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Tech stories that caught our eye in November

Posted by Joe McNamara on 2nd December 2013

Twitter explodes as IPO leads to stock market frenzy

On its stock market debut, Twitter saw a 73% rise in its shares at the first time of trading, driving the value of the microblogging social network to a staggering $25 billion. Reuters reporters Olivia Oran and Gerry Shih describe the IPO to defy traditional valuation analyses, even despite the fact Twitter now boasts over 230 million users and is being explored as a global advertising medium with increased aplomb. If you were going to sum it up in a tweet, you’d probably just say: ‘Well that all went rather well! #loaded’

Microsoft changes a sign and the Xbox One goes on sale

For One night only (sorry), Leicester Square became Xbox One Square to mark Microsoft’s next-generation console going on sale in the UK just over a month before Christmas. Thousands of dedicated fan boys and girls queued to get their hands on the console, which throughout the year has had a somewhat mixed reception from gaming and home-entertainment enthusiasts.

Naturally, it’s the PR that interests me as much as the console itself and unfortunately it’s the same cracked record from me – Microsoft’s Xbox One Square stunt just stank of a lack of ideas and an inflated marketing budget. The Xbox team was also a bit late to the marketing stunt party on this occasion. In a two-horse race, the early bird catches the worm unless the latecomer does something pretty incredible.

PS4 windows and more consoles in Covent Garden

Sony held its own launch in Covent Garden days after Microsoft’s as the console war drags on. As we’re talking about the PR around these two major launches, let’s rewind back to 14th November when the iconic windows of the OXO tower were amended for the first time in 85 years to bear the famous symbols of the Playstation controller.

Sorry Microsoft, this was a real stunt. It has some significance for a start. The OXO windows are a piece of advertising history – deliberately designed to bear the OXO brand name to get around 1920s law which stated that buildings were not permitted to advertise along the Thames skyline. Also, as the PS4 controller is supposedly one of the most significant evolutions of Sony’s next-gen console, the symbols serve a purpose. What exactly does Xbox One Square add value to or tell us? Also, Sony did it first and that counts for a lot.

UK may face “spectrum crunch” by 2020

Wireless consultancy firm, Real Wireless, warns of a spectrum crunch that may see the UK’s mobile and Wi-Fi capacity overloaded and unable to cope with data demands by 2020. If anything, this seems a conservative estimate given the hysteria around growing data demand and the saturation of connected devices on the market – not to mention the growing M2M phenomenon, which we hope will have started to rollout by then. Real Wireless assisted in the auction of 4G spectrum and based on its expert analytics forecasts that unless new spectrum is built at a more rapid rate, we could be spending quite a bit more time waving our phones around in the air or throwing them on the ground in disgust.

Joe McNamara