform. The network supports several programming languages, devices, and operating systems.

Despite the acquisition, Microsoft promises to keep GitHub developer-first. In fact, the company pledges to add support for its own services for developers, a potentially new market for them. This includes Microsoft’s global cloud services and wide marketplace.

Additionally, Microsoft will help accelerate startups and developers from early stages to eventual investment seeding. If anything, Microsoft’s global reach is fully capable of acting as a startup accelerator.

Other than that, the acquisition brings a change in Github’s leadership. After the deal closes, former Xamarin CEO Nat Friedman assumes leadership responsibilities from incumbent GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath. Instead, Wanstrath will assume a new role as a technical fellow with Microsoft. Friedman, on the other hand, will report to Microsoft Cloud and AI Group EVP Scott Guthrie.

The deal will conclude by the end of the calendar year. Besides the flurry of leadership and service changes, it will conclude for US$ 7.5 billion in Microsoft’s stock.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft’s new app links your iPhone to a PC

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Microsoft Surface Hub 2 is like a digital whiteboard from the future

We’ll have one for our office, please



Are you familiar with the Microsoft Surface Hub? Well, we can’t blame if you’re not because that huge piece of touchscreen computer didn’t make its way to homes, but rather to offices. Unlike other Surface products, the Surface Hub was meant for workplace collaboration to practically replace the good old whiteboard.

Despite being a crazy expensive digital whiteboard, here we are now with its second version. The Microsoft Surface Hub 2 is a much improved gigantic touchscreen designed to be placed on a wall or on wheels.

Compared to the first version, the Surface Hub 2 has drastically reduced bezels. It basically looks like a 50.5-inch 4K+ modern TV in 3:2 aspect ratio that can be rotated with a slight push. Surprisingly, the video camera is now gone from the main device and you’ll need to plug a webcam above or beside (depending on the orientation) the display for video conferences. As for the stylus, it magnetically attaches to the sides of the panel.

It’s quite hard to put our awe into words, so we’ll show you the concept video of what you can do with the new Surface Hub 2:

You can see that the device is so fluid in the office. You can hook it up to a wall, put it on a rolling case, or create a wall of Surface Hubs and transform it into an art piece when not in use.

Since the device is designed to be used by multiple people, users can easily log in using the side fingerprint reader and pull up their account. They’ll be able to find all their documents, data, and accept calls through the Surface Hub 2.

Microsoft Surface Hub 2 used for video conference | Image credit: Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Hub 2 used for collaboration in workspaces | Image credit: Microsoft

Microsoft will start testing the Surface Hub 2 with partners later this year. You can expect to see these in corporate offices and maybe commercial spaces in 2019. Pricing details were not announced, but it’ll not come cheap just like its predecessor which goes for US$ 9,000.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft introduces more powerful Surface Book 2 in two sizes

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