Berlin’s bid for London’s tech talent

Media captionRory Cellan-Jones reports: "Suddenly technology incubators like The Factory are springing up [in Berlin], housing all sorts of ambitious new tech firms"

London and Berlin - two great European cities with much to offer technology companies.

But now the German capital sees a chance to steal a march on its rival and perhaps take over as Europe's leading technology cluster.

Soon after the Brexit vote, letters began arriving from Germany at a number of small London technology companies.

One of them was addressed to Maz Nadjm, founder of SoAmpli - a social media advertising agency based just off the Silicon Roundabout on the fringes of the City.

The letter came from the office of Berlin's senator for technology and industry.

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Has the UK got Tech Talent?

Woman at keyboard with Google logo behind Image copyright Google

Across BBC News outlets this week, under the banner Tech Talent, we are asking whether the UK can compete in the global technology industry - and why we haven't produced a tech giant on the scale of Google or Apple. Here are my thoughts on those questions.

In the last ten days I've met the founder of a British games company which is still independent after a quarter of a century, and about to launch one of Sony's first virtual reality titles.

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Three calls for curb on BT’s mobile ambitions

UK mobile phone Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Spectrum previously used by the Ministry of Defence and sports broadcasters will soon be auctioned off

BT is already in the firing line over its dominant position in the broadband market, with pressure on the regulator, Ofcom, to be tougher in policing it. Now, there is a call for the telecoms giant's wings to be clipped in its new role - as the UK's most powerful mobile operator.

When the year began, it looked as though we would soon have just three giant players slugging it out in the mobile market. BT's merger with EE, and Three's takeover of O2 would leave them battling Vodafone for supremacy.

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Amazon Dash - who wants to live in a push-button world?

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Amazon's UK customers can now push a button when they run out of toilet rolls or washing powder - and within 24 hours a package will arrive at the front door.

You can see the launch of the Dash service in two ways. It's either another miraculous piece of innovation from the e-commerce giant that will make our lives simpler, or a scary sign that lazy consumers are yet again handing far too much power to a US technology firm.

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EU takes on Apple, Ireland and the United States

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Image caption The European Commission says Ireland should recover up to €13bn (£11bn) from Apple in back taxes

How should we tax giant technology companies that are able to move money, operations, and often digital goods across borders with increasing ease?

That is at the heart of today's European ruling.

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Signing up the e-sports stars

Media captionMeet the Premier League's first e-sports player

I've been spending time this week off my usual beat with one of West Ham United's summer signings. Even diehard fans of the Premier League club may however be unfamiliar with Sean Allen. That's because Sean - also known as Dragonn - has made his name not as the new striker the Hammers need but as a champion player of the Fifa video game.

In May, West Ham became the first Premier League club to sign an e-sports player, followed in July by Manchester City who signed up Kieran "Kez" Brown. Both clubs believe that e-sports are about to take off in a big way and this kind of move will show their fans and the gaming community that they are serious about getting involved.

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Can podcasts turn a profit?

Headphone wearer Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption People are enjoying a wave of new, meticulously produced podcasts

For most of its short history, podcasting has been a largely amateur business, with few signs that it might become a mass medium that would prove attractive either to advertisers or subscribers. Then Serial changed all that.

The true-life crime series about a murder and a possible miscarriage of justice attracted hundreds of millions of downloads - and transformed the way advertisers saw podcasting.

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Can a computer copy your handwriting?

Media captionWATCH: Could a computer copy your handwriting?

Researchers at University College London have taught a computer to imitate anyone's handwriting.

They have created an algorithm that can take a sample of handwritten text, examine its qualities, and then write any text in the same style.

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Broadband deals - is the fog clearing?

woman stressed at laptop Image copyright Thinkstock

Spend half an hour shopping for a broadband deal and you may want to go and lie down in a darkened room for a while.

The adverts bamboozle you with special offers that will expire after six months, put the line rental cost in the small print, and promise you "up to" speeds which you suspect will never be delivered.

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Facebook's drones - made in Britain

Media captionFacebook's Aquila drone takes to the air

In a warehouse in Somerset, the latest phase in Facebook's bid for world domination has been taking shape.

Or, to put it less dramatically, the social network's plan to connect millions in developing countries is proceeding.

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