Tech wrap: Facebook strikes a chord

September 22, 2011

Facebook unveiled new features that center on the way users listen to music and watch TV, offering tie-ups with the likes of Spotify and Hulu, as it attempts to make media an integral part of its service. The features, which also include ways for users to spiff up profiles in a magazine, photo-heavy style, were introduced on Thursday during Facebook’s annual f8 developers’ conference in San Francisco by Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.

Tech wrap: RIM’s missteps stir talk of sale

September 16, 2011

Research In Motion’s dismal quarterly results, the latest in a string of disappointments by the BlackBerry maker, could prove a boon to prospective buyers eyeing its treasure trove of wireless patents.

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

September 12, 2011

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…

Tech wrap: AOL talking merger with Yahoo?

September 9, 2011

AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong has reportedly approached private equity firms to gauge interest in a deal with Yahoo that would place Armstrong as the head of the combined company, according to a Bloomberg report.

Tech wrap: Google’s appetite for local grows with Zagat buy

September 8, 2011

Google bought Zagat, the popular dining recommendations and ratings authority, jumping into a niche Web market alongside the likes of OpenTable and Yelp. The 32-year-old Zagat, which polls consumers and compiles reviews about restaurants around the world, will become a cornerstone of Google’s “local offering” and work in tandem with its mapping services and core search engine, the Internet search and advertising leader said.

Maybe Carol Bartz should teach

September 8, 2011

Why not? With free time on her hands Carol Bartz should consider teaching high school math and science. Seriously. (Not in elementary school – the whole potty mouth thing won’t last there for long, and Bartz wouldn’t be Bartz without her salty swagger. But teenagers would love it.)

Whither AOL and Yahoo?

September 8, 2011

About 1,000 years ago, while I was working at Reuters, I did a couple of really smart things: I bought shares in a dial-up Internet company with a mere million or so users, and a web search and catalogue service with a very funny name.

Tech wrap: Facebook cashes in on ads

September 7, 2011

Facebook’s first-half revenue roughly doubled to $1.6 billion, underscoring the world’s largest social network’s appeal to advertisers, a source with knowledge of its financials told Reuters. Net income in the first half of 2011 came to almost $500 million, said the source, who wished to remain anonymous because privately-held Facebook does not disclose its results. Facebook’s stronger results come as investors have pushed its valuation to roughly $80 billion in private markets, with many industry observers expecting the world’s No. 1 Internet social network to go public in 2012.

Should media owners rethink Hulu sale plan?

August 23, 2011

BTIG’s Rich Greenfield is an analyst who seems to have never met a contrarian debate on the media business he didn’t like. This morning, he turned his attention towards online video site Hulu, arguing in a research note that its owners should think twice about selling the business (subscription needed). First round bid for Hulu, which is owned by News Corp., Disney, Comcast, and Providence Equity Partners, are due Wednesday and are expected to reach as high as $2 billion.

Tech wrap: Apple ousts Nokia as top smartphone vendor

July 29, 2011

Apple jumped to the top of the global smartphone sales rankings in the second quarter, ending Nokia’s 15-year run as the lead smartphone vendor, according to new research from Strategy Analytics. Apple sold a record 20.3 million iPhones during the quarter, which amounts to about a fifth of the global smartphone market. Impressive considering its iPhone 4 model was released more than a year ago. Samsung also surpassed Nokia to claim second spot, with 17.5 percent of market share. Nokia fell to third place as its market share tumbled to 15.2 from 38.1 percent a year ago.