Tag Archive | "Video"

Polycom Buys HP’s Video Conference Biz

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Shares of videoconferencing technology maker Polycom (PLCM) are up $1.34, or 2%, at $58.75, after the company this morning said it would purchase from Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) the company’s “visual computing” assets for $89 million, to add to Polycom’s unified communications business.

The HP products have not been part of the main segments of HP’s business — the personal systems group, services, enterprise, software, and imaging and printing. Instead, they have been contained within the segment of the business dubbed “Corporate Investments,” which also contains the company’s networking equipment products, and its Palm computer assets.

Polycom will also serve as an “exclusive partner” to HP for “telepresence” and “unified communications.” Polycom will also provide video applications for the forthcoming WebOS-based devices HP is developing from its Palm acquisition. Those devices include the TouchPad tablet computer that many expect will go on sale in coming weeks.

Polycom said the deal would be “slightly accretive” to its earnings immediately upon closing the deal.

HP shares are down 42 cents, or 1%, at $36.96.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Richard Garriott’s Portalarium raises money for Facebook games

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Portalarium, the social and mobile game company founded by game pioneer Richard Garriott, has raised a second round of funding. Altogether, the Austin, Texas-based startup has raised $3.6 million to date.

The financing includes money from m8 Capital in the United Kingdom and Founders Fund (the investment fund which includes PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel) in San Francisco.

Garriott has vowed to create the same kind of fun games on Facebook as he did at earlier stages in his career. Earlier this year, Garriott said in an interview that Portalarium is aimed at exploiting the business opportunities in the “third age of video games.”

For those of you who didn’t grow up playing games, it may help to know that Garriott was present for the first age of video games, with the debut of great single-player games such as  Ultima, which was followed by many sequels. In 1997, under his alter ego Lord British, Garriott extended his role-playing fantasy world to the online multiplayer game Ultima Online. Garriott considers the rise of Internet-connected games to be the second age of video games. Garriott tried to exploit that age with Tabula Rasa, one of the most ambitious sci-fi online games, but that title met with an untimely death after six years of effort.

The third age began with the explosive growth of simple, quickly played social games like Zynga’s FarmVille on Facebook. In an interview at the Dice Summit game conference in Las Vegas, Garriott said he knows he is late and the gold rush into social games has happened without him so far. Portalarium launched two simple casino games on Facebook so far in order to test the company’s theories about player engagement, or the trick of getting gamers to play games for a long time.

“We are delighted to join Richard Garriott and the Portalarium team in creating the next great gaming company,” said Joseph Kim, general partner at London-based m8 Capital. “Richard is one of the giants of the industry. He’s a proven entrepreneur and has been a driving force at each of the industry’s major turning points.”

Kim said he liked Garriott’s vision for the future of mobile and social games. Ditto for Brian Singerman of the Founders Fund.

In the past year, Portalarium has released two games — Port Casino Poker and Port Casino Blackjack –  on Facebook and the hi5 social network. According to AppData, those games have just a small number of users. But Portalarium says that those are evergreen products that were created to quickly build out the company’s backend server technology and start interconnecting a player network across platforms and social networks. Port Casino Poker recently launched Apple’s iPad and both iPhone and Android versions are coming later this year.

Fred Schmidt, chief executive of Portalarium, said that the connection with m8 Capital will help the company shape its European strategy while the Founders Fund (which backed Facebook) connection is helping the company connect to the social media scene in Silicon Valley. Portalarium was founded in 2009 and has 12 employees.

We’ll be exploring the most disruptive game technologies and business models at our third annual GamesBeat 2011 conference, on July 12-13 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. It will focus on the disruptive trends in the mobile games market. GamesBeat is co-located with our MobileBeat 2011 conference this year. To register, click on this link. Sponsors can message us at sponsors@venturebeat.com. To participate in our Who’s Got Game? contest for the best game startup, click on this link.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

New Yorkers Reveal What They’re Listening To

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via guestofaguest.com: We all secretly think that our taste in music is some magic map of our hidden depths, but when we actually have the opportunity to show someone what’s on our iPod, it’s Bon Jovi or a podcast on how to get gum out of your beard. That’s why the honesty displayed by the New Yorkers in this video is both delightful and refreshing. MORE>>

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Intel to steer its center of gravity into low-power microprocessors (exclusive)

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Sean Maloney, Intel’s newly appointed president of Intel China, plans to deliver a keynote speech at the Computex trade show in Taiwan next week where he will unveil a heavy-duty effort to steer Intel into the production of low-power microprocessors.

Maloney is expected to say that Intel will accelerate its efforts to make chips that are more appropriate for tablet computers, smartphones, laptops, and low-power desktops. Intel has been doing that for some time. But Maloney, a well-respected executive who recovered from a stroke that kept him sidelined last year, is expected to push that even farther, according to a source familiar with the matter.

This shift within Intel is similar to the shift that occurred when it launched its Centrino laptop processors in 2003 — which Intel referred to as a right-hand turn. This is another right-hand turn, since the current roadmap isn’t as ambitious when it comes to low power consumption.

Most of Intel’s mainstream desktop chips target power consumption of about 40 watts or so. That allows for very fast microprocessor performance, but such a chip generates enough heat that it can’t be so easily used in a laptop and has no chance of making it into a tablet or smartphone. Now, Intel plans to target mainstream chips that consume about 15 watts.

That’s a big difference, but it doesn’t mean Intel will cancel a bunch of chips in development. Rather, the company will modify the roadmap over the next couple of years so that the center of its efforts focuses on 15 watt or lower wattage chips.

The company has already been moving in this direction for a number of years. Intel recently announced a new manufacturing innovation dubbed Tri-Gate transistors that will allow it to use lower power and smaller circuits in its 22 nanometer microprocessors. (Intel’s current Sandy Bridge chips use 32-nanometer manufacturing; the smaller the number, the faster, lower power, and lower cost.)  At its recent annual investor meeting, Intel showed a working 22-nanometer microprocessor code-named Ivy Bridge that is one of the flagship chips for this new low-power strategy. The Tri-Gate transistors take advantage of three dimensions and allow for a 50 percent power reduction at a given level of performance with only a 2 to 3 percent increase in costs. Ivy Bridge will be followed by a chip code-named Haswell that will represent the fruition of Intel’s efforts to reduce the average wattage of its mainstream chips.

Intel is also accelerating development of its lowest-power Atom microprocessors, which are targeted at smartphones, tablets and ultrathin laptops. The Atom chips have been shipping for a number of years, but Intel will turn up the treadmill now. It will shift from 45 nanometer Atom chips this year to 32 nanometer chips and then 22-nanometer chips in 2012. With every manufacturing shift, Intel can make its chips cheaper, faster, smaller and lower power. That pace of innovation is faster than the pace of Moore’s Law (observed in 1965 by Intel chairman emeritus Gordon Moore), which says the number of transistors on a chip doubles every two years.

Intel is also designing a brand new Atom single-chip computer architecture, code-named Silvermont, from the ground up. Those chips are also going to be designed for low power, and the cadence for introducing new chips will become increasingly faster. The 22-nanometer Silvermont chips are expected to be introduced around 2013.

“Intel will completely focus a huge percentage of consumer microprocessors toward mainstream, low-power, ultra-thin, no-compromise computers,” said the source. “The center point of the roadmap will be all about ultra-mobility.”

By the end of 2012, a large percentage of consumer laptops will be in the ultrathin category — think MacBook Air laptops that cost a lot less than they do today and have a lot more performance and all-day battery life. That’s the kind of machine that will use the chips that Intel is placing at the center of its efforts.

Asia is a good place to make the announcement since China is expected to be the largest PC market in the world starting next year. Maloney’s assignment to that region is significant. Maloney was considered the heir apparent to Intel chief executive Paul Otellini. But a stroke threw him off that path. He returned to work in January and is regaining control of his motor skills.

Intel’s Atom processors are beginning to appear in tablet computers and about 10 of them will be shown off at the Computex show in Taiwan.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

GigaOm doubles down on research, raises another $6M

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Om MalikGigaOm already stands out as one of the most heavily-funded sites in the tech news world — and today it nearly doubled that funding, announcing that it has raised another $6 million.

Back when the San Francisco-based company had “only” raised around $8 million, I already found the funding “kind of remarkable”. The new total, $14 million, isn’t a huge amount for a tech startup, but it certainly dwarfs the amount raised by most competing sites. (VentureBeat, for example, has raised less than $1 million, while Business Insider has raised more than $6 million.)

When I asked GigaOm chief executive Paul Walborsky about the decision to raise more money, he responded, “We are big believers in building out a big company.”

GigaOm is certainly one of the most-respected names in the field, but thus far, tech blogs haven’t been acquired for enough money to justify a higher level of funding — the biggest deal has probably been AOL buying TechCrunch for $40 million. Walborsky said that he and founder Om Malik (pictured above) are confident that they’ve figured out a model that works and can continue grow. Rather than limiting its monetization efforts on GigaOm sites (which include GigaOm itself, as well as sites like video-focused NewTeeVee and cleantech-focused Earth2Tech), it sounds like the company sees the blogs as a way to build its brand. The sites also draw in potential new customers for its conferences and the research and reports sold through GigaOm Pro. The new money will mostly go towards building out the technology infrastructure behind Pro, Walborsky added.

“We believe that the growth of GigaOm is going to be driven by our research platform and GigaOm Pro,” he said. “That does not minimize the importance of our online audience. What we write about on the blog is what brings people to read GigaOm on a daily basis.”

GigaOm now claims more than 4 million unique monthly visitors across its sites, a number that’s growing 30 percent annually. According to Walborsky, the company doubled its revenue in 2010, thanks largely to GigaOm Pro. It’s on-track to double that revenue yet again this year, and to become cash-flow positive by the end of 2011.


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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Apple: Al-Waleed Reaffirms His Faith On CNBC

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In case you missed, Saudi prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal was on CNBC this morning — he’s 26th on the Forbes billionaire list with $19.6 billion in personal net worth, in case you’ve lost count — and he was talking about about Apple (AAPL), among other things.

“We got into Apple at $9 many years ago, and Steve Jobs is my friend, I always visit him in California,” said Al-Waleed. “We always believed in Apple. Apple is a very good company, and they are the leader right now in the technology industry. Clearly, there are lots of challenges, they are being attacked from all fronts, but Apple is a big force to be reckoned with in the technology industry.”

(In the video clip below, the discussion of Apple comes in at about 7:40 into the set.)

Asked about growth, Al-Waleed said that the tablet and phone markets have “not yet peaked” for the company. Al-Waleed was also asked about the fate of the company given CEO Steve Jobs’s leave from day-to-day operations.

“Steve Jobs is a unique person, and he has good people with him. You know, he’s not managing the company on a day-to-day basis, but still the company is on a good track and doing good.”

On the general economic outlook, Al-Waleed said that the global economies went through “intensive care,” and “you don’t expect someone to go walking and jogging right away. Hopefully some jogging will take place soon.”

Remarking on the impending end of the Fed Reserve’s “QE2″ program of bond purchases, he likened it to a “scaffolding” of a building, arguing that when a scaffolding is taken away, the “building has to stand.” He doesn’t believe, in other words, that when QE2 ends in June, it will have a major impact on markets. Of greater concern is what is done with the U.S. budget deficit and “brinksmanship” over the U.S. debt ceiling, which he called a “time bomb.”

As long as the U.S. issue can be taken care of, there will be low growth for several years to come, he avers, but not a return to recession, despite European debt issues.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

RIM: ThinkEquity Starts At Hold, $48 Target

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ThinkEquity’s Mark McKechnie this morning initiated coverage of Research In Motion (RIMM) with a Hold rating and a $48 target, threading a path between what he sees as the bull and bear cases.

The bear case is that RIM’s BlackBerry service offering will see subscribers decline in coming years, but McKechnie actually thinks the company can add 16 million and 13 million subscribers in the next two years, for $4.25 per share in earnings, on top of what else it can generate. (He models $6.40 per share this fiscal year ending next February, and $6.55 in fiscal 2013.) The network service is the “core asset,” he writes.

But McKechnie also wonders why the company has talked about new handsets based on its “QNX” operating system, while not actually offering them for another year, essentially offering “vaporware,” as he sees it.

While the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9300 that were recently introduced, and that don’t run QNX, will see purchases this summer from loyal BB fans, he thinks the company may prompt IT shops to hold off on purchases until they see the next generation BlackBerry with QNX next year.

But actually the key issue for RIM, McKechnie, asserts, is how the company adjusts to rich media. RIM rose to prominence when phone companies wanted to keep bandwidth usage down in an era of low-bit-rate messaging traffic. That was back when they banned video from their wireless networks. But Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone’s support for video, etc. has up-ended that equation. “Thus, RIM’s advantage — a light footprint for email and messaging — becomes less important.”

As for tablets, McKechnie thinks this will be a two-horse race between Apple and Google’s (GOOG) Android, but he’s not altogether giving up on RIM’s “PlayBook” tablet — because of its support for Adobe’s (ADBE) “Flash” media technology, which could prove appealing to some corporate users: “We do see a market, particularly in the corporate space, which requires Flash support and thus gives RIMM an opening, in our view.”

RIMM shares this morning are down 62 cents, or 1.4%, at $43.61.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

How To Tell If You’re Starring In A Poorly Shot Video About Insider Trading

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You’re an investment professional and have been making some trades that would fall under the umbrella of ‘securities violations’ for some time. Your colleague and co-conspirator has been acting a little weird (whenever you talk to him, he’s been asking detailed questions about how exactly you’ve obtained inside information, what you did with it, etc) and you start to wonder if perhaps he’s flipped, is cooperating with the government and has been recording conversations with you in order to get a better deal. If he’s started wearing a cravat and asking you to lean in “closer, closer” while chatting or to slow dance in the office kitchen, you may want to back slowly out of the room and lay low for a while.

David Slaine, the stock picker turned stoolie whose trail led investigators to hedge-fund titan Raj Rajaratnam, spent months making secret videos of friends and colleagues allegedly engaged in an insider-trading scheme. Slaine affixed hidden video cams to his hat, cravat and briefcase, helping investigators build their case against Zvi Goffer, an ex-Galleon trader, his brother Emanuel Goffer, and his partner Michael Kimelman.

Far from dramatic, the videos show shots of walls, a bookcase, Slaine’s checkered shirt and people’s foreheads, according to sources familiar with the tapes. While some tapes are expected to be entered as evidence, they will undoubtedly reveal the trickiness of surveillance when using informants. For instance, the government may show a videotaped conversation between Slaine and Goffer eating at a diner, but mainly for the audio, because the video only shows the corner of Goffer’s face, said a person close to the case.

Octopussy’s Video’s Less Than Stellar [NYP]

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Tablets: 115-Page Jefferies Note Sees PC Threat, China Demand

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Folks, it wouldn’t be Tuesday without a massive report on the outlook for tablet computing.

And so, this morning, Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek offers a 115-page note in which he goes through the findings of a survey of 1,400 consumers in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and Asia.

Misek cut his 2011 unit shipment outlook for tablets to 70 million units from 100 million units because he now has a somewhat less enthusiastic view of tablets based on Google’s (GOOG) “Android” operating system, given that the “Honeycomb” version of Android “needed polishing” and given that he believes Android tablets are priced too high to compete with Apple’s (AAPL) iPad and will have to cut prices. Misek thinks there’s little chance PC makers (Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Dell (DELL), among them, I would imagine) will have competitive tablets this year, “due to their dependence on Taiwan ODMs for notebooks.” (Though I would note HP’s CEO Leo Apotheker this morning touted the company’s upcoming “TouchPad” tablet.)

Misek thinks tablets will, indeed, cannibalize PCs, as the survey his firm conducted shows that “production” tasks, such as writing, editing, creating spreadsheets, and editing photos, are done as much on a tablet as on a PC, meaning the tablets are not just for content “consumption,” in his view.

Misek thinks Apple will remain the dominant supplier by a wide margin this year, commanding 64% of tablet shipments, which will make up 20% of Apple’s revenue this calendar year. Research in Motion (RIMM) will have just 1% share this year, and Motorola Mobility (MMI) will have just 2%. Apple next year may hold 41% of shipments, RIM, 1%, and MMI 3%, he thinks.

Misek does not project tablet cannibalization figures, besides saying cannibalization is already evident in Q1′s PC numbers (Again, see HP’s report this morning and some of the commentary from Citigroup.) He argues that developers are already shifting resources to tablet and smartphone software development, which is easier, he opines.

He expects PCs will become servers of a sort, but that they will also adopt various technologies of tablets, and he projects Apple using chips based on ARM Holdings (ARMH) designs in its MacBooks as soon as 2013, a bit of speculation that has been rampant of late.

Two big developments that go hand in hand with tablets, in Misek’s view, are the rise of “super data centers” that will “bring cloud-based services and media to the masses,” and also a surge in wireless and wireline broadband traffic well ahead of current estimates as mobile video becomes “a significant drive of bandwidth usage.”

Perhaps the most suprising element of the consumer survey, Misek notes that China has by far the strongest interest in purchasing tablets, with consumers surveyed in that country suggesting an 80% interest in purchasing tablets, versus just over 40% in North America, 50% in Europe, just under 50% in the Middle East, and about 65% in Asia-Pacific.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Write-Offs: 05.13.11

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$$$ Consumer Prices Rise as Confidence, Jobs Gain (Bloomberg)

$$$ Citi reinstates quarterly dividend at 1 cent (Reuters)

$$$ ECB Asks Court to Bar Greek Swap Disclosure, Cites Market-Disruption Risks (Bloomberg)

$$$ Emmanuel Goffer Denied Delay in Insider Trading Trial (Businessweek)

$$$ Falcone’s Harbinger to Raise $280 Million (Bloomberg)

$$$ President of Collapsed Monticello, N.Y., Hedge Fund Charged with Fraud (WSJ)

$$$ Surprise – Moody’s accidentally rates a bond too low (FT Alphaville)

$$$ SAC Says Cohen’s Ex-Wife Met With Fairfax (Bloomberg)

$$$ AIG Cites Bonus Abuse in Sex-Discrimination Suit (Bloomberg)

$$$ SEC’s revolving door to Wall Street gets fresh scrutiny (Reuters)

$$$ Gold and silver snapped up by bullish Indians (FT)

$$$ Long View: Why Jim Rogers won’t sell his gold (FT)

$$$ Vikram Pandit: The Best Value on Wall Street (WSJ DealJournal)

$$$ Damage Worse Than Feared (WSJ)

$$$ Rich Russians Buy Bunkers on Apocalypse Angst (Bloomberg)

$$$ Beef-Buying Koreans Fuel Record Meat Rally in U.S. Groceries (Bloomberg)

$$$ Boston developer wants cut of Winklevoss twins’ $65-million Facebook settlement (LA Times)

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker