Monthly Archives: May 2012

Stress balls, breath mints, cupcakes and a sponsored “oxygen bar”: yes, it’s Internet Week in New York, the annual feast of branded freebies, parties and panels for the city’s digital media and marketing set.

Today a Yahoo presentation drew the biggest crowd at the warehouse-like SoHo venue. Some were clearly there for an address on “big data” by Billy Beane, the number-crunching general manager of the Oakland A’s baseball team and inspiration for Brad Pitt’s character in MoneyballRead more

Mark Zuckerberg in New YorkShopping on Facebook for apps will soon be easier with the App Center, a new application storefront for users to buy and discover content. The social networking company announced the App Center this week following an amendment to its S-1 filing that claimed it does not “currently directly generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products, and our ability to do so successfully is unproven”. The timing of the App Center news did not go unnoticed by commentators who noted Facebook’s push to conquer mobile. Read more

LifeSpan TR1200DT Treadmill Desk©Thor Swift

Consider office work a slog? Feel like you’re on a hamster wheel? Then perhaps the addition of a treadmill desk to your work environment may not appeal. However, some of those who feel office life is too sedentary and unhealthy are turning to the treadmill-desk concept. LifeSpan TR 1200-DT Treadmill Desk: 4/5

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Patent wars

Judith Masthoff, a Dutch researcher in artificial intelligence, was a doctoral student in the mid-1990s when she came up with her first invention.

The outline of the idea – a way of “enabling a user to fetch a specific information item from a set of information items” – hardly hinted at the starring role her brainwave would play in the legal battles sweeping through the technology industry.

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Facebook said the migration of its users to mobile platforms is compromising its ability to make money from them, according to additions the company made to its IPO regulatory filing on Wednesday.

As the company fields questions from potential investors this week and next on its road show, Facebook is once again reiterating its philosophy of prioritising the user experience over generating revenue, particularly when it comes to its mobile offerings. Read more

Chris Nuttall

HP has announced a new line of “Sleekbooks” - a variation on Intel’s Ultrabook category that adds processors from its rival AMD and achieves lower price points.

The leading PC maker also unveiled Ultrabooks under its Envy brand name including a new model of the Spectre, the premium ultrabook it introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Read more

Maija Palmer

Funding Circle, a UK-based online marketplace where individuals lend directly to small businesses raised $16m of Series B financing from joint investors Index Ventures and US-based Union Square Ventures. This brings the total amount raised by the company to $21m.  Launched in August 2010, the company now facilitates around £1m in loans each week. The company is planning to use the funds to double its staff over the next year.

Dragonplay, a Tel Aviv-based games developer raised $14m in a Series A funding from Accel Partners.  Dragonplay specializes in makes card, casino and board games for smartphones and social networks and is best known for Live Holdem Poker Pro, which has more than 2m monthly active players.  The company will use the investment to expand its portfolio of games. Read more

Richard Waters

With Yahoo’s board meeting to discuss the latest in a seemingly endless series of crises to overtake its top leadership, CEO Scott Thompson has issued an apology.

Not for the “inadvertent error” that led to his qualification-inflation. And not even for Yahoo’s overly casual use of that phrase last week, which was denounced by dissident investor Third Point as “insulting to shareholders.” Read more

Chris Nuttall

Electronic Arts has criticised its social gaming rival Zynga for paying high prices for “instant one-hit wonders” that give it a “temporary lead” in the charts.

John Riccitiello, chief executive, also used EA’s quarterly earnings call with analysts on Monday to argue the success of EA’s own digital and social strategy, defend falling subscriber numbers for its Star Wars online game and announce a big investment in next-generation console games. Details after the jump. Read more

Mark Zuckerberg in New YorkDressed in his trademark “hoodie”, Mark Zuckerberg stepped in front of hundreds of would-be investors on Monday in New York City to make the case for buying shares in his company, Facebook, writes Arash Massoudi.

The lunch-time stop was the first on a roadshow that will showcase the social networking site to potential investors across the country. The stream of investors filing out of the conference center at the Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan described the company’s performance on Monday as “polished and professional”. Read more

These are busy times for Facebook. At the start of the week, the social networking company introduced a new feature for members to show their organ donation status. But the big news came on Thursday, as the social networking company announced that it would set a price range for its stock of $28 to $35 a share when it debuts on Wall Street later this month. It also released an IPO roadshow videoRead more

 

HTC One

Smartphones have become the favoured web and social media tool for the “post-PC generation”. As well as being great communications devices, the latest crop boasts features designed to please the most discerning consumers – including better battery life, advanced digital photo apps and high-quality audio.

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Richard Waters

The only way to justify Facebook’s sky-high valuation is to look to its growth in the longer term and ignore the next couple of years. That is the view that has been taking hold in the financial world as the IPO of the decade finally comes into sight.

Want to test your own assumptions about Facebook’s growth rate and profit margins – and what these will mean for its share price? The FT’s new interactive calculator lets you do just that. Click below to try it. Read more

Short-term investors need not apply. That’s the key message in a newly released video Facebook produced for its investor road show, which is expected to begin next week.

The highly-produced video stars Facebook’s top executives, explaining the technical details of the platform with fast-paced cinematography, and describing its advertising model with guest appearances from Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and American Express.

But the most pointed message to investors comes toward the end from David Ebersman, Facebook’s chief financial officer: we want investors who believe in our mission and are excited about our long-term potential. Read more

Richard Waters

It was an “inadvertent error”. That was Yahoo’s response today to the revelation that new CEO Scott Thompson hasn’t got a computer science degree after all, whatever his official biography may say.

(Late in the day on Thursday, Yahoo issued a second statement striking a very different tone from this casual attempt at a brush-off. Faced with a  serious ethical question involving its CEO, the company’s board is now at least taking the matter seriously. See update at the bottom of this post.) Read more

The next move in the race for dominance of the lucrative smartphone market has been made by Samsung, after the Korean electronics group unveiled the latest incarnation of its best-selling Galaxy range in London.

The Galaxy SIII comes with a host of innovations and gimmicks – such as multitasking functions and a high definition screen – that Samsung will hope will be enough to take further customers away from the dominant iPhone range made by Apple. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Spotify, the music streaming service, has followed rivals MOG and Rdio and finally released an iPad app, but it’s been worth the wait.

The app features fast switching between different tracks, almost full-screen album art and intuitive navigation for swiping through information about artists and opening panes on similar artists. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

One of the more innovative approaches in the plethora of efforts to persuade more people to pay for more content online is “social micropayment” firm Flattr.

Acting something like an online tip jar, Flattr reverses the usual payment process by giving people a way to pay for content after they’ve consumed it, rather than before they know what they are getting. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Investment continues to pour into the soaring Russian internet market, which recently overtook Germany as Europe’s largest by users.

The latest mega-deal sees Avito.ru, a Russian online classified site along the lines of Craigslist, raising $75m from local private equity firm Baring Vostok and global venture capitalists Accel Partners, alongside existing investors Kinnevik and Northzone. Read more

Next to your birthday and relationship status, you can now post on Facebook if you plan to give away your kidneys when you die.

Today Facebook announced that it created the slot for organ donation status to users’ profile pages, in an expert PR move that brings positive attention to Facebook ahead of its IPO without violating the quiet period rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Read more