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Mobile enthusiast gives up on “mobile web” — Russell Beattie, a Silicon Valley developer and mobile enthusiast who spent two years working at Yahoo Mobile before launching a start-up called Mowser, has given up on the mobile sector. He writes: “The general answer is that I don’t actually believe in the ‘Mobile Web’ anymore, and therefore am less inclined to spend time and effort in a market I think is limited at best, and dying at worst. I’m talking specifically about sites that are geared 100% towards mobile phones and have little to no PC web presence. Two years ago I was convinced that the mobile web would continue to evolve in the West to mimic what was happening in countries like Japan and Korea, but it hasn’t happened, and now I’m sure it isn’t going to.” Mowser focused on adapting content for mobile phones. Beattie said the expected traffic never came. His story is a cold shower for industry players hoping advances by the iPhone and the Android will inject life into the sector.
Credit crunch hits cleantech after all — Despite some crowing from the clean-technology crowd that the credit crunch hadn’t hit it, it did eat into one a that sector clean-technology companies: private equity investment. Earth2Tech has a good wrapup of the numbers and commentary.
Silicon Valley’s giants are fine, but maybe not for long — The big tech companies of Silicon Valley, on the other hand, are humming along as if the current (probable) recession weren’t even taking place, says the San Jose Mercury News in its annual SV150 issue. The reason: Their international business divisions are going strong. However, the New York Times reports that housing markets worldwide are following the US market’s tailspin, so credit and spending abroad could suffer as well, challenging even multinational companies.
Feed your tank, starve a poor person — Biofuels have pushed back the fight against poverty by seven years and may continue to hurt poor people, according to a quote from World Bank president Robert Zoellick in the Guardian. The tapping of biofuels for alternative energy has faced a growing negative reaction, because it is sending food prices soaring around the world. Biofuels are made from food crops like corn and sugar, and so are taking away from the food stock. The effect, at least for the moment, will probably be limited to more cautious government subsidization policies.
Farecast rumored sold for over $75M — Online travel search site Farecast may have been sold for over $75 million, according to John Cook of the Seattle PI. He’s not sure who the buyer is, but speculates that Expedia would be a likely match since two major competitors, SideStep and Kayak, merged last year. Farecast has done well with its feature that lets you predict whether fares are going up or down in the near future, helping you decide when to buy.
Radio One buys Community Connect for $38M — Media giant Radio One has laid down $38 million for Community Connect, which operates niche sites based on ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. The company had taken funding from Dominion Ventures, ConnectCapital, Comcast Interactive Capital and Jump Ventures, according to peHUB.
YouTube dominates video, while Google roars in search — YouTube boasted 73.18 percent of all U.S. visits among a group of 68 online video websites in March, according to Hitwise. MySpaceTV received the second highest percentage of visits, with 9.21 percent followed by Google Video with 4.06 percent. YouTube dominates video more than Google dominates search. But then search makes much more money. Google got 67.3 percent market share for search, and that’s a high, while Yahoo and Microsoft hit new lows.
Gawker media cuts Wonkette and others loose — Gawker owner Nick Denton tells Silicon Alley Insider that as the economy stumbles, he’s ditching three “underperforming” Gawker sites: Wonkette, Gridskipper and Idolator, which will all continue under new ownership. That leaves the company to focus on its 12 “core titles,” like Silicon Valley’s beloved gossip blog Valleywag.
Google App Engine and Amazon web services, together at last — When Google launched its Engine App a week ago, allowing developers to build and deploy web applications on Google infrastructure, the move was widely seen as a move against Amazon’s web services. But just because they’re competing products doesn’t mean they can’t work together, as Portland entrepreneur Chris Anderson has shown by creating AppDrop, which allows you to build apps with Google’s software development kit and deploy in Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud. There have been complaints that Google Engine App locks in your applications, but AppDrop shows that isn’t quite true.
LiveUniverse reportedly acquires home page service Pageflakes — LiveUniverse, the online entertainment network run by former MySpace executive Brad Greenspan, has acquired the Ajax home page service Pageflakes, according to TechCrunch‘s unidentified sources. Just a few hours earlier, GigaOM reported that Pageflakes was “desperately” seeking a buyer. Last February, a number of sites said that LiveUniverse purchased video site Revver, so the network appears to be in an acquisitive mood.
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