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Monthly Archives: April 2009
- Time Warner moved closer to spinning off AOL, while at the same time reporting a 14 per cent decline in quarterly net profit due to a drop in online and print advertising. Disposing of AOL would untangle what many consider one of the worst mergers in US corporate history, one that has lost shareholders more than $100bn.
- Google lost its fourth high-profile executive since March, with the departure of display ad chief David Rosenblatt, the former chief executive of DoubleClick, which Google acquired last year. Mr Rosenblatt reportedly doesn’t have another job lined up yet, but is aiming to leave Silicon Valley and move to New York.
When I caught up with Bill Hambrecht on Wednesday, he certainly wasn’t overflowing with sympathy for venture capitalists (the NVCA just launched a campaign to counter what it claims are structural obstacles that discourage young companies from seeking a listing on Wall Street, hurting VC returns.)
Asked why there weren’t more IPOs even before the financial crisis took hold, the veteran Silicon Valley financier had this to say: “I think what the [venture capitalists] really don’t like are the valuations.”
Sony opened its online kingdom Free Realms on Wednesday – its response to the success of the browser-based role-playing game, Runescape.
- Sun Microsystems, which last week agreed to be purchased by Oracle for $7.4bn, reported sharp losses in the opening months of this year, highlighting the impact of the recession on the computer systems company. In a departure from protocol, Sun did not host the usual conference call with investors and analysts following results.
- IBM responded to the collapse of its own takeover offer for Sun this month with an announcement that it would return more cash to its shareholders instead in the form of a higher dividend and increased stock buy-back plan.
Thumb-operated mini-Qwerty keyboards, virtual keypads and touch interfaces may all have their place, but perhaps the most logical interface for the mobile phone is voice?
Intel, which believes in investing during a downturn to the tune of spending $7bn on new manufacturing facilities over the next two years, is trying to persuade its customers to think the same way.
Eager to see what all the fuss is about, millions of people around the world are signing up to send their first “tweets.” Unique users of Twitter grew by more than 100 per cent in March, and are now estimated at 14m.
But it turns out most of those users are determining that the fuss isn’t about all that much, after all. A full 60 per cent of new Twitter users fail to tweet again the following month, according to Nielsen vice president of primary research David Martin.
For a little while it looked like things were looking up for Phorm, the internet advertising technology company. There had been a year of controversy about the company’s technology which monitors internet users web surfing behaviour at the ISP level – a technique known as “deep packet inspection”, which has raised accusations of spying with some privacy activists.
But at the beginning of the year, things went quiet. There were a few positive statements about targeted advertising from UK officials like Stephen Carter, and the company launched a trial with KT, the Korean broadband provider.
- Verizon Communications has held talks with Apple about selling versions of either the iPhone or other Apple devices in the US. Currently AT&T is the exclusive distributor of the iPhone in the US, and the company was reportedly trying to extend that deal for another year. A lucrative deal with Apple would be a coup for Verizon, which reported strong quarterly profits from its growing mobile business.
- Qualcomm, the world’s biggest maker of chips for mobile phones, put an end to legal wrangling by settling a four-year patent dispute with rival Broadcom. Qualcomm has agreed to pay Broadcom $891m over four years in exchange for the dismissal of all court cases and Broadcom withdrawing its complaints about Qualcomm’s business practices.