Here’s the latest action:
New partnership brings Helio to Virgin Mobile — Virgin Mobile USA will acquire the U.S. arm of South korea-based SK Telecom, namely, a mobile operator called Helio, according to the Financial Times. Both mobile operators have been struggling to make money by piggybacking on the infrastructure of existing carriers. This announcement doesn’t offer any sense of how they might bounce back; it just seems loaded with more bad news, like the estimate that Virgin Mobile USA will lose up to 160,000 users in the second quarter of this year.
Starbucks will stop selling CDs — Starbucks is abandoning its plan to become an entertainment hub where customers can pick up a CD or iTunes gift card along with their lattes, reports Silicon Alley Insider. All in-store music offerings should be gone by September. Starbucks customers may not notice, since they weren’t buying many of those CDs anyway, but this is more bad news for the struggling music industry, which once saw Starbucks as an opportunity for growth.
Digg competitor Mixx adds community-building features — Mixx, another site that allows users to vote on media content, is launching a new feature called Mixx Communities. Users can now set up their own Mixx sites, allowing them to build a Mixx community around specific topics. Another competitor called Reddit already enabled user-created pages, and even went a step further last week by going open source.
Intel doesn’t want Vista either — Intel has decided that it won’t upgrade the computers of its 80,000 employees to the latest and arguably least popular version of the Microsoft operating system, according to The New York Times’ anonymous source. That looks pretty bad for Microsoft, since the software company and chip maker have had a famously close relationship; some observers dubbed the pair “Wintel.” On the other hand, it’s not that surprising, because it’s pretty darn hard to find anyone who wants Vista on their computer. (Aside from VentureBeat writer MG Siegler, that is.)
Social network Multiply lets you backup your videos and photos — With an application built on the Adobe AIR platform, Multiply users can automatically backup all the media in selected folders on their computers. The site charges $20 per year for unlimited storage. In some ways, the move makes sense, since there’s so much media hosted by social networks like Multiply anyway.
Craigslist to overtake eBay in 2009? — The online marketplace market (what a mouthful) is going to have a new leader within a year, predicts entrepreneur and blogger Andrew Chen. Spurred by a comment at the GigaOM‘s just-finished Structure conference, he looked at traffic numbers from Compete and Quantcast. As eBay traffic falls and Craigslist traffic rises, the latter will overtake the former in 2009, Chen says.
Vint Cerf: Video downloads will be more popular than streaming — The current model of video sites like YouTube won’t last, says Google’s Vint Cerf, the computer scientist frequently described as “the father of the Internet.” In a (streaming) video at Beet.TV, Cerf argues that as web video’s popularity increases and its technology improves, most users will start downloading videos to their computer, rather than streaming them off a site.