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Foursquare have just announced a new injection of funding from loans from new and current investors to the tune of $41 million. This has put the company in the position of now quickly trying to generate actual revenue and move away from the simple social check-in app they are now.
The money hasn't come from investors handing cash over to Foursquare for shares, but instead new investor Silver Lake Waterman led the financing with something that is being called a multi-year loan. Existing Foursquare investors offered loans that will convert to equity if the company's valuation rises, these investors are Andreessen Horowitz, O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures.
This means, in reality, that Foursquare have checked themselves into a very hard place. They will now indirectly be forced to create revenue, to continue their interest and principal payments on their Silver Lake loan or risk default. Creating a steady income is going to be hard for Foursquare, as right now they're without such a cash flow.
I still maintain that they'll get acquired soon enough, and I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner.
It looks like we should expect some changes from T-Mobile and Dish Network, where Bloomberg has reported that Dish Network's chairman, Charlie Ergen, has 'informally approached' T-Mobile's parent company about a possible merger deal.
Dish Network is reportedly interested in a deal with T-Mobile so they can bundle wireless services with their satellite TV offerings. The parent company, Deutsche Telekom, announced a sweetened bid for MetroPCD at around the same time the merger talks happened. Deutsche Telekom might consider Dish's proposal, but only after the transaction with MetroPCS closes, and after verifying that another, and separate, deal with Sprint isn't going to go ahead. This is all coming from people "close to the situation", according to Bloomberg.
According to market intelligence firm ABI Research, tablet sales are set to create $64 billion worth of sales this year - up 28% year-over-year. Over the course of 2013, there are set to be approximately 150 million tablets sold, up 38% year-over-year.
Since 2010, Apple has been the tablet champion - where last year's shipments saw 60% of tablets purchased by customers come with iOS while Google's Android OS sat at 37%. The remaining 3% of the market was divided up to Windows (in its many flavors), BlackBerry Tablet OS and unidentified OS implementations.
It should be an interesting year, to see if Apple can hold onto that 60% of the tablet market, or whether they'll see those numbers erode away as people move toward Android-based slates.
The House of Representatives now have access to the music streaming service Spotify. Previously, Spotify had seen itself banned in the House due to an IT rule that prevents peer-to-peer technology when operating on the House's secure network.
To help protect House data, our IT policy generally prohibits the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) technologies while operating within the secure network. While Spotify is currently not authorized, the CAO has and will continue to work with outside vendors to enable the popular services that improve member communication capabilities.
Hopefully some Spotify music will calm the nerves and reduce the fighting between members of the House. May I recommend Why can't we be friends by War?
LinkedIn have announced that they have acquired the company who make the news reader app Pulse for a reported $90 million. Pulse has over 30 million users, and could give LinkedIn an injection of tools as they continue their mission to move from being a socially-enabled site to resumes and business connections to a complete information destination.
LinkedIn took to their blog announcing the news, with the company's senior vice president Deep Nishar writing "We believe LinkedIn can be the definitive professional publishing platform - where all professionals come to consume content and where publishers come to share their content."
We reported the bad numbers of PC shipments in Q1 earlier today, and since then Microsoft stocks have dropped by around 4.4% to $28.93 at the time of writing. Not only that, but other technology stocks have dropped, too.
Dell, HP and Intel were down in stock prices riding the news of Q1 shipment numbers. Research firm IDC had partly blamed Windows 8 for the drop in PC sales, noting that HP's shipments declined 24% year-over-year, backed up by Dell's numbers which dropped 11%. Now several Wall Street analysts have downgraded Microsoft stock, so I'm sure we'll see it tumble more in the coming days and weeks.
NVIDIA announced at today's investor day that they intend to return roughly $1 billion back to shareholders. The money will be returned mainly through a structured stock repurchase program, though some will also be returned through the company's quarterly dividend of $0.075 per share.
NVIDIA said they have already returned $200 million to shareholders since the dividend was first announced in November 2012. Jen-Hsun Huang:
NVIDIA's strategies are gaining traction in the market and make us confident in our ability to continue generating cash. We are now broadening our program of giving back cash to our shareholders and plan to return a further $1 billion by the end of this fiscal year.
More details regarding the buyback plan will be provided next month when NVIDIA releases its financial results for Q1 2014.
Things aren't looking so good for BlackBerry. According to various analysts, BlackBerry's flagship Z10 suffered from weak sales. Now analysts are suggesting that the number of returns are actually outpacing the number of sales. This is not good news for BlackBerry.
"We believe key retail partners have seen a significant increase in Z10 returns to the point where, in several cases, returns are now exceeding sales, a phenomenon we have never seen before," Detwiler analyst Jeff Johnston wrote.
BlackBerry wishes to respond to media coverage today regarding speculation that there have been abnormally high levels of returns of BlackBerry Z10 devices. This is absolutely false. Our data shows that return rates for BlackBerry Z10 devices both in the U.S. and on a global basis are in line with or better than our expectations and are consistent with return rates for other premium smartphones in the market today.
The most popular Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, has suspended all trading for the next 12 hours amidst massive fluctuations in Bitcoin value. Yesterday we saw Bitcoin's reach a record value of $260, which was quickly followed by a massive crash, that resulted in the virtual currency loosing half of its value in minutes.
When the market reopened this morning, prices quickly recovered to about $190, which was soon followed by another big drop back down to $120. With speculation most likely driving the roller coaster ride, Mt. Gox decided to close trading for 12 hours in hopes that things would settle down.
In a statement, Mt. Gox said:
"Market Cooldown for 12 hours
Orders will not be accepted for the moment as we need to upgrade our database to accommodate the trading volume. However, you may still cancel your pending and open orders. Trading will resume at 11.00 am JST. Our apologies for the inconvenience caused and thank you for your patience while we work to resolve this issue."
"Always-on" tweeter, Adam Orth, is no longer working for Microsoft - Internet pitchforks work, it seems
We heard Microsoft's Adam Orth talking about the always-on debacle that is sure to light up Internet messageboards and social networks across the world in the coming months and years, but it looks like the Microsoft creative director is no longer working with Microsoft.
A close source of Orth has told Kotaku that he resigned from the company, and wasn't fired. Microsoft were asked to confirm the news, with a spokesperson for the company responding with "we do not comment on private personnel matters". Microsoft did apologize because of Orth's comments, hours after his rant on Twitter.
One would gather that all of the publicity he received from the Internet has caused the former MS creative director to resign from his position. I'm sure he'll talk about it soon enough.