Monthly Archives: May 2012

Chris Nuttall

Just in time for the big computer show of the year – Computex in Taiwan next week – Microsoft is announcing a new version of Windows 8 and its longtime partner Intel has launched new versions of its latest Ivy Bridge-codenamed Core processors.

Both seem certain to be featured in new Ultrabooks later this year, although models unveiled at Computex will still feature Windows 7 and be Windows 8-ready, judging by briefings by PC manufacturers ahead of the show. Read more

Richard Waters

Speaking at the D: All Things Digital conference in California on Wednesday, former Morgan Stanley internet analyst Mary Meeker summed it up succinctly: it is hard to overstate the scale of the shift to mobile access, but ways of making money lag woefully behind.

Ms Meeker, now a partner at Kleiner Perkins, laid out her analysis in the annual slideshow in which she sums up the big forces at work in the internet industry. Slides after the jump. Read more

Richard Waters

Google’s first Chromebook sought to do a couple of things really well – and largely succeeded.

But because laptops need to do more than a couple of things, the Chromebook didn’t sell. Ultimately, it represented too much of a break with the PC. That makes the compromises built into the new Chromebook, which goes on sale in the US on Tuesday and the UK on Wednesday, an important step towards making it a more practical machine. Read more

Chris Nuttall

For those preferring Windows and a lower-priced all-in-one PC to Apple’s 27in iMac, Dell is offering its first 27in XPS all-in-one from today.

The XPS One 27 is priced from $1,400 – $300 cheaper than the comparable iMac – and I was impressed by the brightness and resolution of the screen in a demonstration – it offers the same 2560×1440 “Quad HD”, meaning four times the resolution of 720p HDTV. Read more

Now we know what people mean when they say merger integration is torture. Former staff at Autonomy, the UK software company bought by Hewlett-Packard less than a year ago, say submitting to the US company’s “stifling” bureaucratic procedures felt “like being water-boarded”.

In turn, Meg Whitman, HP’s chief executive, has blamed “classic entrepreneurial company scaling challenges” for Autonomy’s “very disappointing” latest quarter. She has ditched Mike Lynch, the British group’s outspoken founder, often lauded in the UK as a hero of the homegrown technology sector.

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Was Facebook’s IPO a flop? Following the social networking company’s rollercoaster week of trading, that was the question at the heart of much of the debate with tech commentators. Read more

Wahoo Blue HR

Health and sports performance monitoring are benefiting from new forms of connectivity, as apps and devices record our activities and vital signs, and link them to a variety of analytical services. This week a heart monitor, weighing scales and a bicycle camera are the focus of a fitness gadget workout.

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When Ayush Agarwal decided to look for love, he thought carefully about his likes and dislikes. The 28-year-old product manager at Google, who lives in San Francisco, loves Apple products. So he signed up to Cupidtino, a dating website for Apple fanboys and fangirls.

“The idea of pivoting my dating life around Mac ladies was intriguing,” he says. “It’s definitely a solid conversation starter. Also, having a Mac girlfriend would mean that I wouldn’t end up becoming [her] tech support”.

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Maija Palmer

After the excitement of Facebook’s $104bn IPO and the subsequent fall in its shares, something more modest is coming onto London’s alternative investment market.

Incadea, an Austrian company that provides software for BMW and other car dealerships, will raise around £17m on Friday, in a stock market float expected to value the company at £47m.

It’s a lot smaller than Facebook, but it is a rare technology listing in London, where the tech IPO market has been considered closed for a long time.  Read more

Josh Silverman, Chieif Digital Officer of American Express at their headquarters in New York©Pascal PerichWhen Josh Silverman received a call last year asking if he would like to work for American Express, he was surprised.

The 43-year-old technology entrepreneur’s life had always revolved around Silicon Valley start-ups. He had been chief executive of Skype and before that held a senior role at eBay. In the late 1990s he had cofounded Evite, the internet invitations company, and sold it in 2001. The thought of working for a 162-year-old blue-chip corporation was alien.

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Paul Taylor

Since its launch in 2007 ooVoo has helped refine the consumer video chat market with its free high definition app. In the process it has become a favourite with the teenagers and young adults under 25 who make up more than two thirds of its 46m users.

Now the New York-based company’s management team, led by executive chairman Robert Jackman, is trying to consolidate its grip on the youth market with a upgrade to its social video chat service designed to make it easier to use and available on more devices. Read more

Richard Waters

After the breathless build-up, Facebook’s fizzling stock price is drawing plenty of negative reaction this week. But compared to one alternative scenario – a big first-day “pop”, which many investors seemed to have been betting on – this is far preferable in the long run for both the company and its shareholders. Read more

Chris Nuttall

It’s an unimpressive-looking black oblong, no bigger than a packet of chewing gum, but Leap Motion’s new gesture-control device, unveiled today, could change the way we interact with computers.

Imagine touch-typing or playing a piano in the air, moulding virtual clay with your hands or simply scrolling effortlessly through web pages. The Leap can handle all this by sensing finger and hand movements and translating them to a computer and its display, reducing the need for keyboard, mouse or touchscreen. Read more

Samsung Galaxy Tab

A sign of a hot Android product is when Google gives thousands away to reward developers at its annual conference. The HTC Evo 4G smartphone was the freebie in May 2010 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet was last year’s. Updated versions of both went on sale this week. But are they a match yet for the latest iPad and iPhone?

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Facebook has become the public network – no longer a private company, the social network now has shareholders and a ticker symbol (FB) to go with the 900m users of its service.

Its initial public offering was priced at $38 on - the top end of its range, giving the Silicon Valley company a valuation of $104bn. But after opening at $42.05, Facebook’s underwriters had to fight to keep it above its float price, the shares closing at just $38.23, up 0.6 per cent.

For a Facebook “Timeline” of its opening day – from before the opening-bell ceremony at its Menlo Park headquarters through a frantic trading day – read Tim Bradshaw and Chris Nuttall’s live blog after the jump.  Read more

By Robert Cookson in Hong Kong

A Hong Kong-based brokerage is offering free Facebook shares to all new customers in an attempt to cash in on the hype surrounding the initial public offering of the world’s biggest social network.

8 Securities, which launched in March, said customers would receive US$200 of Facebook shares simply by signing up to its online trading platform with a minimum deposit of HK$10,000 (US$1,287), a process it claimed took less than eight minutes.

However, investors hoping to flip the free Facebook shares immediately after they start trading on Friday are out of luck; 8 Securities will buy the shares on the open market in coming days and deposit them in customer accounts within 14 days. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

As Facebook settles its IPO price at a top-of-the-range $38, valuing the social network at $104bn, Facebookers are doing what Facebookers do: hacking.

In a so-very-Facebook move, the company is running an overnight hackathon on Thursday night, right up until founder Mark Zuckerberg rings the Nasdaq opening bell on Friday morning – an attempt to show the world that the company’s heart really lies in the product, not the money. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Rakuten has led a $100m funding round into Pinterest, which values the online “curation” community at around $1.5bn.

The Japanese ecommerce giant won out over major US venture capital firms who were vying for a piece of Silicon Valley’s new sweetheart, which lets users clip images to a virtual pinboard.

The FT spoke to Hiroshi Mikitani, chief executive of Rakuten, about how social discovery can boost ecommerce and the growing importance of images over text on the web. Read more

Facebook investors: you have been warned. The last time I was in Silicon Valley was 12 years ago, in the very week that the Nasdaq crashed, marking the end of the dotcom boom. That I should fly back into San Francisco on the eve of the social network’s initial public offering cannot be a good omen.

I’m not here to write about Facebook – for expert insights, read the analysis of my San Francisco-based colleagues or the FT Lex team – but the IPO overshadows most discussions. What strikes me is how entrepreneurs, technology executives and analysts I’ve met are reluctant to talk publicly about Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg. Ask them what they think about him and they tend to preface their remarks with a polite request that this part of the interview should be off the record.

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Chris Nuttall

Intel told its investor day last week it would be producing 2m units a week of its latest “Ivy Bridge” processors by the end of June, but the chipmaker faces fresh competition from Tuesday’s consumer and business announcements by rivals AMD and Nvidia.

AMD launched its second-generation “Trinity” processors, touting longer battery life and lower prices than Intel’s offerings for notebooks and PCs, while Nvidia threatened to challenge Intel in the data centre and enterprise with the unveiling of its VGX graphics processing unit (GPU) platformRead more