Monthly Archives: May 2009

Chris Nuttall

HDMI - the one-cable alternative to the spaghetti of audio and video connections behind home theatre set-ups – is adding ethernet to its capabilities as the internet comes to the television and living room.

A new proliferation of wires threatens, with internet-connected games consoles, set-top boxes and even TV sets linked by ethernet cables. However, HDMI ‘s 1.4 specification, announced today, means such data requirements can now be absorbed in its next-generation cable instead. Read more

  • A Yahoo / Microsoft deal could still be struck if it involved “a boatload of money.” That was the word from Carol Bartz, Yahoo’s chief executive, who said her company is no longer in serious talks with Microsoft over a deal to combine their search efforts. But she acknowledged that negotiations between the two companies were continuing “a little bit”.
  • Time Warner is close to a decision to spin off all of its AOL internet business, according to three people in contact with the company. Although a decision has not yet been finalised, executives prefer spinning off the whole division rather than a part. Over the past year, Time Warner has considered spinning off either its advertising-driven “audience business” or its legacy dial-up internet business, they say.

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Joseph Menn, San Francisco-based technology correspondent, reports from AllThingsD, the annual tech conference put on by News Corp in Carlsbad, California:

Yahoo’s Carol Bartz, who took over as CEO in January, impressed a tough crowd, getting more sustained applause after her onstage interview than the two young men who run yesterday’s New New Thing, Twitter.

Bartz came across as sensible and plain spoken, the logical sort of manager to straighten out an inherited organisation chart that appeared made of spaghetti. Read more

Richard Waters

Watch out Microsoft: Google is trying to up the pace in its attempt to turn the Web into a platform for applications that fully matches today’s computer operating systems.

That was the clear message today at the company’s annual developer conference in San Francisco, which attracted 4,000 people.

The focus of Google’s pitch: HTML5, the next version of the internet markup language, which should exploit more of the capabilities in browsers to produce richer applications and experiences. Among the things Google showed off today were 3D graphics running inside a browser, a way to parcel out computing resources more efficiently so that browsers can handle much heavier workloads, and tools to make browser-based apps continue to function even when offline. Read more

New York media correspondent Kenneth Li reports:

Not all subscribers are born equal.

Imagine my surprise when I, a faithful subscriber to The New Yorker on Amazon’s Kindle, was denied full access to the NewYorker.com.

That’s what happened yesterday after I tried to pull up a copy of the much-discussed Carlos Slim profile in the latest edition of The New Yorker from its website, but was denied access. It is restricted to print subscribers.

Like other periodicals eyeing a bleak print advertising future, The New Yorker has begun restricting full website access to those who pay for the print copy or pay specifically for the right to access the site. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Chris  Bryant, our correspondent in Berlin, reports on how an inquiry began today into the leaking by German MPs of last Saturday’s presidential election result on Twitter.  (Psssst! Horst Köhler (pictured centre) was the winner.)

Continue reading “German MPs under fire over Twitter leak”

Chris Nuttall

While François Truffaut harshly argued that Britain and cinema were incompatible terms, the same condemnation could justifiably apply to mobile phones and web browsers.

The two just haven’t mixed well. Displaying a standard web page on a small screen has often meant unacceptable squinting and scrolling. Data connections have tended to be slow and problematic, while the lack of multimedia plug-ins has ruled out video and audio being played. Read more

Richard Waters

Unlike a certain other internet mogul we could name, Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t actually been to Russia – though not for lack of trying.

When we caught up with him to talk about Russian firm DST’s $200m investment in Facebook (our earlier coverage is here and here), he confessed to having tried – and failed – to get into Russia when he took time off last year to travel around Europe.

Mr Zuckerberg’s description of what happened sounds like something that any other 20-something ex-college student on a European backpacking tour could relate to (even if they don’t own their own internet companies.) Read more

  • Facebook accepted a $200m investment from Digital Sky Technologies, a private Russian internet investment group, valuing the fast-growing social network’s preferred stock at $10bn. The unlikely union gives Facebook an additional cash cushion, but the $10bn valuation is a come down. Just a year and a half ago, Microsoft invested $240m on similar terms, but valued Facebook’s preferred stock at $15bn.
  • Psystar, the Florida company that was making unauthorised clones of Apple computers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The move puts at least a temporary end to Apple’s lawsuit against the company, and could indicate that Psystar’s backers have pulled out, anticipating a victory by Apple in court.

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Today’s $200m investment in Facebook by Digital Sky Technologies values the companies preferred stock at $10bn. That’s just two-thirds of what Microsoft valued Facebook at in late 2007, when it invested $240m. The FT’s Lex column examines the difficulty inherant in valuing a private company:

Privacy is a wonderful thing. With a straight face one can say that a company is worth several billion dollars having not produced a single fact to back it up. Similarly the debate about Facebook’s valuation is somewhat futile. There are simply not enough numbers to construct a meaningful picture of the social network’s finances. Read more