Latest tech roundup:
Digg removes listing of top diggers — The news ranking company has removed its list of the people who have contributed most do top Digg stories, to stop gaming of the site, or at least the perception of gaming. For starters, it removes the temptation for eager marketers to bribe top diggers for favors. Thus ends a hallmark of Digg. Ranking on the list was one motivation for Digg’s passionate users. (See founder Kevin Rose’s note.)
Rumors of Zune-enabled phone coming from Microsoft later this year — Details here. This makes sense, given weak reception of Microsoft’s new digital music player, the Zune. May as well change it quickly, add the phone, and stay up with Apple and its iPhone. Meanwhile, the Microsoft executive responsible for making the Zune, Bryan Lee, has resigned.
MySpace taking its time to enter China, lots of time — EBay and Yahoo stumbled when they entered China, facing local management and execution problems. Myspace is being careful. But now it has been months. Its downfall may be that it never gets there.
SplashCast, one more video player — We’ve written about the proliferation of video players, including the coming KyteTV. Splashcast does much of what KyteTV does, but doesn’t have Kyte’s mobile capabilities. Splashcast launched at DEMO. It lets you distribute video, blog posts, or other files over the player, from sites like your MySpace profile. More info here. It has raised $1.3 million in venture backing. More details from the Merc’s Dean Takahashi, and his summary of DEMO. Another mention: Ink2, which allows you to send personalized greeting cards for $3 by selecting artwork, and a stamp online, and then typing in the address of the recipient.
Twofish, latest MMO company — Twofish (no link), you’ll recall, is the stealth company we mentioned a few days ago. It is an MMO, or Massively Multiplayer Online Game, which is the rage these days, where thousands of players can play at the same time. Venture capitalists are interested in these as social networks. We’ve seen a number of new companies focused on this area, from Rupture, to D2C, Areae and Red 5. Founder Lee Crawford isn’t talking, but he’s a former VP at Shockwave, and was most recently Director of Engineering at Yahoo Games. The firm just raised $2.5 million from Venrock Associates.
What’s up at MontaVista? — Last week, we learned that MontaVista‘s executive staff, along with a good number of director-level people, were fired or left the company in the last couple of weeks. The whole marketing division was cut, we were told by a source. We find this odd, given MontaVista just raised $21 million in funding in December. We contacted the company and, while we’ve reached someone last week, they still haven’t been able to comment. We’re now scheduled to talk with the CEO next week, so stay tuned. It may have something to do with MontaVista’s challenging open source model, though we’re not certain.