• Gavin O'Malley, Apr 19, 2011, 11:00 AM
  • Wal-Mart Paid $300M For KosmixAll Things D On Monday, when Wal-Mart announced the acquisition of search technology firm Kosmix, financial terms were not disclosed. Now, citing sources, BoomTown's Kara Swisher is reporting that the deal set Wal-Mart back about $300 million. "Wal-Mart did not disclose terms of the deal, which is focused on building out its social and mobile e-commerce offerings," writes Swisher. "The price for Kosmix is a pricey one to do so, but traditional retailers need to jump into the digital market now dominated by app-happy, smartphone-wielding customers."

    Prior to Wal-Mart's move, Kosmix had raised more than $55 million from the likes of Time Warner and Jeff Bezos. Long billed as a health-focused vertical search firm, Kosmix has more recently developed a social media technology platform that filters and organizes content across various social networks. Other investors have included Accel Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and DAG Ventures, along with angel investors, including Jon Miller and Ed Zander. Read the whole story...
  • Will DeWolfe Buy Back MySpace?The New York Times The New York Times pays a visit to MySpace co-founder Christopher T. DeWolfe, and his latest project: MindJolt, a profitable gaming start-up with more than $20 million in revenue and 20 million monthly users. Just last week, MindJolt acquired two game companies, Social Gaming Network and Hallpass Media -- "effectively doubling its staff to 80 and adding mobile games to its stable of Web offerings," according to NYT.

    Coming full circle, "DeWolfe, who is considered to be one of the many bidders weighing a purchase of Myspace," NYT writes, citing a single source. Bigger picture, "The deals diversify us in a huge way, and it positions us very well for the future, in terms of the growth of the smartphone market," DeWolfe says.

    Regarding MySpace, DeWolfe would only say it is an "interesting" asset. MindJolt, meanwhile, remains a small fish an a multibillion-dollar online game market dominated by whales like Zynga and Electronic Arts. "With its latest acquisitions, "MindJolt is building its user network and breaking into the increasingly lucrative mobile entertainment market." Read the whole story...
  • Google Brings Map Maker To U.S.eWeek Stateside, Google just debuted a new Map Maker feature, which lets anyone map out a local business, school and other location of interest. "Google Map Maker in the U.S. comes as the search engine is fortifying its local business search and advertising services," eWeek notes. Google first launched Google Map Maker in 2008, but is only now making it available domestically.

    "You know your neighborhood or hometown best, and with Google Map Maker, you can ensure the places you care about are richly represented on the map," said Google Map Maker Tech Lead Lalitesh Katragadda and Product Manager Manik Gupta in a blog post. Like content added to Wikipedia, Map Maker submissions may be edited by other users or moderators, and may be published in Google Maps for searchers to see and use, explains eWeek.

    Just as with Map Maker in other countries, each edit from users will be reviewed for accuracy and will appear in Google Maps within minutes. Read the whole story...
  • "HBO Go" Going MobileCNET HBO says its streaming video service is on its way to the Apple iPad, Apple iPhone and Android-based devices. "Get every episode of every season of your favorite HBO shows, plus hit movies and much more," explains an HBO video posted on YouTube. "All free to HBO subscribers and all streaming on your iPad, laptop, or smartphone wherever you are." HBO didn't say whether subscribers will be able to connect to HBO Go over 3G, but considering the company is promoting the service "wherever you are," CNet considers it a likely feature.

    HBO Go has been available since February 2010. Presently, the service lets people stream 1,400 HBO shows, documentaries, and movies over the Web. It's available to Comcast and DirecTV subscribers, among others, "but it surprisingly isn't offered to Time Warner Cable subscribers yet," CNet points out, "and HBO is owned by Time Warner." Compared to other media companies, HBO has long maintained a very conservative distribution strategy. Most recently, it got the industry talking by refusing to offer its content on Netflix. Read the whole story...
  • Twitter Wants To Buy TweetdeckThe Wall Street Journal Following top-level turnovers and broader strategy concerns, Twitter is in advanced talks to buy Tweetdeck for about $50 million, reports The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter. The Register calls the reported acquisition price "small change to prevent the client turning into a competitor." Indeed, "Twitter may be trying to pull the rug out from under a potential new direct competitor," seconds Computerworld. "TweetDeck competes directly with Twitter's Web and mobile clients." Tweetdeck, which is used to view and manage tweets, appeals to Twitter "as it looks to add tools for power users," reports The Journal. The buy would also likely aid in Twitter's efforts to help new users navigate the service, while helping existing users discover new content. "Twitter wants to show how the service works to first-time users by highlighting tweets from people in their geographic regions, such as local politicians and musicians, when they first sign on," The Journal writes. Calling the would-be deal "part of a broad effort to draw in more users," Digital Trends notes that it's not actually clear how many total users the client has. As VentureBeat points out, "The news may sound a bit familiar or confusing, since TechCrunch and others reported in February that UberMedia was finalizing a deal to acquire TweetDeck for $30 million." The likely explanation? "Either TweetDeck's discussions with UberMedia fell through, or Twitter made a competing offer." Read the whole story...