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The Wait Is Over: Verizon Will Acquire Yahoo for $4.83 Billion

Verizon announced it would acquire Yahoo’s core operating business in a $4.83 billion cash deal expected to close in the first quarter of next year. Yahoo will join Verizon’s growing stable of digital properties, including AOL, which it purchased last May for $4.4 billion. The deal should help Verizon ramp up its mobile efforts and combine AOL’s ad tech with Yahoo’s online sites and services. AOL chief Tim Armstrong and Verizon exec Marni Walden spearheaded the deal. “This culminates a rigorous, thorough process over many months, and yields a great outcome for the company,” wrote Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer in a letter to her employees. Read more

Comcast to Roll Out its Xfinity Prepaid Services in Five States

Later this year, Comcast will debut a prepaid service similar to the plans wireless companies use to attract low-income households. Dubbed Xfinity Prepaid Services, the customer can buy TV or Internet services for seven or 30 days at a time, with a one-time equipment set-up fee. Upon completion of the term, the user can renew the service with no limitations. Xfinity Prepaid Services will first be available in Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Florida and Indiana. Comcast will extend the service to all its customers by end of 2017. Read more

Redbox Beta Tests its New Streaming Service Redbox Digital

Redbox has begun to test its new streaming service, Redbox Digital, on a trial basis. In preparation for the current tests, Redbox issued a Redbox Digital iPad app on the App Store, and updated its terms of service on its website. There, the company details common usage restrictions, including territories, for the digital services. Redbox has not yet gone public with the catalog or fee structure for Redbox Digital, but streaming rentals will likely cost more than the current fee of $1.50 for physical disc rentals. Read more

Halsey Minor Seeks to Disrupt VR Production with Live Planet

Numerous companies are introducing virtual reality cameras, filling a void that existed a year ago when VR productions were limited to the low-resolution Ricoh camera or custom rigs with multiple GoPro cameras. Among those manufacturers now offering 360-degree cameras are Samsung and LG aiming at the consumer marketplace, and Nokia, Jaunt and Lytro positioned towards the professional market. Kickstarter campaigns are also underway for additional cameras. The latest venture comes from CNET founder Halsey Minor, who is building an end-to-end immersive video system. Read more

Google Redoubles its Cloud Ambitions, Offering AI Programs

Cloud computing is booming, and Google is losing ground to Amazon and Microsoft. As the business of renting computer servers to outside businesses grows more lucrative, Google has decided to promote its artificial intelligence software to enterprise customers. Now, potential customers of Google’s cloud offering can also take advantage two software programs — converting text to speech and extracting meaning from text — that, up until now, have only been used internally. Rivals Amazon and Microsoft offer competing AI products. Read more

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