It feels as if Wall Street is moving westward, and that US investors, having been caught up in the mortgage boom, have instead turned their attention to the opportunities on the west coast.
The National Venture Capital Association has unveiled figures showing that the industry had its best start to the year in terms of fund-raising since 2001, raising about $7.1bn in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, Matthew Garrahan writes in the FT about the keiretsu-like Raine merchant bank, which is raising $500m from a range of Illuminati from Silicon Valley and Hollywood including Eric Schmidt of Google and Sean Parker of Facebook etc. Read more
Twitter’s fifth birthday today comes as AT&T’s announces it wants to buy T-Mobile USA for $39bn to form the largest US mobile provider. The two events are more than a coincidence.
AT&T produced some slides for its announcement showing the rapid growth in mobile data use – 8,000 per cent over four years according to its calculations – and is justifying the acquisition partly by warning of spectrum exhaustion.
Twitter, meanwhile, is the first big social media company to be conceived with mobile in mind. It’s 140-character limit for messages was based on the original 160-character limit for phone text messages. Read more
The platform wars have returned. The past few days have brought an outbreak of hostilities between Apple and Adobe, and tensions between Twitter and the companies that make software clients that let people tweet.
The facts are different, but the underlying story is the same. Many software and internet companies aspire to be platforms for which others compete to make applications and services. Becoming a platform entrenches them and (usually) their profitability.
The most famous beneficiary of such a network effect was, of course, Microsoft, which established Windows as the biggest PC operating system, and enjoyed years of growth as a result.
For a few years, the explosive growth of the internet – the ultimate open platform – has put many such rivalries into abeyance. Now, they are rearing up again. Read more