Microsoft to Pay $2.5 Billion for Mojang, Maker of ‘Minecraft’

Microsoft has agreed to purchase Mojang, the Swedish company responsible for developing the world-building computer game “Minecraft.” The $2.5 billion cash deal, expected to be completed later this year, will bring the immensely popular title — and the Stockholm-based Mojang team — to Microsoft Studios, which publishes blockbuster game series such as “Fable” and “Halo.” “Minecraft” is currently the most popular online game on Xbox, and the top paid app for iOS and Android in the U.S. Continue reading Microsoft to Pay $2.5 Billion for Mojang, Maker of ‘Minecraft’

Facebook Aims to Connect the World, Starting With WhatsApp

While WhatsApp will continue to be an independent app, its acquisition by Facebook should help it reach up to three billion users, suggests Mark Zuckerberg. WhatsApp had 450 million users around the time that Facebook agreed to buy it for $19 billion, but has now reached 600 million. Facebook currently reaches around 1.3 billion people, which is half of the world’s Internet connected population. The company is focusing on spreading Internet access around the globe. Continue reading Facebook Aims to Connect the World, Starting With WhatsApp

Google Acquires Effects Startup Zync, Takes on Amazon Cloud

Google plans to make special effects more affordable and accessible. Yesterday, the company announced that it has purchased Boston-based Zync, the maker of cloud-based rendering software Zync Render, which has been used in movies such as “Flight,” “Looper,” “Star Trek Into Darkness” and the “Transformers” series. While terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed, Google is expected to integrate Zync’s data and tech into its Google Cloud Platform, and move Zync off Amazon Web Services. Continue reading Google Acquires Effects Startup Zync, Takes on Amazon Cloud

After Google Bows Out, Amazon Moves In to Acquire Twitch

In recent months, we reported that Google was planning to acquire popular streaming platform Twitch.tv for more than $1 billion. However, Google was unable to close the deal, reportedly due to concern over antitrust issues related to its streaming video site YouTube. It looks like Google’s loss is now Amazon’s gain. Yesterday, Amazon confirmed that it is purchasing San Francisco-based Twitch, which touts more than 50 million monthly users, for approximately $970 million in cash. Continue reading After Google Bows Out, Amazon Moves In to Acquire Twitch

LinkedIn Sees Bizo Acquisition as Part of Larger B2B Picture

LinkedIn announced last month that it would acquire business marketing startup Bizo for about $175 million. According to a recently unveiled internal document, the move is the latest step toward the company’s goal of entering the expanding B2B marketing space and turning its marketing solutions products into a $1 billion business by 2017. The Bizo acquisition is part of LinkedIn’s plans to become “the most effective online platform for marketers to engage with professionals.” Continue reading LinkedIn Sees Bizo Acquisition as Part of Larger B2B Picture

Instagram’s Audience Engagement is Triple That of Facebook

Social media shop Shareablee discovered that marketers are very active on Instagram, despite the fact that most cannot run ads on the photo- and video-sharing service yet. During the second quarter, Instagram had 56 percent more total actions than Facebook. While Instagram is four years old, and Facebook went live in 2004, it is not surprising that the brand activity is growing much faster on the mobile app. However, Instagram is also bringing in three times the engagement per post. Continue reading Instagram’s Audience Engagement is Triple That of Facebook

Sprint Ends Pursuit of T-Mobile, Plans to Replace Chief Exec

Facing opposition from regulators, Sprint has opted to bow out of its pursuit of T-Mobile. The deal would have valued T-Mobile at $32 billion and provided a stronger rival to Verizon and AT&T. Sprint, the country’s third largest wireless carrier, will now have to rebuild its declining subscriber base on its own, and is currently testing new price plans. The company also decided during a board meeting yesterday to replace CEO Dan Hesse with billionaire entrepreneur Marcelo Claure. Continue reading Sprint Ends Pursuit of T-Mobile, Plans to Replace Chief Exec

Twitter Acquires AI Startup Madbits, Explores Image Search

Twitter announced that it has acquired an artificial intelligence startup known as Madbits. The social network is buying into Madbits’ technology that can search an image and understand its content. This new image search engine is based on deep learning, a type of AI that relies on convolutional neural nets, much like a human’s network of neurons in the brain. Twitter is just the latest in a line of tech companies to invest in this type of technology. Continue reading Twitter Acquires AI Startup Madbits, Explores Image Search

Podcasting App Swell Shutters Following Acquisition by Apple

Earlier this week we reported that Apple would acquire recommendation startup BookLamp, often referred to as “the Pandora for books.” In related news, Apple has purchased podcasting app Swell, described as “the Pandora of talk radio.” Following the acquisition, Swell announced that its service is no longer available. Disappointed users may be hoping that Apple will somehow integrate Swell into its offerings. Meanwhile, NPR just launched its NPR One app, which offers similar functionality. Continue reading Podcasting App Swell Shutters Following Acquisition by Apple

Apple Quietly Acquires Startup BookLamp: Pandora for Books

Over the weekend news broke that Apple has acquired BookLamp to expand its ebook offerings and better compete with Amazon. The Boise, Idaho-based startup is best known for developing big data-style book analytics services, which could be used by Apple for new iBooks features. BookLamp’s e-reading recommendation service is sometimes referred to as the “Pandora for books.” According to one source, Apple is paying more than $10 million for the startup’s tech and employees. Continue reading Apple Quietly Acquires Startup BookLamp: Pandora for Books

Google to Purchase Live Game Streamer Twitch for $1 Billion

Google has signed a $1 billion deal to acquire popular streaming platform Twitch.tv, according to sources familiar with the matter. Google’s YouTube division is in charge of the deal, which reflects the popularity of live Internet streaming and, in particular, the rapidly evolving interest in competitive gaming as a spectator sport. San Francisco-based Twitch currently touts more than 50 million monthly users. In addition, more than 1.1 million of its members broadcast videos each month. Continue reading Google to Purchase Live Game Streamer Twitch for $1 Billion

Yahoo Targets Mobile Advertising Market with Flurry Purchase

Yahoo is purchasing mobile app analytics firm Flurry, a company that collects data from some 540,000 apps to help marketers identify which mobile ads work the best for Android and iPhone users. While financial specifics have not been released, insiders suggest the deal is valued at more than $200 million, one of the largest under CEO Marissa Mayer. The acquisition is another step by Mayer to pursue mobile advertising revenue, a market largely dominated by Google and Facebook. Continue reading Yahoo Targets Mobile Advertising Market with Flurry Purchase

Twitter and Facebook Are Expanding Into Online Purchasing

Twitter and Facebook users will soon be able to do their online shopping directly from the social networks. The two companies are investing in e-commerce in an effort to keep users on their apps and sites. Twitter acquired CardSpring, a mobile payments infrastructure company, which will allow users to load coupons and discounts to a credit card. Facebook is also testing a new buy button that will open a dialog box to make purchases from Facebook posts. Continue reading Twitter and Facebook Are Expanding Into Online Purchasing

Music Streaming Up 42 Percent While Digital Downloads Fall

Streaming is the new face of digital music consumption, according to Nielsen’s 2014 Mid-Year Music Industry Report. In the U.S., on-demand streaming was up 42 percent from last year with over 70 billion songs (audio and video) streamed in the first half of 2014. Digital track downloads fell 13 percent to 593.6 million, compared with 682.2 million last year. The entire music industry’s sales, including albums, streaming, and downloads, dropped 3.3 percent. Continue reading Music Streaming Up 42 Percent While Digital Downloads Fall

Facebook Pursues Video Advertising with LiveRail Acquisition

Facebook announced Wednesday that it will acquire ad technology firm LiveRail, furthering its efforts with effective video advertising. LiveRail, sometimes referred to as a “supply side” platform, helps media companies sell video ads programmatically. The company currently works with clients such as A&E, Univision, MLB and BET. Facebook believes that the LiveRail acquisition will eventually lead to better video ads that are more relevant to its community. Continue reading Facebook Pursues Video Advertising with LiveRail Acquisition

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