Tech Roundup / Psst. HOT Makes Offer You Can’t Refuse, Because You Can’t See It

Buffett makes second Israeli purchase, Alibaba invests in Quixey.

HOT offer you can’t refuse, because you don’t notice it: How, how did Aviad’s monthly bill from triple-play TV/phone company HOT increase by 9% from July to August? HOT upgraded his phone service from 500 minutes a month (to which he’d agreed) to unlimited, at a higher price. Never mind that he didn’t use the 500 either. The extra cost: from NIS 48 a month to NIS 57. HOT also upgraded his surfing speed from 12 to 30 megabit, costing not NIS 62 but NIS 86 a month. And HOT began charging him for the use of HOT Magic Disk, whatever that is, for NIS 5 a month. This Aviad’s bill grew by 9% month to month without his prior knowledge, let alone consent. Having been a customer for 10 years, he feels irked they didn’t call to ask first. HOT points out that it had written in his July bill that his service package was expiring and he should be in touch; and adds that if he was paying list price, it would run him a lot more.

Buffett buys second Israeli company: Berkshire Hathaway unit TTI is buying Israeli electronics company Ray-Q Interconnect, though it won’t say for how much, assuming the Israeli regulators smiles on the deal. Ray-Q supplies connectivity gear to the military and aerospace industries

China’s Alibaba invests $50 million in Quixey: None other than the Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba has invested in Quixey, an Israel-born “functional search” engine that helps people search for mobile apps. The company raised a stunning $50 million from Alibaba and venture backers, bringing its total raised beyond $74 million. Quixey forges alliances with makers of mobile devices, mobile operators, app stores and the like to help surfers find apps they’d like by typing in a query, for instance, “Find photos of hyenas." Founded by Israelis, Quixey is headquartered in Mountain View, California.

Streamlining HP firing 30 in Yehud: Hewlett-Packard is firing 30 people from its 6,500-man workforce in Israel, pursuant to efficiency measures announced in May. The Yehud facility is based on Mercury Interactive, which HP acquired in July 2006, and which develops software optimization software. To put things into proportion, in May the restructuring tech giant said it would be firing 27,000 people, or 8% of its global workforce.

Pursway raises $7.2 million: Big data startup Pursway last week announced it has raised $7.2 million from venture capital funds, which it intends to funnel into improving its analytical product. The company’s Influencer Marketing Management software pinpoints the people whose opinions make a difference in this Internet age, meaning the people who are sort of walking viral effects – a flattering description if ever there was one. The company says it has access to data on 100 million American users. To date Pursway has raised $30 million. It has 30 employees.

Not on iMessage: Just when you stopped spanking your cat for downloading the new operating system iOS7 to your iPhone 5S – and it wasn’t even his fault, poor beast – now you find you can’t send text messages. Or get them. Apple has admitted a tiny fraction of the people who downloaded and actually installed iOS7 can’t use iMessage, though they can text by other software. For some users, simply closing down then restarting iMessage does the trick. Apple says the next version of iOS7 should have a fix for the bug. Now go apologize to your cat and give him a chicken leg.

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