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Skype’s purchase by Microsoft signals strong spell for dotcom sales

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Skype CEO Tony Bates seal the deal. Photograph: Susana Bates/Reuters

Little more than a decade after the dotcom bubble burst, the internet business is once again partying like it is 1999. The frenzy of deal-making in Silicon Valley, which is turning social media entrepreneurs into multibillionaires, moved up another notch when splashed out $8.5bn for the loss-making internet telephone service .

Tuesday’s buy is a record for the software giant and takes the total value of worldwide tech-related deals so far this year to $85.5bn (£52bn) – the strongest spell since the months before the dotcom bubble burst on 10 March 2000.

Analysts said the deal would give a boost in its increasingly bitter battle with and . Skype boasts about 170 million users every month and is adding 600,000 a day. But most calls are free and the service has struggled to make a profit. Last year it lost $7m.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, said that with Microsoft’s backing Skype would be able to build a future where “talking to friends and colleagues around the world will be as seamless as talking to them across a kitchen table or a conference room“.

Buying Skype gives Microsoft a recognised brand name on the internet at a time when Google and Apple are both building up their internet phone and video services. “Google has Google Voice, Apple is building up Facetime, Skype is a great brand,” said Colin Gillis, an internet analyst at New York-based BGC Partners.

Gillis said Microsoft was likely to add Skype to its Xbox video games system, Office software and its mobile and tablet software. “Skype addresses some major holes for Microsoft,” he said. “If they don’t screw it up.

Skype was founded in 2003 by Swedish tech entrepreneur Niklas Zennström and the Dane Janus Friis. The service has grown far beyond its techie roots and is already a mainstream product. The retail giant WalMart started selling Skype hardware in 2007. At peak times there are more than 23 million Skype users online.

This is the second time it has been sold to a big tech firm. In 2005 eBay, the online auction company, bought it for $2.5bn. But eBay struggled to integrate Skype and argued with its founders and management, eventually selling it for $2.75bn to a private equity investor, Silver Lake, in 2009 but keeping a 30% stake.

Friis and Zennström also backed the sale as part of a consortium that bought 14% of Skype. Just a year and a half later eBay has made its money back and the founders are sharing a $1.2bn payday. The Skype deal ranks as the biggest in Microsoft’s 36-year history and follows multibillion-dollar strategic purchases by other tech giants including Intel, which bought the virus software specialist McAfee, and Hewlett Packard, which bought the handheld devices firm Palm.

Investors are also fighting over the new generation of tech firms including Facebook, Groupon and Twitter. Google is believed to have made multibillion-dollar offers for both Groupon and Twitter.

Private investors have fought to get a stake in Facebook, which is lining up a share sale next year that could value the firm at more than $70bn.

New Facebook comments system rolled out to websites

Facebook looking for comments

Facebook has unveiled it has refreshed its commenting plug-in that allows Facebook users to comment on websites using their own names.

There are a number of sites already using the Facebook plug-in, including TechCrunch, and it seems that you can now publish the comments you make on articles to your own Facebook feed, allowing your friends to view what you think about particular stories.

It’s an interesting concept that completely opens up the idea of story commenting – something that is usually done through a pseudonym.

Like most commenting systems, a publisher who uses the plug-in can censor certain comments made, including the blacklisting of words and users.

To add the commenting system to a site you will only need a line of code and the ranking of comments will be done through how many Likes a comment gets.

This is not the first major change Facebook has made to its API this week. It also changed its Like button, making it more like the site’s Share feature.

via, PiadContent

43 Million People Became Single on Facebook Last Year

43,869,800 people changed their relationship status to “single” on Facebook in 2010. But just 28,460,516 people changed their status to “in a relationship.” So, there are like 15 million Facebook users out there for the taking.

Facebook users uploaded more than 2.7 million photographs, shared 1 million links and “liked” 7.6 million pages every 20 minutes in 2010, according to the company. Among other data the social network is releasing: Lady Gaga was the most-liked celebrity on Facebook with 24.7 million likes, beating out Eminem with 23.7 million and Barack Obama, who had 17.2 million.

The numbers also offer a snapshot into Facebook users’ love lives in 2010. Some 43,869,800 people changed their relationship status to single during the year while 3,025,791 changed it to “it’s complicated.” Another 28,460,516 changed their status to “in a relationship5,974,574 to engaged and 36,774,801 to “married.

Meanwhile, here’s a look at Facebook activity from a randomly chosen 20 minutes:

– Shared links: 1,000,000
— Tagged photos: 1,323,000
— Event invites sent out: 1,484,000
—- Wall posts: 1,587,000
—– Status updates: 1,851,000
—— Friend requests accepted: 1,972,000
——– Photos uploaded: 2,716,000
——— Comments: 10,208,000
———- Messages: 4,632,000
———– Likes: 7,657,000

Have your say in the comments below!

DailyBooth Gets An iPhone App Worthy Of Your Gaze!

When DailyBooth finally released an iPhone app back in July, it made a lot of sense. After all, the iPhone 4 had just been released and it featured a front-facing camera for the first time — the perfect tool for a service which asks you to take pictures of yourself. Unfortunately, while the idea was right, DailyBooth’s first iPhone app just wasn’t very good. So the completely redid it. And I’m happy to report that version 2 is finally one worthy of your gaze.

While the first app was a basic way to scan DailyBooth and upload simple pictures of yourself, version 2 includes many more of the service’s core features. This includes a live feed, profile views, activity views, messages, following/follower views, friend finding, and “ghosting”.

The first and the last features are really cool. The live feed automatically refreshes as new DailyBooth pictures come in. Not too many iPhone apps utilize this live view, but it works for DailyBooth as pictures are quick scan items — and they come in slightly slower than text-based messages.

The other excellent feature is “ghosting”. A big part of DailyBooth is looking at someone’s picture then mimicking it in the replies. The ghosting feature allows you to easily do this as it shows you a slightly transparent version of the picture your trying to mimic, so you can line yourself up with it.

While DailyBooth could technically be lumped into the latest craze of picture taking apps, CEO Brian Pokorny likes to distinguish it as a “front of the phone” app versus the others which are “back of the phone” apps. Obviously, he’s talking about the camera there.

It is interesting just how DailyBooth users utilize pictures to communicate through images of themselves, rather than of other things. And now they finally have a solid app to do it with. You can find the new app here in the App Store.

by; techcrunch.

TweetDeck Finally Comes To The Web As A Chrome App!


You can get TweetDeck, the popular realtime stream reader, as a desktop client, on your iPhone and iPad, or Android phone. But up until now, there was no Web browser version (unlike Seesmic, which is best known as a browser-based app). Today, TweetDeck released its first Web client as a Chrome app in the new Chrome Webstore.

“It’s definitely our best version of a desktop TweetDeck so far,” says CEO Iain Dodsworth.

You can sign in with your existing TweetDeck account, and add different realtime streams in different columns—Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare checkins, Google Buzz. Soon it will support Gmail as well. ChromeDeck, as it was codenamed during development, borrows some UI elements from its most recent Android app. There are combined columns labeled Home (all timelines from various accounts), Me (all mentions and messages directed at you such as Twitter @replies), and Inbox (direct messages, and soon Facebook and Gmail messages).

The Chrome app is supposed to be faster, more stable, and less of a memory hog than the desktop AIR version. Once you “install” it onto your browser, it exists within its own tab. And it is always available for you, with any other apps you install, when you launch a new blank tab.

The first thing you notice if you are a regular TweetDeck user is that it is completely silent. That silence won’t last long, however. Dodsworth & Co. is working on “getting some TweetDeck sounds recorded and added to all the apps” in an effort to try to “create a social soundscape whereby you don’t even need to look at your screen and you have a sense of what’s going on.” Oh boy, my wife is going to love that. Bleep, Zoink, Boop.

I prefer the silence. (Silent-mode, please). The other thing you notice is how things pop up when you need them to and disappear when you don’t. Click on the compose box up top, and it expands to give you room to write, add images and your location, and select to which accounts you want to send out your message. Hit reply in your stream, and a reply box zooms up to the top of the column along with the Tweet or message you are responding too, all in-line. Smooth.

Source: techcrunch.com, By Erick Schonfeld.

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