• Google, Apple Take On Big Wireless
    Ever wonder why cell phone software pales in comparison to PC and Web-based software? Creating software for cell phones is neither fun nor lucrative because of the restrictions (i.e. rev share agreements) wireless carriers, handset makers and software companies impose on third-party software development. On the Web, software developers are clamoring to become part of Facebook's "open" movement. Who will save consumers from cell phone prison? Google and Apple. The latter has already taken the giant step of letting outside developers create programs on its popular iPhone, which runs on a familiar Mac OS. However, developers can't ...
  • Hulu.com Launches Under Great Pressure
    Whatever the fate of Hulu.com, the media world will be watching carefully. The free, ad-supported television partnership launches today on an invite-only basis. Yet it seems like everyone is expecting this thing to fail. Why? Diverging agendas, technical challenges and an all-powerful enemy: YouTube; a group of bloggers has even started calling Hulu "Clown Co." However, reporters were impressed last week at Hulu's press unveiling. Most reviews say the picture quality is excellent and the ability to play video inside the Web browser is pretty cool. But the shows are, of course, "festooned" with ads, including banners, overlays ...
  • Why Hulu Will Fail
    Hulu is a product, or an arrangement between content owners--it doesn't actually own the TV shows or movies it distributes. Actually, NBC and News Corp. can stream as much of their content through their own Web sites as they want, and in any arrangement they want (commercial-free, for example). The only thing Hulu has the rights to is third-party distribution agreements. NBC, for example, couldn't strike a deal with YouTube, but Hulu could. The exclusivity deal is also short-lived: two years, which illustrates that neither media giant wants to see this thing get too powerful. The economics ...
  • Report: Facebook Set to Collect $260 Million More
    Facebook apparently isn't done collecting money from third-party investors: the Internet upstart is in talks with hedge funds and private equity firms to raise as much as $260 million. The news comes just two days after the company completed the sale of 1.6% of its equity to Microsoft for $240 million. Nothing has been signed yet, but an announcement should be forthcoming, unless the talks, which are preliminary, collapse in the next week or so. The investments, like the Microsoft deal, would also value the company at $15 billion. What, exactly, does Facebook plan to ...
  • Microsoft Reports 3Q Halo Effect
    By all accounts, Microsoft blew its third-quarter earnings out of the water on Wednesday, soaring well-above analysts' expectations, sending the software giant's share price to $35.52, its highest mark since Internet bubble burst. "In 24 hours, they added $38 billion in market capitalization," Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Charles Di Bona told the L.A. Times. "That's a pretty good day's work." Overall, the company reported a 23 percent profit surge to $4.3 billion from $3.5 billion in 2006. Much of the good news came from Microsoft's entertainment division, which handles its Xbox 360 video game console. The ...
  • Is MySpace Running Out of Time to Deliver?
    Facebook may be ubiquitous, but rival MySpace is still three to four times the size of Mark Zuckerberg's white-hot social network. It's also older, too, which means the pressure on parent News Corp. to turn the 100 million member-plus social network into a money-making machine is building. Analysts and investors are waiting. Meanwhile, for the first time since News Corp. bought it in 2005, the site showed a quarterly decline in unique users. Worse, the average time spent per user declined 26% year-over-year. And yet, for all the promise of selling hyper-targeted advertising across 60 to 70 ...
  • Microsoft Bets On Big Future For Facebook
    Microsoft's hard-fought victory for a 1.6% stake in Facebook has been laughed at by some critics, but not only is $240 million (the amount the software giant paid for the stake) a mere pittance for a company the size of Microsoft, but the risk reward for investing in an upstart with Facebook's potential is very high. The opportunity is highly targeted online advertising. Facebook is unique to other content providers because it collects very detailed information about its users: their hobbies, favorite books, movies, music, what schools they went to, etc., in addition to basic age, gender and ...
  • Microsoft's Facebook Stake No Big Deal
    Much of the attention this morning is on Microsoft's $240 million investment in Facebook, a deal that gives the software giant two things: a 1.6% stake in the company and the right to sell international remnant advertising. That's right, "remnant" as in leftovers; those ads Facebook doesn't want to sell itself. In fact, most industry pundits agree that Microsoft didn't win very much at all at the end of the day. The company invested $240 million for a crumb of equity (1.6%) and a sales-repping job for a company that now appears to be obligated only to ...
  • Google Touts Search Ad Improvements
    Google's annual analyst day was sabotaged somewhat by the announcement that the company lost out in its bid for a stake in Facecbook to Microsoft, but the company did make predictions on Google's future. Riding high from last week's news that Google recently made even bigger gains in search advertising monetization, Nick Fox, the company's director of advertising product management, declared: "There is still substantial headroom" in eking out more money from Google's existing user base. A paramount concern for the company is improving the relevancy of its search and contextual ads. To improve the quality advertising, ...
  • Facebook To Telecoms: Open Up, or Else
    The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association is supposed to be a forum for the telecoms to soapbox about the future of proprietary networks and exclusive partnerships with handset makers. However, social networking giant Facebook stole headlines at the annual conference this week as the site's 23-year-old co-founder Dustin Moskovitz lectured telecom executives on the benefits of open platforms. On stage for the announcement of a Facebook program for Research in Motion's BlackBerry smartphone, Moskovitz warned industry executives that their closed business models run contrary to the future of the mobile business. He told them to unlock their handsets ...
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