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EMEA PC sales keep falling

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The Middle East and Africa (MEA) PC market experienced a 13.3% year-on-year decline in shipments in the second quarter of 2016 to total 2.9 million units, according IDC.

While this is a continuation of a long-running tend, the overall decline seen in Q2 2016 was the slowest in the past five quarters. When segmenting the market, notebook shipments fell 11.4% to total 1.7 million units, while desktops suffered a sharper decline of 15.7% to total 1.2 million units.

“The speed of the market’s slump was slowed by the growth seen in countries such as Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia,” says Fouad Charakla, senior research manager personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. “But some key markets experienced significant declines, with Nigeria’s shipments suffering the biggest fall at 63.4% year on year, while the Saudi PC market almost halved in size. Other key markets to experience notable declines included the Rest of Middle East sub-region (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, and Afghanistan) and the smaller Gulf markets (Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar). The reasons for these declines vary from country to country but include political instability, currency issues and fluctuations, security concerns, low oil prices, and high levels of inflation.”

Another key reason for the overall decline was a significant slowdown in consumer demand, caused primarily by the ongoing shift away from PCs towards tablets and smartphones. This shift is particularly pronounced in the consumer segment, although home users continued to account for the majority of PC demand in the region.

The market continued to see some consolidation in terms of vendor share, with the top five players combined gaining share both quarter on quarter and year on year. Indeed, the top three vendors – HP Inc., Lenovo, and Dell – accounted for over 60% of overall PC market share in Q2 2016, and over 70% of demand stemming from the commercial segment. Notebook vendor Toshiba has all but exited the region’s PC market, with the vendor recording only a few shipments in just one country during the quarter.

Despite losing market share from Q1 2016, HP Inc. was once again the region’s leading PC vendor by a significant margin, courtesy of its strong distribution and channel network. Lenovo retained its position at number two, dominating the consumer segment with its strong presence in the retail space. Dell ranked third, experiencing notable growth within both the corporate and SMB segments, while fourth-placed ASUS was the only player among the top five to increase its shipments year on year. The vendor continues to focus on the consumer segment, which is where it experienced gains. Acer suffered the sharpest decline of the leading vendors, after suffering intense competition in the consumer space.

“Demand in the MEA PC market will continue to be inhibited by a variety of factors over the coming quarters,” says Charakla. “However, the market will decline at a slower rate than previously experienced. It is worth noting that IDC’s forecast for Turkey, the single biggest market in the region, has been revised significantly downwards for the second half of 2016 due to the insecurity and instability that has followed July’s failed coup attempt. Post 2016, the MEA PC market will likely return to a slow growth trend as PC penetration in certain parts of the region is still relatively low and we expect IT adoption in general to continue increasing steadily.”

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Data journalism takes top prize in revamped awards

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The entries to the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were extraordinarily varied and of an excellent standard, with new categories introduced which are based on content as opposed to platforms. This year, the judges decided that two entries were equally worthy of the coveted Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award.

The first co-winning entry, in the new Data Journalism category, is a set of stories by Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack which showed how Data Journalism is shaping the future. The second co-winning entrant is Bongani Fuzile of the Daily Dispatch for his articles in the investigative category on how migrant workers were being ripped off by pension deductions (full citations below).

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “This year we modernised the 12 categories that journalists could enter their work in and the change was embraced by entrants. In a turbulent time for media, the 2018 entries once again proved that there are excellent South African journalists delivering praiseworthy work, and we commend them for finding new and innovative ways to cover the news.”

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, says: “Vodacom is proud of its 17-year association with these prestigious awards, which make an important contribution to our society through the recognition of journalistic excellence. I’d like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners and, as always, I’d like to pay tribute to our hardworking judges. Ryland Fisher, Mathatha Tsedu, Arthur Goldstuck, Collin Nxumalo, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Megan Rusi, Mary Papayya, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa: thank you for making these awards a continued success.”

Veteran journalist and media stalwart Ms Amina Frense is the winner of the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever AwardShe has spent decades in mainstream media both locally and internationally. She is a former Managing Editor: News and Current Affairs at the SA Broadcasting Corporation. She has worked in many countries abroad as a producer and a foreign correspondent, has written two books and is also a founding member of SANEF where she still serves as a council member (full citation below).

The overall winners share the R100 000 main prize. National winners in the various categories are as follows, with each winner taking home R10 000:

SPORT

The entries in this category were of an exceptionally high standard. One entrant stood out and became the unanimous winner. This journalist showed an exceptional skill for story-telling and for finding unexpected angles and unknown facts. For his stories about Musangwe’s fight for recognitionAge cheating in SA football, and Hansie Cronje revisited, the winner is Ronald Masinda, and the team of Gift Kganyago, Nceba Ntlanganiso and Charles Lombard from eSAT TV.

Click here to see who won the awards for data journalism , CSI/sustainability and photography.

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Cons exploit Telegram ICO

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Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered dozens of highly convincing fake websites claiming to be investment sites for an initial coin offering (ICO) by the Telegram messaging service. Many of these websites appear to belong to the same group. In one case alone, tens of thousands of US dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency were stolen from victims believing they were investing in ‘Grams’, Telegram’s rumoured new currency. Telegram has not officially confirmed an ICO and has warned people about fraudulent investor sites.

In late 2017, stories started to circulate that the Telegram messaging service was launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to finance a blockchain platform based on its TON (Telegram Open Network) technology. Unverified technical documentation was posted online, but there appears to have been no confirmation from Telegram itself. The resulting confusion seems to have allowed fraudsters to capitalise on investor interest by creating fake sites and stealing vast sums of money.

Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered dozens of such sites, possibly belonging to the same group, claiming to sell tokens for ‘Grams’ and inviting investors to pay with cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, lice litecoin, dash and Bitcoin dash. A record of transactions on one site revealed that the scammers were able to steal at least $35,000 US dollars’ worth of Ethereum from investors.

The researchers found that some of the websites were so convincing that even after Telegram and others began to issue warnings, they were still able to recruit potential investors. Most use a secure connection, require registration and generate a unique online wallet for each new victim, making it harder to track the money.

Judging by the content of the fake websites, it appears they may have common ownership. For example, several have the exactly the same ‘Our Team’ section.

“ICOs are a fairly risky investment and many people don’t yet fully understand how they work, so it is not surprising that high quality fake websites, with seemingly reassuring features such as a secure connection and registration are successful at luring people in. People wishing to invest in an ICO would do well to check with the company behind it and make sure they know exactly who they are giving their money to, or they may never see it again,” said Nadezhda Demidova, Lead Web-Content Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab offers the following advice for users considering investing in an ICO:

  • Check for warning signs: for example, some of the fake Telegram ICO websites had the same wrong image next to the name of Telegram’s Chief Product Officer.
  • Do your homework: always check with the brand’s official site to verify the legitimacy of the investment site and, if necessary contact the company’s ICO teams before investing any money or currency.
  • Use reliable security solutions such as Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, which will warn you if you try to visit fake internet pages.

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