The latest action

apple.jpgApple to release EMI music without anti-piracy technologyIn agreement with music label EMI, Apple is making EMI songs available without digital rights management (DRM) through its iTunes music store. The music will be higher quality, and tracks will cost $1.29, or 30 cents more than the standard 99 cents. This means you can take those songs and put it on any device you want to, a significant development.

Google allegedly joins Microsoft in bid for the major online ad company, DoubleClickDoubleClick is an online site that lets advertisers deliver ads to Web sites, and is considered a sort of middleman between advertisers and publishers. Without owning such a property, Google remains perceived as more heavily dependent on advertisers, who make up most of its business, and thus more likely to favor their interests. At this stage, the talks are rumors. Bankers generally try to drum up support for a deal, and have an interest in generating speculation. The latest, reported by the WSJ, is that the sale price is $2 billion.

InfoWorld closes print edition, and recriminations begin — IDG has shut the print edition of InfoWorld, and there’s a good interview here with IDG’s leader Pat McGovern about the future of news. He gets into a scuffle with former Industry Standard chief exec John Battelle about the failure of that magazine. McGovern blames Battelle for not selling during the bubble, and gunning for a billion dollar IPO. Battelle responds, saying McGovern’s got it wrong. Others support him. In comments to the interview, McGovern fires back, saying he doesn’t have it wrong, etc. Who cares? The Standard’s advertising base would have disappeared anyway, whether or not it was sold.

Photobucket worth $300 to $400 million? — At least, that’s according to rumors reported by Techcrunch, which says investment banker Lehman Brothers is trying to sell the private Palo Alto, Calif./Denver, Colo. company. We’d caution against taking these numbers at face value, given that bankers always push for a high value (they generally get a 7 percent or so cut of the transaction). The site’s success stems from its convenient storage of photos, and the ability to easily link to those stored photos from other sites, such as MySpace (see story in Fortune). Photobucket has a whopping 36 million registered users and adds another 85,000 per day, according to leaked data. Note that only positive data was released, such as skyrocketing revenue predictions ($4.35M in 2005, $9.34 million in 2006, and more than $32 million predicted this year). Nothing about the company’s costs.

Iminlikewithyou, the latest dating site with buzz — This site lets you flirt with your prospective date, but also makes you compete in an auction-like system. You start with 500 points, and lavish points on the girl you like, in an attempt to outbid rivals. If you lose the bid, you lose your points. This is meant to discourage you trying for a girl who is out of your league. You can stock up on points by filling out questions, which lets the site find out more about your tastes. This site was originally nurtured by YCombinator, and subsequently has received more money from undisclosed angels. The site lets you see who is logging in. We saw Digg co-founder Kevin Rose logging in over the weekend, for example.

Yahoo opens its popular email program to outside developers — Shortly after announcing unlimited storage for its email service, the company has opened up its Yahoo Mail API, to let developers build applications on top of the service. Now it has stepped ahead of Google’s Gmail in most respects. Yahoo Mail has more users, has more storage, and more a friendly API policy.

Search Physics raises angel round — The San Francisco is building search engine technology that extracts information from Web sites, but hasn’t launched yet. (Thealarmclock)

Cisco buys Mountain View-based SpansLogic for around $6M
— See story here, and why this is bad for another company, NetLogic. SpansLogic was backed by ATA Ventures.

Freedom-2 removes tattoos — Go ahead and get your tattoos. Freedom-2 offers technology that allows you to get tattoos that are permanent, yet removable if you change your mind and want to get rid of them. Apparently Freedom2Ink uses pigments and dyes that are encapsulated in a polymer bead. They are absorbed in the skin but can be removed easily with laser treatment — which breaks the beads and lets the dye spill out. The New York company has just raised $1.5 million in a first round of capital, led by Brightleaf Capital and other individuals.

Openfloodgate, another YouTube for docs — Like Scribd, this site makes it easier to post documents online than say, via your blog. Tina Seelig, an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Stanford, who owns the site, said it offers more control over content than Scribd, because it gives you the option to limit viewing to private groups. However, the content available for public viewing is easily copied. She has self-funded the site. The works, from art to poems, are stored as PDFs, but are turned into images on the page. Here’s a tour.

Finally, see the latest deals — A reminder to check here daily for the latest news about investments in start-ups. Today, we’ve got Vyatta, Mimosa, Sana and more, and also an overview of the lastest on IPO activity.

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