Monthly Archives: March 2012

Tim Bradshaw

PeerIndex, Europe’s answer to Klout, has raised a Series A round of funding to build out its “social influence marketing” platform.

Investors in the $3m (£1.9m) financing include specialist firms Anthemis Group and Antrak Capital and a handful of individual angels, including Tom Glocer, former chief executive of Thomson Reuters, and Sherry Coutu, stalwart of European tech firms including Lovefilm and Artfinder, and a LinkedIn board member. Read more

As it turns its attention to making some serious money, Twitter recently moved to introduce ads on mobile apps. This week, however, the company decided to spend a little, with its acquisition of Posterous, a social blogging site. Posterous users worried about the future of the service and tech observers speculated whether Twitter would integrate the two services. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Samsung and Apple may be locked in a smartphone and tablet war and concomitant patent disputes, but the Korean manufacturer may be responsible for more than half the cost in component terms of the new iPad, which went on sale on Friday.

A “teardown” by the IHS iSuppli research firm reveals Samsung is supplying the new Retina high-definition display, its applications processor, the Nand Flash memory in some cases and probably the battery as well. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The new iPad isn’t the only Apple product getting a high-definition makeover on Friday, with a new version of Apple TV also going on sale.

The $99 box (#99 in the UK) has been upgraded from 720p to 1080p “Full HD”, making its movies and photos look better on a big-screen TV. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The photos of the new iPad look just like the old one’s. Read the specifications – denser pixels, faster graphics, better connectivity, improved camera – and the changes seem predictable and incremental.

But pick up the new iPad, gaze at the incredible detail and vibrant colours in its screen, transform your photos with a few touches on the new iPhoto app, and that old black magic from Apple is back. Read more

Chris Nuttall

If Apple is not ready to re-imagine the tablet yet, all credit to Sony for trying to do so with its wedge-shaped Tablet S, favourably reviewed last year, and now the clam-styled Tablet P, which was launched in the UK (£500) in December but has only been available in the US, with AT&T ($550, plan not required), since this month.

The P is petite enough to slip into a jacket pocket when folded and seems a more natural accessory than the smaller slates that can do so – it’s like taking a wallet or diary out when opening it. Read more

To have good taste, George Bernard Shaw once suggested, is to lack originality.

If so, then it has never been easier to show off your good taste online. A group of fast-growing websites, led by companies such as Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest, is benefiting from what has become one of the most prevalent forms of internet behaviour: a desire simply to echo – and re-echo – the words, images and videos produced by someone else.

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Maija Palmer

The frenzy to invest in mobile payments providers continues with Boku, the San Francisco-based start-up raising $35m, in a funding round led by Telefónica Digital. It will take the total raised by the mobile transactions company to more than $75m since 2008.

Investors in this round also included New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Never let it be said that the UK entertainment industry is failing to embrace the digital world. The last few months have seen a rush of huge new entrants to the online TV and film market, starting with Tesco’s acquisition of Blinkbox and swiftly followed by HMV, Currys/PC World and Netflix.  Read more

Richard Waters

With the European Union’s competition authorities getting close to a decision on whether to take action against Google, US regulators have also been pushing ahead with their own investigation into complaints against the company. The latest sign: Siva Kumar, chief executive of TheFind, a “shopping search engine”,  tells us he is due to meet with the Federal Trade Commission soon to make his case that the search giant has unfairly hurt his company. Read more

Last month Mark Thompson, the BBC’s director-general, pointed the finger at the Iranian authorities for allegedly intimidating employees at its Persian service.

Now the corporation’s chief is taking things a step further by accusing Iran of masterminding a “sophisticated cyber-attack” that involved jamming satellite feeds in an effort to wreak havoc with broadcasts into the country. Read more

Maija Palmer

A little bit of much-needed consolidation is finally taking place in the European Venture Capital industry. On Wednesday DFJ Esprit and Tempo Capital announced plans to merge their secondary investment businesses.

Tempo is a specialist in this market of buying existing venture capital investments, and DFJ has been dipping its toes in since 2007 when it bought out Cazenove’s venture capital fund. Read more

The company that brought you AOL-Time Warner has become more careful about old media-new media investments. So it was little surprise that CNN, Time Warner’s cable news division, greeted a Reuters report that it was about to buy Mashable warily.

“We do not engage in speculation about our business and we aren’t commenting on those reports,” was the canned response. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Spotify is to open its doors in Germany this week in the digital music service’s biggest launch since coming to the US last year.

It is the latest example of a digital music firm growing its global footprint as record labels become increasingly bullish on subscription services.  Read more

The iPad was on everyone’s lips this week, even if there was puzzlement over what exactly to call the third generation tablet. It was not the iPad 3 or iPad HD as expected, but “the new iPad,” according to Apple. Name apart, the latest version’s hardware divided fans into two camps: those who were disappointed by the modest changes and those who claimed the announcement was “truly huge” for Apple.

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Chris Nuttall

It’s nice to see social gaming companies being sociable with one another – employees of Wooga, the third largest on Facebook, were mingling happily at Zynga’s headquarters on Wednesday night during its Happy Hour as part of the 2012 Game Developers Conference, being held here in San Francisco this week.

Mark Pincus, Zynga chief executive, held an off-the-record dinner with we the media in another part of this rented building, which Zynga said on Monday it would now buy for $228m. I had on-the-record chats with Zynga’s three closest rivals Electronic Arts, Wooga and King.com on the fringes of GDC, with King.com’s CEO revealing its plans to join Zynga in going public. Highlights from those conversations after the jump. Read more

Joe Green, NationBuilder co-founder

In the summer of 2004, Joe Green, then 21, lived in a trailer with a 70-year old roommate in the 120-degree Arizona desert, while his college friends holed up in a house in Silicon Valley were building a website called TheFacebook.

Green led the grassroots campaign for John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, for four months in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, mobilising local residents to knock on their neighbours’ doors and win votes for Kerry.

Today he’s become the president of NationBuilder, a start-up company that builds software to make jobs like the one he toiled at during that hot summer easier. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Photography takes the same kind of leap as black-and-white movies to colour or music from mono to multi-track with the Lytro – a camera that captures light rays and their direction, allowing incredible manipulation of images after they are taken.

The subject of the latest Personal Technology column, the Lytro is an amusement for now, but is likely to change photography radically in the long run. Read more

In the afterglow of Apple’s big iPad 3 reveal yesterday comes the somewhat souring realisation for its legions of European fans that they will not be able to use the much hyped 4G capabilities for some time, if at all on this device, writes Dan Thomas.

Sure, they will get the high-definition screen and the spruced up processor, but Europeans will not be able to happily “facetime” 4G LTE iPad owners in North America on super speedy mobile broadband. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

A recent FT series on the state of the UK’s tech industry asked if Britain had what it takes to  go head to head with Silicon Valley in building great new global companies.

Financing, ideas and ambition were the three areas where British start-ups are often seen as struggling, but news from Songkick, a social network for gig-goers based in Shoreditch, shows that the UK can succeed in all three.

Songkick has become the first UK company to receive an investment from Sequoia Capital, one of Silicon Valley’s best-known venture capital firms having formerly invested in Apple, Google and YouTube to name but a few. Read more