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1) Rumor: Google to buy Sprint?
2) The U.S. House of Representatives passes VC tax
3) Berkeley Bionics brings exoskeletons to market
4) Fox Interactive Media may start its own ad network
5) Railpower Technologies to steam on, for now
6) Zuckerberg, speaking grandly
7) Are Facebook’s ads illegal in New York?
8) Murdoch calls Facebook a phonebook
9) Sprint and WiMax startup Clearwire have ended plans to form a joint venture
Rumor: Google to buy Sprint? — The rumor surfaced yesterday, here, suggesting that despite a number of major issues, owning a carrier would give Google crucial control over developing and distributing its own mobile services. The issues, however, are numerous. Google would have to beef up its governmental lobby arm to compete against AT&T and other carriers for favorable regulations. It would also have to manage retail stores for mobile customers (expensive, although they’ve worked for Apple!). The move might also send the message to AT&T and the others considering the Open Handset Alliance that Google is actually going to compete directly against them, regardless of the Open Handset Alliance that Google is spearheading. Om has more about how this move could make sense for Google, Intel, Cisco and other leading Silicon Valley companies.
The U.S. House of Representatives passes VC tax — It will change the carried interest from a capital gains to ordinary income, thereby lifting tax to about 35 percent on VCs and other private equity professionals. It is not expected to pass the Senate, however, and President Bush has suggested he would veto it.
Fred Wilson’s series on the struggling VC industry — Venture capitalist Fred Wilson has a good series of posts about the rise and fall of the VC industry, and explains how the official data VCs report may look better than reality (because poorly performing firms have decided not to report their data, or are shutting down and so can’t report their data), and that even top performing firms in the industry aren’t doing that well. It suggests the VC industry is in for some serious pain.
Berkeley Bionics brings exoskeletons to market — It provides technology to give you extra muscles, and plans to augment human strength in places like the war zone (for military) or other emergency situations (firefighting, and so on). This system provides its pilot with the ability to carry loads up to 150 pounds on his back “with minimal effort” over any type of terrain for extended periods of time without reducing his agility. The company is a spinout from the Berkeley Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory and is raising funds. Via Alarm:clock.
Zuckerberg, speaking grandly — “There is no opting out of advertising,” Zuckerberg said of Facebook’s new platform last week, “Once every hundred years media changes. The last hundred years have been defined by the mass media. The way to advertise [then] was to get into the mass media and push out your content. That was the last hundred years. In the next hundred years, information won’t be just pushed out to people, it will be shared among the millions of connections people have.” Via TechCrunch.
Fox Interactive Media may start its own ad network — FIM may be planning to begin providing advertisements, as well as living off of them. Company representatives have been making the rounds to gauge the interest of outside media sites in showing ads provided by Fox, according to the Silicon Alley Insider. Of course, FIM may be large enough to create its own ecosystem: The company runs AskMen, Fox.com, Dow Jones, Myspace and several other giant media properties. We’re not sure if it’s connected, but we also recently reported on FIM hiring a consulting company to streamline its ad operations. Maybe the advice was, “Go forth, and build your own.”
Railpower Technologies to steam on, for now — The fires were flickering for Railpower, a maker of hybrid locomotives, but the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan decided to step in and keep the engines running. The fund put $35 million into the cleantech train company, noting that it expects that “increasingly stringent environmental regulations in North America and globally will open up new markets” for clean rail startups like Railpower.
Are Facebook’s ads illegal in New York? — That’s what the New York Times is saying, citing a 100-year-old New York State statute which says that “any person whose name, portrait, picture, or voice is used within this state for advertising purposes or for the purposes of trade without the written consent first obtained” can sue for damages.
Murdoch calls Facebook a phonebook –“The two platforms are very different in the user experience,” said Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corp. and owner of MySpace, the competitor to Facebook. “MySpace is a place for self-expression, where users’ MySpace pages become their home on the Internet. It is where they discover people, content, and culture — where they share information, communicate, and consume. Facebook, on the other hand, tends to be a web utility, similar to a phonebook.” Via ZDNet.
Sprint and WiMax startup Clearwire have ended plans to form a joint venture — WSJ has details.
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