In today’s ExchangeWire news summary: NSO Group accused of stalling questions about its operations; Apple discusses restructuring services to focus on broadcasting and advertising; And Instagram announces the NFTs trial on the platform.
Investigation of NSO Group operations ‘discontinued’ due to non-compliance
Controversial spyware company NSO Group has sidestepped owners’ questions about whether it is operating legally, the Financial Times reports.
US consultancy Berkeley Research Group, which was appointed in charge of a private equity fund of 70% ownership of NSO in 2021, told EU lawmakers that the company’s management had repeatedly ignored its inquiries about the ‘legal’ of NSO operations. In a letter to MEPs, BRG lawyers expressed their concerns about the “historic management of the NSO Group” and “potential ongoing activities in connection with the [BRG is] Stay in the dark,” Stay.
The letter also revealed that BRG had been “investigating the historical and ongoing management of the NSO Group’s business,” including the company’s compliance with a US trade blacklist, since August 2021, but that the group’s non-compliance had “stopped” “advising efforts,” the letter to lawmakers in the union said. The European, BRG lawyers stated, “suffice to say that the investigations to date have raised many more questions than they answer.”
NSO responded to accusations of stalling, asserting that it “adheres to very strict legal and regulatory frameworks in every relevant area of operations.”
The BRG complaint is the latest controversy facing the NSO. Once used by the Israeli government for diplomatic communication, the company now faces a barrage of legal action, including lawsuits from Apple and Meta. Just last month, NSO came under fire after the Pegasus spyware was discovered on the mobile phones of the Spanish Prime Minister and Defense Minister.
Apple plans to change services and focus on broadcasting and advertising
Eddie Keogh, Apple’s senior vice president of services, is leading talks to restructure the US$76 billion (£61.6 billion) services business, according to Business Insider.
Apple’s services, which include features including Apple Pay, Apple Music, App Store, AppleCare, Apple News, iCloud and Apple TV+, have already proven to be a very profitable venture. In the first quarter of 2022, Apple services generated $19 billion (£15.4 billion), grew 17% and reached 825 million subscribers worldwide. The company’s focus on advertising follows the explosion of its largest ad source: According to research firm Omida, Apple search ads rose 238% in 2021 to US$3.7 billion (£3 billion), with search advertising revenue expected to reach for a giant tech company. US$5.5 billion (£4.4 billion) in 2022.
Reports indicate that Cue intends to extend Apple’s success even further by refocusing the services’ efforts toward advertising and live broadcasting. According to Business Insider sources, Apple executives have already been set up to explore these opportunities, with Todd Terrace taking the lead in advertising from Vice President of Services, Peter Stern. Stern previously ran ads along with many other services features, including news, video, books, iCloud, AppleOne and Fitness+. Apple’s promotion of Teresi, who previously ran the tech giant’s advertising business for more than a decade, reflects the company’s seriousness with its focus on advertising.
No further details of the restructuring were confirmed.
Instagram to try NFTs on the platform
The head of Instagram revealed that the social media platform will begin testing NFTs with select US creators this week.
Adam Mosseri announced the experiment on Monday (May 9), revealing that the test will allow creators to share digital codes they’ve made or purchased to Instagram as a network post, story, or as a direct message. The former Facebook executive also confirmed that “there will be no fees associated with posting or sharing digital holdings on IG.”
For the beta, NFTs shared on Instagram will be supported by a number of open source blockchains, including Ethereum, Polygon, Solana, and Flow. The third-party wallets available to content creators in beta are Trust Wallet, MetaMask, and Rainbow.
In announcing the test, Mosseri addressed the limited number of users involved, and outlined the company’s plans to use the results of the experiment to expand NFT functionality on the platform in the near future.
“So one of the reasons we start small is because we want to make sure that we can learn from the community. We want to make sure that we work on how we embrace the principles of distributed trust and distributed power, despite the fact that we are, yes, a central platform,” Mosseri stated.
Instagram’s integration of NFTs comes at a poor time for digital tokens powered by the blockchain. Having previously sold at 225,000 pieces a day, the market for NFTs is down 92% in nine months, representing a staggering drop in interest in digital art.
Also in the news:
Oguri appoints Dietmar Weigl as Senior Director of Publisher Development in Central Europe
Broadsign announces support for System-on-Chip smart displays and solutions
– Smart Boosts summer campaigns for advertisers with custom auction packages
– IAS expands partnership with TikTok to measure viewability and invalid traffic globally