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 Moneyball. Read more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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