You could forgive Chris Moore of Redpoint Ventures for feeling a little pleased with himself today. Moore was the man who backed Right Media with a sizeable $12m solo investment back in 2005. He isn’t saying what kind of stake that money bought. Typically, though, investors in a first round of venture funding would look for around 20 per cent. If that is what Redpoint bought, that stake has just turned into $170m with Yahoo’s agreement to acquire the company.
Some people tiptoe around controversy. Others embrace it wholeheartedly. That certainly seems to be the case with iYogi, an Indian startup specialising in providing remote tech support for US computer users. Rather than downplay the fact that its computer brainiacs are sitting in New Delhi rather than New York iYogi has based its business model on it.
On Wednesday, iYogi closed a $3m investment round with partners including Canaan Partners and Silcon Valley Bank. The round was the second Indian investment for Canaan, which opened an office an India last year. Their other Indian investment is BharatMatrimony, a ‘dating site’ for Indian couples looking for arranged marriages. It seems Canaan may be onto something here.
Buried in Microsoft’s latest quarterly earnings is some surprisingly positive news about efforts to turn around the struggling online services division. Sure, this is long overdue (see Site under construction, please return next year.) The gap with Google is still getting bigger. But at least it shows that not all hope is lost.
Apparently, Microsoft’s online advertising revenue rose 23 per cent in the latest three months. The display business grew in line with the market as a whole.
Rupert Murdoch’s wife Wendi may be on the board of MySpace China, but the way the new venture’s CEO tells it, the famously interventionist News Corp mogul will play next to no role in how it is run.
Local executives will be in full control of MySpace China’s operations, technology development and marketing, insisted CEO Luo Chuan on Thursday, ahead of the launch of a beta test version of the www.myspace.cn site.
You thought time had moved on and the inanities of the dotcom days were all in the past? You thought wrong. Not only are consumer internet companies once again being valued on the number of eyeballs they can attract: there still isn’t any agreement on how to count those eyeballs in first place.
In the age of Google and pay-per-click advertising, this might come as a surprise. After all, the Web is meant to be the ultimate performance-driven medium, a place where you can find small niche audiences and track the effectiveness of ads in real time.
Those in search of the latest trends in technology and what it will mean for their businesses have converged on the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo: Emerging Trends in San Francisco this week.
The conference has been built around eight mega-trends identified by Gartner analysts, including the globalisation of supply and demand, the commoditisation of the tech sector, the virtualisation of IT and the socialising of technology.
Martin Reynolds, Gartner vice president, gave me his thoughts on the consumerisation of IT.
He showed how his non-work cellphone could access his office emails with the help of the latest version of Microsoft Exchange Server. It allowed a port to be safely opened to the company’s network that would satisfy the security concerns of the IT department.
He sees consumer-focused companies such as Apple, Google and Sony having a big effect on enterprise IT. The Apple iPhone when it comes out is not expected to be able to connect to business email systems in the way that a Blackberry can. Mr Reynolds said he did not think it would have virtual private network (VPN) software. This would challenge IT when influential executives turned up at work and demanded connectivity to the company network.
Google was doing its best to disintermediate IT, said Mr Reynolds, with its browser-based applications and its provision of a vast infrastructure for users.
He feels Google and others, such as Yahoo, Microsoft, Sony and Amazon, could challenge IT departments and traditional infrastructure providers by offering spare capacity on their own online networks to enterprises.
IT departments need to adjust to some new realities, he said.
"IT is no longer about how we run the computers, it’s about how we make the business better, how do I increase revenues rather than how do I decrease costs."
The list of British websites successful in the US cannot be a long one, but cheapflights.com says it figures right at the top.
David Soskin, chief executive, who is in San Francisco for the ad:tech conference, told us unique visitors had now reached around 3m a month, meaning the US site, less than five years old, was now as popular as cheapflights.co.uk, founded in 1996.
The Web 2.0 version of presidential elections is gaining momentum.
Yahoo!, The Huffington Post and Slate have announced plans for two online-only presidential debates for the 2008 campaign. They will take place after Labor Day, with one featuring Democratic candidates and the other Republican ones.
Despite Sony trumpeting PlayStation 3 sales in Europe this week, the next-generation console has still to catch fire in the US.
Official March sales figures just out from the NPD Group show 130,000 PS3s were sold here, compared to 199,000 units of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and 259,000 Nintendo Wiis.
Software vendors beware. The UK’s small to medium-sized businesses appear to have the most lax attitudes in Europe to using illegal software. According to a new study by the Business Software Alliance, 41 per cent of UK SMEs believe there is no risk from using pirated software. “No risk” in this case, means they fear no risk of either prosecution or computer problems that pirate programs might cause.
The rest of Europe appears to be more law-abiding. Only 7 per cent of French SMEs believe illegal software is risk-free. This rises to 10 per cent in the Netherlands, 18 per cent in Germany, 21 per cent in Italy and 26 per cent in Spain.