This Week in Tech: Apple and Facebook Dominate the Headlines

Hello there! Welcome to SHIFT’s first ever B2B tech news roundup, designed to help marketers and communications pros stay up to date on the trends that could make or break their strategies.

Our clients rely on us to stay up to date on their industries and how they fit into the news of the day – it’s at the core of everything we do in PR. How could we possibly be expected to manage reputations and build awareness for today’s leading B2B tech brands without having a complete, real-time understanding of the media landscape?

Our teams are trained to spot major trends on the horizon before competitors are able to latch onto them. And, we work really hard to understand and anticipate breaking news cycles, which allows us to insert our clients into the big conversations whenever it’s appropriate.

Since we’re already doing this behind the scenes, we figured we’d start sharing some of the stories we’ve been monitoring throughout the week. We’re hoping that this intel will help inform your communications programs moving forward, ensuring that your tactics are as timely and relevant as possible.

Or at the very least, you could use one of these as a solid conversation starter over the weekend.

It’s been an eventful week for Apple

Tim Cook’s crew went into damage control earlier this week when it was discovered that a wild FaceTime bug allows people to hear the audio of those they were calling, even if they don’t pick up. A teenage Fortnite player discovered the security issue, but despite a valiant effort, he and his mom weren’t able to reach Apple before the story went viral.

Facebook’s privacy issues continue

On Wednesday, TechCrunch published a much-discussed report detailing how Facebook has been secretly paying people (including teenagers) to install a “Facebook Research” VPN that provides them with access to phone and web activity, similar to Facebook’s Onavo Protect service that had been banned by Apple. People were not excited about this – the news even set off an internal firestorm amongst Facebook’s own employees. Apple was quick to hit back, pulling Facebook’s developer license and crippling the social network’s internal workings. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more revelations and repercussions to come.

Y Combinator launches its own event

One of the best-known startup accelerator programs in the world is launching an event, called YC 120, to tap into the pre-startup talent pool. Forbes’ Alex Konrad has the story on how it aims to find the next Elon Musk.

Super Bowl week (Go Pats!)

The advertising industry’s focus is on the big game this Sunday, and major brands have been busy previewing their commercials. Here’s a good one from Amazon exposing some unfortunate Alexa “failures” – a great spin on potential headaches brought about by IoT.

Earnings week

Investors were paying close attention to Silicon Valley and Seattle this week as Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook all reported earnings. Despite its many controversies, Facebook still came out ahead as advertisers continue to pour money into the platform.

Related pro tip

If you’re managing a challenger tech brand or startup, try to avoid making any kind of big announcement during weeks like this. The tech media world will be laser-focused on the dominant brands, and there’s a good chance you’ll just get lost in all of the noise.

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