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Tag: Tech (1-10 of 168)

Viacom and Google settle YouTube lawsuit

Viacom says it’s settled its $1 billion copyright lawsuit against YouTube.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

New York-based Viacom Inc. filed the suit in 2007, claiming that YouTube was aware that thousands of videos on its site were stolen from its TV networks such as Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon.

Litigation dragged on for years, but a federal judge ruled last year that the online video site didn’t have to police itself as long as it removed infringing videos when copyright owners gave it notice.

Viacom and Google Inc., which bought YouTube in 2006, say the settlement reflects increasing talks between the two companies related to important opportunities.

Facebook buying messaging app WhatsApp for $16B

Facebook is buying mobile messaging service WhatsApp for up to $19 billion in cash and stock, by far the company’s largest acquisition.

The world’s biggest social networking company said Thursday it’s paying $12 billion in Facebook stock and $4 billion in cash for WhatsApp. In addition, the app’s founders and employees will be granted $3 billion in restricted stock that will vest over four years after the deal closes.

Facebook says it is keeping WhatsApp as a separate service, just as it did with Instagram, which it bought for about $715.3 million.

WhatsApp has more than 450 million monthly active users. In comparison, Twitter had 241 million users at the end of 2014.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says WhatsApp is on path to reach a billion users.

Amazon CEO plans drone delivery system

Amazon-drone.jpg

In the near future, your Amazon packages may be arriving via drone.

The  founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, announced the innovation to Charlie Rose on Sunday night’s  60 Minutes. The online retailer hopes to accelerate delivery time significantly with the new system, called Amazon Prime Air.

“We can do half hour delivery and we think we can carry objects up to five pounds,” Bezos told Rose. But don’t expect your new toaster to arrive via unmanned drove immediately — it won’t be available for another “four or five years.”

According to their website, “Putting Prime Air into commercial use will take some number of years as we advance the technology and wait for the necessary FAA rules and regulations.”

Twitter boosts IPO price range

Twitter’s confidence appears to be increasing ahead of its initial public offering set for later this week.

The 7-year-old short messaging service on Monday boosted the price range for the IPO, saying that it now expects to price its shares at between $23 and $25 each. It previously planned to sell the shares for between $17 and $20 each.

At its new range, the IPO could raise more than $2 billion.

The increase doesn’t come as a big surprise. Many observers considered the previous pricing to be relatively conservative, given that Twitter is poised to pull off the year’s hottest IPO. And some predicted that rather than set its expectations too high; the company would likely raise its pricing in the days leading up to the IPO.

Twitter said in its regulatory filing that it still plans to sell 70 million shares. If all of those shares are sold, the offering’s underwriters can buy another 10.5 million shares.
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Twitter tweets it'll go public

Twitter is going public. The short messaging service aptly tweeted on Thursday it has filed confidential documents for an initial public offering of stock.

But the documents are sealed, as Twitter is taking advantage of federal legislation passed last year that allows companies with less than $1 billion in revenue in its last fiscal year to avoid submitting public IPO documents.

San Francisco-based Twitter Inc. posted on its official Twitter account Thursday afternoon that it has “confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO.”

The confidentiality will likely help Twitter avoid the public hoopla that surrounded the initial public offerings of other high-profile social networking companies, including Facebook Inc., which went public in May 2012.

Twitter’s IPO has been long expected. The company has been ramping up its advertising products and working to boost ad revenue in preparation.
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Yahoo plans to buy Tumblr for $1.1 billion

Yahoo agreed to buy the blogging service Tumblr for around $1.1 billion in cash, reports The New York Times. If the deal is approved, it would be the biggest yet under the tenure of new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and a major move into social media for the Internet company. (It would also top Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram for $1 billion last year.) Founded in 2007, Tumblr has a young, active user base, with over 108 million blogs, that Yahoo will likely want to tap into.

Facebook announces Graph Search

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the social network’s beta tool — Graph Search — is available today in limited release. It’s a bigger search bar, within Facebook, that allows members to type in natural language queries and access people, photos, places, and interests embedded within 1 trillion connections. For example, users could search who among their friends have recently bought shoes or eaten dinner in a certain city — the theory being that Graph Search could disrupt the business models of platforms like Yelp, Foursquare, or Google Local.

For now, Graph Search isn’t capable of tracking Facebook posts or Open Graph actions like song listens, which means that the few hundred thousand people who have it will be able to only partially use it. Already, analysts and experts are questioning why Facebook is treating this announcement like a big deal. Predicting that Graph Search could become a major threat to Google and Amazon, for example, seems premature. More skepticism over at CNET.

Graph Search is in limited beta for now; you can sign up to get on the list here.

SAG nominees leaked online

Taye Diggs and Busy Philipps announced the 2013 SAG Award nominees this morning at 6 a.m. PT. But if you knew where to look, you could have learned the news hours earlier.

According to the Los Angeles Times, readers of the Awards Daily blog discovered that a glitch in the SAG website allowed readers to see the nominees by typing in the actor or movie’s name in a simple search. Though there was no comprehensive list posted on the site, the database snafu revealed the eventual nominations several hours before the official announcement.

“We are aware of this matter,” a SAG spokesperson said in a statement. “There appears to have been a technical glitch with the website uploading process and we are working with our vendor to resolve the problem.”

Read more:
SAG Award nominations
SAG Awards: Movies analysis

Dish Network on top for now in ad-skipping lawsuit

Dish Network has won the first round of litigation concerning its ad-skipping DVR technology, reports the L.A. Times. The Big Four — CBS, NBC, Fox and ABC — filed suit against the cable company soon after it introduced a new DVR feature called AutoHop that allows viewers to breeze past commercials.

A federal court judge in New York ruled yesterday in favor of Dish’s request for a temporary restraining order against the networks’ California-based litigation. “We’re pleased that the New York federal court has entered a [temporary restraining order] against Fox until the New York court decides whether the suits filed by Fox, CBS, and NBC in California should be enjoined in favor of Dish’s suit in New York,” said Dish General Counsel R. Stanton Dodge in a statement.  “Dish looks forward to presenting its case and prevailing on the merits.”

Fox was the first broadcast company to file suit on the West Coast. However, Dish filed its own suit in New York on May 24, before the networks, in hopes that a prior ruling on the East would set a precedent in its favor.

Both Dish and the broadcast networks have much at stake, as the outcome of the lawsuits — for copyright infringement and breach of contract on Fox’s end — could influence not only what features will be available to viewers on their TV devices but also the price for monthly service.

Read more:
Dish Network’s new DVR system eliminates commercials
Hulu might restrict access to those with cable subscriptions — eventually
Netflix beware! Blockbuster and Dish Network unveil Blockbuster Movie Pass

Facebook lawsuits add to IPO troubles

Facebook’s initial public offering is the subject of two congressional inquiries and mounting lawsuits as the social network enters its fifth day of public trading. The shares regained some ground Wednesday, rising $1, or 3.2 percent, to close at $32. They were up another 50 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $32.50 in early premarket trading Thursday. But they are still more than 14 percent below their $38 per share IPO price last week.

The stock’s rocky inaugural trading day last Friday was followed by a two-day decline. The launch was held up by a half-hour delay, caused by glitches on the Nasdaq Stock Market. It was marred further this week as investors began accusing the banks that arranged the IPO of sharing important information about Facebook’s business prospects with some clients and not others.

Several shareholders who bought stock in the IPO have filed lawsuits against Facebook, its executives and Morgan Stanley, the IPO’s lead underwriter. At question is whether analysts at the big underwriter investment banks cut their second-quarter and full-year forecasts for Facebook just before the IPO, and told only a handful of clients about it.

One lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, claims Facebook’s IPO documents contained untrue statements and omitted important facts, such as a “severe reduction in revenue growth” that Facebook was experiencing at the time of the offering. The suit’s three plaintiffs, who bought Facebook stock on its first day of trading May 18, claim they were damaged in the process.

Morgan Stanley declined to comment. Facebook said the lawsuit is without merit.

Another lawsuit, filed in San Mateo County Superior Court in California, claims Facebook and underwriters misled investors in Facebook’s IPO documents. Both lawsuits seek class action status on behalf of investors who bought Facebook stock and lost money on Friday. “No one gets it perfect, as far as saying what the financial results are,” said Anthony Michael Sabino, professor at St. John’s University’s Peter J. Tobin College of Business. The bottom line, he added, is whether Facebook or the underwriter had material information about Facebook’s finances that was not disclosed publicly. “At this moment, it’s still too early to say,” Sabino said. “We don’t know enough, but this could turn out to be an issue.”

What is known is that, in March, Facebook began meeting with analysts at the underwriting firms. The gatherings are a customary part of the IPO process and are designed to help analysts understand the company’s business so they can make accurate financial projections. On May 9, the third day of Facebook’s pre-IPO roadshow to meet with prospective investors, the company filed an amended IPO document that said its number of mobile users was growing faster than its revenue. According to a person familiar with the matter, Facebook then had another meeting with analysts and told them that based on the new information in the filings, the analysts’ forecasts should be at the low end of the range that the company gave them in April. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not publicly authorized to discuss the matter.

Adding to Wednesday’s events, Facebook was in talks with the New York Stock Exchange to move its stock from the Nasdaq Stock Market after the botched offering, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. The news of the talks was first reported by Reuters.

NYSE spokesman Rich Adamonis said: “There have been no discussions with Facebook regarding switching their listing in light of the events of the last week, nor do we think a discussion along those lines would be appropriate at this time.”

A Nasdaq spokesman declined to comment.

Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said late Wednesday that his panel wants to learn more about the social network’s initial offering. The committee seeks briefings with Facebook representatives, regulatory agencies and others. After the briefings, Johnson said, he will determine whether a hearing should be held.

Also gathering information about Facebook’s IPO is the House Financial Services Committee. An aide to that panel said its staff is getting briefings. The subject is likely to be raised in hearings by the committee in the coming weeks, even though no hearings are planned specifically on the Facebook IPO, the aide said. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because the House committee’s planned inquiry hasn’t been publicly announced.

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