Tech wrap: And Myspace goes to . . .

June 29, 2011

News Corp’s hunt to find a buyer for once-mighty social networking website Myspace has finally ended. Specific Media, an online advertising firm, has agreed to buy the site for about $35 million, a source familiar with the deal told Reuters. News Corp will retain a minority 5 percent stake in the website it purchased six years ago for $580 million. More than half of the site’s 500 employees are expected to be laid off as part of the deal.

Tech watchers will have to wait at least another sleep to find out more about Zynga’s plans for an initial public offering. A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that the online social gaming firm behind popular Facebook game FarmVille is expected to file for an initial public offering with U.S. regulators on Thursday morning. Earlier reports suggested the company could raise up to $2 billion in the offering and value the firm as high as $20 billion. AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher sizes up how Zynga’s expected IPO fits in with other recent filings from similar companies such as Groupon.

Twitter’s Biz Stone and Evan Williams are leaving the site they co-founded and helped popularize – sort of. Both men will continue to advise Twitter on strategic matters but will spend the bulk of their days working at the newly-revived Obvious, the tech incubator company they started years ago that led to the creation of Twitter. Stone summed up their new plans in a blog posting on his website: “Our plan is to develop new projects and work on solving big problems aligned along a simple mission statement: The Obvious Corporation develops systems that help people work together to improve the world.”

More signs of growth for the much-buzzed about Sqaure, the mobile payment company run by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. The firm just scored a fresh round of financing worth $100 million led by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The latest cash injection brings the company’s valuation to $1.6 billion, according to a report on NYT’s DealBook.  Square’s technology lets people use their mobile phones to accept credit card payments from other people.

Sony is still playing damage control months after hackers launched a massive attack against the electronics company. It’s latest move? Reshuffling management in its videogames unit. Kazuo Hirai, Sony Corp’s second-in-command, will relinquish day-to-day control of the company’s videogames unit in September, making way for a Welsh-born Sony veteran to take over.

Apple’s iPhone turns 4 years old today. Mashable has created a fun infographic with a timeline and other notable facts about the smartphone that ushered in massive changes to the mobile industry. CNN tech writer John D. Sutter asks whether the iPhone has changed all that much in four years. His conclusion: not really.

In iPhone rumor news, a report on popular tech blog Boy Genius Report quotes an RBC analyst as saying Apple will offer the iPhone 3GS for free on contract after its iPhone 5 launches later this year in an effort to take on Android more directly and reach out to mid-market smartphone buyers.

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