Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Gavin O'Malley, April 18, 2012, 12:00 PM
Zuckerberg Does Instagram Deal SoloThe Wall Street Journal

As the dust settles following Facebook’s agreement to buy Instagram, new details are emerging that betray the true characters of both companies. Portraying Facebook as something of a dictatorship, The Wall Street Journal reports that CEO Mark Zuckerberg essentially did the deal himself.

The board "was told, not consulted" about the deal on April 8 -- the day before the rest of the world learned of the deal -- a source tells WSJ.

“In fact, Zuckerberg, who controls roughly 57% of the company's voting rights, had pretty much closed the deal with Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom before even informing the board of the acquisition,” CNet notes. 

“Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg is said to have been informed on Thursday of that week that Zuckerberg was going to aggressively pursue the purchase of Instagram, though she herself isn't reported to have participated in the meetings with Systrom,” The Verge writes.

As Business Insider points out: “The report does give credit to one other Facebook exec for finishing the deal so fast, however: director of corporate development Armin Zoufonoun, who hammed out the merger's details during a 12-hour meeting Sunday night.”

Even more remarkable, Instagram reportedly wanted $2 billion from Zuckerberg, according to WSJ.

Adding to the intrigue, “Twitter was speculated to have ‘expressed an interest’ in buying Instagram, despite comments from its CEO appearing to reject the claim, but Instagram was supposedly ‘just hours’ from agreeing to a fresh round of VC funding,” The Next Web writes. “That investment would’ve netted the firm $50 million, at a valuation of $500 million, giving it an increased future sale price.”

Read the whole story...
  • Gavin O'Malley, April 18, 2012, 12:45 PM
  • NBC Promises Summer Olympics Stream-Fest There is literally nothing that NBC Sports won’t stream during its coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Indeed, the network promises that all 32 sports at the Summer Games will be streamed live at “The hot topic is always, ‘Why don’t you show all your sports live?’” Rick Cordella, vice president and general manager of NBC Sports Digital Media, tells The New York Times’ Media Decoder blog. “We wanted to take care of that.” According to Media Decoder, the live streaming of every event represents a significant shift for the NBC Sports Group, which was formed after Comcast acquired control of NBC Universal. “Under General Electric, its former owner, NBC Sports did not stream live events that would be featured in prime time, lest they diminish ratings,” it notes. The new strategy, however, presents an issue for the network’s sacred prime-time broadcast. To protect itself in that area, prime-time events like gold-medal races involving Michael Phelps will be streamed live on, but will not be archived on NBC’s Web site until sometime after the prime-time show. That said, as Cordella assures Media Decoder: “The vast majority of events will be archived immediately.” Read the whole story...
  • Meet E-Education Platform Coursera Offering free courses at some of the countries most prestigious universities, Coursera launched this week with the help of a $16 million investment from Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers and New Enterprise Associates. Partner schools include Princeton University, Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan. “Online educational marketplaces are on the rise, with tools like Udemy and Khan Academy allowing people of all ages to become an expert in any topic,” Betakit reports. “New company Coursera is targeting higher education by offering university-level courses from top institutions to students all over the world, all for free.” The company was started by Stanford computer science professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, who developed the technology in order to offer Stanford classes online. With its launch partners on board, Coursera will offer over 30 courses across a variety of disciplines, including computer science, sociology, medicine, and math. According to Koller, the startup eventually plans to development a monetization model, but what form it will take he didn’t say. For the time being, Coursera is benefiting from partner schools willingness to give away their rarified content -- something that, as Koller tells Betakit -- they’re happy to do, as “the true value proposition for universities is in the social interaction and the intellectual engagement that happens as part of that institution.”   Read the whole story...
  • Is Apple Flying Too High? Despite Apple’s recent successes, analysts are bracing for some sobering news next week when the company reports its second-quarter earnings. “Between major legal challenges across several continents, increasing competition from Google Inc's Android -- now the world's most-used mobile software -- and confusion over what its next groundbreaking product will look like, more cautious investors are re-evaluating their positions and cashing in some holdings,” Reuters reports. Fueling the fear is that fact Apple's shares surged nearly 60% to a high of $644, this year. To many Web watchers, that suggests a bubble, which will need to be popped at some point. Put another way, “the slightest sign of trouble in the earnings report may prompt further profit-taking,” Reuters writes. "Any disappointment in Apple could lead to a significant selloff in the short term," Channing Smith, co-manager at Capital Advisors Growth Fund, tells the news service. "Are we long term believers in Apple? Absolutely, but as we move get up here to over $600 and you say, ‘Hmm, this is getting pretty frothy, expectations may be getting out of line.'" Read the whole story...