Monthly Archives: April 2013

Andreessen Horowitz is helping to put Silicon Prairie on the map of wanna-be tech hubs with its latest investment in the Des Moines, Iowa-based start-up, Dwolla.

The young internet payment network attracted $16.5m in a Series C round, led by Andreessen, with previous investors Village Ventures, Thrive Capital, and Union Square Ventures joining.

While setting up shop in the mid-western United States leaves the company far away from the investors and talent pools on the West and East Coasts, there are benefits to building a business in a less saturated market. 

Chris Nuttall

The hearts of two health-tracking leaders are to beat as one, with Jawbone announcing this morning it has acquired BodyMedia, in a deal reportedly worth $110m.

Taking the best elements from both’s products would represent a combination only seen thus far in the sleep-monitored dreams of fitness fanatics. Jawbone’s Up bracelet and its app’s interface are beautifully designed but relatively light on meaningful information, while BodyMedia’s armband is ugly, but packing data-rich sensors. 

Shares in Sina Corp, the Nasdaq-listed Chinese online media group, rose nearly 21 per cent during trading on Monday after the company said it had agreed to sell 18 per cent of Weibo, its Twitter-like micro-blogging service, to Alibaba Group for $586m. The two came close to a similar deal five months ago. Now they have tied the knot.

 

Chris Nuttall

Dysonics, makers of an immersive audio app that puts a virtual room inside your head in which to hear music better, has come up with an attachment for headphones that makes the experience of spacing and placing sounds even more realistic.

Rondo Motion is a thin, square device, about the size of a watch face, that can be easily strapped to the band on a headphone to give it motion-sensing capabilities. This means if you turn your head, the music doesn’t move with you, it stays in the same place in the “room”. 

Apple may be souring the market with its unimpressive forecasts, but not all the suppliers who rely on the US tech group for orders are suffering.

Shares in Largan Precision, a Taiwanese lens maker, gained 7 per cent on Friday after it reported stronger than anticipated earnings for the last quarter and, against expectations, forecast more growth ahead. Its secret? Growth of other brands has been strong enough to offset Apple. That’s a change from the days when Apple was component companies’ key driver of growth.

 

More good news for Istanbul’s ambitions to establish itself as a hub: even the internet is hearkening to its call. Fadi Chehade, chief executive of ICANN, the organisation responsible for administrating the domain name and IP address systems, announced on Thursday his group was setting up shop in Istanbul.

To be precise, ICANN is splitting its headquarters into three – the old base in Los Angeles, a new outlet in Singapore, and Istanbul itself, as a step towards a more global, and a more seamless operation.

 

Chris Nuttall

Leap Motion has announced a two-month delay to shipments of its long-anticipated gesture-based controller as it spends more time working on the software.

The San Francisco-based start-up said shipments for customers who had pre-ordered the device would now begin on July 22, rather than the May 13 date it announced in February. Prior to that, it had spoken of an “early 2013” ship date. 

Richard Waters

There was a major disconnect on display at the FT’s Digital Media conference in London on Thursday morning.

Jeff Bewkes of Time Warner and Thomas Rabe of Bertelsmann made it sound as though any-time, any-place access to media was ushering in a golden age comparable to the birth of broadcasting. But Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP had a wake-up call: Big Media is being complacent, and the real impact of companies like Google and Facebook has yet to be felt. 

Microsoft has closed a patent licensing deal with ZTE, one of the top five manufacturers of Android smartphones.

The deal is Microsoft’s first with a leading Chinese company, marking an important milestone in the software giant’s multi-year campaign to squeeze licensing revenues out of smartphone vendors and manufacturers.

“Experience has taught us that respect for intellectual property rights is a two-way street,” said Horacio Gutierrez, general counsel for Microsoft, “and we have always been prepared to respect the rights of others just as we seek respect for our rights.” 

Tim Bradshaw

Apple has reported second-quarter earnings that beat analyst expectations, but has disappointed Wall Street with its outlook for the June quarter. The maker of the iPhone reported $43.6bn in revenues and earnings of $10.09 per share, compared with analyst expectations of $42.5bn and $10.07 in earnings per share. Its guidance for $33.5bn to $35.5bn in third-quarter sales though is well below the Wall Street consensus of $38.9bn. Apple has also increased its share buyback authorisation from $10bn to $60bn. Below is our blow-by-blow account of the earnings, analyst call and reaction to the news.