Monthly Archives: November 2009

Chris Nuttall

Activision Blizzard may have the biggest selling game of all time at launch on its hands with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, but the performance of two other key franchises is under scrutiny.

Tony Hawk: Ride, was released today , with a new skateboard accessory. It follows the October 27 launch of DJ Hero, an extension of the Guitar Hero franchise, using model turntables rather than instruments. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Apologies for our second post of the day on social gaming, but the news just keeps on coming in this hot area for the industry.

In fact, the arrival of Twitter and Facebook on the Xbox today is not social gaming in the strictest sense, and the emergence from stealth mode of social game developer CrowdStar is unlikely to frighten Zynga (newly financed as we reported earlier), but both events are worthy of note. Read more

David Gelles

Zynga, the largest social gaming company, has raised an additional $15m in funding, in yet another sign that this nascent industry has quickly become big business in the Valley.

The San Francisco company, which operates games on Facebook, MySpace, and Apple devices, has attracted nearly 200m monthly users to its games. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Maija Palmer reports in today’s Business Life section on the growth of mega data centres:

In the middle of a scrubby business park on the outskirts of Dublin, a hulking grey building has recently sprung up. It is protected by high, spiked railings and two sets of steel security barriers that are thick enough to stop a tank. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Stephen Fry was crowned “King of Twitter” at this morning’s 140 Conference, a London seminar about the “state of now” organised by entrepreneur Jeff Pulver.

Mr Fry used a large part of his time on stage at the O2 to defend twittering celebrities such as himself and attack “deadwood” newspapers. For Mr Fry, who has over 1m followers on the messaging site, the former is the solution to the failings of the latter.

“I know how much contempt the world has for us as a breed,” he said of “that awful object, the celebrity twitterer”. “But it has driven Twitter.” Read more

Chris Nuttall

Apparently robotic hamsters are the cute must-have gift this Christmas, but, as they’re in short supply, the Palm Pixi might make a good alternative.

Palm’s newest smartphone, made available on November 15 on the Sprint network in the US, has a cuddly form factor you can almost fit in your palm and an interface to coo over. Read more

David Gelles

The FT’s editorial page takes issue with the EU Commission’s involvement in the Oracle / Sun deal:

The mere possibility that a $7.4bn technology merger in California might be blocked by regulators nearly half the world away over a fly-speck of a business shows how odd the dispute over Oracle’s proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems has become. Read more

Richard Waters

Nowhere was the anger at Google’s original digital books plan greater than in Germany, where it was seen as blatant cultural imperialism.

So you’d think that Friday night’s news that German books (along with most of the world’s non-English language publications) would now be excluded from the vast digital library would have been greeted with joy. Read more

Richard Waters

One of Silicon Valley’s most ambitious “green” start-ups looks like it’s about to join the consolidation that’s sweeping through the solar industry.

Ausra, which was backed by more than $90m in equity from blue-blooded venture capital firms like Kleiner Perkins and  Khosla Ventures, is in talks with three potential acquirers, according to a person familiar with the situation. Possibilities range from a full buy-out of the firm to a majority investment, this person says.

Originally from Australia (hence the name), Ausra’s founders were lured to California two years ago by the flood of VC money that was pouring into solar at the time. Their company is founded on concentrated solar thermal (CST) technology, which uses mirrors to focus the sun’s rays in order to heat water and drive a turbine. Read more

Chris Nuttall

On this Friday’s FT techtalk, we were joined by Robert Scoble, one of the best known tech bloggers and social media evangelists.

Robert has more than 50,000 subscribers on Friendfeed and 100,000 plus followers on Twitter. He works for Rackspace, is constructing an internet community at Building43 and writes at

We discussed the week’s tech news, social media trends and the latest gadgets. There’s an archived transcript of the chat after the jump. Read more

Richard Waters

Despite signs that the over-heated rhetoric is cooling down a bit, it’s too soon to predict a compromise in the transatlantic falling-out over Oracle’s plan to buy Sun.

European competition commissioner Neelie Kroes was more measured in her comments to reporters on Wednesday, suggesting that some sort of agreement might be possible that would protect competition in the database market and allow the dispute to blow over. That certainly sounded less punchy than her own spokesman’s attack on Oracle earlier in the week as “facile and superficial”. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Working from home on Friday, I noted 17 cars, 10 people and a squirrel come and go in our small cul-de-sac.

Not that I spent most of the time looking out of the window – I was just trying out new motion-detecting webcam software from Vitamin D, inspired by the way humans recognise patterns. It has been released in a free public beta from Monday. Read more

David Gelles

Twitter and LinkedIn will start letting users sync their accounts starting Tuesday, allowing posts from LinkedIn to appear in Twitter streams, and vice versa. It’s a move aimed at the growing base of business users who take advantage of social networking sites.

LinkedIn, with more than 50m members, is the largest professional network on the web. Twitter, meanwhile, has become a favourite social site for brands, marketers and self promoters (not to mention idle worker bees).

The partnership makes a good bit of sense, and could prove useful. Read more

Richard Waters

Cisco has been on a buying binge as it moves into the collaboration software market. But it has yet to address one overriding question: where’s the glue that will turn an interesting collection of pieces into a coherent whole?

The latest evidence of Cisco’s ambition is on display at its Collaboration Summit, which is taking place in San Francisco the first three days of this week. Among the new products it has unveiled: its first Web-based corporate email service (for as little as $3.50 a month per user) and a social-networking portal for employees to connect with each other.

All well and good. But how do all the pieces fit together? Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The mobile advertising market was supposed to be asleep right now.

Conventional wisdom runs that mobile ads – tantalised by claims that this would be the “year of mobile” for roughly the last decade – would take a sideline in the recession as experimental ad budgets were squashed even more than everything else.

So the timing of Google’s $750m all-stock acquisition of Admob is interesting. Read more

Richard Waters

Things at Sun Microsystems do not seem to be quite as bad as Larry Ellison has been suggesting.

The Oracle boss said in late September that Sun was losing $100m a month as European regulators put its $7.4bn acquisition on hold. Then, a month later, Sun announced plans to sack 3,000 workers – a move that was widely seen as having been caused by the European delay.

The latest quarterly figures from Sun, filed with the SEC on Friday, paint a slightly different picture. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Droid, the most hyped Android phone to date – even Google promoted it on its home page today – is finally available to buy in Verizon Wireless stores.

More than 100 people queued at midnight outside a midtown Manhattan store to be among the first members of the public to get their hands on one.

I’ve been lucky enough to have one on loan for more than a week now, so here’s my assessment after the jump of whether it has been worth the wait and queues. Read more

Richard Waters

You just know that this is not the end.

It’s like one of those bad soap operas. There’s a big family wedding coming up and the distant European cousins aren’t invited. It leads to some vicious public name-calling. Eventually everyone calms down and the cousins are invited after all, though some other guests have be thrown off the list to make room for them.

But as soon as they all get in the same room again, it won’t take long for the bad feelings to return. You just know. Read more

Chris Nuttall

In this week’s FT techtalk, we discussed how the dotcom world is bubbling along again, the tech industry is rebounding and the video game sector is about to be lifted by a rocket-propelled grenade or two.

We also took a peek at a new Twitter device, looked at the newest phones and brought you the breaking news on the resolution to the Skype dispute. Read our multimedia transcript below and join us next time live for FT Techtalk. Read more

This is probably as good as it gets for D-ram industry consolidation in Taiwan. ProMOS, which stood on the brink of bankruptcy for much of the past year, was assured of new business on Friday when it signed an agreement to provide manufacturing services to Japan’s Elpida. Elpida will also licence the technology needed to produce future generations of D-ram chips to ProMOS. Read more