1. EBay CEO Meg Whitman prepare to retire
2. Open Source revolution continues, with Intel
3. Microsoft purchases virtualization co., Calista
4. Cleverset, software recommendation co., sold
5. Yahoo has some small layoffs coming
6. Facebook-branded Nokia handsets?
7. LifeLock, anti-credit fraud co., gets $25M
8. Online ad co., Spotrunner, draws buzz
9. Jobs snubs both Amazon and Google
10. Coventi Pages gives up the ghost
11. Singapore opens search engine contest
EBay chief exec Meg Whitman is preparing to retire — Whitman, the most visible female chief executive of Silicon Valley (where there aren’t many great female role models), could step down within weeks, according to the WSJ. John Donahoe, 47, president of eBay’s auction business unit, has emerged as the leading succession candidate.
Open Source revolution continues, with Intel — In case you haven’t noted, the open source software industry is on fire. We’ve covered a series of investments into open source companies over the past few days, and last week was punctuated by the acquisition of open source MySQL by Sun for $1 billion. Now Intel is crowing about its open source investments. News today emerges that it has backed REvolution Computing, creator of an open source parallel computing software for computational statistics. The amount of the funding round, the New Haven, Connecticut company’s first, was undisclosed
Microsoft purchases Silicon Valley virtualization start-up Calista Technologies – Microsoft is trying to catch up with VMWare, which has opened up a lead in the hot virtualization industry, which lets companies reduce the number of servers they use by letting them run multiple operating systems on a single machine. So it has acquired Calista (see WSJ story for good summary). The acquisition price wasn’t disclosed, but the San Jose, Calif. Calista was backed with an undisclosed amount by Greylock Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and others (we mentioned the secretive company more than a year ago).
Cleverset, software recommendation service, sold to ATG for $10 million — Cleverset, like many other companies we’ve covered, offers software that presents users of e-commerce sites with relevant recommendations and information. Press release here.
Yahoo has some small layoffs coming — The past few days have featured rumors that Yahoo will be laying off thousands of employees, as it tries to become a leaner, more efficient organization. The actual cuts may not be so drastic, counters reporter Kara Swisher, who has followed Yahoo closely: “[E]xpect the changes to be less bold than has been reported, much in the same way [chief executive and founder] Jerry Yang has been handling other changes at Yahoo–slow and decidedly non-dramatic,” The company will move to places where Yahoo has an advantage — “mobile, communications, like email, and its graphical ad network” — she says.
Facebook discussing Facebook-branded Nokia handsets — If Google is going to have a cellphone strategy, well, by golly, so is Facebook. PaidContent has the report about a possible partnership. The arrangement may also include Nokia buying a small stake in Facebook, according to the report.
LifeLock, the anti-credit fraud company, gets $25M more — This is the controversial Tempe, AZ company co-founded by Robert Maynard, who himself has been accused of deceptive practices, and where CEO Todd Davis publicly discloses his social security number (457-55-5462) to prove his company’s fraud protection product works. AlleyInsider first reported, and the company now confirms that the company has raised $25 million more in a round led by Goldman Sachs, and including Bessemer and Kleiner Perkins. The company previously has raised close to $13 million in round led by the latter two firms.
Spotrunner action — There’s lots of buzz around Spotrunner, the online advertising company. First, large advertising company WPP is looking at possibly acquiring SpotRunner along with another online ad company, VideoEgg, according to the NY Post. Meanwhile, Spotrunner has acquired GlobeShooter, a network of more than 1,200 independent filmmakers, videographers, producers and production companies across the U.S. Spotrunner is backed by venture firms Battery and Index (see our earlier coverage ).
Online word processor Coventi gives up the ghost — Despite actively soliciting users and press attention for much of 2007, online word processor Coventi Pages has apparently failed to gain enough users to continue competing with Google Docs, Zoho and scads of other, lesser-known rivals. The startup sent out an email to users, reported by Web Worker Daily, stating that it will close its doors on February 1st.
Singapore opens search engine contest — Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research has opened a competition, with a $100,000 prize, for a new online search engine. Rather than just fostering yet another competitor for Google, the agency is looking for an engine that can search through text, audio and video. Contestants will have eight months to build their engine following the February 29th registration deadline. [via Physorg].
Jobs snubs both Amazon and Google — Apple’s Steve Jobs wants to own the hot mobile device market, and he takes a shot at both Google and Amazon’s latest efforts in that area. Of the Amazon Kindle reader, he says: “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he tells the NYT. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.” He’s also critical of Google’s Android project, to develop open cellphones that could compete with the iPhone: “We’ll see how good their software is and we’ll see how consumers like it and how quickly it is adopted.” In seeking not to get locked out of the mobile phone world, “I actually think Google has achieved their goal without Android, and I now think Android hurts them more than it helps them. It’s just going to divide them and people who want to be their partners.”
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