MediaFile

Tech wrap: RIM co-CEOs seen losing chairman role

RIM is close to a decision on stripping its co-chief executives of their other shared role as chairman of the board, The National Post newspaper said, a change that could meet a key demand from angry and disillusioned investors. The Post’s sources said Barbara Stymiest, currently an independent member of RIM’s board, is leading the race to replace Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie in the chairmanship. RIM shares jumped more than 7 percent on the news. But some analysts doubted Stymiest, if named to the chairmanship, would actually assume the transformational role that activist shareholders are calling for.

Groupon shares closed the day down 6.6 percent after a Susquehanna Financial Group – Yipit survey of almost 400 merchants found that while 8 out of 10 merchants enjoyed working with daily deal companies such as Groupon and LivingSocial, 52 percent were not planning to feature deals in the next six months and nearly 24 percent intended to feature only one deal during the same period.

Apple is planning an event to be held in New York later this month that will focus on publishing and eBooks, AllThingsD and Techcrunch reported. The event will unveil improvements to Apple’s iBooks platform, Techcrunch wrote.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch rung in the New Year with a new Twitter account, tweeting praise for Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, a socially conservative former senator who has risen sharply in the polls, describing him as the “only candidate with genuine big vision” for the country. Also via Twitter, Murdoch called President Obama’s decision on the detention of terrorism suspects “very courageous – and dead right!”. On Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, Murdoch tweeted: “Interesting but unfair, family must hate.”

Me Too: More funding for HouseTrip.com

Me Too is a scorned strategy among many entrepreneurs, but it sometimes works quite well.

Case in point: HouseTrip.com, which just lined up another $17 million in funding from investors including Index Ventures and Balderton Capital. Think of the company, which was founded in Switzerland and allows homeowners to rent out their properties on a short-term basis, as a kind of HomeAway or Airbnb, but with European flair. Its top destinations include Paris, London and Barcelona; rentals include a houseboat in Amsterdam and a cave house in Santorini.

HomeAway did very well for its VC backers, including Redpoint Ventures and Institutional Venture Partners,  raising $216 million in an IPO in June.  Shortly afterwards,  Airbnb.com — which allows people to rent out rooms and sofas as well as entire houses or apartments– raised $112 million from backers like Andreessen Horowitz and DST Global.

Tech Summit Q&A, final day: Verizon, Foursquare, LivingSocial

Being social,  going local, and paying for the privilege were hot topics on the last day of the Reuters 2011 Global Technology Summit.

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo got testy when Reuters reporter Jim Finkle asked him if he would reconsider charging mobile customers in addition to their data plans to tether their devices:

Shammo went on to explain Verizon’s decision to replace unlimited mobile data mobile plans with tiered pricing this summer.