Tech Finance

Tim Bradshaw

Just for a change, Apple investors are jumpy. After ticking about 1 per cent lower throughout Tuesday morning, Apple stock suddenly leapt in high-volume trading just after lunch to close up 1.4 per cent for the day.

The reason for this latest share-price volatility seems to be a fresh bout of speculation circulating on Twitter about what Apple might announce at Wednesday’s annual shareholder meetingRead more

Berlin has scored a victory over London in the battle to be the main hub for Europe’s start-up companies after Seedcamp split its flagship event of Europe’s largest support programme for fledgling tech businesses between the two cities.

The incubator programme, which began life with a week-long event at London’s Imperial College in September 2007, will now hold four such gatherings in the UK and German capitals. Read more

It is ironic that both Dell and Apple shared big news last week.

Back in 1998 Michael Dell, then the crown prince of the personal computer industry, recommended that Steve Jobs shut down Apple, which was in dire shape, and distribute the proceeds to shareholders. By contrast, reflecting the turmoil now afflicting all PC makers, Mr Dell is negotiating to borrow money to make his company disappear from public view. Apple, meanwhile, announced that its shareholders would receive a Valentine’s day dividend of $2.5bn – a tiny portion of its $137bn cash pile.

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Apple lost its crown as the world’s most valuable company this week after its quarterly profits disappointed Wall Street. However, worries of slow growth didn’t discourage some tech observers from rooting for Silicon Valley’s star tech power to bounce back.

Farhad Manjoo at Slate called suggestions that Apple was somehow losing its allure with consumers “totally bogus”. The only thing that held it back, he added, was an inability to keep up with customer demand: “Limited supply, unlike limited demand, is something Apple can fix. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not such a terrible problem.” Read more

Tim Bradshaw

It’s been a torrid 12 months on the public markets for consumer internet stocks, with Facebook, Groupon and Zynga all seeing their valuations collapse after going public.

Yet during that period, privately held Twitter has managed to increase its valuation: a tender offer to employees by a BlackRock fund prices the social media site at more than $9bn, sources familiar with the situation told the FT. Read more

If Microsoft isn’t prepared to take a bet on the PC, then who is?

This explains why the world’s biggest software company is now considering dipping into its $67bn of cash reserves to back a buyout of Dell, a casualty of the fierce wars raging in the hardware industry.

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Buzzfeed, the social news website that publishes everything from funny pictures of cats to long-form reporting on the US presidential race, has secured $19.3m in funding to bulk up its original editorial content and expand internationally.

The website will launch an office in London later this year, according to Jon Steinberg, Buzzfeed’s president and chief operating officer.

“London is the natural next expansion,” said Mr Steinberg. Although the office will include both editorial and sales staff it will be “very small” with “fewer than 10” staff. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Motion-sensing advances in computing will be a major feature of next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with companies including eyeSight, InvenSense, PointGrab and PrimeSense showing their technologies and Intel emphasising the “perceptual computing” of voice and gesture commands at its press conference.

But Leap Motion, which will be demonstrating its motion controller’s capabilities at the show, claims its technology is over a hundred times better than the competition and today it is announcing a a $30m funding round and a deal with Asus. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The so-called PayPal mafia is a force to be reckoned with in Silicon Valley: Max Levchin joining the Yahoo board is just the latest example of a network that spans Facebook, YouTube, Yammer, LinkedIn, Square and – with Elon Musk’s SpaceX – the edge of the earth’s atmosphere.

In the British start-up world, the closest analogy is Lovefilm. The DVDs-by-post turned video-on-demand service was acquired by Amazon in January 2011, but even before that, had started the careers of many London tech-scene notables.

Now, Adam Valkin – a co-founder and sometime chief executive of Lovefilm, who went on to join TV producer Endemol and, three years ago, Accel Partners’ London office – is helping to take the Lovefilm mafia abroad. Read more

Is the US system for financing technology innovation broken?

It’s certainly damaged, according to one of the most successful US tech investors of recent years. If he’s right, both entrepreneurs and investors could be living with outsized expectations that were set in a different era and have little bearing on what is to come.

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