Monthly Archives: May 2012

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. 

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. 

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. 

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?

 

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.  

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

 

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) platform