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News from December, 2011

The 10 biggest stories of 2011 in mobile tech

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

CNN Tech – Amy Gahran

For Americans who own cell phones or other mobile devices (at least 85% of the adult population, according to a new survey), 2011 ushered in a whirlwind of news.

Some of the year’s top mobile stories were mostly hype (QR codes and cell phone radiation) or vaporware (those persistent iPhone 5 rumors). But other developments were genuinely important to the U.S. mobile landscape.

Here’s a quick — and entirely subjective — list of my picks for the 10 most important stories and trends for 2011 in U.S. mobile news:

1. Goodbye (mostly) to unlimited data plans; hello throttling. The digital divide between those with high-speed Internet access and those without remains a huge problem in the United States and elsewhere, leading to significant inequities of opportunities and services.  (Full Article)

Mobile First Enterprise Apps: VC Investing Boom Ahead

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Forbes – Kevin Spain

The rapid rise of the iPhone, iPad and other mobile devices has fueled a mad rush of venture funding into consumer-facing mobile companies. During the 2011 first half, according to Rutberg & Co., venture capitalists invested $3 billion into 358 mobile companies – with $960 million going to the “media and applications” sector, defined as social networks, mobile games, mobile advertising, app platforms, news aggregation, photo sharing and group messaging.

VC investment in enterprise mobile companies has been more tepid. According to Rutberg, VCs invested just $254 million into “enterprise IT” mobile companies over the same span.  (Full Article)

How Local Watchdog Groups, Not Western Companies, Are Shaping Business Practices in China

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Forbes – Amy Westervelt

Back in the early 1990s when the first wave of concern about labor practices in China emerged and photos of factory conditions spurred the creation of what we now call Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Chinese manufacturers cleaned up their act and largely did what their Western buyers wanted. They couldn’t afford to lose the business.

Fast forward 20 years and it’s as though 1990 has dawned again. Every week seems to bring some story or another of a Western company caught with a Chinese supplier that’s dumping chemicals or infringing on worker rights. Despite the vast improvements to supply chain management over the past decades, companies are still being surprised by suppliers behaving in a way that doesn’t exactly jive with their annual sustainability reports. So what’s going on: Did those early efforts just scratch the surface? Is China tired of the West telling it how to conduct business? Is supply chain management so complex that few companies can truly sort it out? Given that much of the news these days centers around tech and electronics companies, is it more to do with the clandestine nature of those industries? Or are we just hearing more about it now because it’s tougher to get away with labor and environmental violations for long before someone snaps a pic on their smartphone and it becomes a big news story? (Full Article)