iGF Shorts 8.0 — Beggars, Billionaires and Crypto

Welcome to My Cloud.

The post-pandemic M&A mega-boom continues with US microchip powerhouse Broadcom tabling a US$61 billion offer to buy corporate software creator VMware.

According to Wall Street analysts, the deal will triple the size of Broadcom’s software division and account for half of the merged group’s revenue.

Broadcom is offering a 40 per cent premium on VMware’s shares and is taking on some US$8 billion of the company’s debt.

Founded in 1998, VMware is a pioneer of the so-called ‘multi-cloud’ and ‘hybrid cloud’ data storage systems, a strategy that allows organisations to move data between platforms and cloud banks, squeezing even greater performance and efficiency from their data centres.

Crypto Crosses the Chasm

With marketing spend by crypto firms on sports sponsorships growing from around US$50 million in 2020 to over US$600 million last year in the US, excluding TV, it’s surely the hottest advertising love affair in business.

Around the world, digital currencies have now crossed over into the mainstream.

In a US$700 million deal, the Staples Centre, home of the LA Lakers basketball team, has been renamed the Crypto.com, for example.

The home of the NBA’s Miami Heat is now the FTX Arena and crypto currencies are happy to pay US$7 million for 30-second Super Bowl ads.

English Premier League champions Manchester City have recently signed a sponsorship deal with crypto exchange OKX and Crypto.com, furthermore, have just signed-off a Football World Cup advertising agreement with Fifa.

It’s been compared with the once all-consuming love affair between sports and Big Tobacco.

But with volatile crypto companies now feeling the burn of crashing prices, let’s hope it doesn’t all go up in smoke.

Parlez-Vous Franglais?

It’s a bit of a mouthful when ‘streamer’ becomes ‘joueur-animateur en direct’ and ‘esports’ must be rendered ‘jeu video de competition’ but such is the insistence of the hallowed Académie Française, watchdogs of the purity of the French language.

They’ve now issued a crackdown on the creeping usage of English video game jargon, warning: “Degradation must not be seen as inevitable.”

It’s long been a feature of the ongoing culture war between the language of love and the more prosaic idioms of the Anglo-sphere.

Why can’t we just agree to call it by the name coined by whoever gets there first.

Techno-patois. Now that would be a satisfactory compromise.

Meanwhile, I’ll get back to my ‘jeu video en nuage’.

Golden Delicious

It’s got to be the hottest product in town, Apple’s new Virtual Reality headset, six-years in development, and scheduled to be unveiled this Autumn.

Merging AR (Augmented Reality) and VR, the device is, quite naturally, expected to transform the entertainment, media and tech industries just like the MacBook, iPhone and iPad.

Tech market watchers and analysts estimate that one billion people– the same number of iPhone users today–will be wearing headsets by the end of this decade.

They say the market will be worth some US$2 trillion.

Mark Zukerberg’s Meta, about to launch its own upgraded AR/VR hybrid ‘Cambria’ headset later this year, better watch where it’s going.

Beggar Me

Now how’s this for enterprise.

According to a reliable newspaper report, a beggar in a railway station in Bihar, India’s poorest state, was recently spotted on the platform panhandling for alms with a high-tech begging bowl.

A tablet computer with a QR code stuck to the back was attached to his bowl and the beggar was asking travellers for taps of five or 10 rupees.

“People used to shoo me away saying they didn’t have cash,” said Mr. Raju Prasad. “Now, they scan my QR codes and happily give whatever small amount they want.”

The 42-year-old said his takings have almost doubled to about 300 rupees a day, around £3.

Prasad’s enterprise is proof-positive, if any more were needed, of the explosive growth of India’s digital finance revolution.

The Games People Play

Fresh after buying English football’s storied, but perennially under-performing, Newcastle United, and taking a swing at elite golfing, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has just spent US$1billion buying an eight per cent stake in Swedish gaming company Embracer Group.

The Public Investment Fund is chaired by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, universally known as MBS, an avid gamer.

Embracer Founder and Chief Executive Lars Wingefors claims that the Middle East and North Africa has more active gamers than either the US or western Europe.

It’s not known when, and if, Embracer will start development of a new game provisionally titled ‘Kill Khashoggi’, whereby participants are tasked with reassembling the disparate body parts of a dissident Saudi journalist who has been butchered in Istanbul.

Fiction, as they say, is often more alarming than the truth.

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