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Google Buys Skybox in Move to Democratize Space
June 11, 2014
Google's acquisition of Skybox may be a small step for the search giant, but it could be a giant leap for the Internet. Google on Tuesday announced its intention to buy the satellite imaging startup for $500 million. The move not only would enhance Google's satellite imaging resources, but also provide it with some top talent for its blue-sky plans for space.
Salesforce, MS Deal Could Put Mobile CRM on Steroids
May 30, 2014
Now "anyone can run their business from their phone," Salesforce.com recently promised when it announced its Salesforce1 Mobile App. Many company announcements tend to overpromise, and Salesforce has a tendency to be particularly exuberant, so I took it with the customary grain of salt. My skepticism vanished on Thursday, when Salesforce and Microsoft announced a global strategic partnership.
The Real Reason Apple Bought Beats: Addiction
May 30, 2014
I get the sense that a good many Apple enthusiasts are confused by its acquisition of Beats Electronics. Sure, many are nodding their heads, saying that Beats is good for Apple and makes total sense. The headphones are selling well. With 250,000 paying subscribers, the Beats Music service is taking off fast, and it can only be elevated by Apple's global brand and infrastructure.
Sony, China Strike PlayStation Deal
May 27, 2014
Japanese electronics giant Sony has inked a deal in China to manufacture and sell PlayStation consoles in the Middle Kingdom. The partnership creates two joint ventures with Shanghai Oriental Pearl, which will enable Sony to operate out of Shanghai's free trade zone. China's early-2014 approval of videogame consoles from foreign companies reversed a years-long ban.
AT&T Catches a Wave
May 22, 2014
Change is good. Industry consolidation seems to come in waves, and the next wave seems to be starting. Together, AT&T and DirecTV will be a strong new competitor in the pay-television space. That's great. Unless traditional cable-TV companies get their act together, this merger could be another nail in their coffin. This is a busy time in the industry.
AT&T Gambles on DirecTV
May 20, 2014
AT&T has agreed to acquire DirecTV in order to expand its consumer offerings across additional platforms and better compete in the ever-evolving telecom industry. The merger of the U.S.' second-largest wireless provider and second-largest pay-TV company would be worth about $48.5 billion. With the inclusion of DirecTV's net debt, the total transaction value would rise to $67.1 billion.
Anonymous Philippines Harasses China
May 20, 2014
Anonymous Philippines, the Philippines branch of the hacktivist collective Anonymous, defaced more than 200 Chinese websites over a territorial dispute between the two countries. The group announced the move on its Facebook page, offering a detailed list of all websites it had infiltrated. The hacking spree stems from the dustup over Scarborough Shoal, also known as "Huangyan Island."
Yahoo Buys Blink Team, App to Go Dark
May 15, 2014
Yahoo has acquired Blink, a mobile app that destroys messages at a predetermined time set by the user. Yahoo intends to shut down both the iOS and Android versions of the app in the coming weeks. Blink made its debut just a year ago. The conventional thinking is that Yahoo acquired Blink largely for its talent, as it seeks to build out a robust portfolio of mobile products.
AT&T May Be Suiting Up to Battle Comcast
May 13, 2014
AT&T has been negotiating to buy DirecTV for close to $50 billion, based on reports that surfaced Monday. The deal, which has not been confirmed by the companies, could close within a few weeks. The current option on the table, according to anonymous sources, would be largely a stock trade but it would include some cash, with AT&T offering in the low- to mid-$90s per share for DirecTV.
Google Picks Up Appetas
May 12, 2014
Google last week acquired restaurant website builder Appetas, a move that could strengthen its relationships with small businesses and ratchet up competition with Yelp, which currently dominates the restaurant review scene. Appetas helps restaurants increase their online presence by building out professional websites that can be integrated with locally focused services.
Breaking Down the Crazy Apple-Buying-Beats Riff
May 09, 2014
The hottest -- and possibly craziest -- tech rumor of the week is, hands down, that Apple is in negotiations to acquire Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion. Based on a single report, the story has been fanned into a raging inferno faster than a wildfire on a hot August day. Unfortunately, the only cited source for the rumor is "people familiar with the deal."
EMC World 2014: Building a Company to Last
May 05, 2014
EMC World -- the company's annual customer, user and partner conference -- kicks off this week in Las Vegas. So it seems like a good time to compare and contrast EMC's current position in the marketplace to its competitors' positions -- and even to its own history. In fact, those points were clarified in its recent Q1 2014 earnings call.
Nokia Launches Fund to Invest in Smart Vehicles
May 05, 2014
Nokia has created a $100 million fund earmarked for investing in firms that specialize in connected and smart vehicles. The move comes days after the Finnish firm forked over its handset unit to Microsoft. Nokia already has a mapping-and-location company called "Here." The new fund will be designed to support the growth of the ecosystem around Here's mapping and location products and services.
Microsoft's Makeover: Nadella Confirmed, Ballmer Vindicated
April 28, 2014
Last week, Microsoft delivered its quarterly report, and it was a big deal. It was CEO Satya Nadella's first real quarter and the Nokia merger was completed. This is just the beginning of the Microsoft makeover, but two things indicate that in the end, Ballmer finally did what was right for Microsoft in prepping the company for Nadella -- and that Nadella was the right choice to lead the firm.
HBO to Rerun Hit Shows on Amazon Prime
April 24, 2014
HBO and Amazon on Wednesday announced a content-sharing partnership that for the first time will allow viewers to see HBO shows on a different platform. Starting May 21, Amazon Prime Instant Video users will have access to some of HBO's hits that are now off the air, including The Sopranos, The Wire, Eastbound & Down, and Enlightened.
Reading Into the Red Hat CentOS Deal
April 23, 2014
There was a somewhat quiet, cost-free acquisition of sorts in the Linux world earlier this year when Red Hat announced it was joining forces with Red Hat Enterprise Linux community clone CentOS. The move, which effectively brings organization, governance, backing and technology of CentOS under Red Hat's brim, is interesting for a few reasons.
Microsoft, Nokia March to Altar
April 22, 2014
Microsoft's ambitious $7.4B acquisition of Nokia's mobile business is set to close. There have been some minor changes to the deal since its announcement, said Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith. The original deal did not address the management of online assets, for example. The two companies have agreed that Microsoft will manage the Nokia.com domain and social media sites for the next year.
Popular UK Sports File-Sharing Site Shuttered
April 22, 2014
The Sports Torrent Network, a brazenly named file-sharing site, shut down after UK police threatened to put its operators behind bars for up to 10 years. TSTN was a hotbed for illicit broadcasts of European soccer, the National Hockey League, Formula 1 races and more. The site reportedly had about 20,000 members, making it "possibly the largest site of its type."
Samsung Strikes Deal With Fellow Apple Patent Foe
April 16, 2014
Samsung, longtime patent foe of Apple, will partner with Swiss Federal Railways, another -- unlikely -- Apple patent foe. While the deal itself may not be groundbreaking -- Samsung will supply the state-owned rail company with 30,000 mobile devices -- it is interesting given both parties' litigious background with Apple. Samsung's court battles with Apple have been documented ad nauseum.
Drone Wars: Google Snatches Titan From Facebook's Grasp
April 15, 2014
Google has acquired Titan Aerospace, a drone maker that could help its efforts to improve Internet access worldwide. Facebook reportedly was interested in buying the company itself. Titan makes high altitude drones that Google could use in a variety of ways as it works to increase Internet connectivity. Titan's technology has plenty of room for growth, Titan said.
Icahn, eBay Kiss and Make Up - for Now
April 11, 2014
eBay and corporate raider Carl Icahn on Thursday ended their months-long acrimonious battle with metaphorical hugs and kisses. eBay's board accepted an Icahn nominee -- CVS Caremark Chairman David Dorman -- as one of its 10 independent directors, and the disputants sang each other's praises. "Extremely pleased about agreement," Icahn tweeted. "Believe it's a win-win for all shareholders."
Comcast Argues TWC Merger Would Level Playing Field
April 09, 2014
Comcast on Wednesday pulled out all the stops in a "public interest" statement on its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, one day before it has to appear before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill for questioning about the deal. Hot buttons such as Net neutrality, consumer choice, better and lower-cost services for business, and competition were touched on.

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