The death of the startup: is big tech squeezing out the competition?

Young firms struggle to compete as deep-pocketed companies like Facebook and Amazon clone products and consolidate their power

Facebook has been breathing down the neck of the group video-chat app Houseparty for over a year. The app, developed by the San Francisco startup Life On Air, has been a hit with teenagers – an audience Facebook is desperate to woo.

After months of sniffing around its tiny competitor and even inviting the team to its headquarters last summer, Facebook launched its own group video chat tool within Messenger in December 2016. In February, it invited teens to its headquarters to quiz them, in return for $275 Amazon cards, on how and why they used video-chat apps. By July, Facebook was demonstrating a Houseparty clone, Bonfire, to employees and by early September the app launched in Denmark.

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UK mobile customers stung by ‘sharp practices’ says consumer group

Citizens Advice calls for Ofcom to act after finding Vodafone, EE and Three charge customers for handsets after phones paid off

Three of Britain’s biggest mobile phone networks keep charging customers extra for their handsets after they have been paid off, leaving them up to £38 a month worse off, a consumer group has warned.

Citizens Advice found that Vodafone, EE and Three were overcharging customers who failed to change their contract an average of £22 a month, rising to £38 a month for buyers of premium phones including the Samsung Galaxy S8, Apple iPhone and Sony Xperia XZ Premium.

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Artificial intelligence commission needed to predict impact, says CBI

Business group urges government to launch commission to assess consequences of AI on jobs and increasing productivity

Britain’s biggest employers are calling for a commission to examine the impact of artificial intelligence on jobs.

Amid predictions of a workplace revolution threatening one in five jobs across the UK, the CBI is urging Theresa May to launch the commission from early 2018. It said companies and trade unions should be involved and the commission should help to set out ways to increase productivity and economic growth as well looking into the impact of AI.

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