Square Merges with Starbucks, Which Plans to Invest $25 Million

Square has signed a wide-ranging agreement with Starbucks that has cemented the latter’s role in the rising mobile commerce economy. The coffee giant will from now on be accepting payments through ‘Pay with Square’ mode across the nation. With this deal, customers can also pay for orders directly from their phones. Square will now process Starbucks’ U.S. credit card and debit card transactions.

The news came as a pleasant surprise. In this mobile payments startup, Starbucks will also invest $25 million.

Also, Howard Schultz, president and CEO, Starbucks will be a member of Square’s board.

This deal is also assured to boost Square Directory. The directory within the Pay with Square app will list close by Starbucks locations. It will also alert customers of Starbucks of Square-equipped businesses. With this, Starbucks will finally combine the directory into its digital services, including its already popular mobile app.

This is the Square’s first major partnership with a national chain. The company has already proved itself to be the best in terms of providing solution for individuals and small businesses to take credit card payments. If it can control a massive enterprise such as Starbucks, it’s quite evident that the company has grand plans to increase its future sales.

Based in San Francisco, California, Square has raised around $141 million so far and there are rumors that the company is working on a $200 million round, which would value it at $3.25 billion. This large investment by Starbucks certainly points to something major happening in Square’s next round.… Read the rest

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Wikipedia Back Online After Brief Cut

The most popular online knowledge provider, Wikipedia is now back up and operating after the fiber optic cable was cut, which caused parts of the site go offline early Monday.

The crowd-sourced encyclopedia’s cable that linked data centers in the states of Virginia and Florida were severed.

Jay Walsh, spokesman, Wikimedia Foundation said that the company is looking into the outage and there is no reason to believe that it was intentional.

Wikipedia is the latest in the list of companies affected due to high-profile outages in recent weeks. Last month, it was Twitter and Google Talk that experienced outages the same day.

Twitter stated the problem to be with two data centers, which failed at the same time.

Engineers are scrutinizing outages precisely as more users rely on information stored in off-site servers or on services that rely on similar servers. This came into spotlight this summer with a sudden rainstorm taking down an Amazon Web Services data center that also led to the fall of access to services such as Instagram, Pinterest and Netflix.

It was reported that the outage emphasized some concerns U.S. lawmakers have had about moving federal information to the cloud. However, keeping stability aside, people including Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple have other concerns about the impact that moving to the cloud will have on ownership.

He adds that he think that the move of federal information to the cloud is going to be horrendous. He further predicts a range of horrible problems in the next five years in case the decision is taken in its favor.… Read the rest

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LinkedIn Stocks Up as 2Q Revenue Rises

LinkedIn is experiencing a jump in its revenue in the second quarter as the company has seen growth from ads and the fees it charges to offer users deeper access to the heap of professional profiles.

However, the company’s net income fell as it is investing more to expand business. LinkedIn’s revenue increased faster than was expected that also led the company to raise its forecast for the entire year.

The news of increase in LinkedIn’s stock came as a relief after tepid news from other newly public Internet companies such as Facebook and Zynga.

LinkedIn went public just more than a year ago and has since then proved to be one of the best newly traded companies that performed well. The company’s stock traded at more than twice the level of its IPO.

The results clearly point out the role that LinkedIn plays in the employment market as there are millions more people, who look for jobs and network online if they do have jobs. LinkedIn revealed that it had 174 million members at the end of June, which was up by 50 percent from a year earlier. Most of the growth in the second quarter came from overseas as LinkedIn continued to expand outside U.S.

More than two-thirds of LinkedIn’s revenue is collected from fees that it charges companies, recruiting services and those who want deeper access to the profiles and other data on the site. The rest comes from advertising.

Just like Facebook, LinkedIn is also at the starting stages of making money from its mobile applications.

In a conference call with analysts, Jeff Weiner, CEO announced that LinkedIn initiated its first mobile ad test at June end. He also stated that large corporations such as Shell have started running advertisements on LinkedIn’s iPad application. Weiner believes the signs to be positive.

In the 2Q, LinkedIn Corporation earned a total of $2.8 million, or 3 cents per share. That’s down 38 percent from $4.5 million, or 4 cents per share, a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings of the company, excluding stock compensation expenses and other items, were $18.1 million, or 16 cents per share that match analysts’ expectations. Last year, LinkedIn had adjusted earnings of $10.8 million, or 10 cents per share.

Revenue of LinkedIn increased 89 percent to $228 million, from $121 million.

LinkedIn is based in Mountain View, California. The company continues to invest in its business, has hired 414 employees to bring the total to more than 2,800 worldwide. Overall, marketing, development and other expenses increased 93 percent to $215 million, from $111 million a year earlier.

For the current quarter, LinkedIn said it expects revenue of $235 million to $240 million. Analysts were expecting $236 million.

The company raised its full-year guidance. It now expects revenue of $915 million to $925 million, up from the prior range of $880 million to $900 million. Analysts had expected $907 million.

LinkedIn’s stock climbed $3.84, or 4.1 percent, to $97.35 in after-hours trading. The stock had closed down $2.13, or 2.2 percent, to $93.51.… Read the rest

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Go Daddy Chief Executive, Warren Adelman Set to Step Down

Warren Adelman, of Go Daddy is set to step down from the post of chief executive and will take over as a special advisor for strategy and global policy. Scott Wagner, an executive from KKR & Co. is likely to take charge as an interim chief executive while the board is on lookout for a permanent successor to Warren Adelman.

For past one year, Mr. Wagner has been involved in building an international strategy for Go Daddy, a closely held firm that registers Internet domain names.

“I’ve spent close to a decade with Go Daddy, and it has been an amazing and rewarding time in my life, Mr. Adelman said.”As much as I have enjoyed my roles as CEO and formerly as president and chief operating officer, I have reached a juncture in my life when I would like to spend more time with my family.”

It was last year when Go Daddy’s was going through serious losses, it was was bought by deal equity firms KKR, Silver Lake Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures for $2.25 billion.

Go Daddy is a brainchild of Bob Parsons, who is the executive chairman of the company. The firm is known for its whacky advertising, of which Super Bowl commercials and ads featuring different “Go Daddy Girls” including race car driver Danica Patrick have gained immense popularity.… Read the rest

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Apple Acquires AuthenTec for $356 Million

Now that Apple is the proud owner of AuthenTec, we have all reasons to believe that the company is going to make lot of improvements in the security of its devices. Apple today announced that it has closed the deal with AuthenTec, the leaders in security solutions for $356 million. AuthenTec claims that till date it has shipped more than 100 million fingerprint sensors, out of which 15 million sensors were made especially for mobile phones. Apple had to pay a price of $8 a share for AuthenTec, a 58 percent premium over the company’s $5.07 stock price on Thursday.

AuthenTec is one of the first companies to offer integrated security chips for smartphones.  These security chips gained popularity instantly as these hold the capacity to encrypt data, which made mobile phones safer entity for businesses. These chips also offered network security solutions.

With Apple overtaking AuthenTec, we are expecting that the company will make full use of AuthenTec’s technology in its devices such as iPhone, iPad, iOS devices and even Mac computers as all of them needed the much talked about security. This step is definitely going to help the company improve its reputation as far as its security measures were concerned.

Jack Gold, principal analyst and founder at J. Gold Associates said, “This is a blocking move by Apple in the tablets/notebooks space. AuthenTec’s major business is fingerprint sensors. Most of all, the notebook vendors use their chips for log in/authentication. Looks like Apple wants to sew up that market. I see this less of a phone play, as there is virtually no fingerprint sign in on phones (it was tried in the past by HP and BB but the users didn’t like it). While AuthenTec does make other chips (like NFC) I see this as much less of an issue for the device manufacturers as there is ample supply from other vendors on this.”

“I don’t think any long term contract for AuthenTec products will be affected if the manufacturer already has them in place,” Gold added. “But clearly this will put Apple at the head of the queue for any new products or custom products, and also at the head of the queue for delivery if there is any issue with supply. With all the cash on hand, this is a pretty small purchase for Apple that assures some supply for them – nice insurance policy.”… Read the rest

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Google Acquires Motorola for More Than Patent Reasons

The only reason that Google has listed out behind the acquisition of handset maker Motorola is that the purchase would “supercharge Android”. But it seems that the actual reasons were much more as compared to than just acquiring patents.

In a meeting, Google told analysts that Motorola’s actual property includes less than half of Google’s purchase price- $5.5 billion of the $12.4 billion.

Most of the companies, including Google are of the view that patents can act as a guard against any kind of legal attacks that may come from other big companies such as Apple. However, it seems that Motorola’s collection of mobile technology patents are not of much value to Schaumburg, the man behind the IL based phones. As a matter of fact, ever since the acquisition has taken place and cleared federal antitrust scrutiny, Motorola has added a loss of $233 million in operations and $1.25 billion in revenue.

But what comes as a surprise is that Google never discussed other reasons for buying Motorola, not even with analysts in the Mountain View, Calif. firm’s earnings. On the same, finance chief Patrick Pichette said, “Clearly, everybody should expect some changes at Motorola.”

Furthermore, Google also told federal regulators that Motorola’s invasion has helped them see a growth of $2.9 billion in cash, $2.6 billion from “synergies expected to arise from the acquisition,” $730 million from customer relationships, and $670 million from various other assets.

The actual worth of Motorola’s patent is valued more because it can safely lead Android devices from variety of legal threats. But the point is that whether Google will be able to provide this kind of security to all its allies.… Read the rest

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As VMWare Shops for Nicira, Is Something at Stake with Cisco?

 

 

Nicira, an innovative startup which began in 2007, has finally made it big. It has been acquired by VM Ware in a whopping 1.26 Billion dollar deal. Nicira is known for creating a network virtualization platform, a software suite that creates virtual networks which are independent from other physical networks. It seems that Nicira was an underdog or rather a black horse until VMWare decided to take it under its wings in one of the most talked about acquisitions recently.

Earlier VMWare had partnered with Cisco to come up with several products such as Unified Computing System (UCS), Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), Overlay Transport Visualization (OTV), vCloud computing, Cisco Virtualization Services, Nexus 1000V (Nv Kv) , Virtual Computing Environment (VCE), Secure Multi-Tennant(SMT), Enterprise License Agreements(ELA), etc. In a latest blog post, VMWare’s chief technology officer Steve Herrod said that this acquisition will not affect the company’s other mergers, such as its partnership with Cisco. He also said that the belief of the company lies in networking that is software defined.

Nicira has a list of influential clients like eBay, Rackspace and Fidelity among others. Herrod wrote that it is a lengthy process to manage networks and networking services in a cloud environment. There are other issues also that make the job tedious. These issues can be addressed by Nicira’s software defined networking. He further claimed that VMWare will fully support Nicira’s openness.

In his own blog post, Nicira chief technology officer Martin Casado also spoke on similar lines. He claimed, “The cloud is about openness. Openness is in our roots, and it will stay there.” He frankly admitted that the aim of cloud computing is to increase business velocity and efficiency.

Casado spoke of Nicira’s pioneering of software defined networking and of other projects like Open v Switch and OpenFlow. He announced that the company was ‘thrilled’ to be joining VMWare.

VMWare is to pay 1.06 Billion dollars in cash and 210 million dollars in equity. The deal is to close in the second half of 2012. Analysts speculate how this development will affect VMWare’s other projects–pointing to stiffer competition between Cisco and VMWare in the near future. With Nicira under its wing, VMWare will seek to enable provisioning virtual machine networking, doing this through vSphere 5, which might be located in multiple points at the data centre. Contrastingly, Cisco trusts centralized Cisco switches and routers for network intelligence.

Finally, in his closing lines Herrod said that the company was excited about the latest developments. He said that customers will benefit from this deal as this brings together two pioneering teams in network virtualization and this will speed up the realization of software defined datacenter and the advantages will go to the customers as well as service providers.

We’ll keep you posted on how this acquisition plays out in terms of profits and technological advancements.… Read the rest

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VidyoWay: A Free Way to Connect Various Conferencing Systems

VidyoWay is an effective, software-based solution that lets you connect multiple video conferencing systems together for providing multi-party and even multi-vendor video conferencing capabilities at no cost. Launched by startup Vidyo, this solution complements the company’s flagship service, VidyoConferencing. While at an initial glance, VidyoWay may look like direct competition to Skype, ooVoo, and similar systems, the magic of VidyoWay lies in its ability to provide connectivity across personal devices of users such as smartphones, PCs, and corporate video conferencing systems like Cisco, LifeSize and Polycom.

Going beyond providing video conferencing between point-to-point setups, VidyoWay lets up to 9 HD participants video conference at a time, no matter what technology they are using. Think of it like video conferencing in a cloud – you can do it on the move, instead of being stuck in a meeting room in office where the VC equipment is kept. Using Vidyo’s Click-to-Connect capability, even legacy systems can be connected for video conferencing purposes. VidyoWay provides a great way for mobile users, working out of remote locations, to also participate in VC calls.

The company plans to keep this service as a free offering, and would most likely use VidyoWay as a great marketing aid to promote their lucrative and popular VidyoConferencing system. Great for small businesses that would find it challenging to make significant investments in procuring expensive VC equipment, VidyoWay could probably increase corporate world’s use of video conferencing for communication. Especially in the present era of having an increasingly global workforce, VidyoWay is sure to find ample takers.

VidyoWay goes all out to preserve the privacy of its users, ensuring that individual users cannot directly connect to each other, but can connect only to a shared “meeting place”. It is secure, conveniently accessible through multiple devices and systems, and is available absolutely free. For trial, companies can pre-register on Vidyo’s website to get a sneak peek into this interconnecting VC system.

Vidyo provides video conferencing solutions at a corporate level and even powers popular services like Google+’s Hangout. With VidyoWay, the company intends to promote widespread adoption of video conferencing by eliminating poor quality in video transmission, high costs and cumbersome connection challenges.

Vidyo is quite the upcoming startup, having raised close to $100 million already, and it also enjoys a strategic partnership with Juniper Networks, a top network equipment manufacturing company. Headquartered in Hacckensack, New Jersey, the firm is just over 200 employees, and uses patented technologies to provide quality video conferencing capabilities over the internet, without burning a hole in the pocket.… Read the rest

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FREECULTR: Back to Basics, with Discounts!

Yes, the scope of e-commerce in India is growing rapidly and more people are realizing the convenience of shopping online. Internet users in India are now spoilt for choice with a plethora of e-commerce websites offering almost every kind of product imaginable online – books, clothes, watches, gizmos, shoes, and even home furnishing. FREECULTR is one such website that designs and manufactures its own brand of apparel and its USP lies in the fact that it is THE place to shop at if you are looking to add stylish basics to your wardrobe without burning a hole in your pockets.

FREECULTR is based out of Noida and was founded by Sujal Shah, former head of fashion (India) at IMG, Harish Bahl, founder and group CEO of The Smile Group, Sandeep Singh, former brand and media solutions lead at Quasar, and Rajesh Narkar. It was in the news towards the end of 2011, having raised funding to the tune of $4 million from Sequoia Capital India. Sequoia’s managing director, Shailendra Singh, has also joined the board at FREECULTR, post investment.

FREECULTR was envisioned as a provider of branded products, which have a high demand among Indian consumers but under a brand name that uniquely focused more of its marketing efforts in the digital space. Every product on the FREECULTR website is priced between Rs 499 and Rs 2000, making it highly affordable to own premium apparel.

Choose from a wide range of essentials in jersey or cotton and in solid, bright colors. Browse through FREECULTR for casual tees, polo necks, tunics, winter-wear, denims, pants, shoes, and other accessories for both men and women. FREECULTR offers t-shirts and denims in numerous styles and fits and has recently even launched lifestyle accessories like scarves, wallets, iPad cases, belts and sunglasses. The company has even launched jewelry for women on its website, as well as a new range of bags and footwear.

Quality is one primary point the company strives for and it ensures that orders are delivered within 2-5 days of online purchase. The website even offers free shipping and hassle-free returns on orders over Rs 1000. Another cool thing about the website is how it highlights new arrivals and the latest discount offers right on the homepage- saving you precious time in finding the latest loots.

The best thing about FREECULTR is definitely the awesome range of solid apparel in solid colors at affordable prices. The website features a simplistic design and its interface is very easy to use, even for the completely clueless non-geeks. So what are you waiting for? Sign up and bookmark FREECULTR as your go-to place to refurbish your wardrobe in a jiffy!… Read the rest

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Apple Calls Back its Decision of Breaking up with EPEAT

Apple has finally realized that its decision of withdrawing from Electronics Product Environmental Assessment Tool’s (EPEAT) green certification was an incorrect move. The company has called back its decision and has decided to get its products back on the list of EPEAT and seal their approval for its upcoming products.

EPEAT is an environmental organization that is designed to ensure that electronic gadgets available in the market are environmental friendly. After thoroughly inspecting the product, it gives its ratings and certifies that the product meets the set standards required for recycling.

After getting loads  of criticism for this move, hardware SVP Bob Mansfield posted a letter on Apple’s website which read, “Many loyal Apple customers… were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognize that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT.”

Though Apple has rolled back its decision, it has also made it clear that not all its products are available for rating. Actually, the problem with Apple is its glass displays and its batteries that are glued to the case which makes it difficult for the products to  be recycled. This was also the main reason behind Apple’s withdrawal from EPEAT.

As EPEAT CEO, Robert Frisbee said, ““If the battery is glued to the case, it means you can’t recycle the case and you can’t recycle the battery.”

On the contrary, Apple has always highlighted its own energy efficiency and recycling programs, which is a good thing. Not only this, Apple has always made it a point to make its gadgets out of non toxic materials.  Mansfield in his letter also mentioned that many of Apple’s green innovations have been in areas as-yet unexplored by EPEAT.

Mansfield also wrote, “It’s important to know that our commitment to protecting the environment has never changed, and today it is as strong as ever. Our relationship with EPEAT has become stronger as a result of this experience, and we look forward to working with EPEAT as their rating system and the underlying IEEE 1680.1 standard evolve.”

Colin Gillis, senior technology analyst at BGC Partners said, “Apple has a long history of being a cutting-edge design company and some of these processes involve state of the art components and manufacturing techniques. Its entire credo is to be pushing the envelope forward, and in our opinion it’s better to lose some sales rather than risk not having any at all.”


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