See What the World Looked Like When the World Wide Web Was Born


This post is by David Murphy from Lifehacker


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The World Wide Web turned 30 this week, and everyone celebrated the best way they know how—by coming up with big lists of all the internet-related topics we’ve dealt with (or obsessed over) the past few decades. That includes dial-up modems, AOL, avatar- and comic-based chatrooms, and Homestar Runner, which are just a…

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What Was Your Facebook Breaking Point?


This post is by David Murphy from Lifehacker


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Facebook turned 15 earlier this week, and you’ll have to excuse me for not rushing to the bakery and ordering a celebratory cake. It feels like most people don’t want to be on speaking terms with Facebook, even though many still check the site regularly for a quick fix of cute animal pictures, a chance to shit-post at…

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Chrome gets a new look for its 10th birthday


This post is by from TechCrunch


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It’s been ten years since Google first launched Chrome. At the time, Google’s browser was a revelation. Firefox had gotten slow, Internet Explorer was Internet Explorer and none of the smaller challengers, maybe with the exception of Opera, every got any significant traction. But here was Google, with a fast browser that was built for the modern web.

Now, ten years later, Google is the incumbent and Chrome is getting challenged both from a technical perspective, thanks to a resurgent Firefox, and by a wave of anti-Google sentiment. But Google isn’t letting that get in the way of celebrating Chrome’s anniversary. To mark the day, the company today officially launched its new look for Chrome and previewed what it has in stock for the future of its browser. And it’s not just a new look. Chrome’s Omnibox and other parts of the browser are getting updates, too.

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30 years of Final Fantasy


This post is by from TechCrunch


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 December 18, 1987 marked the establishment of a video game franchise that would come to define role-playing games for millions over the next 30 years — but the creators of Final Fantasy didn’t know that at the time. Here’s a look back at this influential series and how it has changed over the years. Read More

Anniversary For iPhone Offers A Moment Of Nostalgia In The Age Of Disposable Photos


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Anniversary Logo An app called Anniversary offers a new twist on remembering the past via your photo and video memories. Instead of posting to a social network like Facebook, Anniversary lets you share your content with a friend on some future date of your choosing. The idea is to surprise your friends with old photos, instead of just nostalgically reviewing them on your own. Thanks to smartphones, we… Read More

Yahoo Q2 Earnings Call: The Marissa and Ken Show, Now in Living Color


This post is by from AllThingsD » Kara Swisher


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Untitled copy

Yahoo is just starting the analyst call of its Q2 earnings, which were pretty lackluster. But CEO Marissa Mayer, who is awfully good at this kind of thing, has ginned up the excitement nonetheless, deciding to now broadcast the event live over the Internet via video, rather than over a more typical audio link.

2:01 pm: Woah! Although I have been watching television since Richard Nixon was president, this video earnings call idea is pretty cool. Why has it not been done before? (It will be done again next week, as Netflix CEO Reed Hasting grabs his 15 minutes.)

Thus, as soon as the legal disclaimer was over, it was Mayer and CFO Ken Goldman sitting at a news desk, in a sort of “Good Afternoon, Yahoo!” situation.

Because it is not exactly pertinent to comment on how anyone looks, I decided to not do so — except to say that Goldman was sporting a very nice oxford shirt.

Mayer’s first words were delivered a bit stiffly, but she was doing okay pretty quickly on reading the prepared script and trying to make it seem fresh. In Silicon Valley, she is a well-known over-preparer and, clearly, she has done that here.

She showed off some slides about how the company is growing its page views, pointing to mobile growth as the key driver. That is in contrast to recent stats from comScore, which does not reflect the claimed mobile growth, but does tell a story of declining Web usage at some key Yahoo properties over the last year.

Img-labrada

Mayer then began to reel off the various accomplishments she has notched since she got to the troubled Internet giant last July.

From lots of acquisitions (mobile team up by a factor of six, she said) to better employee morale to attracting more entrepreneurial talent, Mayer called it a “super-charged Yahoo.”

Sounds like the company on muscle enhancers, which was her point, I think.

“As I hit my first-year anniversary, it is clear we are into our second sprint,” said Mayer, mixing the metaphors.

2:14 pm: Now it was over to Goldman, who apparently did not like to look at the red light on the camera, even if his life depended on it.

He reeled off a lot of numbers, noting that the balance sheet at Yahoo is strong, with $4.8 billion in cash and securities. A lot of what Goldman was going over had already been in the press release, but it was nice to see him actually read it off.

That is, until he got to the revenue slide for the company. It was not impressive in any way, showing a decided lack of growth all over the place.

Goldman said that Yahoo was trying to make a “meaningful” attempt to fix that. “We have a lot of confidence in our business, but that has yet to translate into revenue growth,” he also added, pointing out the very obvious.

He still looked a little pained, but seemed to rally with the search slide, even as he was trying to figure out a way to not insult the company’s partnership with Microsoft in the area.

Number of paid clicks was up nicely, 21 percent, although price per click was down eight percent.

Still, it was a whole lot better than display. “Our display business was challenged,” said Goldman, with another obviously obvious observation.

2:23 pm: For example: Price per ad was down, number of ads sold was down (“just two percent,” said Goldman, as if this could possibly be a good thing).

It looks like international revenue is part of the problem, down across the world. The Americas market was up.

Goldman continued on without any affect whatsoever, except for his pronounced New England accent, which is kind of what I want in a CFO.

house_of_cards

I will be honest: Goldman’s number-rattling soon started to wear on me, so I briefly considered switching over to watch “House of Cards” on Netflix. Kevin Spacey could make “non-GAAP operating income” seem exciting — of this, I am sure.

2:29 pm: It was soon back to Mayer, who was now going for a more serious tone and look. She showed off her “chain reaction of growth” slide again that is apparently a virtuous circle of fantastic (if it works, that is).

Then, she moved into the specifics.

She said she wanted Yahoo search to be better, but graded her mobile progress to be an “A.” Can you grade yourself? Yes, you can, if you are CEO with an exclusive earnings show on Yahoo Finance.

“Yahoo’s future is mobile,” she then said.

Then, quick as a wink, it was onto display, which has become the ugly ducking at Yahoo, downgraded from its former status as a swan.

“We have to do a much better job here,” said Mayer. Again: Obvi!

Onto video — Mayer really had a knack of keeping things moving — which she said was also important.

Blogging site Tumblr was also a highlight, she said, but was unspecific, except to throw in trendy phrases like “native ads.”

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2:34 pm: Finally, it was onto Q&A.

Suddenly, we have lost video! I am bereft as this is the heh-heh part of the show, where Wall Street analysts show just how tethered they are to the company execs’ good will and not investors’ best interests.

Wait, it’s back. Phew!

Mayer suddenly became much more interactive and comfortable onscreen, answering the first question about video looking a lot like a professional pundit.

(I was just noticing the giant Yahoo mug next to her, which riveted me for no good reason, except for its freakishly enormous size.)

The next question was on the guidance, which Yahoo had lowered earlier. The questioner wanted to know more, as well as how the company was going to monetize the next pile of money coming soon from Yahoo’s Alibaba Group asset with minimal tax impact.

Mayer noted that Tumblr, whose non-revenue will be non-included in the next quarter, will not matter to growth as yet. Non-revenue-producing companies bought for $1 billion usually do not.

Goldman then noted that he has the best tax minds looking into how to get that mountain of money from China to Yahoo without Uncle Sam getting too much of a taste.

The next questioner wanted some explanation about the depressing display fall off. Mayer said she was working on it. She clearly knew she cannot change the results and did not try to, although shaking her head in understanding did make it feel better.

Network-Movie-Image

At this point, I decide that this video thing was genius, although I suspect there are very few CEOs who will be able to pull this off. It’s kind of like “Network,” but for geeks.

2:43 pm: Onto a question about Microsoft, as well as if there have been any benefits from Yahoo’s sales reorg under Henrique De Castro, who has got to be feeling the pressure due to the display disaster.

Goldman did not bite on Microsoft, which other Yahoos have done in the past. Mayer said the vertical set-up for advertising sales was better and “typical across industries.”

The next question was about M&A and its revenue potential. As most know, Yahoo has been on a tear in that department, buying 16 companies over the last year.

Mayer called them mostly “tuck-in acquisitions,” done for hiring talent more than anything else. Tumblr is, she noted, strategic, which is different.

She promised more of the small purchases, which means it was time to cue the cheering on Sand Hill Road among the VC set, who can now continue to bail out of some of their kookier investments.

Another question on new ad formats, which evoked not much of an answer by Mayer. But Goldman was now starting to feel good on video and noted that “we, as a team, are very, very focused on our original expectations for this year.”

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2:51 pm: The questions continued and I suddenly wished that we could see video of the Wall Street analysts, too. It be like a reality show — “Real Stockpickers of Wall Street.”

This reverie prevented me from paying mind to a question about some technical ad issue.

Finally, a good question came about breaking down the stats Mayer briefly showed off on page views. Let’s be clear, Mayer has been deft since she got to Yahoo about presenting the data that she wants rather than what others want and also what might be helpful to grokking what is happening inside Yahoo. Thus, no deets for anyone, except to say it’s all going up!

Then another decent query about whether Yahoo should be more deeply embedded with mobile leaders. Unlike Google and Apple, Yahoo does not have a smartphone platform or operating system, but Mayer said she had no partnerships to announce today.

Next, a content question about what maximizes the value of Yahoo. Mayer noted she was on the side of content partnerships, rather than Yahoo making its own original programming, a debate that has gone on at the company since the dawn of time.

yahoo-marissa-mayer-david-filo

A video sales question. I was flagging here. Where is Kevin Spacey when you need him!?! Also, that Yahoo mug seems to have grown larger as the earnings cavalcade of details has continued. Could it have hurt to have a giant purple Yahoo exclamation point dance across the stage at this point?

Next, a question about Tumblr and the immersive search experience. Mayer, who is a search expert from her time as an exec at Google, went all wonk here, reeling off numbers. But changes to improve Yahoo’s declining business here is not baked yet, she concluded.

Mayer, who never lacks for aggressively cute gimmicks, finally closed by doing the Summly version of the Q2 report, as she had in a previous quarter. But, if truth be told, her hour-long show was much more entertaining.

“We hope you have enjoyed our video presentation,” said Mayer, delivering the line like a pro. Unfortunately, Goldman was not paying attention to the last cue, but quickly piped up, after a sharp sideways glance from his boss, like a digital update of Ed McMahon.

Hiyo, if you will, for the Internet age.

On CEO’s First Anniversary, Yahoos Get to “ThxMarissa!” (Best Internal Memo I Ever Held.)


This post is by from AllThingsD » Kara Swisher


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Thank-you-post-it

As many readers know, I am not one to hold back a Yahoo internal memo. So, I am glad I can finally publish this one, an effort by the events team at the Silicon Valley Internet giant to organize a surprise for its CEO Marissa Mayer on the first-year anniversary of her tenure there.

Read the memo (which I got six weeks ago and actually held, since I am a lot of things, but not a ruiner of happy surprises!): “This is your opportunity to send her a personal ‘Thank You’ message, for everything she’s done for Yahoo! over the past year. Click on this link yo/thxmarissa and send your personalized free form message to Marissa!”

Mayer was presented with the thanks at Yahoo’s all-hands meeting this past Friday, just after she gave the company’s 11,000 employees Up fitness bands as a gift.

While the memo does have a bit of a dear-leader tone, getting the stock up 73 percent from its longtime doldrums is certainly an occasion to give thanks. (Yahoos might also want to thank Jack Ma of Alibaba Group for the stellar performance by the Chinese Internet giant that has also been an important part of the share boost.)

I myself sent one to the email listed below — which I assume was edited out of the presentation — that essentially said: “ThxMarissa, for all the scoopportunities and stories, from Tumblr and every-limping-startup-in-existence acquisitions to the work-from-home mishegas to the free smartphones and food!”

In all seriousness, I will have more reporting later today on the actual results of Yahoo’s core business under Mayer over the last year — not very robust in terms of consumer engagement or revenue growth, although definitely an improvement in terms of morale and momentum. That’s ahead of tomorrow’s second-quarter earnings, which some Wall Street analysts think will not be very impressive either.

Will the sun come out tomorrow? Probably not, but enjoy this happy memo until then:

Subject: Send a Thank You to Marissa’s 1 year at Yahoo! SSSHHHH — secret message below:

Marissa’s 1st year anniversary at Yahoo! is on July 17th, 2013 and we plan to SURPRISE her with a presentation during the FYI on July 12th. This is your opportunity to send her a personal “Thank You” message, for everything she’s done for Yahoo! over the past year.

Click on this link yo/thxmarissa and send your personalized free form message to Marissa! All of the messages will be shared with her both online and in a book presentation. This is open to everyone — including contractors.

Keep in mind that this is a surprise for Marissa. Please do not post anything on DevRandom or any other communications! Don’t forget to sign your name and your site location. The moderator tool will close on June 14th. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at thxmm@yahoo-inc.com.

Thanks,

Margaret Mish, Joanne Locascio and Yahoo! Events Team

When I Say Jump … Marissa Mayer Gives Yahoo Employees Up Fitness Bands


This post is by from AllThingsD » Kara Swisher


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blog_jawbone_up

It’s clear that CEO Marissa Mayer has been trying to get the employees of Yahoo to start moving faster to innovate. And now, she is also doing it quite literally, apparently giving its more than 11,000 employees an Up fitness band.

According to sources, the company will be handing out the trendy wrist devices, which track movement, sleep patterns and other data and which also allows you to share information with a group of friends about your activity (or lack thereof, in my case!).

This is just the kind of flashy, morale-boosting move that Mayer has become well-known for, including giving staffers new smartphones and free food. (Even though these are typical benefits at all Internet companies in Silicon Valley, they were not at Yahoo pre-Mayer.)

It’s not clear if Mayer herself is paying for the gift — it is her first-year anniversary at the company — or Yahoo is. The bands cost $129.99 retail and come in a range of colors. And while I am told there is not a purple version of the Up device being offered here — get on it, Hosain and Yves! — presumably Mayer got a big group discount for all the Ups she bought.

The gesture makes sense, since Mayer recently joined the board of the San Francisco startup, Jawbone, which makes Up. Jawbone also created and sells the iconic Jawbone wireless mobile headset and the Jambox wireless speakers.

A Yahoo PR person did not return an email request for a comment, natch!

The $50 Million Man: Mattrick Gets Hefty Cash and Stock Package From Zynga, Including $19.3 Million in the First Year


This post is by from AllThingsD » Kara Swisher


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don_mattrick1Zynga just filed its 8-K regulatory filing that outlines the compensation it took to attract Microsoft Xbox head Don Mattrick to the troubled social online gaming company as its new CEO, replacing founder Mark Pincus.

In total, without figuring in increases in the stock that have already occurred, the longtime gaming exec is getting about $50 million in cash and stock compensation over several years. This all depends on a number of factors. For example, if the shares pop — the stock is already up significantly since his hiring — the package is obviously much more valuable.

While it is a largely stock-based compensation package, Mattrick will also be getting plenty of cash, with a cash and stock kitty totaling $19.3 million in his first year. That includes a $5 million signing bonus in cash, a $1 million annual salary and a pro-rated but guaranteed cash bonus of $2 million. In the period, he will also receive $11.3 million in Zynga stock in a make-whole grant related to the vesting shares he gave up in leaving Microsoft.

Mattrick is also getting an “inducement” grant of 1,785,714 restricted stock units, valued at $5 million, as well as an option to purchase 7,357,143 shares now worth $10 million, which will also vest over several years.

Beginning in 2014, Mattrick will be eligible for a 200 percent to 400 percent yearly cash bonus of his annual base salary, or $2 million to $4 million.

While these cash numbers are large, most of the value of the overall package is based in equity — large stock grants — that will become very valuable if Mattrick can get Zynga back on track. It’s somewhat comparable to how Yahoo has rewarded CEO and former Google exec Marissa Mayer, who has definitely gotten that stock humming since she arrived a year ago.

According to the filing, for example, Mattrick’s make-whole grant is $25 million in total — 8,928,571 Class A RSUs of Zynga — that will vest over his first three years at the company and are valued at a price of $2.80, based on Zynga’s stock price on June 26.

That means 45.32 percent will vest on the one-year anniversary of the start of his employment — this coming Monday — and 45.32 percent on the day prior to the 2015 annual shareholder meeting. The remaining 9.36 percent, or $2.3 million, will vest on the third anniversary of his start of employment.

Along with the make-whole and inducement grants, Mattrick is also eligible for other grants — similar to those given to other execs at Zynga — which are performance-based and are valued at $7 million.

As is standard, Mattrick will get a payment of $60,000 related to legal fee costs associated with his employment agreement with Zynga, as well as severance of twice his annual salary, two times his target bonus, a pro-rated bonus for the fiscal year of the termination and an accelerated vesting of all his grants.

In related news, with Mattrick’s ascension to the board, Zynga said that longtime board member and former Zynga exec Owen Van Natta will be resigning, which will keep the number of directors at nine.

Here’s Zynga’s filing on Mattrick’s money, if you want to read for yourself:

Form 8-K

A GigaOM conversation with Sprint’s Dan Hesse on five harrowing years as CEO


This post is by Kevin Fitchard from GigaOM


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When Dan Hesse took over the reins of Sprint on Dec. 17, 2007, he had quite the mess on his hands. That fourth quarter, Sprint was getting ready to announce not just an exodus of 683,000 subscribers but also an astounding financial loss of $29.5 billion, one of the largest ever recorded by a major U.S. company.

Sprint’s acquisition of Nextel two years earlier was a heavy albatross around its neck. Its customer service had gone down the tubes, employee morale was low, and the company culture fractured; worst of all, Sprint’s once loyal subscribers were fleeing in droves. Hesse knew he was taking over a struggling company, but in an interview with GigaOM he admitted that even he didn’t realize the magnitude of Sprint’s troubles until he arrived. “When I took over the assignment the problems were more severe than I anticipated,” he said.

Hesse staring in one of many Sprint "Simply Everything" commercials

Hesse staring in one of many Sprint “Simply Everything” commercials

Fast forward five years, and it’s plain to see Sprint has turned several corners. Its net subscribers totals are increasing rather than shrinking, helped along by the iPhone. Its improved financials have sent Sprint’s stock skyrocketing, its share price more than doubling in value in the last year. Its customer service is now consistently scoring the highest marks in surveys conducted by J.D. Power and other agencies.

Sprint hasn’t fully recovered from the dark days of the last decade. Seven years after the merger it’s still dealing with the fallout of Nextel, it still has more work to do to repair its brand, and during the several years Sprint was healing its wounds, its biggest competitors AT&T and Verizon Wireless took advantage of Sprint’s problems to become bigger and more formidable.

But it’s fair to say there’s a lot more upside than downside to Sprint these days. Japan’s Softbank certainly thinks so. It’s investing $20.1 billion to take control of the country’s third largest carrier.

A few days before his fifth anniversary at Sprint, Hesse sat down with GigaOM to discuss his tenure as CEO and the five years of trials and tribulations Sprint has endured on its path to recovery.

Why AT&T is to thank for Sprint’s new identity

We asked Hesse what the most significant moment of his tenure was, and we were surprised by the answer: AT&T-Mo.

“The most important decision that has been made in the five years I’ve been here was the decision to fight the acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T,” Hesse said. “It fundamentally defined the industry, which in turn defined Sprint in terms of who we are is and what our role in the industry is.”

at&t-mobile-mergerEchoing thoughts he gave in an interview with GigaOM last year, Hesse said that the AT&T’s failed attempt to consolidate two of the Big 4 made him realize that there was no longer such a thing as the Big 4. The industry had bifurcated into the Big 2 and everybody else.

“Through a combination of acquisitions of spectrum and acquisitions of other companies, as well as organic growth, AT&T and Verizon together became a much larger percentage of the overall wireless market,” Hesse said. “Five years ago I wouldn’t have called them a duopoly. Today they’re darn close. If AT&T had been allowed to acquire T-Mobile than we would have clearly had a duopoly.”

Sprint can’t take credit for killing AT&T-Mo, though its vociferous opposition to the deal likely influenced the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice’s decisions to quash it. More significantly, the deal helped shape Sprint’s identity. Hesse said it made Sprint realize that many of its interests were now more closely aligned with smaller competitive carriers rather than the Big 2.

Sprint began defining much of its strategy by focusing on services and policies the market was demanding but AT&T and Verizon weren’t delivering. Ma Bell and Big Red killed unlimited plans. Sprint embraced them. They concentrated on contract plans. Sprint dived whole-hog into prepaid. While Verizon and AT&T are still keeping mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), Sprint has become a hero to the virtual operator. Sprint had started down that path before AT&T-Mo ever happened, but Hesse said the attempted merger reinforced the notion Sprint was on the right track.

While AT&T-Mo’s approval would have stifled competition, it’s failure had the opposite effect. The government has made its position clear: it wants to see strong third-and fourth-place operators to keep the Big 2 in check, and that has spurred new interest in the likes of Sprint and T-Mobile.

“Investment into the U.S. wireless industry would dry up if you had a government sanctioned wireless duopoly,” Hesse said. “Softbank has said publicly it wouldn’t have invested a thousand dollars in the U.S. if that merger had gone through.”

The Nextel problem

The biggest problems Hesse has been forced to fix were not of his own making. When he took over in late 2007, his predecessors had made two significant decisions that still haunt the company to this day: the acquisition of Nextel and the embrace of WiMAX as Sprint’s future 4G technology.

“With 20/20 hindsight, the Nextel merger was a mistake,” Hesse said. “The synergies, if you will, that we had hoped for and planned for didn’t materialize.”

Sprint logo signIn fact, Hesse may be just a few months away from shedding that Nextel albatross for good. June 30 is the date he’s set for shutting down Nextel’s iDEN network, at which point Sprint will start refarming its airwaves for LTE. It will be a painful six months. There are still 3.1 million Nextel and Boost Mobile subscribers on iDEN, many of them clinging to the Direct Connect push-to-talk service that originally made Nextel so popular. So far, Sprint has been able to convert a fair amount of iDEN customers into CDMA customers, though, and has managed to attract 1 million subscribers to its new CDMA version of Direct Connect.

As for WiMAX, Hesse isn’t quite ready to call it a failure, even though the rest of the wireless industry has dismissed it. Hesse isn’t blind. He knows LTE is the future — and Sprint is in the early stages of a nationwide LTE rollout — but Hesse also maintained that Sprint got more out of WiMAX than the industry gives it credit.

“One of the big decisions I had to make early on whether to mothball and shut down the WiMAX business and take a big write off,” Hesse said. At the time Sprint simply didn’t have any money to invest more in a new network strategy, Hesse said. Its choices were making its fateful deal to merge WiMAX operations with Clearwire — or do nothing at all. The Clearwire deal did give Sprint the country’s first 4G network, though lack of funds prevented Clearwire from completing more two-thirds of its network, and Verizon Wireless quickly caught up with LTE.

“Time will tell,” Hesse said. “It’s too early to say whether [WiMAX] was a good call or a not so good call.”

A lot of history’s judgment will probably be based on the eventual fate of Clearwire. A day after our interview with Hesse, Sprint made a bid to buy out Clearwire completely.

Becoming the carrier that isn’t hated

If Hesse wants Sprint to be perceived as one thing, it’s as “the good guy” in the U.S. wireless industry. While AT&T and Verizon Wireless increasingly make moves that go against the desires of their customers and trends in technology, Hesse said, Sprint will try to become the most pro-consumer and open carrier out there.

Hesse (third from left) and the CEOs of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile at CTIA Wireless

Hesse (third from left) and the CEOs of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile at CTIA Wireless

There are the big ticket items, such as pricing structures like its unlimited data Simply Everything plans. But there are small moves as well, such as opting to use Google Wallet as a mobile payments solution, rather than inject itself forcibly into the NFC commerce chain. It’s also tried to claim the mantle as the country’s greenest operator.

Still, Sprint is having a hard time explaining its new role to consumers. Hesse said that its current customers know the new Sprint and like what they see, as indicated by its stellar rise in the consumer survey rankings. But for customers who have never owned a Sprint phone or left angrily during its rebuilding period, the name Sprint still has plenty of negative connotations.

“A brand can be tarnished very quickly, but it takes a long time to rebuild it,” Hesse said. “That’s the issue we had. The company had let the customer service and customer experience deteriorate, and we really have to work hard to change that perception. … We have changed the perception of Sprint customers very quickly because they have noticed how much we’ve improved. It’s more difficult to change the perceptions of non-customers.”

Sprint logo photo courtesy of Shutterstock user Susan Law Cain

Facebook Gift Event Also Gets Blown Out of NYC by Hurricane Sandy


This post is by from AllThingsD » Kara Swisher


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And the hits — and not happy ones — keep on coming with the imminent approach of Hurricane Sandy to New York City.

Along with cancellation of tomorrow’s Google Android product event and postponement of our latest All Things Digital conference, D: Dive Into Mobile, which was set to take place tomorrow and on Tuesday, Facebook is also now putting the kibosh on two events it was planning in Manhattan this week.

The first is a Tuesday engineering open house that was planned for the social networking site’s New York HQ in mid-town. And, more importantly, its larger Gifts event at FAO Schwartz is now off too.

A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed the cancellations.

Facebook was set to unveil retail partnerships at the media gathering to “come see what’s new with Facebook Gifts,” after announcing the ability to buy physical gifts for other users last month.

It is the company’s major initiative into the world of social gift giving and e-commerce.

As Mike Isaac wrote when it was announced in late September:

It’s exactly what it sounds like. Users can choose, mail and pay for real-world, physical gifts — not the lame virtual ones Facebook offered a few years ago — to send to one another, all completely inside of Facebook. They’re tied to the significant event reminders that pop up on occasion — say, a friend’s anniversary, or a birthday. Or even better for Facebook, users can also just buy gifts for others for the heck of it.

It’s a major undertaking for Facebook, tackling an entire new segment of online commerce and adding a brand new revenue stream to its business. And to a degree, we’ve known it was coming for some time — after all, on the same day Facebook went public, it acquired Karma, the social gifting application upon which all of Gifts is based and built.

Perhaps more significant, however, is that users aren’t limited to just the desktop to send and receive gifts; the entire Gifts program is accessible on mobile phones.

Slashdot celebrates 15 years of capturing tech’s zeitgeist


This post is by Sean Ludwig from VentureBeat


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Slashdot

Long-running tech news and analysis site Slashdot launched 15 years ago today, and it is still chugging along, capturing the best bits of news around the web and letting people vent on various topics.

“For the past 15 years, Slashdot has been a source of fun technology news and a place that finds tech’s zeitgeist,” longtime editor Timothy Lord told VentureBeat. “The site still looks and works surprisingly similar to how it did when it started, but it’s now much cleaner and more streamlined.”

Rob “CmdrTaco” Malda created Slashdot in 1997. He selected “Slashdot” for the site’s name because it was an “intentionally obnoxious URL.” Malda resigned from Slashdot in August 2011. In March 2012, Malda joined the Washington Post as chief strategist and editor at large of WaPo Labs.

Since Malda’s resignation, the site has continued to run well, but it faces stiff competition from Reddit and social networks that provide the aggregation and commenting services that Slashdot once dominated.

In mid-September, Dice Holdings purchased Slashdot, SourceForge, and Freecode from Geeknet for $20 million in cash. Lord said he does not expect the site to change much under new ownership.

Slashdot attracts 3.7 million uniques per month. Lord said that through its history, the site has hosted discussions on more than 123,000 stories, and in true geek fashion, he noted that the site hit 123,456 stories just last week. The site’s Hall of Fame page shows the most popular posts and gives a historical perspective on the major events the site has seen.

Check out the exclusive infographic below for a deeper look at Slashdot’s history:

SLASHDOT-HISTORY

Filed under: green, media


On One-Year Anniversary of Jobs Stepping Down as CEO, Karma’s a … Patent Victory for Apple


This post is by from AllThingsD » Kara Swisher


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If anyone had any question what irony is exactly, consider this: Today is the one-year anniversary of the day Steve Jobs stepped down from his job as the charismatic and legendary leader of Apple, as well as the very moment that the company he co-founded has largely won an epic legal battle with Samsung over patent infringement.

The late Apple co-founder was particularly vocal at various times on the issue of copying innovations that he felt his company had pioneered.

That’s been especially true related to Google Android operating system that Samsung and many other device makers are using.

In a quote by Jobs from Walter Isaacson’s biography of him, he famously said:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

And that has certainly been at the center of the landmark trial over who stole what in the aggressive race to dominate the market for popular smartphones and tablet devices, including Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

Right now, the verdict from a California jury — who deliberated for less than 24 hours — is being read in a San Jose courtroom.

And, so far, it is largely favoring the Silicon Valley-based Apple over the South Korean consumer electronics giant on the wide-ranging patent infringement case.

As The Verge’s liveblog of the verdict noted: “Apple didn’t win everything — not by a long shot — but it won enough to make this a very important day.”

Indeed.

Those wins include patents related to touchscreen features, such as zooming, as well as on designs.

In addition, so far, Samsung has been ordered to pay Apple $1.05 billion in damages.

The jurors determined that Samsung violated six of seven patents and found that it willfully infringed in five instances. Also: The jury said that all seven of Apple’s patents were valid, which Samsung had contested.

The findings in the complex case are still being read in court, because it involves many patent infringement allegations on both sides related to dozens of devices.

Legions of lawyers for Apple and Samsung went back and forth on who invented what and whether it was a matter of copying or simple inspiration.

Samsung, naturally, said the various devices might be similar, but not the same. Apple begged to differ.

Jobs would have been in agreement, too, had he lived to see the verdict — he died of pancreatic cancer in October of last year, only months after stepping down.

But, in his resignation letter a year ago, he wrote about the importance of innovation:

“I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role. I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.”


Apple versus Samsung Full Coverage

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From $1.5B to half a trillion dollars: PayPal celebrates a 10th anniversary


This post is by John Koetsier from VentureBeat


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Ten years ago today, eBay announced an acquisition that might rank as one of the most successful Silicon Valley purchases ever. In fact, it sits third on Ranker’s list of smartest tech acquisitions.

I’m talking, of course, about PayPal, the “subsidiary” that now accounts for well over a third of eBay’s total revenue — and gaining.

Since the deal completed, PayPal has moved more than half a trillion dollars in payments and grown from 23 million regular users to over 110 million. VentureBeat spoke to PayPal’s senior director of global communications, Anuj Nayar, about the anniversary.

Source: eBay

PayPal revenue as a percentage of eBay revenue

“There’s very few of these acquisitions that are universally seen as a success story,” Nayar said. “But eBay buying PayPal was maybe the most successful acquisition in Silicon Valley history. PayPal now accounts for 38 percent of the total company’s revenue.”

The purchase price was $1.5 billion dollars, but not a penny was actually paid. Instead, the deal was a tax-free stock-for-stock exchange: .39 eBay shares for every PayPal share.

In return, PayPal has generated about $20 billion in revenue for eBay over the past decade. In fact, this year alone PayPal expects to process more than three times the initial purchase amount — $7 billion — in mobile payments alone.

There’s some irony there, as Nayar notes:

“In 1998 the original business model was to move money between two Palm Pilots … and the online payments was a side business.” Now, he says with a trace of humor, “the hot new thing is to use your mobile phone as a wallet.”

Source: Dipity.com

It all started on a Palm Pilot?

Money on a mobile device is essentially how PayPal began. And a recent re-organization by eBay president David Marcus has refocused the company on mobile, putting former mobile chief Hill Ferguson in charge of all PayPal product groups.

It’s a needed change, says Nayar.

“The payments market is getting more and more competitive … every morning I check VentureBeat and there’s another digital wallet company starting up. We are definitely doubling down on accelerating innovation.”

Of course, it’s not just small startups challenging PayPal.

As we reported late in June, competitors include Facebook, Google, and Apple. None of those are competitors to be taken lightly. One owns the world’s largest social graph, and the other two have a stranglehold on the mobile devices that hundreds of millions of people currently  use … and billions more probably soon will.

Nayar knows PayPal is in for the fight of its life but likes the company’s chances.

“There’s a very different level of consumers buying in when you’re talking about your money. You need scale and you need trust.”

PayPal will need to grow both of these to have a future decade as successful as its past decade.


A brief history of PayPal:

  • 1998: Peter Thiel and Max Levchin develop a service named PayPal as a secure way to beam money between Palm Pilots
  • 1999: Nokia Ventures and Deutsche Bank “beam” Peter Thiel $4.5 million in venture funding from a Palm Pilot
  • 2000: PayPal enables eBay payments
  • 2001: PayPal goes public on the NASDAQ
  • 2002: eBay acquires PayPal for $1.5 billion and begins to integrate PayPal into eBay
  • 2004: PayPal launches its first API and introduces Web Services
  • 2005: PayPal introduces micropayments
  • 2010: PayPal launches the new Send Money application for mobile devices, processes $750 million in mobile payments
  • 2011: PayPal processes $4 billion in mobile payment volume for the year
  • 2012: PayPal partners with Home depot: can be used for payments at 2000 stores

Image credit: Sebastian Kaulitzki/ShutterStock

Filed under: deals, Entrepreneur, mobile, VentureBeat


Here Come the First D10 Speakers: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Entrepreneur Sean Parker, Zynga’s Mark Pincus and More on the Red Hot Seat


This post is by from AllThingsD » Kara Swisher


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Even though our D: All Things Digital conference always sells out well in advance every year without our announcing even one single speaker (like this one, too), it’s the action on stage that truly matters.

And in 2012 — which also happens to be the 10th anniversary of the confab of tech and media titans — it’s already shaping up to be another fantastic event in terms of programming, with a lineup of onstage appearances that is sure to make some news.

There are many more very big names to come, but Walt Mossberg and I are pleased to introduce the first group of interviewees, which will give you a glimpse into the firepower we expect at D10 in late May. It is again being held in Rancho Palos Verdes, just south of Los Angeles.

The initial speakers we have confirmed so far include: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; serial entrepreneur Sean Parker, who will appear with Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek; Zynga founder and CEO Mark Pincus; Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz; LinkedIn Chairman and VC Reid Hoffman, who will appear with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner; and Skype CEO Tony Bates.

It’s hard to imagine someone we have wanted to have onstage more than Michael Bloomberg, a man of many talents and interests. He’s known worldwide as the 108th Mayor of the City of New York. First elected in November 2001 (and again in 2005 and 2009), he is also one of the most compelling politicians in the U.S. today.

But Bloomberg is also a pioneer in terms of the business of digital news and information technology, having built a huge and groundbreaking media company and information service. Bloomberg (the company) has 310,000 subscribers to its financial news and information service, and more than 15,000 employees worldwide.

There will be a lot to talk about with him, from the upcoming presidential election to the state of our government to the future of innovation, news and technology.

Also sure to be voluble is Sean Parker, the legendary Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has been on the cutting edge of innumerable important digital trends of the recent decade. In 1999, Parker co-founded Napster, the controversial and industry-changing music service, at the age of 19.

He followed up with early contact information service Plaxo, and then shifted over to his critical involvement as founding president of Facebook in its early days as a start-up, an experience which was dramatized in the movie “The Social Network.” Parker continued to found and also invest in companies, from Causes to Spotify to his most recent, Airtime, a social video company that he is doing with his Napster co-founder Shawn Fanning.

Parker will be appearing onstage with Daniel Ek, another serial entrepreneur and technologist, who started his first company in 1997 at the age of 14. The Swedish native later co-founded online music phenom Spotify in 2006, with Martin Lorentzon.

The former CTO of Stardoll and founder of Advertigo leads a company that is changing the way music is delivered and consumed by fans, against a backdrop of intense change in the industry, succeeding even as a plethora of other services have stumbled.

Also a groundbreaker is Zynga CEO and founder Mark Pincus, yet another serial entrepreneur, whose latest effort in the online gaming arena has finally resulted in his biggest success. It recently went public, and now has a nearly $10 billion market cap.

Before founding Zynga in 2007, Pincus had already started three other companies: Push start-up Freeloader in 1995; automated tech-support company Support.com after that; and early social networking site Tribe.net in 2003.

(I met Pincus when he was at Freeloader in Washington, D.C., while writing a profile of him for the Washington Post, so I have enjoyed tracking his progress since then.)

Pincus is also an avid angel investor, with early stakes in Napster, Brightmail, Twitter and Facebook.

Reid Hoffman was another early investor in Facebook, along with many of Web 2.0’s most successful ventures. Well-known in Silicon Valley as an entrepreneur and VC, and recently dubbed the “start-up whisperer” by the New York Times (although I am not sure exactly what that means), he’s also chairman of LinkedIn, the business-networking service that also recently went public (at a $10 billion valuation, too).

He’ll appear with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, who started out life in Hollywood, but soon made his way to Silicon Valley as a top exec at Yahoo. After running its media division, Weiner spent a short time at venture firms before going operational again at LinkedIn.

What it takes to build and maintain momentum as tech companies move into more mature stages, as well as how the social networking space evolves, are among the many topics on tap for the pair.

The evolution of a start-up phenom — in this case, Internet telephony service Skype — will be among the topics covered by Tony Bates, who is now a president at Microsoft, which bought it last year.

As such, he is responsible, says the software giant in its description of his job, “for overseeing the company’s direction, strategy and overall mission to become a global communications service that will eventually reach billions of users.”

That’s a tall order for Bates, who came to Skype from a top job at Cisco. Bates has deep roots (or maybe, routing?) in the guts of the Internet, having done backbone-engineering strategy for Internet MCI. The U.K. native also holds nine patents.

Lastly, given all the activity we expect will happen between government regulatory agencies and tech companies over the next few years, we felt it was key to bring in FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. He has been at the FTC as a commissioner since 2004, but was given the top job by President Barack Obama in 2009.

Among his priorities, according to his bio, is “promoting competition and innovation in the technology sector through law enforcement and policy initiatives; and protecting consumers’ privacy — especially while they are using the Internet.”

Uh-oh!

Leibowitz knows from regulation, having served as the Democratic chief counsel and staff director for the U.S. Senate Antitrust Subcommittee from 1997 to 2000, where he focused on competition policy and telecommunications matters, as well as a similar stint at the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism and Technology before that.

There will be a lot more speakers to come, of course. But, so far, we think D10 is off and running fast.

Viral Video: "Rebirth" at Ground Zero


This post is by from AllThingsD » Kara Swisher


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While it’s hard to believe that a decade has passed since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, the 10th anniversary is fast approaching.

One of the myriad of tributes will be “Rebirth,” a documentary film that employs time-lapse photography and also just time passing in the lives of those who lost loved ones in the tragedy.

The film will get both a theatrical and a television release around September 11, and it looks like it deserves it.

Until then, here’s the gripping movie trailer:

Viral Video: James Bond As a Lady


This post is by from BoomTown


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This is perhaps the oddest video in honor of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, in which James Bond–played by actor Daniel Craig–puts on a dress.

No, really.

It’s worthwhile to note all the dire statistics for women today, although I am not sure this is the best way to illustrate the issue.

Well, you only live twice: