Weekend news roundup: tech firms chose hip cityscapes, Samsung’s blogger bust-up in Berlin

3 Sep 2012

Some of the world’s top tech stories of the weekend, including: tech firms are showing a definite trend of choosing hip city-centre locations over stagnant business parks in order to lure top talent; new earbuds spotted for the iPhone 5; Pirate Bay founder arrested in Cambodia; and why is Samsung picking fights with bloggers?

Tech firms depart business parks for more metropolitan climes

Office or business parks are synonymous with the tech industry; they are usually where firms start-up and end up. However, that may be about to change in the war for talent and no doubt the aspirations of tech-industry leaders are seeing a new shift toward more urban settings.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Silicon Valley firms are choosing urban, city-centre settings instead of office parks.

There are many reasons for this but above all the top reason is talent – young developers and engineers are more likely to choose city-centre locations with all the frills that city living can offer over long commutes and lack of amenities (like good food and coffee!)

Pinterest, Zynga, Yelp, Square and Salesforce.com, to name just a notable few – are taking up residence in downtown San Francisco, the paper reported.

“New York City’s Silicon Alley – after a false start during the tech bubble of the late 1990s – is now home to more than 500 new start-up companies, like Kickstarter and Tumblr, not to mention the gigantic Google satellite in the old Port Authority Building on Eighth Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets.

“Across the Atlantic, London’s once-derelict Shoreditch district – now known as Tech City or Silicon Roundabout – has been transformed into a thriving high-tech district housing 3,200 tech firms and 48,000 jobs, according to a recent report from the Centre for London.”

Indeed in Dublin, we can note that Facebook, Google, Twitter, Zynga and quite a few tech firms are locating in city areas as opposed to business parks. Indeed, that area between Hanover Quay and Barrow Street in Dublin has seen an influx of tech companies and incubators, including Populis, Digit Games and Dogpatch Labs.

E-commerce payments firm Realex recently moved from Blackrock into Dublin’s city centre, motivated by the growing reality that much sought-after development talent is easier to source in Dublin’s hip cityscape.

Of bloggers and Samsung

The Next Web had a curious tale this weekend concerning a pair of bloggers who were brought from India to Berlin by smartphone giant Samsung as part of some sort of ‘Mob!lers’ (sic) reviews programme for bloggers. According to the report, they thought they were going to be treated as independent media and after covering the obligatory launches would have free time to cover the other relevant announcements at consumer electronics show IFA.

However, the report alleges, after refusing to be promoters or brand ambassadors (including wearing a uniform and expected to demo phones and perform in some social media activities) the pair were threatened with being left in Berlin by the Korean technology giant.

The murky tale – if true – should serve as a cautionary tale for bloggers and brands.

The story has also been covered by CNET and Gizmodo.

New earphones for iPhone 5

MacRumors had an interesting video which it sourced from Vietnamese site Tinhte.vn showing what purport to be a new set of earphones for the iPhone 5 which, if the rumours are correct, will be unveiled in the coming week or so.

“The site claims that the new headphones are manufactured in Vietnam, which are also written on the cables themselves. According to Tinhte, the new headphones are being manufactured in a Foxconn plant in Vietnam,” MacRumors reported.

Pirate Bay founder arrested in Cambodia

TorrentFreak reported that the founder of contentious file-sharing site The Pirate Bay Gottfrid Svartholm has been arrested in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.

“Svartholm, known online by his nickname Anakata, was sentenced to one year in jail for his involvement in The Pirate Bay but has been missing for some time. Svartholm was wanted internationally but exact details as to why he was arrested have not yet been made public.”

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years