Salesforce.com on Thursday said fourth-quarter earnings were a bit better than what analysts were expecting from the cloud software giant. “For 2013 overall, the … business raked in approximately $4.07 billion in revenue, an increase of 33% annually, with earnings of 35 cents a pop,” ZDNet reports. This bigger news, perhaps, is that CFO Graham Smith announced his plans to retire next year.
Disney is ready to go “anywhere” -- but mostly Apple devices. Yes, the media giant just debuted a Disney Movies Anywhere app, which is free for iOS users. The movies -- about 420 of which are currently on offer -- will still cost $19.99 a pop. “Those purchased movies will be viewable not only within the Disney Movies App, but also within your own iTunes library,” Venture Beat reports. The app will let consumers discover, purchase, manage and watch movies from Disney, Pixar and Marvel at home or on the go.”
Following Facebook’s agreement to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion, this week, Fortune reported that Google had offered to buy the messaging app the $10 billion. Now, however, The Information is reporting that the search giant was willing to best Facebook’s final bid of nearly $20 billion. “Last week, Google CEO Larry Page met with WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum in a last-ditch effort to prevent the rapidly growing messaging app from selling itself to Facebook,” it reports.
Hoping to outsmart Siri, Yahoo is investing $10 million in the development of a voice-enabled mobile assistant. “The company has made a $10 million grant to Carnegie Mellon University for a project called InMind, which is intended to create and test assistant-style services for mobile devices,” MIT Technology Review reports. “The results will be similar to the kind of beta product more typically developed inside a company.”
Riding the success of Candy Crush, mobile game maker King Digital Entertainment just filed for an IPO. “The initial appeal for investors will be obvious: This is a huge, fast-growing company,” TechCrunch reports. “And the risk is obvious as well: It’s a huge, fast-growing company based around a single game.” Indeed, Candy Crush generates about 78% of King Digital’s revenues, according to TechCrunch.
Facebook claims to have learned from its mobile missteps, and, critically, the company isn’t afraid to revisit the worst of them. “The big thing we did wrong at the outset was that we wanted to approach mobile like it was a Web end-point,” Jocelyn Goldfein, an engineering director at Facebook, tells VentureBeat. “What we learned to do is start with the [mobile] platform and make the best possible application for it — and to the extent that the Web has things that are useful to bring them over.”
Facebook ended 2013 with 245 million Mobile App Install ads -- up from 145 million at the beginning of October. So Deborah Liu, the head of Facebook’s Mobile App Install Advertising product, just told Buzzfeed. That translated to “about 100 million installs happening in the span of the past few months,” Buzzfeed notes in a larger profile of Liu, her team, and Facebook’s budding mobile business.
Mobile management start-up Front Desk just raised $4 million in a Series A round led by Floodgate, along with Second Avenue Partners, Version One Ventures and Expedia founder and Zillow co-founder Rich Barton. “Front Desk, which launched less than a year ago, mostly focuses on personal services businesses, like yoga studios, gyms, tour operators, music schools and tutoring centers,” TechCrunch reports. “The company says it currently has about 1,000 businesses in 20 countries on its platform.”
In what would represent a huge win for Google, Microsoft is reportedly open to the prospect of Android apps running on Windows and Windows Phone. “While planning is ongoing and it's still early, we’re told that some inside Microsoft favor the idea … while others believe it could lead to the death of the Windows platform altogether,” The Verge reports. “The mixed (and strong) feelings internally highlight that Microsoft will need to be careful with any radical move.”
Did the maker of Flappy Bird really just retire the free, ad-supported game because it was too popular? Yes, that’s what creator Dong Nguyen tells Forbes. “It happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it’s best to take down Flappy Bird. It’s gone forever.” With the app goes $50,000 in daily advertising, by some estimates.