Samsung acquires smart home startup SmartThings for $200 million

By Cody Lee on Aug 15, 2014

With much of the ‘next big thing in tech’ talk focused on wearables and mobile payments, it’s easy to forget about the connected home. But all of the major tech companies are making major moves in this space, including Google, Apple and now Samsung.

Following Google’s Nest acquisition and Apple’s HomeKit unveiling, Samsung announced this week that it has purchased smart home startup—and former Kickstarter sensation—SmartThings. The money is said to be in the neighborhood of $200 million… Read More

 

Apple officially welcomes Beats to the family

By Cody Lee on Aug 1, 2014

It’s been just over 2 months since Apple announced that it would be acquiring Beats Electronics for $3 billion. And although the deal wasn’t expected to be completed until September, the Cupertino company is clearly ready to officially welcome Beats to the family.

Apple this morning posted a link on the homepage of its website to a new portal called ‘Welcome Beats,’ which features a brief message about the merger. Likewise, a message has been posted on Beats’ homepage regarding the acquisition and upcoming changes… Read More

 

French carrier Iliad makes $15 billion bid for T-Mobile

By Cody Lee on Aug 1, 2014

It appears that Sprint may have some new competition in the T-Mobile suitors club. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that French telecom Iliad has offered to buy T-Mobile U.S., putting in a bid of $15 billion cash for a majority 56.6% stake in the carrier.

Like T-Mobile in the United States, Iliad is the fourth largest wireless provider in France. Founded by billionaire French entrepreneur Xavier Niel, the company has climbed its way to the top by offering better pricing and customer service than the competition… Read More

 

European Commission green-lights Apple’s $3B Beats buy

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 28, 2014

The European Commission has okayed Apple’s purchase of the Beats Music streaming-music service and Beats Electronics’ premium headphone business, concluding that the agreement would not be detrimental to consumers across Europe. This is an important though expected development as Apple hopes to complete the $3 billion transaction by the end of the September quarter, pending regulatory approval in the United States… Read More

 

Apple said to be buying Swell Radio app

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 28, 2014

Following a TechCrunch report last Friday which claims that Apple has recently acquired data-style book analytics services BookLamp (basically a “Pandora for books”) to beat Amazon at its own game, Re/code is reporting early Monday that the Cupertino firm has another acquisition target in its crosshairs – a radio/podcast app Swell (“Pandora for talk radio”) which raised $7.2 million from investors including DFJ, Google Ventures and InterWest Partners… Read More

 

Apple acquires book recommendation startup BookLamp

By Cody Lee on Jul 25, 2014

During Apple’s quarterly earnings conference call on Tuesday, Tim Cook said that the company has acquired 5 companies in the last 4 months, not including Beats electronics. We’ve known about two of the purchases, Spotsetter and LuxVue, and today we add a third.

TechCrunch is reporting that Apple recently acquired BookLamp, a startup based out of Boise, Idaho, that developed big data-style book analytics services. Described as “Pandora for books,” the service recommends books through digital analysis of author writing styles… Read More

 

Google reportedly buying streaming video platform Twitch for $1 billion

By Cody Lee on Jul 24, 2014

Google has reportedly reached an agreement to acquire Twitch for $1 billion. After several months of rumors that the search giant was courting the streaming video platform, VentureBeat says that it has confirmed with several sources that it’s a done deal.

For those unfamiliar with the service, Twitch is a San Francisco-based company that enables people to broadcast video game sessions from their consoles, computers, and as of March, mobile devices. It also distributes content from CBS Interactive partners… Read More

 

Apple has acquired 5 companies since April, 29 in past nine months

By Cody Lee on Jul 22, 2014

One of the more interesting tidbits from today’s earnings call was a revelation about Apple’s recent acquisitions. Tim Cook said the company has purchased 5 companies since the end of the March quarter, and a total of 29 companies during the past 9 months.

Apparently these numbers do not include the Beats Electronics deal—Apple’s largest acquisition to date—because it has not completely finalized yet, and isn’t expected to until later this quarter. So who are the other companies? These are the ones we know about… Read More

 

Google buys Songza, Rdio acquires TastemakerX

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 1, 2014

Google Music with its scan-and-match feature and streaming doesn’t seem to be picking up any significant steam, and that’s despite (or in spite of) Google’s scale and an impressive one billion active Android devices in the wild.

Hoping to hit back at Apple and Beats, the Internet giant on Tuesday announced it’s snapped up streaming music service Songza which, like Apple-owned Beats, specializes in finding the right music to fit your mood.

And in related music news, the popular Internet radio service Rdio today said it’s acquiring TastemakerX, a music discovery and curation service… Read More

 

Google-owned Nest acquires Dropcam for $555 million

By Cody Lee on Jun 21, 2014

Smart thermostat-maker Nest announced on Friday that it has reached an agreement to acquire Dropcam. The company, which itself was purchased by Google earlier this year, says that the all-cash deal is worth a hefty $555 million.

For those unfamiliar with Dropcam, it’s behind the popular line of Internet-connected home monitoring cameras. Major selling points for the cameras include easy setup, 2-way audio and remote streaming via any PC or mobile device… Read More

 

Samsung could acquire Nuance, the company behind Siri’s speech recognition engine

By Joe Rossignol on Jun 16, 2014

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Nuance Communications has been in talks with Samsung and private-equity firms about a possible sale of the company. The report, which cites sources with knowledge on the matter, claims it is unclear where sales talks currently stand, or whether these talks will actually materialize into a sale… Read More

 

How Google could soon tell when the next iPhone will be released

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 16, 2014

My headline isn’t an exaggeration. The Internet giant last week announced buying satellite imaging company Skybox Imaging for $500 million, which is peanuts, really, when you consider what Skybox does for a living. The company has satellites that circle the orbit of the Earth and take very detailed photographs of the terrain.

On the surface, the acquisition should help keep Google Maps accurate with up-to-date imagery. Google on its part has said the Skybox buy will also help them improve Internet access and disaster relief. So, what does any of this have to do with the iPhone?

Read on… Read More

 

Apple wanted to buy Parse for iOS 8 CloudKit

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 16, 2014

CloudKit, one of the few platform-enhancing features Apple rolled out at WWDC, had to be created entirely from scratch because the Cupertino firm has failed at buying Parse, a startup that provides much of CloudKit-like functionality.

CloudKit frees up programmers from needing to devote their resources toward building server-side application logic themselves. It does so by providing a common set of APIs for server-based authentication, private and public database, structured and asset storage services and much more.

According to a scoop by The Information, a technology website by former WSJ writer Jessica Lessin, the iPhone maker considered purchasing Parse before Facebook… Read More

 

Apple partner OpenTable to be acquired by Priceline for $2.6 billion

By Cody Lee on Jun 13, 2014

Priceline has announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire online restaurant reservation service and Apple content partner OpenTable. The travel site will be doling out $103 per share in the all cash transaction, which is said to be worth $2.6 billion.

For those unfamiliar with it, OpenTable facilitates restaurant reservations through its website and mobile apps. Apple has long been a proponent of the service, which it reaffirmed in 2012 by integrating it into its digital assistant Siri, as part of the year’s iOS 6 updateRead More

 

Synaptics acquiring iPhone display chipmaker Renesas SP Drivers for $475 million

By Cody Lee on Jun 11, 2014

As expected, touchscreen chipmaker has announced that it will be buying Renesas SP Drivers, the sole supplier of display chips for the iPhone. The deal is said to be worth $475 million—around the same price Apple was rumored to bid for the company earlier this year.

For those unfamiliar with Renesas, it’s a joint venture between Powerchip and Sharp that specializes in building LCD drivers for small and mid-sized LCD panels. These chips determine a display’s quality, and typically account for around 10% of a device’s battery usage… Read More

 

Apple acquires location recommendation service Spotsetter

By Cody Lee on Jun 6, 2014

Apple has quietly acquired location-based recommendation service ‘Spotsetter,’ according to TechCrunch. The site doesn’t offer any specifics on the deal, but does note that it’s hearing that investors in the company are “happy, so to speak.”

The buyout is said to be mainly about acquiring Spotsetter’s technology, and the talent of the two founders—one of which is an ex-Google Maps engineer. LinkedIn profiles show that the pair, and much of their team, are now working at Apple… Read More

 

Beats buy and iTunes Radio limitations blamed on Apple’s ‘arrogance’ and incompetent managers

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 6, 2014

According to two Apple sources familiar with the development of iTunes Radio, current limitations of the free service and the $3 billion acquisition of Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre’s Beats talent, brand, headphone business and streaming service is all the result of the firm’s “arrogance” and shortsightedness of its managers.

Worse, some high-ranked members of Apple’s music teams reportedly didn’t even know that Spotify was an on-demand streaming service and not an Internet radio service akin to Pandora and iTunes Radio… Read More

 

Bloomberg: T-Mobile and Sprint close to finalizing buyout deal

By Cody Lee on Jun 4, 2014

Bloomberg is reporting this afternoon that Sprint and T-Mobile are getting very close to reaching a deal for acquisition. The outlet says that the purchase, if agreed upon, will be made in about 50% stock and 50% cash, but there’s no word yet on price.

Sprint has been rumored to be interested in T-Mobile for months now. The carrier, which was recently taken over by Japan’s SoftBank, has been impressed with the ‘uncarrier’ movement, and a buyout will make it more of a threat to AT&T and Verizon…

Read More

 

How the Apple-Beats deal affects HP, AT&T and others

By Joe Rossignol on May 31, 2014

If you haven’t been following the latest news, it is a prerequisite to know that Apple has acquired Beats for $3 billion before reading further. The announcement has created a lot of confusion in regards to what the acquisition means for Beats and existing partnerships with the brand. Just to be clear, Beats collectively refers to both Beats Electronics, which markets high-end headphones, speakers and audio software, and the streaming music service Beats Music.

Prior to being acquired, Beats had several partnerships with other brands, including companies that are direct competitors with Apple. Most notable is Hewlett-Packard, which uses Beats Audio branding and technologies in its product lineup. AT&T has an exclusive deal with Beats Music to sell subscriptions and an unlimited music downloading family plan, and design firm Ammunition has a partnership to create Beats products. Even HTC has been in the mix.

Read ahead to find out how the Apple-Beats deal affects all of these deals…

Read More

 

Apple paid $500M for Beats Music, $2.5B for Beats hardware (and other tidbits)

By Christian Zibreg on May 29, 2014

According to a breakdown of Apple’s $3 billion Beats buy published Thursday by The Wall Street Journal, the company basically paid less than $500 million for the Beats Music subscription service and about $2.5 billion for Beats Electronics LCC, which makes the popular Beats headphones, speakers and audio software (which some dismiss as a software equalizer that boosts the bass).

The report alleges that the acquisition – the most expensive in Apple’s history – gives the Cupertino firm Beats’ brand power and star leadership. The story downplays the importance of the generic Beats Music streaming service to the overall deal…

Read More

 
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