MediaFile

Sequoia’s Doug Leone on the spot for lunch, money

By Sarah McBride 

Nailing down a few minutes of a VC’s time can be tough, but one start-up tried a novel approach at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference: put the guy on the spot.

During the audience Q&A after TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington interviewed legendary venture capitalist Doug Leone from Sequoia, one Danish entrepreneur told Leone that his question was whether he could have a lunch date with Leone– today.

Leone begged off, citing a partner meeting, but promised lunch down the line. “Email me,” he suggested, giving his Sequoia email address.

But then the entrepreneur got demanding, saying that because he was going back to Copenhagen, the lunch would need to be before Thursday. This time Leone cited his travel schedule as a reason for declining, but told the entrepreneur he would meet with him eventually– as long as the follow-up email reminded Leone they’d talked at TechCrunch.

That is of course if Arrington  doesn’t get there first with his new venture CrunchFund. He asked the entrepreneur to cc him on the email and said his CrunchFund money was better than Sequoia’s.  Earlier on Monday  Arrington said that he was leaving TechCrunch, the influential technology blog that AOL bought last year after a fracas involving the launch of  CrunchFund – a  $20 million venture capital fund.

A simple plan to save Yahoo, by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman

In Silicon Valley, it’s not tough to find someone to offer advice on how to save Yahoo, the struggling Internet portal that fired CEO Carol Bartz last week.
But one voice that the Sunnyvale, California-based company may want to pay attention to is Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn-turned-venture capitalist, and one of the most respected players in the fast-growing social networking market.
While investment bankers and private equity advisors are circling around Yahoo, looking for the best way to break the company into little pieces that can be auctioned off to the highest bidder, Hoffman thinks Yahoo may still be able to pull off a comeback.
“I think renovation and rebirth is possible and I think that’s the play you make,” Hoffman said, citing the Apple example, at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Monday.
How would he do it?
First, Hoffman said he’d focus on investing the resources to make big technological innovations on Yahoo’s most popular online assets, such as its Web-based email product, Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Groups.
Then, he suggested, Yahoo to end its reliance on online brand advertising and get creative about how it makes money.
“There are other kinds of business models that I think we have yet to invent on the consumer Internet,” Hoffman said, citing Zynga, which has developed revenue from new sources, such as the sale of virtual goods that enhance the experience of Zynga games.
So there you have it, a simple two-step plan to revive Yahoo. Perhaps Reid Hoffman should call Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang directly…

Arrington Exits TechCrunch; Takes jab at Arianna Huffington

From the TechCrunch conference in San Francisco, this post is brought to you by Alexei Oreskovic and Sarah McBride:

Michael Arrington, one of the most high-profile figures in the world of tech blogging, has lost the TechCrunch soapbox he built. But he’s found a new way to get his point across: T-shirts

Arrington took the stage at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference on Monday, moments after parent-company AOL announced that he was no longer part of the company due to his new role heading up a $20 million venture capital fund.

Tech wrap: Is the DoJ right to oppose the AT&T, T-Mobile deal?

The Justice Department sued to block AT&T’s $39 billion deal to buy T-Mobile USA because eliminating T-Mobile as a competitor would be disastrous for consumers and would raise prices, particularly because the smaller provider offers low prices, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit is a serious attempt to halt a “fundamentally flawed” deal, not a tactic to wring out-sized concessions from AT&T, a source familiar with the lawsuit said.

Dan Frommer says blocking the deal won’t help make service quality any better. A merger would create more spectrum to offer better, faster, more reliable service, Frommer writes. Also, its shortsighted to look at today’s pricing and market and use them as strict guides for the future, as voice and SMS service are disrupted by Internet technology, and as carriers try to charge more for 4G LTE access than they did for 3G access, Frommer added.

Breakingviews columnists Robert Cox, Robert Cyran and Richard Beales say the wireless industry in the U.S. is essentially a duopoly and that the DoJ suit against the AT&T, T-Mobile deal protects smaller providers.

Tech wrap: HP TouchPad’s second coming?

In an interview with Reuters, the head of HP’s PC business Todd Bradley gave the throngs of people who lined up outside stores to snap up discontinued and deeply discounted TouchPads hope that the company wouldn’t abandon them, saying the tablet could be resurrected. This, as the TouchPad was on track to become the second-best selling tablet of all time behind Apple’s iPad.

GigaOm’s Ryan Kim says HP’s revelation muddies the waters, making the biggest maker of PCs in the world seem indecisive, which hurts it’s stock price.

There are lessons to take away from HP’s TouchPad firesale, argues Jon Collins of The Register. Chief among them is that there’s a massive pent-up demand for tablets from any manufacturer at the expense low-end PC and netbook sales.

Tech wrap: iPhone 5 coming to Sprint in mid-October?

Loyal Sprint customers keen to finally hop on the iPhone bandwagon could be in luck come this fall. The third-largest U.S. wireless carrier will begin offering the iPhone 5 to customers in mid-October, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources. It will be the first version of the popular Apple smartphone to be sold by the company. AT&T and Verizon, already iPhone vedors, will also start selling the new model around the same time, according to the story.

In other iPhone news, Reuters correspondents Kelvin Soh and Clare Jim report that Apple is planning a cheaper version of its current iPhone 4 model to offer to the masses in developing markets such as China as it seeks to gain lower-end customers from rivals such as Nokia. Apple’s Asian suppliers have already begun production of a new lower-cost version of the handset that will come with a smaller, 8-GB flash drive, as opposed to the the 16-GB and 32-GB versions that were released in June 2010, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. So, just how much cheaper will the discount version be? That’s not entirely clear yet, but Yuanta Securities analyst Bonnie Chang had this to say: “Apple may want to push into the emerging market segment, where customers want to switch to low- to mid-end smartphones from high-end feature phones, which usually cost $150 to $200.”

Facebook unveiled a far-reaching overhaul to its privacy controls on Tuesday that will make it easier for users to control who sees their information and what pictures they are tagged in on the social network. Under the new changes, Facebook users will have the option of modifying and changing their privacy settings each time they post something instead being required to browse through to separate sections of the site.

Tech wrap: HP’s TouchPad sell-off

Hewlett-Packard has finally discovered the magic price point for its TouchPad tablet: $99. The tech giant announced the new low price for the 16 GB model of the recently discontinued device over the weekend, also dropping the price for its 32 GB version to $149. Retailers such as Best Buy, Staples and Walmart followed HP’s lead by offering TouchPad fire sales of their own.

The response: overwhelming. According to PC World, many retailers had sold out of the devices by mid-day on Saturday. By Monday morning, the TouchPad had climbed to the No.1 spot on the Amazon best-seller list for electronics. Expect the selling frenzy to continue this week: HP said on Monday it intends to deliver more of the tablets until the supply runs out. HP originally launched the smaller model with a $500 price tag, but reduced it to $400 soon after its July 1 release in an attempt to spur demand.

Separately, HP launched a new desktop on Monday, days after the technology company revealed that it might spin off the world’s largest PC business — part of a wrenching series of moves away from the consumer market, including killing the TouchPad. HP billed the new computer — the HP Compaq 8200 Elite All-in-One Business Desktop — as the “first all-in-one PC” aimed at corporate and public sector customers.

from The Great Debate UK:

Heavy traffic on the information superhighway

-- Jeff Smith is Senior Director Infrastructure Services, Global Crossing EMEA. The opinions expressed are his own.--

For many years now, number crunchers have obsessed over the growth of data, marvelling at the way that the computer age has generated enormous amounts of content and IT types have speculated as to how disks, tapes and other storage devices would need to evolve to accommodate this. Now, however, the problem has spread and the new fear is greater: could the digitisation of the world’s information lead to catastrophic communications breakdown?

Consider this head-spinning set of numbers. According to EMC, the data created in 2010 would be 1.2 zettabytes, the equivalent of 75 billion 16GB iPads, filling Wembley Stadium 41 times. And in the age of the Internet a lot of that data doesn’t just reside on physical media but instead gets repeatedly shunted around the globe. On mobile networks alone, 8,000 petabytes will be sent in 2011, says a May 2011 report by ABI Research, and that figure is set to grow by about 50 per cent annually for the next five years. Overall, IP traffic will grow to 767 exabytes in 2014, according to Cisco. A petabyte is over one million gigabytes and an exabyte is 1,000 petabytes.

Tech wrap: Companies continue patent buys

Tech giants continued attempts to shore up their patent portfolios continued on Wednesday, with InterDigital being targeted by Apple, Nokia and Qualcomm.

Bidders have been eager to get their hands on InterDigital”s 8,800 patents — including crucial 3G and 4G/LTE patents to strengthen operating software for smartphones.

Key potential bidder Google, who earlier this week acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, has not formally withdrawn from the auction but it is unclear whether they will bid for the company.

Glam Media rolls out mobile ad platform

Glam Media is rolling out a mobile advertising platform for its stable of website properties and for other publishers taking direct aim at Apple’s iAd.

This is the latest move for the company, a network of highly currated blogs mainly centered around fashion, healthy and beauty that target women. It recently launched a new platform to support more than 10,000 authors and writers in addition to a tool box that helps its content creators navigate the increasingly complex world of social media.

The mobile ad platform called GlamMobile is for brand marketers — Lexus and Macy’s are launch sponsors of Glam Mobile. The platform is also available to help outside publishers develop websites that are suited to smartphone and tablets running on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems.