Here’s an (updated) summary of the latest action:
–Adobe launches online-offline media player, and Share. Other applications launch using Adobe’s AIR
–Microsoft launches Office Live WorkSpace
–Joost officially launches its online TV service
–Skype makes earn-out. EBay takes $1.43 billion impairment charge for Skype, and co-founder Zennstrom steps down.
–Facebook to let you group your friends
–Findory shuts down
Adobe launches new online-offline media player, and lots more — Adobe’s new player lets you watch Flash videos whether or not you’re connected to the internet. Videos are offered through deals with other publishers. The media player is an Adobe Integrated Runtime, or AIR application that combines online access with a user interface normally seen in desktop applications. Last night, we covered the purchase of Virtual Ubiquity, a company with a word processor called Buzzword, also an AIR application. Like other software companies that offer a platform for developers and services for users, Adobe is both helping and competing against startups: Veoh, a competitor, is another AIR media player, for example. The Adobe player is part of several Adobe announcements being made at its Adobe MAX conference today.
Another of these announcments is eBay’s desktop application, running on Adobe. AOL is also using the platform to feature the top 100 videos. Nickelodeon Online also has an interactive game using it. Also featured at the conference: Playyoo, a Flash-based mobile gaming startup that will be launching in December.
Another Adobe announcement is Share, a service still in private testing mode that lets you upload and share documents with friends or with anyone on the web. Adobe hosts up to 1GB of documents and lets you view documents in any format, using its Flash player.
Microsoft, not to be outdone (it hopes) — Microsoft is launching Office Live Workspace, another online service where you can store, access and share documents.
Joost officially launches its online TV service — The public release of the much-hyped Joost offers a couple of user interface improvements such as search and better navigation across videos in the site. It is also offering an open application programming interface so third-party developers can build widgets for Joost users, which it first announced a month ago. Check out the video interview with Joost chief executive Michael Volpi on NewTeeVee.
Zennstrom steps down from Skype — In related news, Joost co-founder Niklas Zennstrom — co-founder of internet calling service Skype — is stepping down as chief executive of that company. He will become the non-executive chairman of Skype’s board of directors, and the reason is in the following item
EBay takes $1.43 billion impairment charge for Skype — eBay had promised to pay $1.5 billion to Skype if it met certain performance milestones after eBay acquired it in 2005. But Skype hasn’t done very well, and eBay has just announced that prior Skype shareholders will only get about $530 million of a possible $1.7 million for meeting targets. In addition, eBay is taking a hit to its earnings. It says the charge includes a $900 million reduction in “goodwill,” or value that it had assumed it was getting after acquiring Skype. The Skype co-founders have now finished their earnout period, which is one reason why Zennstrom is stepping down.
Facebook to let you group your friends — “We’ll let you organize that long list of friends into groups so you can decide more specifically who sees what,” the company says about its forthcoming feature, which it hopes will help users better separate personal and work relationships within the site.
Findory shuts down — Personalized online news service Findory has announced it will cease operations on November 1. The site launched four years ago, offering each user a home page of fresh content — news articles, videos, etc. — based on what the user had previously read or viewed.