DigitalOutbox Episode 115
In this episode – Facebook buys Instagram. Microsoft buys some patents and BT doubles speeds.
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2:09 – Facebook buys Instagram
Facebook has just finished a deal to acquire mobile photo sharing app Instagram for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock. Instagram will remain an independently branded standalone app that’s separate from Facebook, but the services will increase their ties to each other. The transaction should go through this quarter pending some standard closing procedures
– Both Google and Facebook had approached Instagram several times over the past 18 months, but the talks clearly didn’t result in a deal. So Facebook was going to have to offer a huge premium over the last valuation
– Will still allow sharing to other platforms and services, not just Facebook
– Have they bought access to all old photos and their geo information?
– Gowalla? Beluga? Friendfeed?
– 27 milllion iOS users, 1 million on Androids debut – hit 50 million soon
– Competing with Facebooks mobile photo sharing service – it’s only true competitor?
– Facebook’s mobile offering still poor in comparison
– Tech communitys reaction pretty funny – instantly people deleting accounts, bemoaning the loss of Instagram especially in the snobby Apple community
– Guides popped up on how to back up your photo’s and then delete your account – http://mashable.com/2012/04/09/deleting-instagram-account-save-pics/
7:26 – Microsoft buys AOL Patents
– AOL is selling 800 patents to Microsoft for just north of $1 billion: $1.056 billion in cash to be exact.
– Tim Armstrong, the CEO of AOL (which owns TechCrunch), says that the company will continue to hold on to about 300 patents and patent applications after the sale. These span “core and strategic technologies” around advertising, search and content generation, he noted in a memo to employees. [Full memo below the break.]
– The sale to Microsoft came after a “competitive auction process” the company noted in a statement.
– The sale is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
– The patent sale marks the end to a lot of speculation around what AOL would do with its patent trove. There had been pressure from shareholders, led by Starboard Value, to realize some of the value from those patents, starting last year, when investors began to grumble that the company was not focused enough on what it could be doing to make more money, and not monetizing fast enough on its growing media portfolio
– AOL stock soars by 43% on this news – thats not right is it?
9:00 – Jack Tramiel dies
– Jack Tramiel, the founder of Commodore International, has passed away at the age of 83.
– In 1981, they released the VIC-20, which at the time became the biggest-selling computer of all time. Its success was based on its versatility: it could play games, yes, but it could also be used for more practical purposes like family budgets. At USD$300, it was also “affordable”, at least by the standards of the day for such equipment
– In 1982, though, they went one better, and released the Commodore 64. It was, for the time, the perfect machine, striking a balance between performance and affordability that would see it sell over 20 million units. To this day it remains the single biggest-selling personal computer system of all time.
– What made the C64 so impressive was the way it blew away the competition in terms of both graphics and, more importantly, sound (indeed, the C64’s unique architecture means its still a favourite of chiptune artists today). This led to some of the most memorable games of the 1980s appearing on the platform, from Last Ninja to GI Joe, Elite to Little Computer People, Summer Games to Way of the Exploding Fist.
– Left in 84 and bought up remains of Atari – Tramiel’s son Sam oversaw the development of the Atari Jaguar, the company’s last important contribution to the home video game market.
11:02 – Apple respond as the Mac trojan is verified
– Apple has said it is developing a tool to “detect and remove” a Trojan that is said to have infected more than half a million Mac computers.
– It said it is working with internet service providers (ISPs) to disrupt the command network being used by hackers to exploit the malware.
– Trojans are infections that can expose computers to control by hackers.
– It is Apple’s first statement on the threat. It issued patches to prevent the malware’s installation last week.
– The two security updates were released eight weeks after Java’s developer Oracle issued a fix for other computer systems.
– What doe sthe trojan do – Although the Trojan is now only conducting click fraud scam by hijacking people’s search engine results inside their web browsers, it has the potential to do greater damage, such as stealing banking or login credential. If the botnet remains connected to computers, cybercriminals could send new malware to their systems that cause bigger problems.
– To understand the power of the Flashback, it’s important to note that it’s actually a family of Mac OS X malware that was first created in September 2011. It was designed to disguise itself as an Adobe Flash Player installer, using Flash player logos. After installing Flashback, the malware originally sought user names and passwords that are stored on Macs.
13:36 – DOJ sues Apple and book publishers over price fixing
– The US has filed an antitrust suit against Apple, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Penguin
– The DOJ’s actions come after a year-long investigation into Apple and publishers, after Apple switched to an “agency” model that is said to have resulted in an industry-wide price increase — with only a few sellers in the market setting prices. Last month it seemed that publishers were ready to settle with the DOJ, and it appears that some are still prepared to do so: Bloomberg reports that Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, and HarperCollins want to avoid a legal battle and could settle with the government today. Others, like Penguin Group, are reportedly ready to fight in court.
– Three of the publishers settled with the Justice Department, agreeing to let Amazon and other retailers resume discounting of e-books. Settlement of a separate suit filed by 16 states and U.S. territories could lead to tens of millions of dollars in restitution to consumers who bought e-books at the higher prices.
– Amazon called the settlement a victory for consumers and users of its Kindle e-reading device. It promised to renew discounting, which could put pressure on such rivals as Barnes & Noble Inc. BKS -1.59% “We look forward to being allowed to lower prices on more Kindle books,” Amazon said.
– Apple and two publishers didn’t settle and are on track to face the government in court. Apple declined to comment but earlier denied acting in concert with the publishers.
18:04 – Google+ Refresh
– Now more beautiful?
– The new interface drops the static icons at the top and moves all the navigation off to the side, allowing users to reorder the icons as they wish. The list includes access to all of Google+’s features, including Hangouts, Photos, Circles, Games, your Profile page, an Explore option for browsing the site, and an icon called “More” which will hold all the icons you don’t care to see.
– Applications mentioned in nav bar – is this the start of app’s coming to Google+?
– Photos and Videos now bigger – much better display
– Facebook esque profile/timeline layout
– Hangouts – easier to manage/join with others
– Whats Hot is now called Explore
– Anyone still using it?
22:13 – BBC Launch Sport App for connected TVs
– True on-demand video from your TV via red buttin and this app
– Built around F1 initially but will be extended to support Wimbledon, Euro 2012 and the Olympics
– Launched on Tivo now – others to come soon
24:51 – BT doubling Infinity speeds
– BT broadband customers who subscribe to the company’s Infinity 2 package will see their fibre download speeds nearly double from tomorrow, the national telco has promised from 38Mbit/s to “up to” 76Mbps on 12 April – upstream speeds of “up to” 19Mbit/s
– This will not lead to cost hikes for its customers.
– Those subscribers on BT’s Infinity 1 package will also see their broadband download speeds swell to “up to” 38Mbps and with upload speeds that could reach 9.5Mbit/s, it said.
– Here’s the rub, though: Existing customers already signed up to Infinity will be required to agree a new contract – at no extra cost – with BT before being able to access the new speeds.
– A BT spokesman confirmed that such a customer would first need to order a “regrade” from the company before “extending” their contract to another 12 or another 18 months.
– E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android
– If you’ve got 11 minutes, watch this