After weeks of rumors, it's now official: Apple has announced it is purchasing Beats Electronics for the cost of $3 billion. This makes it the largest purchase in Apple's entire history, and obviously the biggest public decision made by Tim Cook since he stepped in as CEO.
"Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “That’s why we have kept investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary teams so we can continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world.”
“I’ve always known in my heart that Beats belonged with Apple,” said Jimmy Iovine. “The idea when we started the company was inspired by Apple’s unmatched ability to marry culture and technology. Apple’s deep commitment to music fans, artists, songwriters and the music industry is something special."
Beats Electronics is the make of the Beats by Dr. Dre line of headphones and music accessories, and also the Beats Music subscription service that competes with other offerings from companies like Rdio, Spotify, Rhapsody, and the like.
If you live in the world of video gaming, you probably know about Twitch. It's a sound concept. Watch other people play video games. I know I did it when I was nine, there was always a group of us kids around the the guy with the Gameboy playing Mario as we cheered him on.
Now it comes down to watching strangers play over the internet in real time and instead of five guys looking at a handheld console over their friend’s shoulder, it's 43 million people watching a sum total of 6 billion hours of video game coverage every single month.
Those are some big numbers, and if there is one company that has a good nose for big numbers and the internet, it's Google. Now sources connected to Google have let it slip that the internet giant YouTube, owned by Google, is looking to acquire Twitch for $1 billion.
Should the deal go through, Twitch would gain access to Google's nigh-unlimited resources to expand. It also could run afoul of United States monopoly laws, granting Google a majority share of internet video game streaming services.
Twitch alone accounted for 1.35% of all downstream bandwidth in North America in March, with Youtube raking in 18.67%.
It's still in the rumor stage unfortunately, with Youtube and Twitch refusing to confirm talks, naturally. We'll see what banner I'm streaming under when July rolls around.
Apple has snatched up Locationary, a Toronto-based startup which crowdsources location data, to help better bolster Apple Maps with up to date local business information. Details of the acquisition have not been disclosed as of yet, but it is smart acquisition and should pay off in the long run. What separates Locationary from the likes of Google, Yelp, and FourSquare is that it gives crowdsourced users monetary incentives to help provide up-to-date and accurate information. Locationary then sells the data to other location providers. Think of Locationary as a mapping Wikipedia for local businesses. From the start, Apple was criticized for its mapping efforts, leading to the dismissal of iOS head Scott Forstall, but, over time, has dispelled much of the contention by remedying its initial short comings. Today shows that Apple is not letting up on their goal of providing the best mapping solution. Here's a short video of founder and CEO of Locationary, Grant Richie.
Read More | AllThingsD
Twitter is expanding on its Nielsen deal to develop social TV ratings through an acquisition of Bluefin Labs, a firm specializing in statistics for television networks. The acquisition, says Twitter, will allow the social network to create "innovative new ad products."
Second-screen apps seem to be on the rise these days, but in the case of Twitter, people are more than likely already using it while watching TV. The question is, how much money will this bring Twitter through advertising?
The offer from Twitter, according to The New York Times, was for $525 million. Instagram's CEO, Kevin Systrom, agreed to the buy-out, but changed his mind before selling Instagram to Facebook without allowing Twitter to make a counter offer.
What's interesting is that Systrom had stated while under oath to the California Corporations Department that Instagram had never received another formal offer. None of the parties have commented on the Times article that brought this information to life, but it could mean we might be in the throes of an intense legal battle shortly.
Read More | NY TImes
The ultra-popular Sparrow mail client is now dead. This morning, Google announced that it had acquired the company and team behind what many called the best Mac and iOS Gmail client. It's great for Google, and well-deserved for the Sparrow team, but as a user, it's disappointing. The company was set to release Sparrow for iPad very shortly, but today Google confirmed that there will be no new updates to the Sparrow apps, nor will it be released for any new platforms. We assume that this means the iPad client is now off the table.
We suspect that the crew behind Sparrow will be rolled into the Gmail team, and we'd even bet that we will see the official Gmail apps for Android and iOS become rebranded and fully-integrated versions of what Sparrow was. If you missed out on Sparrow, you can still get it on the App Store for the time being.
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Mark Zuckerburg just announced that Facebook has agreed to acquire the super-popular Instagram for a cool $1 billion. Facebook has been hard at work recently to improve its own built-in photo sharing and viewing experience, while Instagram recently released an Android client that was downloaded a million times on its day of release. Now, Facebook gets the Instagram team in-house, while acknowledging that it should be run independently and maintain all of its social sharing features. Get a look at the full announcement after the break.
AT&T will incur a pre-tax "breakup fee" of $4 billion in the fourth quarter and will enter into a roaming agreement with T-Mobile's parent company, Deutsche Telekom.
AT&T maintained that the deal would have benefited the U.S. wireless industry. But in recent months, it faced challenges from the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission, both of which found that the merger would not be in the public's interest. That opposition, however, does "not change the realities of the U.S. wireless industry," AT&T said.
"AT&T will continue to be aggressive in leading the mobile Internet revolution," Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "To meet the needs of our customers, we will continue to invest."
Gowalla's co-founders on Monday confirmed that they will be making the move to Facebook, though the social network said it will not be acquiring Gowalla's technology.
Gowalla's location-based social service will be "winding down" by the end of January, co-founder Josh Williams said in a blog post. "We plan to provide an easy way to export your Passport data, your Stamp and Pin data (along with your legacy Item data), and your photos as well."
The ball got rolling on the Gowalla-Facebook deal several months ago after Williams said fellow co-founder Scott Raymond attended Facebook's f8 developer conference.
"We were blown away by Facebook's new developments," Williams wrote. "A few weeks later Facebook called, and it became clear that the way for our team to have the biggest impact was to work together. So we're excited to announce that we'll be making the journey to California to join Facebook."
Williams, Raymond, and other members of the Gowalla team will move to Facebook in January and join the company's design and engineering team, Facebook confirmed.
Skype might still be in a holding pattern from Microsoft's May announcement that it was acquiring the company for $8.5 billion, but that hasn't stopped Skype from picking up a brand-new purchase of its own. The company announced today that it is planning to acquire GroupMe, a group text messaging and conference calling service that's just a year and change into its existence.
The actual cost of the acquisition and other terms of the transaction won't be disclosed, according to Skype's announcement.
"The acquisition of GroupMe complements Skype's leadership in voice and video communications by providing best in class text-based communications and innovative features that enable users to connect, share locations and photos and make plans with their closest tie," reads Skype's statement.