Twoogle or Facetwit?

WashPo  Blog:

So, what would a Google-Twitter baby look like? Or a Facebook-Twitter child?

Well, first of all, there’s the name issue: Would it be Goowit? Twoogle? Twitbook? Facetwit?

WSJ:

As Internet valuations climb and bankers and would-be buyers circle Silicon Valley in an increasingly frothy tech market, many eyes are on one particularly desirable, if still enigmatic, target: Twitter. Discussions with at least some potential suitors have produced an estimated valuation of $8 billion to $10 billion.

Twitter, which started selling ads last spring against its business of allowing users to send messages of no more than 140 characters, is just one of many tech targets being batted about as valuations climb. In December, when it got $200 million in new venture capital, Twitter was valued at $3.7 billion.

But since then Facebook raised $1.5 billion in a financing that valued the social network at $50 billion, up from $10 billion in mid 2009. Online-coupon provider Groupon Inc. rebuffed a $6 billion takeover offer from Google and set plans for a 2011 public offering—a prospect that had bankers rushing to Groupon’s Chicago headquarters in recent weeks to make pitches. And just this week, AOL Inc. agreed to pay $315 million to buy the Huffington Post—about 10 times the news and commentary website’s 2010 revenue.

Forbes:

There is growing consensus Google would be the more appropriate match. The search engine has struggled to find its place in the Web 2.0 era. Buying Twitter would give Google a real-time social information service and considerable amounts of data. With its demonstrated ad platform, Google may also be in the better position to leverage the value of Twitter’s data.

Snubbing Google or Facebook would put Twitter in risky territory. The company has struggled to find a proven business model. Despite its $45 million in reported revenues last year, Twitter is said to have lost money hiring engineers and buying data centers. Its current annual revenue forecast is reported to be between $100 and $110 million, with the majority of that flowing from Promoted Tweets. With such a large exit opportunity on the table, investors will now demand a better product roadmap and specific plans to generate profits upwards of these acquisition offers in the future.

PCMag.com:

Since Twitter launched in 2006, it has grown considerably, especially in the past year. It now has nearly 200 million registered users. In December, the company confirmed that it has tripled the number of employees it had just 12 months ago. With a staff of about 350, the company is reportedlysearching for a new office, potentially outside of its native San Francisco.

The talks with Facebook and Google aren’t new, the Journal said. Communication has been ongoing and open, with both companies expressing a “latent interest” in Twitter.

Guardian:

Not for the first time, the internet needs to stop being so bloody hysterical.

The reason I can’t muster any outrage over a possible Twitter acquisition is that I’ve seen this movie a dozen times before. Spoiler alert: everything’s going to be fine.

For one thing, this is Silicon Valley. Everyone here is in acquisition talks with Google and Facebook. Twitter certainly is; Quora probably is; FoursquareTumblrInstagramInstapaper – they’re all likely sitting round a Mountain View conference table at this very moment, pens poised. They’ll all deny it of course. They’re in it for the long haul – they have no interest in selling. Until they do.

The only problem with the independence v acquisition, good v evil narrative is that – well – it’s bullshit. You know who refused to sell out to the man? Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg is famous for having turned down multiple acquisition offers – including one from Google. The payoff? Facebook grew so big that it ended up being an evil acquirer itself. Google also turned down multiple suitors, before swelling into a public company with a market cap of almost $200bn. The “don’t be evil” kids are now so powerful that even the Chinese government is scared of them.

Here’s what happens next: either Twitter is acquired, it goes public or it continues to grow until it’s as big as Facebook. In the meantime, someone invents an even shinier, newer service for us to root for. Like Twitter, that new thing will change the way we communicate, it’ll revolutionise commerce and – who knows – it might even kick-start a revolution. “We’ll never sell out!” the founders will cry. And we’ll all believe them. Until one day they do – possibly even to big, evil old Twitter.

 

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A Three Horse Race

Reuters:

Nokia and Microsoft teamed up on Friday to build an iPhone killer in a desperate attempt to take on Google and Apple in the fast-growing smartphone market.

“It is now a three-horse race,” said Elop, who was drafted in from Microsoft last September to turn Nokia around.

“This is a partnership born out of both parties’ fear of marginalization at the hands of Apple and Google but there is no silver bullet,” said analyst Geoff Blaber from CCS Insight.

USA Today, AP:

Elop, a Canadian national, joined Nokia from a senior executive position at Microsoft last year. The first non-Finn to lead Nokia, he is under intense pressure to reverse the company’s market share losses to North American and Asian competitors.

“Nokia is at a critical juncture, where significant change is necessary and inevitable in our journey forward,” Elop said. He added the company was aiming at “regaining our smart phone leadership, reinforcing our mobile device platform and realizing our investments in the future.”

Speaking later to analysts in London, he declined to say when Nokia would introduce a new device running on Windows Phone. But he said Nokia won’t bury its own Symbian operating system or the new Meego platform that it is currently developing.

“We need to, and we will, collaborate closely on development … so we can really align and drive the future revolution of the mobile phone,” he said.

CNNMoney.com Fortune:

Of course, Nokia isn’t the top dog it used to be. But despite a weak presence in the United States, declining market share worldwide and a lack of hit products, the company still sold more phones than any other manufacturer in 2010. Last year, Nokia shipped about 100 million handsets (more than twice as many as Apple sold), according to market research firm IDC. No other partner could give Microsoft that same kind of global reach and scale.

In a way, with Google, it would’ve been just another Android handset maker. The details of its deal with Microsoft likely mean it will be first among equals, a premier partner in the Redmond company’s mobile business. It will also likely benefit, according to some reports, from many millions of dollars in development support from Microsoft, as it makes the transition to their OS. So will Windows Phone get the job done? Not unless Nokia shows some real — and real fast — innovation on the hardware side as well.

Blog at Forbes:

INQ Chief Executive Frank Meehan told me today that the Nokia-Microsoft strategic partnership, in which Windows Phone 7 will be the primary operating system for Nokia was “good for both parties.”

Microsoft’s mobile operating system is well-regarded, but it has just 8.5% market share in the U.S., so piggybacking onto Nokia’s huge distribution channels and the billion or so people who use its phones today could provide a new advantage against Google Android and Apple’s iPhone. Working together on a Windows Phone 7 ecosystem would also keep both parties incentivized to make the software a success.

Blog at The Telegraph:

Where two established giants of very different corporate culture, structure and nationality come together to try and play catch up in a business characterised by a new generation of faster moving reptiles, the result is highly unlikely to be productive. I’m willing to bet big money that the partnership will not last more than five years and will fail to produce the cutting edge technology aspired to.

“There is intense heat coming from our competitors, more rapidly than we ever expected. While competitors poured flames on our market share, what happened at Nokia? We fell behind, we missed big trends, and we lost time.”

A dime to a dozen, he’ll lose even more attempting to make his joint venture with Microsoft work.

iBeatles

After years of legal disputes, The Beatles and their entire discography arrive to iTunes. Jacob Ganz from NPRMusic reports:

Now, all 13 original Beatles studio albums will be available via iTunes for $12.99 per album. Three collections of hits are priced at $19.99. Individual songs from the band’s catalog will sell for $1.29, the upper limit for songs on iTunes (previously, all songs were priced at 99 cents). A box set of all available material can be purchased for $149.

Forbes reporter Michael Humphrey conducted a seance/interview with John Lennon. It souds like John is upset over the idea of ownership. I bet he would have really loved what.cd.

Lennon: Music is everybody’s possession. It’s only publishers who think that people own it.

Techo-tainers: Are you advocating piracy?

Lennon: Possession isn’t nine-tenths of the law. It’s nine-tenths of the problem.

Techno-tainers: Yeah, but the music industry has proven quite draconian in dealing with file sharing. What would you do to fight that sense of ownership?

Lennon: My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.

Drive-Thru Sex Shop

Yup, it’s in Alabama.

The last state in the US to enforce a sex toy ban has opened a sex shop in Huntsville with not one, not two, but three drive-thru lanes. Just in case, you know. Traffic tends to pile up. Especially in Alabama, where sex itself is also outlawed. “Pleasures” is making it just that much easier to obtain a glittery dildo.

banks are so hot these days.

Continuing the phallic tour of the saddest state in the country*, be sure to stop by the Hunstville Space Center.

looks powerful!

*I used to call Birmingham home, that gives me the right.

Farewell Pontiac

General Motors and America officially say goodbye today to the iconic car brand, Pontiac. BBC has compiled a video highlighting the car manufacturing company in the 20th century.

R.I.P. Pontiac. My family owned three of your kind.

Relaxation Brownies

As voters in California prepare to vote on Prop 19 this Tuesday, lovers/entrepreneurs of ganja elsewhere than the West Coast are approaching legalization a little differently. Terry Harris, of Cordova, TN, has just filed a registered trademark for the World’s First Relaxation Brownies.

Being a Tennessee resident myself, I first saw these brownies in a liquor store/head shop mash-up (we do things all at once down here). I’m not sure how far they’ve made it outside of TN, but in Nashville they cost $2.99 each and were just thrown about with other drug-related paraphernalia.

Here is how they were advertised:

You can visit bakedworld.com for more information. There are even opportunities to become a “distributor.” I wasn’t able to find an ingredient list, but expect a documented experiment to surface here soon.

Apple has a Secret, Tune in

Apple announced that they will have an announcement today. Glenn Beck didn’t invent anticipation. FACT: Steve Jobs enjoys the innovation of Apple only because he gets to give presentations, he thrives on center-nerd-stage.

Apple invite with lion behind logoApple’s logo for the event.

People are speculating.

The Washington Post reports:

Today’s rumors at least benefit from somewhat concrete sourcing–sightings of new tech-support categories on Apple’s own site. Assummarized by MacRumors, they include new categories for iPhoto 2011, iMovie 2011, GarageBand 2011, “MBA (Need Official Name)” and, vaguest of all, “Reserved 10 20.”

Mashable predicts:

Over the past several days, Mashable has run an open thread asking for opinions on what will be announced today. Answers ranged from the mostly wishful to the completely possible.

Here are a few of your best Mac-centric predictions:

  • Blu-ray for OS X
  • iWork ‘11
  • FaceChat OS X integration
  • App Store for OS X

Of all the speculations, the most intriguing is something known as ‘Reserved 10 20.’ What could it be? The Atlantic reports:

RESERVED 10 20 / MORE

That’s the name of the final section added to Apple’s Discussions page. Could it be a placeholder for the new operating system or does Apple have another new product or service that it plans to announce today? During Apple’s earnings call the other day, Jobs said that “We still have a few surprises remaining for the rest of the 2010 calendar year.” Ball’s in your court, Steve.

More information: CNN, TheGuardian