Snapchat

Snapchat has risen in popularity over recent years, and while promising secure image and video messaging between individuals, has seen its fair share of controversy. A unique trait of the app since its conception has been the ability to send messages with a short lifespan, and make them disappear after a single viewing. As intended, this results let many users feel more relaxed with the content they share, due to the notion that the image will never appear again.

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Google plans to merge its two operating systems Chrome and Android into one operating system that can run on any device, The Wall Street Journal's Alistair Barr reports. The change could happen as early as 2017, according to the report. Google may also show off an early version of the software in 2016.
 
Chrome OS is based on the Chrome browser, and is designed to run apps and everything else in the web browser with very few traditional desktop functions. Android is Google's mobile operating system for smartphones and tablets, but it has recently made its way to streaming TV boxes, smartwatches, and even infotainment systems in cars.

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Brad Anderson, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice-President for Enterprise Client & Mobility, has outlined some significant changes to their popular System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). The announced changes spanning both administrative details as well as how the service will support Windows 10 as the operating system moves towards the Software-as-a-Service.

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IBM made its support for Apache Spark clear back in June at Spark Summit, when it announced a $300 million commitment to Spark -- including dedication of 3500 researchers and the establishment of a Spark Technology Center in San Francisco. At its own IBM Insight event in Las Vegas today, the company is announcing availability of IBM Analytics on Apache Spark, a Spark-as-a-service offering as part the IBM Bluemix cloud.

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Venture capitalists are investing more money in private companies than at any time since the dot-com bust, with software companies grabbing the biggest slice of the pie.

In the third quarter this year, the software sector received the highest level of funding of all industries in the U.S., scooping up US$5.8 billion in 412 deals, according to the latest MoneyTree Report.

Venture capitalists also invested $5 billion in 242 of what the report calls "Internet-specific" companies, a classification for companies with business models that are fundamentally dependent on the Internet, according to the report, put out by  PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the National Venture Capital Association, based on data provided by Thomson Reuters.

Within the software arena, social-oriented companies and software as a service business models appear to be hot. "We're seeing a lot of Saas models, a lot in the on-demand category because it's not capital intensive, it's not people-intensive, it has a recurring revenue stream and once people get their hands on the product, hopefully they keep using it," said Tom Ciccolella, U.S. venture capital market leader at PwC.

The top 10 VC deals of the third quarter included a $450 million investment in data analysis company Palantir Technologies; a $251 million deal with software services site GitHub; and a $150 million cash injection into customer experience management software maker Medallia. Also in the top 10, Avidxchange, an IT services company specializing in accounts payable and payment technology, snapped up about $225 million in VC money.

The $47.2 billion invested in all company categories in the first three quarters of 2015 is higher than full-year totals for 17 of the last 20 years. In the third quarter alone, the figure was $16.3 billion. That's 5 percent lower than the second quarter, but the VC market is on a path to be bigger than for any year since 2000, when the dot-com craze flamed out.

The inevitable question is whether it amounts to a bubble that's about to burst. There are, however, rational reasons for the increase in VC funding, points out Ciccolella.

First of all, there are more players, and therefore more competition, in the VC market these days, with non-traditional players like hedge funds getting into the private-investment game. In addition, some of these companies may be taking a long view and not necessarily be looking for a quick initial public offering (IPO). Many private companies are electing to take advantage of the situation and receive late-stage funding rather than going public.

"Private companies don't have analysts looking at their quarterly results to see if they missed expectations," and can focus on improving their products, Ciccolella said.

Software companies, meanwhile, are relatively low-risk. "The barriers to entry in software are lower than in other types of businesses," Ciccolella said. Software companies, for example, don't need to worry about manufacturing plants and the material costs of hardware.

 

Source: PC World