Roundup: Motorola splits up, cable giants back WiMax venture, and more

Here’s the latest action (updated):Struggling cell phone manufacturer Motorola announced it would split itself into two different companies. Under pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn, the company will divide itself into a cell phone company and a company with broadband and mobility equipment operations. The latter firm would create infrastructure equipment for wireless networks as well as build television set-top boxes. The company had said in January that it would consider a breakup, mainly since its stock has plunged in the past year amid loss of cell phone market share to Nokia, Samsung and Apple.

comcast.jpgtimewarner.jpgComcast and Time Warner are talking about a joint venture in WiMax wireless Internet technology. The Wall Street Journal reported that the cable operators would diversify their business by setting up a WiMax company operated by Sprint Nextel and Clearwire. Under the plan, Comcast would invest as much as $1 billion in the venture while Time Warner Cable would contribute $500 million. Bright House Networks, the sixth-largest cable operator, would contribute $100 million. Gigaom called it the $3 billion WiMax Rescue Act. They’re plowing forward in spite of questions about the technology, including a failed trial in Australia.

gta.jpgTake-Two formally rejected an offer from Electronic Arts. As expected, the beseiged video game maker rejected EA’s $26 a share, or $2 billion, tender offer. Take-Two, the maker of the upcoming game Grand Theft Auto IV arriving in stores April 29, also amended its proxy statement to adopt anti-takeover measures such as a stockholder rights plan.That sets the stage for a grueling battle with EA, which could nominate its own slate for Take-Two’s board.

Yahoo! joins Open Social Alliance led by Google. The Internet company said that the move will make it easier for programmers to write software that can run on the pages of many social networks and other web sites. Meanwhile, David Morin, senior platform manager at Facebook, reiterated at the Snap Summit 2.0 conference that his company isn’t joining Open Social now but isn’t against it in principle. Google said Tuesday it would give up control over the alliance and turn it over to the nonprofit OpenSocial Foundation.

Facebook confirmed it lured away another Google executive. Ethan Beard, former director of social media at Google, will join Facebook. He’s the second high-profile executive to leave Google this month. Facebook now has more than 500 employees.

clear.jpg$19 billion deal to privitize Clear Channel Communications nears collapse. The Wall Street Journal reported that the private equity deal is a victim of the credit market crunch. The leveraged buyout apparently is imploding as private equity firms and banks failed to work out differences over financing terms.

Imeem, the playlist company, opens up its platform — The company has opened to third-party developers, giving them tools to integrate their applications into Imeem. Imeem says calls itself the third largest social network, with more than 24 million unique visitors a month, though its users are mostly checking out each other’s music, and its not considered by most to be a full-fledged social network. The API lets developers access its users’ music tracks, which is a powerful thing because Imeem lets users run complete tracks for free (it got rights to do this from labels, after Imeem said it wanted to try an ad-based model). Developers can also access any videos and photos on imeem, access the social graph of users, modify the metadata for the content and customize the imeem video player.

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