5 things you should know about tech today

- February 10, 2020 3 MIN READ
Photo: AdobeStock

Welcome to Monday team.

Here’s what we’ve seen.


1.  iFined for slowdown

The French version of the ACCC, the DGCCRF, has fined Apple €25 million (AU$41m) for the 2017 iOS update that slowed down older iPhone models.

Apple’s sin was not slowing down the phones, which the company claimed was to prolong the life of the phones as the battery aged – and was prone to the phone suddenly shutting down, even when it still supposedly had plenty of charge, but for failing to tell people what it had done, thus committing “the crime of deceptive commercial practice by omission”.

The fact that Apple wouldn’t let people go back to the old operating system, so the “performance throttling” pushed people to change their battery or buy a new phone, also left France’s competition watchdog unimpressed. Apple has agreed to the penalty.

Les détails sont ici.


2. Women’s Startmate fellowships

Startmate’s first women-only Fellowship program, to assist 30 women to land top positions at Australian tech startups, kicks off next month and you have until the end of this week to apply.

The three months program runs in Sydney and Melbourne, and includes optional paid internships and 1:1 sessions at startups including unicorn design software company Canva and workplace safety provider Safety Culture.

Startmate CEO Michael Batko said the Fellowship is perfect for anyone who thrives on autonomy, rapid growth, feedback and has always dreamed about joining a startup.

“As leaders in the start-up industry, we firmly believe it’s our responsibility to drive change. What the research demonstrates is that diversity is not just a metric to be strived for, it is actually an integral part of a successful business,” he said.

“Whether you’re a software engineer whose real passion is an open-source project you’re working on after hours, or a recently graduated bachelor or masters students with huge dreams and a strong desire to work on something you love, the Fellowship program is designed to get you to the next stage of your career.”

The Startmate Fellowship runs outside work hours, and timings will be flexible for mothers. Accepted applicants will be required to pay a $1,000 program fee, however there are up to 10 scholarships available to help out. 

If you’re keen, you can apply here – the deadline for application is February 16.


3. And for best supporting role…

One small consolation from being an Academy Awards nominee, but missing out on the Oscar, is nominees in for the top awards – actor/actress, supporting actor/actress, director you get a take home a goodies bag that’s a step up from anything you’ll find at the Royal Easter Show.

Forbes has details on the astonishing array of trinkets in the bag, worth US$225,000 (AU$336,000), including a US$78,000 luxury yacht cruise – and points out that while 24 of the world’s richest people are being lavished with even more largesse, they do have to pay the US equivalent of fringe benefits tax to the IRS on the value of it all.

And the reason we mention all this is that among the choccies, a night in a Spanish lighthouse and vaping kit, there’s a bit of tech too, including British urine collection medtech, Peezy Midstream (which reduces the risk of contamination to make it easier to find out what illness you really have), and a “smart bra” by Soma, which measures your bust for the perfect fit. We had a look online at the Soma store, and they’re worth about AU$100, but you can pick one up for about $41 if you want to feel like Laura Dern, Margot Robbie or Charlize Theron.


4. News, Seven and Reinventure back SocietyOne again

Investors in SocietyOne have stumped up another $15 million in an equity raise for the peer-to-peer lender as it edges past $800 million in lending over its seven-year history. 

News Corp Australia, Seven West Media, Consolidated Press Holdings, Westpac’s Reinventure Fund and several credit unions and banks hedging their bets on the fintech, which offers unsecured personal loans and secured livestock loans, bypassing traditional financial institutions, returned for the latest raise, with SocietyOne promising new products and services in 2020.

The business has also established a warehouse facility, arranged by NAB, to back its expansion plans. CEO Mark Jones in 2019 said originations were up more than 50% higher in 2019 over the previous year.


5. Xero Squares up

Accountancy platform Xero has enhanced its integration with Square so small-business invoices using the mobile payments platform can now email invoices from Xero giving customers the option to pay the bill instantly, using a credit or debit card. When a payment hits the business’s bank account, the transaction will appear in their bank feed and be recorded in Xero.

The integration also creates a daily sales-summary invoice in Xero that captures the previous day’s transactions in Square.


BONUS ITEM: Nasdaq swung by its Sydney office – on a nice day! – to make this corporate vid.

Did you know it powers the ASX and four out of five of Australia’s stock exchanges?