When I saw a bunch of tweets (Twitter messages) go out earlier that a tethering application had been released for the iPhone, my immediate reaction was: “Yeah, for unlocked iPhones.” But I kept seeing the links to the supposed product, so I clicked one and sure enough it fired up iTunes and showed me an application called NetShare by Nullriver. I decided not to download it since it seemed almost too good to be true at $9.99. I wish I had.
Here’s the latest action:
John Schappert is the corporate vice president who runs pieces of Microsoft’s game business such as its Xbox Live online gaming service. One of the new front men for Microsoft’s game efforts, Schappert is a seasoned game developer who started Tiburon Entertainment, which Electronic Arts bought in 1998. He left his job as the No. 2 executive at EA’s game studios to take the Microsoft position. I caught up with him after he took the stage at the recent E3 game show.
In what sounds more like a Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie date than a multi-billion dollar company’s shareholder meeting, Carl Icahn says he won’t show up so that it doesn’t turn into “a media event.” I can see it now, paparazzi perched in trees with zoom lenses, screaming fangirls. Mr. Icahn, you’re on Yahoo’s board of directors now, shouldn’t you be there?
iPhone games publisher Ngmoco has raised a first round of funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Kleiner Perkins partner Bing Gordon, the former chief creative officer of Electronic Arts, will join the San Francisco company’s board. The amount was not diclosed.
Ever since Apple beefed up its Apple TV offering by announcing support for movie rentals from all the major movie studios back in January, the battle for digital distribution supremacy in the living room has been heating up. Recently, there’s been a string of big announcements and today brings another: LG is releasing a Blu-ray player this fall that will have the ability to stream Netflix movies to your television.
Socialmedian, the social news site created by Jobster co-founder Jason Goldberg, is opening the doors on its public test tonight.
We thought pretty highly of the online video mashup site Omnisio at this year’s Y Combinator Demo Day, and liked it even more after it launched back in March. Apparently, so did Google. Its YouTube property purchased Ominisio today as a way to expand how users interact with the videos they create online, according to the YouTube Blog.
Some companies you don’t want to mess around with. It’s one thing for the media conglomerate Viacom to sue Google for a billion dollars over YouTube, but it’s another when a television company owned by the Prime Minister of Italy files a lawsuit. Such is the case with Mediaset SpA, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s television company. Might we have an international incident on our hands?
Google is the sleeping giant when it comes to advertising in video games. While the company dominates search advertising, it has yet to make a big splash in video games. That could change soon, as the company has been quietly testing its “AdSense for Games” product for months.
The market for in-game advertising — or piping ads into games via Internet connections on the fly — is nascent. But it’s starting to take off. Microsoft has moved in thanks to its acquisition of Massive. Start-ups such as DoubleFusion and IGA Worldwide have strong traction. And Google is waiting in the wings for its own chance to participate.
MySpace may be considering a few merit-based layoffs, but the social network is also adding some new friends today. It has reached far and wide across major technology and media companies to make senior hires. It has grabbed an engineer from Yahoo, a marketer from MTV and another from eBay, a customer support specialist from phone startup Ooma and a business development leader from the Los Angeles Times.
The current Internet landscape is filled with distractions such as email, Twitter, FriendFeed, instant messaging, feed readers, social networks and more. It can be hard maintaining a blog, even a micro-blog. Posterous aims to simplify the blogging process as much as possible. You can post to it through the traditional way of logging in and writing a post or you can post just as easily via email or even text message.
Nintendo reported a stellar second-quarter again. Now it is clearly running away with the console war in terms of units sold and profits made.
Here’s the latest action:
Teen social network myYearbook has raised $13 million, confirming rumors we were hearing last month. The company has managed to grow in the face of more established competitors, like MySpace, within the pre-college market, according to third-party web measurement firms. Hitwise says myYearbook had 1.54 percent of the overall US social network market share behind MySpace’s 71.92 percent and Facebook’s 16.91 percent in June. ComScore, meanwhile, says myYearbook had more than 4.5 million monthly unique visitors in June, versus MySpace’s 70.5 million and Facebook’s nearly 49 million.
The Pandora app for the iPhone and iPod Touch is simply brilliant because it takes the two great elements of the web browser-based experience, music discovery and no cost, and transfers them to a portable device. Pandora had previously been available on some other non-computer devices, but only if you paid a subscription fee. Now it’s rolling out a free version to select home audio streaming devices, according to CNET’s Crave blog.
How fast is Apple’s new App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch growing? When it launched just over two weeks ago it had around 500 applications available. Last night it hit the 1,000 mark, according to Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt.
Online display ads not so much better than print ads — In one of the hardest-hitting pieces yet this year on the online advertising industry, AdAge’s Abbey Klaassen dissects the perils of the display (banner) advertising business. In a nutshell, online banner ads that appear next to online content aren’t much more effective than, well, print ads that appear next to print content. In order for that to change, Group M Interaction chief executive Rob Norman tells her, these ads will need to be better targeted to match a user’s intent, ad metrics need to better inform ad buyers about what they’re getting, and ad messages need to resonate with users.
Two of the largest complaints about the new iPhone 3G revolve around the fact that it still doesn’t have either voice dialing or copy and paste functionality. It would seem that both of these omissions can be solved by software updates, and now we know they can — because apps are starting to come out with that functionality.
In what I can only assume is some sort of new viral marketing campaign, Microsoft is promising to show off something called the “Mojave Experiment” tomorrow in San Francisco.
Michael Brill doesn’t do things the expected way.
SAN DIEGO, CA— The Comic-Con show is on the rise, with so many game companies showing up there to unveil new games that it is probably a contender to replace E3.
Apparently tired of using the same basic architecture in its computers that its other Windows-based rivals do, Apple is thinking about not adopting Intel’s so-called Montevina chipset, the key component of Intel’s Centrino 2 platform, according to AppleInsider.
The new Batman film, The Dark Knight, is obliterating box office records left and right. It recently passed the $300 million domestic box office mark faster than any film ever (by 6 days!) and should do the same for $400 million. Some are even saying it could threaten Titanic for the top grossing domestic movie of all time. But for all that success, its reception on the web has been arguably even greater. After all, it is now the number one movie of all time, according to the Internet Movie Database’s (IMDb) Top 250 list.
Hardcore gamers threw a fit when Nintendo didn’t talk much about hardcore games at its E3 press conference in Los Angeles. But the company has bigger fish to fry, as its choice of executives suggests. Cammie Dunaway joined Nintendo of America in November 2007 as executive vice president of sales and marketing. She led off the Nintendo press conference at E3 with a chat about breaking her wrist while snowboarding and a demo of the Shaun White snowboarding game for the Nintendo Wii coming from Ubisoft. Before joining Nintendo, she was chief marketing officer for Yahoo. Here’s an interview with Dunaway from the recent E3 show.
Heatwave Interactive has quietly built a studio to incubate video games and other media. It’s the brainchild of Antony Castoro, a seasoned game developer who started the company in February 2007. Heatwave just raised a round of $7.5 million from Syndicated Communications Venture Partners, VentureBeat has learned.
You may not realize it yet, but Apple’s newly launched App Store is going to transform the company again. Think of Apple without iTunes. Yeah, it’s hard to do now. Soon it will be the same way for the App Store.
Capturing motion is a technology perfected for movie special effects and video games. It makes it a lot easier to create a computer-generated character if the artist has access to real-world character movement. Organic Motion has done well selling motion-capture systems for such purposes.
Funtactix wants to set itself apart in online games by addressing one of the most annoying problems: the inability for users to take their game characters and achievements from one game to another. With the Moondo cross-gaming universe being unveiled today, you can do just that.
A while back, I finished reading Sarah Lacy’s book on Web 2.0′s rise in Silicon Valley, “Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good.” I let my thoughts percolate on it until I saw the New York Times review of the book by tech journalist Katie Hafner. The NY Times reviewer was critical and Lacy herself feels like it was more like a review of herself than her book. Some of the criticism of the book is fair, some not.
The term sheet was signed and final negotiations were underway, but some due diligence cause Google to walk away from its deal to buy Digg, reports TechCrunch. Thus ends another round of rumors that the social news voting site is being bought.
News aggregator site Digg plans to introduce “sub-Diggs” that let small groups of users create their own news aggregators, similar to what smaller rivals Reddit and Mixx already offer, according to The Windy Citizen. It’s not clear if this means sub-sites within Digg.com or if users will be able to use Digg’s software to create completely separate sites — Reddit has notably open-sourced its software code to enable the latter.
AOL plans to shutter a bunch of businesses: Among the businesses on the chopping block are Bluestring, Xdrive, and AOL Pictures.
A major question facing mobile developers today is how to distribute their content — where, in what form, and monetized in what way? Custom-built applications using Java, BREW and other languages, while once the norm, are giving way to mobile Internet deployments. But will the mobile device, like the home computer, become dominated by the web browser and advertising?
Today during MobileBeat 2008, Tapulous chief executive Bart Decrem got up to talk a little bit about Tap Tap Revenge, the top app in Apple’s App Store. After a week at the top of the mountain, he revealed that a new challenger was rising: Labyrinth Lite Edition. He predicted that it would soon overtake Tap Tap Revenge and now it has.
Movie Set Inc. announced an additional $1.5 million from Vancouver-based British Columbia Discovery Funding, part of a total of $5 million in Series A financing. Charles Cook, manager of Discovery Capital Management Corp, will also be appointed to the board of directors at Movie Set Inc. Also participating in this round of financing is Rho Canada, the Canadian division of Rho Capital Partners, Inc. of New York, NY.
Loopt, the location-based social network, uses GPS technology in cellphones to figure out where you are. Because of this it can tell you things such as which of your friends are around you, or what restaurants you are near. Unfortunately, the cost of accessing this GPS data, doing a “dip” as it’s called, has been very prohibitive. Consumers may not realize it as much, but it’s a problem in selling an application like Loopt to carriers. As Loopt founder Sam Altman told me, “the economic model had to change.”