Friday, September 11, 2009

What a super idea

watch this video, its the TV ad for next, now carefully look on the bar on the right.

simply brilliant!!!

what are your thoughts?


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Skype it is a Hot Potato?

EBay to sell 65 percent of Skype for $1.9 billion
Tue Sep 1, 2009 3:22pm EDTBy Sinead Carew and Megan Davies
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Internet auction house EBay Inc plans to sell a majority stake in its online phone unit Skype for $1.9 billion to private investors including Silver Lake, a deal analysts said was worth more than expected but may curb eBay's growth potential.
The deal valued Skype at $2.75 billion but was well below the $3.1 billion eBay spent in acquiring Skype, and shares in eBay fell more than 2 percent after the news.
The company said the sale of a 65 percent stake allows eBay to focus on its auction service and its PayPal electronic payments service and avoid the potential risks of the initial public offering it had slated for Skype for next year.
Analysts said the sale to the investors, which included a venture firm run by Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, also highlighted concerns about the remainder of eBay, which faces stiff competition from rival Inc.
"It just returns the spotlight on the central issues eBay faces," said Atlantic Equities analyst James Cordwell, although he said the price was good for eBay.
Kaufman analyst Aaron Kessler said in a research note that selling eBay's fastest growing business would "clearly reduce the overall growth of eBay" and potentially lead investors to lower the amount they're willing to pay for eBay shares.
The group buying Skype includes London-based Index Ventures and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), along with Silver Lake and Andreessen Horowitz.
Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Marianne Wolk said the valuation was at the high end of her expectations.
"It eliminates the risk of the planned IPO and is a better price than many of us expected," Wolk said. The valuation is 24 times Wolk's 2009 estimate for Skype after-tax earnings contribution to eBay, or 4 times her revenue estimate.
John Donahoe, eBay's chief executive, had said in May that a $2 billion valuation would be low for the growing Internet telephone business.
More than half the purchase price was financed by equity, a source familiar with the deal said. Typically, private equity firms finance purchases heavily with debt, but it has become more expensive and harder to raise financing since the credit crunch has limited access to financing.
Some private equity deals, for example, have been struck with 100 percent equity and no debt.
A separate source close to the deal said Silver Lake is providing the majority of the equity capital and CPPIB is contributing a significant portion of the capital. Index Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz are smaller funds but making very substantial investments for their size, the person said.
Skype, whose 2008 revenue rose 44 percent to $551 million, charges for calls to regular telephones but provides free computer-to-computer voice, video and text services. It had about 405 million registered users at the end of 2008.
About two years after the purchase, eBay made a $500 million payout for the founders on top of the $2.6 billion it paid for the company in 2005. It also wrote down about $1.4 billion off the value of its investment as it conceded that the telephony unit does not fit with eBay's other businesses.
"Skype is a strong stand-alone business, but it does not have synergies with our e-commerce and online payments business," Donahoe said in a statement on Tuesday.
Susquehanna's Wolk said keeping a Skype stake made sense, as eBay could still benefit from Skype's growth.
"You don't know if there's an incentive to IPO the remaining stake downstream," she said.
EBay said the deal would close in the fourth quarter. The transaction is not subject to a financing condition.
JP Morgan, Barclays and RBC Capital markets advised Silver Lake and its investor group and committed to provide financing for the deal. Goldman Sachs advised eBay on the deal.
Shares in eBay were down 47 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $21.67 on Nasdaq compared with a 1.8 percent market decline. The company's shares have shot up from just under $17 in July on hopes of an improving business environment.
(Reporting by Sinead Carew and Megan Davies; Additional reporting by Georgina Prodhan in London and Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore; editing by Will Waterman and Derek Caney, Gary Hill)

They paid $2.6b (or $3.1b), wrote off $1.4b and now sold 65% for $1.9b, doesnt look like a bad deal at all...... actually it is probably rather profitable.....

what are your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

IPTV - its our future, it's here today so why kill it???

Eugen sent this shocking announcement to me

Doing hard things
February 18th, 2009
"I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter." — Walt Disney
Later this week, Hulu's content will no longer be available through Boxee. While we never had a formal relationship with Boxee, we are under no illusions about the likely Boxee user response from this move. This has weighed heavily on the Hulu team, and we know it will weigh even more so on Boxee users.
Our content providers requested that we turn off access to our content via the Boxee product, and we are respecting their wishes. While we stubbornly believe in this brave new world of media convergence — bumps and all — we are also steadfast in our belief that the best way to achieve our ambitious, never-ending mission of making media easier for users is to work hand in hand with content owners. Without their content, none of what Hulu does would be possible, including providing you content via and our many distribution partner websites.
Our mission to make media dramatically easier and more user-focused has not changed and will not change. We will not stop until we achieve it and we are sober in our assessment that we have such a long way to go.
The maddening part of writing this blog entry is that we realize that there is no immediate win here for users. Please know that we take very seriously our role of representing users such that we are able to provide more and more content in more and more ways over time. We embrace this activity in ways that respect content owners' — and even the entire industry's — challenges to create great content that users love. Yes, it's a complex matter. A tough mission, and a never-ending one, but one we are passionately committed to.
For those Boxee users reading this post, we understand and appreciate that you're likely to tell us that we're nuts. Please know that we do share the same interests and won't stop innovating in support of the bigger mission.
Jason Kilarjason@hulu.comCEO, Hulu

He then followed it up with this Article

Is Hulu's Heave-Ho First Salvo in Digital Content War?

By Renay San Miguel
02/20/09 11:59 AM PT

In addition to Boxee, Hulu also has pulled its content from the CBS-owned, sparking a push-back from, which doesn't want to say good-bye so quickly. Could the moves by Fox and NBC-owned Hulu be the first in a war over digital distribution of television content?

What Hulu giveth, Hulu taketh away. At first applauded for its openness in providing its content to other distributors, the online streaming video company -- a joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp. -- this week pulled back that content from Web-to-TV software provider Boxee and, CBS's digital video service. However, CBS is now pushing back at Hulu, and those rumblings you hear on the digital horizon may be the first shots fired in a new round of major media company battles over the right to watch TV shows on your computer.

CBS interactive spokesperson Sarah Cain gave a statement that is short on words but speaks volumes regarding the potential for a fight: "CBS Interactive is well within its rights to stream Hulu video content on under its agreement with Hulu. We are evaluating our next steps at this time," Cain said.

Earlier this week Hulu sent this statement to other media organizations: "Hulu has contractual rights with regards to our relationship with and we are exercising those rights. Out of respect for their confidentiality, we will not disclose our discussions."

TechNewsWorld has sent an email request for reaction to Hulu CEO Jason Kilar; it had not received a response by press time.

Jockeying for Position

Both CBS and Hulu drew kudos last year for making digital deals with "frenemies," including the likes of online brand heavyweights AOL, MSN , Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) and, of course, each other, said Forrester Research senior analyst Bobby Tulsiani. However, its own success, couple with the economy's failure, may be forcing Hulu to revalue its content and consider new business models.

"Hulu has some of the most valuable content out there," Tulsiani told TechNewsWorld. "CBS has higher network ratings than Fox or NBC, but for the Web, Hulu's content is about as good as you can get -- "Saturday Night Live," "Family Guy," "Simpsons," that library is perfect for the Web. It targets young people, it's clips, it's viral and episodic.

"In terms of being critical to business, you can absolutely understand why library size could become important. It's really valuable. Would you just give it away to your competitors? I can understand Hulu's position." may be been singled out by Hulu because of CBS's desire to pump up its offerings on the site, Tulsiani says. "It could be jockeying for position. CBS is putting their full muscle behind it, more so than Yahoo or AOL or MSN, their other partners who have email, business and celebrity news and other categories."

Cable Entering the (PC Screen) Picture?

A report in The Wall Street Journal that cable companies may be trying to build out their own streaming video offerings for computers could also figure into the competitive mix, Tulsiani said, and may be sparking Hulu's actions this week. Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSK) and Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) are poised, well capitalized and already pay fees to bring TV programming into your living room; adding another portal via your computer could be a logical next step. Hulu has partnerships with Comcast-owned networks including E! Entertainment, G4 and the Golf Channel.

Cable's entry into streaming PC video may force Hulu to start charging for some content. Right now Hulu is free, ad-supported TV on your PC, and the question of paid services is addressed on the "Media FAQ" page of its Web site:

Will Hulu always be ad-supported or are there any plans to charge for additional services?
Hulu's goal is to help people find and enjoy the world's premium content when, where and how they want it. We believe that offering free, ad-supported content is a good first step toward achieving that goal and that it is the model that will resonate with largest group of users today. That said, we also believe in listening closely to user feedback to help guide our future plans.

"Free resonates with consumers, but doesn't resonate as well with businesses," Tulsiani said. "We will start seeing more experimentation with paid models. Hulu's smart not to rule that out, although they do emphasize free because they know brand equity behind free is very powerful, especially at this time. But the cable guys are obviously already getting your (US)$40 a month. If they roll out a Web portal, can they charge $41? For Hulu to go from free to pay may be a tougher transition than cable going from pay to a little more pay."

Hulu started right, they got the licenses and are ad driven, broadcasting IPTV over the net, then came enablers like Boxee bring IPTV back from the net into the TV and thus extending the viewer community exponentially.

Why would Hulu now pull the plug??? Are they missing the forest for the trees? Are they seeing how great their offering is when it is viewed on a TV and working back with the TV guys to stream exclusively through a cable box???? This would be terrible and once again close the distribution.

Hulu don't do this!!! Quite that contrary, Hulu should be partnering with many other enablers like Boxee's, and maybe even PVR manufacturer like TVIX, the more the better for everyone the viewer and Hulu's advertisers!!! And lets not forget the obvious next step.... The rest of the world!!! Once you're IP the only distribution limitation is your distribution agreement with your content provider, the technology and the pipes are already there.

What do you think??? Do you understand why Hulu is cutting off their own Oxygen.....

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Time to buy Apple - AGAIN!!!

He is a genius, they are amazing and they are going to do it again.

I always thought that the iPods and iPhones were just a method of selling more content off of iTunes and that the real plan was to get people hooked on iTunes.

That is where the money is.

There was/is one major flaw in trying to conquer the world when iTunes only works with Apple devices and the Apple DRM preventing moving the music and video to other devices.

Apple at Macworld just announced the first step in exactly that direction, iTunes store is going DRM free.

This is major!

Firstly some stats. iTunes store opened in 2003, since then it sold more than 6 Billion, yup Billion, songs. Songs were sold for $0.99 per song and $9.99 per album. It has more than 75 Million registered accounts with credit card info. There are currently 10 Million songs in the iTunes store and 8 million are going DRM free. The entire catalog will be DRM free by the end of this quarter.

The next step I am guessing or suggesting, is that iTunes desktop should recognize any MP3 player and thus enable iTunes to become the one stop shop for the entire world for digital content.

Time to buy Apple!!! Apple closed today $93 down $1.60

what do you think?


Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Love Google

..... continuing along the theme of large companies that are always developing and adapting, Google is right there.

Today I went online to one of my favorite sites, I wanted to see how to get to a meeting I had in the City of London. I usually go to the site find where I am and then figure out either by moving the map or by using the directions feature and then chart my own way as I am either walking or riding a bike and car rules don't interest me.

This morning I entered the points and hit Get Directions to discover what I always wanted, a new function By Walking!!!! This is amazing.

Keep those improvements coming........

what do you think?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Apple going to $1,000 a share

It was just about a year ago when I wrote about the first revision iPhone.


I was very impressed with the device but more impressed with the hacker community working to improve the phone.

The greatness of a company is its ability to listen to the user community and adapt. It is impressive and amazing to see a $140b gorilla move and adapt like a start up. Their software releases and iPhone o/s changes have incorporated what the hackers were doing and what users were asking for.

I was playing with the new 3g device (my pal Jamie Bambridge line up, or rather queued, as he did this in London, on the first day to get it)mainly to see what version 2.0 is like ( O/S 1.2). They have done it, they have listened and adapted, since 1.0.1 they keep making changes and as I see it, incorporating what the hacker community is doing. Of course the drive behind Apple's quick adaption and incorporation is driven by increased revenues. Let face it, though the iPhone is a very profitable device ( costing approx $173 to manufacture ) it is really just a platform which is supposed to generate lots of revenues and not only from air time.

Adding iTunes downloader to the iPhone two O/S's ago was key, this was obviously missing from the original device since the iPhone is supposed to be an iPod too. Being an iPod you want to be able to buy that song when you hear it regardless of where you are.

The latest major change is their application installer (or store!!), allowing to install applications onto the iPhone, competing with the famous open source Nullriver Installer ( this a welcome change and as apple know to do best a great revenue stream as they sell apps and games and upon release it is already populated with many.

I am sure they will therefore very shortly also fix their mediocre SMS application, it is still missing forward, copy/paste and MMS functionality. As revenue is the driver I am sure this fix is in the making as it will cause more people to SMS thus increasing Apple's revenues.

Apple is surely going to $1,000 a share...........

what do you think?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Google Phone

I have spoke many times of my thought regarding Google being undervalued.

This past week we saw Google run up because of rumors and some facts about the new Google O/S for Cell Phones.

The Frenzy led to many articles trying to discount Googles greatness.

some liks the one here at InformationWeek highlighted the fact that good applications and agood O/S on a mobile is not the problem but rather the network. Though the network is rather slow and needs improving there is a lot an O/S could help and this is where I think Google is on the cutting edge.

I think the greatness of Google is that they understand the users needs and the network constraints. I think they will be taking advantage of low speed networks and high quality programming enabling a super user expereince even on EDGE. Where Apple failed Google will win. Even on the iPhone the google maps works well as it was chopped up to work on Edge. I don't thing moving to 3G is the solution, I think learning how to move data over the slow network is where it at.

I have been a frequent user on my Cell Phone of the adapted for Mobile; Google's search page, Google's Froogle price comparison and Google maps. These apps worked as fast and as well as on a desktop. If this is an indication of whats to come on Google's Cell Phone then the world is in for a great suprize and the devices will be sold like hot cakes, I can't wait.

What are your thoughts?