You've seen the breathless coverage. You've read Google's hyperbolic marketing. You've seen countless demonstrations of why Google Glass is the future. And if you live in the United States, you can finally get one without jumping through limited access hoops or begging for an invite, if only for one day. Google's Glass Explorer program is open to US residents 18 and older from right now (9 AM Eastern, 6AM Pacific) until the end of the day on April 15th.
An international mega-corp like Google buys companies like the rest of us buy coffee. Google's latest latte is SlickLogin, a startup that aims to make authentication simpler and safer by using sonic login codes on phones. The details of the purchase aren't public just yet, but SlickLogin's site confirms that "the [team] is joining Google."
SlickLogin's system is unique: it uses a cell phone as an authentication key with the help of nearly-silent audio codes sent via computer speakers.
Rakuten is often referred to by western media as "the Amazon of Japan." That description seems more and more apt given some of the mega-retailer's recent purchases, including Canadian e-reader company Kobo. Yesterday Rakuten announced that it had purchased Viber, an up-and coming voice-over-IP company with apps on Android, iOS, and Windows, among others, for a whopping $900 million.
Viber is primarily a Skype competitor, though it also offers text and picture messaging, group chat, and cross-communication between mobile and desktop operating systems.
Yesterday social gaming giant Zynga purchased NaturalMotion, developers of notable mobile games including the CSR Racing series, Backbreaker Football, and the official Jenga game for iOS and Android. TechCrunch reports that the $527 million purchase includes $391 million in cash and 39.8 million shares of Zynga stock. NaturalMotion operates offices in London, Oxford, Brighton, and San Francisco.
In an odd bit of M&A news, the developers at Bitspin announced that the small company will be joining forces with Google. Whether Google has purchased the company outright or merely hired its Zurich-based development team isn't clear, but in either case, the big G will be benefitting from their impressive user interface experience soon. Google has not commented on the situation, and there is no dollar amount posted on the Bitspin website.
A report in L'Expansion claims that Google has finalized the acquisition of FlexyCore, an optimization company based in Rennes, France, for 16.9 million Euros (just over $23 million USD). Google confirmed the sale to GigaOM, but did not comment on the price or purpose. The French website says that Google has been processing the acquisition for over a year and finally closed the deal earlier this month.
FlexyCore is a five-year-old company founded by Gilbert Cabillic, a former head researcher for Texas Instruments.
No one likes to be last. The LG G2 was originally slated to become available online from T-Mobile on September 18th, nearly a week after competitors Verizon Wireless and AT&T were to start offering the handset. AT&T already jumped the gun when they started offering sales online a week ago, and now T-Mobile is offering the G2 at the same time as everyone else, at least online.
Unlike AT&T and Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile offers the G2 for $99.99 upfront.
Verizon is perhaps the most intimidating fish in the sea of US cellphone carriers (okay - it's more of a pond). Now the Big Red is in talks to buy Vodafone's 45% stake in the company for $130 billion, and signs suggest that this deal could be completed within a week. If this goes through, it will mark the closure of a deal Verizon has wanted to secure for years.
If you aren't familiar with Vodafone, it's a British company with roughly four times the number of subscribers that Verizon has and the largest mobile network operator outside of China.
At the start of this review, I was simultaneously excited and frustrated. Now I'm just plain excited. For a bit of context, I have been bouncing between cloud music services since Lala was still a thing. I had one simple desire: I wanted to pay a monthly fee for unfettered access to a large library of content, but still wanted to be able to bring my own. I know that $10/month is not going to get me every song in existence, but if I can pay for most music, and then supply the rest, I'll be happy.
We just got done breaking down the proposed Dish-led acquisition of Sprint which is in no small part about gaining control of Clearwire's sweet, sweet spectrum. Now we're hearing that Verizon is reportedly also throwing its bid in, but not to buy any of the companies involved. Just to gut their ability to function as wireless carriers by gobbling up spectrum.
In a recent filing, Clearwire disclosed that an unidentified "Party J" offered up to $1.5b for the airwaves that it owns.