Apple Pay’s slow start, Microsoft buys, Politicians lie

Apple Pay is Everywhere….Sorta

The advent of Apple Pay ushered in a new era of point-of-sale ease. Instead of fumbling around in your wallet for cash or credit cards, you can now just tap your phone (and soon, your watch) and the transaction is complete. But in spite of the cakewalk process, the adoption is proving a bit more difficult. Phoenix Marketing reports that 11% of all credit card owning households are signed up for Apple Pay, which translates to an impressive 66% of iPhone 6 owners. But 47% of Apple Pay users have walked into stores that claim to use Apple Pay and been met with confusion. Just because the consumers are ready doesn’t mean the retailers are.

Every time I go into my local McDonald’s (a guilty pleasure-Don’t judge!) I have to give the cashier a crash course in how to use Apple Pay. Though a sticker touting Apple Pay is prominently displayed on the front window, seemingly no one who works there has the slightest idea how to use it. No matter how earnest the adoption among iPhone owners, Apple Pay can’t be the next step in the evolution of payments unless the retailers get on board, too. Though I’d still choose it just because of its vastly superior security, if a manager has to be summoned every time I tap my phone, Apple Pay isn’t the easy and quick method we’d hoped.

Microsoft’s Shopping Spree

Formerly stodgy Microsoft is showing us a very different side lately. First we reported on their surprising acquisition of mobile email client Accompli. Next was their investment in disruptive Android competitor Cyanogen. This week, Microsoft snapped up mobile start-up LiveLoop, which allows multiple users to collaborate on a PowerPoint document at the same time.

Aside from having virtually ignored the mobile space for the relative safety of their few cash-cow products, Ballmer’s Microsoft seemed oblivious (almost dismissive) to major disruptions in the market that threatened their very core products (like good old Google Docs). Until now. This more modern side of Nadella’s Microsoft is exciting to see, and we’re looking forward to see who they’ll pick up next. 

Net Neutrality and the Case of the Fake Constituents

It’s not really a huge revelation to say that there’s corruption in politics, but even we were a little surprised at this week’s repulsive revelations about the emails the House received about Net Neutrality. According to a company that manages email for some House members, anti-net-neutrality emails ostensibly sent from constituents seem to have come from people outside their districts. Not only that, but the wording of those emails is identical to emails written by a Koch-connected group called American Commitment. Really? You had to resort to fake emails? This is like that time Sideshow Bob won the Springfield mayoral race on fake votes from dead constituents.

American Commitment says that it “helped direct” 1.6 million messages from half a million voters to various members of the house and senate. Except maybe not. In the case of California representative Jackie Speier, 98% of those messages were from voters who had never communicated with her office before for any reason. Speier, curious about the sheer volume of messages she was receiving, contacted some of the senders only to find out they didn’t send them at all. Equally disturbing was the fact that, “a vast majority of the emails do not appear to have a valid in-district address.” So how hard was it to fake these messages? Your name, address, and email information are available for a price (this is no surprise to anyone who has ever looked in their spam folder). American Commitment admits to having used such lists in the past, but denies using them in this case. Of course that denial rings about as true as the 1.6 million fake emails they sent.

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