Monthly Archives: February 2014

Hannah Kuchler

Nok Nok? Who’s there? Usually someone with a terribly easy to guess password, a cyber criminal’s dream. But perhaps not for long.

Lenovo, the Chinese PC and phone manufacturer, has invested in Nok Nok Labs, a cyber security start up which aims to transform the industry by replacing passwords with a new technology which works with everything from fingerprints to voice recognition.

Nok Nok Labs raised $16.5m from Lenovo as well as venture capitalists DCM and Onset Ventures on Thursday to create a platform which will support the latest authentication technology. Lenovo will join the board of Nok Nok – and the assumption is, use the new tech in its devices from laptops to smartphones. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The co-founder of fitness tracking device maker Jawbone wants to take on Twitter with the long-awaited launch of a new “global opinion network”, State.

State, which emerges from private testing on Thursday, has been many years in the making. Alex Asseily, who is still Jawbone’s chairman, and his brother Mark have been developing State since 2011, soon after Alex returned to London following 17 years in San Francisco. They had originally hoped to launch it in 2012 but the delay partly reflects the daunting scale of Mr Asseily’s vision. Read more

Richard Waters

The Wall Street analysts waiting eagerly for details of Tesla Motors’ planned “Gigafactory” will have been disappointed by the cursory treatment the project got on Wednesday, as the company announced plans to raise $1.6bn.

After all, this is the massive battery-making plant that is meant to cement Tesla’s rise as the world’s first mass-market electric car maker. According to an expansive report by a Morgan Stanley analyst earlier in the week, it could also make it the dominant player in a $1,500bn market for selling energy storage devices to electric utilities. Read more

Hannah Kuchler

The one big US social network not blocked in China launches its new site there in beta today – as part of a Chinese push previously reported by the Financial TimesRead more

News that Sina has hired Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse to help spin off its Twitter-like Weibo service means it is the latest communications tool – after the acquisitions of chat apps WhatsApp and Viber – that investors will be asked put a value on.

Details about the potential New York IPO remain scant, other than that it could value Weibo at more than $5bn. The FT’s Lex has posed some probing questions about the floatation (i.e. Why?) but here are a few more. Read more

Richard Waters

It must have been galling to Microsoft when Hewlett-Packard brought back Windows 7 “by popular demand” last month. But it reflected a reality that has been hard to ignore: the vast majority of PC users who still manipulate a mouse and tap on a keyboard have little to gain from the touch-centric tiled interface of Windows 8.

Now, Microsoft is ready to make more concessions to the keyboard-and-mouse crowd – while insisting that it is still committed to touch. Read more

Is $19bn a lot of money? It certainly sounds like it – that’s what Facebook thought WhatsApp was worth when it scooped up the messaging app on Wednesday.

The fate of social networks depends on being able to turn huge pools of users into a source of cash. So one way to assess whether Mark Zuckerberg got value for money is to look at how much he paid per WhatsApp user compared with the price of each person in other networks: Read more

There’s a hot messaging app with a global following that’s just asking to be acquired.

Whoops, sorry, that was yesterday, but what if we change the name to BBM? Read more

Sirgoo Lee, chief executive of the South Korean mobile messaging company Kakao, chuckles when asked about Facebook’s acquisition of rival WhatsApp for $19bn. “All I can say is that’s a lot of money,” he says.

While it has a strong presence in India and Hong Kong, WhatsApp is a marginal player in many parts of Asia writes Simon Mundy. Kakao, Japan-based LINE and China-headquartered WeChat dominate mobile messaging in their respective home territories, and are fighting for control of the market in southeast Asia. The Japanese internet company Rakuten, meanwhile, last month spent $900m on Viber, an Israeli company that provides similar free calling and messaging services. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Facebook is paying up to $19bn in cash, stock and earnouts to acquire WhatsApp Messenger, the world’s most popular mobile chat app with more than 450m regular users. Here Tim Bradshaw and Hannah Kuchler brought live reaction and comment from Facebook’s conference call.