Posted tagged ‘TechCrunch’

Hewlett Packard Acquires 3Com

November 11, 2009

Just saw that Hewlett Packard is acquiring 3Com for deal valued at around $2.7 billion.

3Com will also provide Hewlett Packard with its TippingPoint portfolio which is a network security system.

From TechCrunch:

HP says the acquisition will further its data center strategy “built on the convergence of servers, storage, networking, management, facilities and services.” The acquisition of 3Com also help to expand HP’s Ethernet switching offerings, add routing solutions and significantly strengthen the company’s position in China thanks to 3Com’s strong presence in China.

From CNNMoney.com:

3Com took in $1.3 billion in revenue last year on its networking and securities solutions products. The Marlborough, Mass.-based company mostly does business with corporate clients, and its H3C networking unit is a market leader in China.

HP  said it made the acquisition to expand its networking solutions offerings and to “significantly strengthen the company’s position in China.”

Over the past year, HP has increased its services and business solutions business exponentially, catapulted by its $13.9 billion acquisition of services firm EDS last year.

From InformationWeek:

3Com will bring a wide-ranging portfolio of network switching, routing and security solutions to HP. The technology will boost HP’s already potent networking offerings, which are centered in HP Procurve.

“By acquiring 3Com, we are accelerating the execution of our converged infrastructure strategy and bringing disruptive change to the networking industry, HP executive vice president Dave Donatelli said in a statement.

HP’s converged infrastructure architecture, announced Nov. 4, essentially creates a one-stop data-center shop. It packages HP’s compute, storage, networking offerings into a highly virtualized bundle which can be centrally managed.

That move came shortly after Cisco linked up with EMC and VMware in a partnership which tightly integrates storage alongside easy-to-manage virtualized data-center bundles called V-Blocks.

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Twitter and LinkedIn Join Forces

November 9, 2009

Today, Twitter and LinkedIn joined forces in an agreement that will allow users of both services to sync their status updates.

From TechCrunch:

LinkedIn will now allow you to update your status on your LinkedIn profile and then share the message automatically to Twitter. To enable to enable the cross posting feature, you just need to click the new Twitter box under your Network Updates box on the homepage and sync with your Twitter account (via oAuth).

The integration works the other way as well. You can also share Tweets to your LinkedIn profile from Twitter or any other client by adding the hashtag “#in” or “li”. As part of the setup process on LinkedIn, you can choose to either send all your tweets or select tweets that have the hashtag “in” from Twitter back to LinkedIn as a status update. You can also import your Twitter stream into your profile now, which is also an op-in feature. So your profile will show a “Recent Tweets” section that will include a real-time stream of your Tweets.

Google Sued For Discrimination

November 3, 2009

Google is being sued by James Bara, a Georgia-based former employee for sexual and religious discrimination in violation of the Civil Rights Act.

From TechCrunch:

Lawsuits can be the source of all sorts of surprising and off the wall stories and this one, filed by a Google Atlanta-based former data center employee takes the cake. In the lawsuit, which was filed on Oct. 29 in a federal court in Atlanta, the former employee, James Bara, alleges both sexual and religious discrimination from his superior.

While it doesn’t sound juicy, the stories that Bara tells are. Bara was initially a contractor for Google’s Atlanta office, working as an assistant in the Data Center. After six months, he was hired by Google as a full-time employee. According to the complaint, all was rosy for the next two years until a female transgender employee joined the group Bara worked for. Bara’s boss, a woman named Pam Sohn, allegedly made inappropriate comments about this woman, and ridiculed her sexual preference.

From InformationWeek:

In his court filing, James Bara, a practicing Wiccan, claims that a manager in Google’s Atlanta office, Pam Sohn, made numerous jokes about the sexual orientation of a female transgendered employee who joined the company in July 2008.

“I informed Ms. Sohn the remarks were inappropriate and she stopped making them,” he says in his discrimination complaint. “Shortly thereafter, Ms. Sohn began making inappropriate comments about my religion.”

Bara’s complaint then describes a series of escalating human resources complaints and alleged workplace retaliation.

He charges that he began being treated differently in the office and was required to be in the office when female workers were not.

Facebook Has Acquired FriendFeed

August 10, 2009

Big news in social media today as Facebook appears to have acquired FriendFeed.

Not a lot of details yet but TechCrunch is breaking the news of this major acquisition.

From TechCrunch:

At this point details on the acquisition are still very sparse, but it’s clearly a good match. Over the last year or so, Facebook has “borrowed” quite a few of features that FriendFeed popularized, including the ‘Like’ feature and an emphasis on real-time news updates.

Obviously Facebook has already built out some of FriendFeed’s functionality so there is some overlap, but there are still numerous ways FriendFeed beats out Facebook’s News Feed setup. One of these is the way stories are ‘floated’ to the top as new users comment on them. And FriendFeed’s system is truly real-time, unlike Facebook’s feed which users have to manually refresh.

FriendFeed has also just posted a note to their site announcing the acquisition:

We are happy to announce that Facebook has acquired FriendFeed. As my mom explained to me, when two companies love each other very much, they form a structured investment vehicle…

The FriendFeed team is extremely excited to become a part of the talented Facebook team. We’ve always been great admirers of Facebook, and our companies share a common vision. Now we have the opportunity to bring many of the innovations we’ve developed at FriendFeed to Facebook’s 250 million users around the world and to work alongside Facebook’s passionate engineers to create even more ways for you to easily share with your friends online.

Here is further confirmation from a Facebook press release this afternoon:

Facebook today announced that it has agreed to acquire FriendFeed, the innovative service for sharing online. As part of the agreement, all FriendFeed employees will join Facebook and FriendFeed’s four founders will hold senior roles on Facebook’s engineering and product teams.

“Facebook and FriendFeed share a common vision of giving people tools to share and connect with their friends,” said Bret Taylor, a FriendFeed co-founder and, previously, the group product manager who launched Google Maps. “We can’t wait to join the team and bring many of the innovations we’ve developed at FriendFeed to Facebook’s 250 million users around the world.”

“As we spent time with Mark and his leadership team, we were impressed by the open, creative culture they’ve built and their desire to have us contribute to it,” said Paul Buchheit, another FriendFeed co-founder. Buchheit, the Google engineer behind Gmail and the originator of Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto, added, “It was immediately obvious to us how passionate Facebook’s engineers are about creating simple, ground-breaking ways for people to share, and we are extremely excited to join such a like-minded group.”

Google To Acquire Twitter?

April 3, 2009

It’s just a rumor but…wow!

According to a report by TechCrunch, Google is in late stage negotiations to acquire Twitter.

From TechCrunch:

We don’t know the price but can assume its well, well north of the $250 million valuation that they saw in their recent funding.

Twitter turned down an offer to be bought by Facebook just a few months ago for half a billion dollars, although that was based partially on overvalued Facebook stock. Google would be paying in cash and/or publicly valued stock, which is equivalent to cash. So whatever the final acquisition value might be, it can’t be compared apples-to-apples with the Facebook deal.

Why would Google want Twitter? We’ve been arguing for some time that Twitter’s real value is in search. It holds the keys to the best real time database and search engine on the Internet, and Google doesn’t even have a horse in the game.

From Silicon Alley Insider:

One of Arrington’s sources says the deal is in “late stage” negotiations, while another says the deal is in “fairly early stages” and that the companies are also just talking about working together on a “Google real time search engine.”

There is a price for everything. But unless Google is offering a fortune — in cash — it’s too early for Twitter to sell itself.

Twitter is flush with cash, having just raised another $35 million at a $250 million valuation. Its growth shows no signs of slowing, it has little competition beyond Facebook — which has struggled to elegantly replicate Twitter’s real-time chatter — and has only just started trying to make money, with several revenue opportunities ahead.

If the price is right — $750 million to $1 billion in cash — Twitter and its investors are smart to take the money and run. Twitter doesn’t want to become the next Digg, which wasn’t able to sell itself at the peak of the Web 2.0 bubble, and now will have to do a lot of work to get a big deal. But we still think Twitter is in a very good position to become the “rails” that the real-time Web rides on… and that could be worth a LOT of money someday.

Meanwhile, why would Google want Twitter? It’s not making any meaningful money. And while that doesn’t usually stop Google — see YouTube, etc. — sales and profitability are more important today than in 2006.

The difference between Twitter and YouTube: Twitter actually has significant relevance to Google’s main search business. As Twitter’s popularity increases — which it is, rapidly — the idea of “real-time search” will be increasingly important to Google.

Is Too Many Friends/Followers a Bad Thing?

January 29, 2009

In the world of social media, it’s all about the metrics: the number of people who are following you on Twitter, the number of friends you have on Facebook, etc.

But, if too many users and entrepreneurs focus on this, those measures may become meaningless.

From BusinessWeek:

If I’ve learned anything in 10 years of covering entrepreneurs, it’s that they love to cheat. If you ever play a game with one of them, be very clear about the rules. Here’s why: To an entrepreneur, it’s not just winning that’s important—it’s also outfoxing the game. Don’t forget that many of the most famous startup guys—from Apple (AAPL) co-founder Steve Wozniak to Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates to Slide founder Max Levchin—began as hackers, breaking the rules mainly for sport.

This tendency isn’t always a bad thing, at least not from a business point of view. Starting companies is a risky mix of luck and skill. The more an entrepreneur can take something normally left to luck and make it a test of skill, the more likely he is to win or otherwise overcome a challenge.

But lately Silicon Valley’s system-gaming penchant has shown up in a frenzy to add social media friends and followers faster than everybody else. This is no mere popularity contest among bloggers with fragile egos. By using tricks to inflate the number of new people who click on a person’s blog, profile page, or Web site, friend-adding and link-baiting schemes threaten to undermine the credibility of one of the few reliable yardsticks left for measuring a Web site’s traffic: the unique user.

Taken in by Twply

Evidence of the troubling fad can be seen seemingly everywhere with increasing frequency, as sites, bloggers, and individuals struggle to monetize their popularity. Remember the early Facebook apps that sent unauthorized “Zombie” invites to all your friends? The tactics became so heavy-handed that Facebook announced last May it would start penalizing spammy applications.

Now we’re seeing it on the microblogging sensation Twitter. In December an application called Twply launched asking users for their Twitter user names and passwords. It used those logins to send out a Tweet pretending to be from each user that read: “Just started using http://twply.com/ to get my @replies via e-mail. Neat stuff!” The trend spread rapidly as A-list bloggers and techies, including Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, not only tried it but appeared to give it their blessing. Soon, people saw that either all their friends suddenly began saying “neat stuff!” or they’d been had. A backlash started, but it hardly mattered. Twply sold itself—and all the user login data—on SitePoint.com for $1,200 just hours after it launched.

That’s not so different from link-baiting, the cozy tendency among bloggers to agree to link to one another to drive up the number of unique visitors.

TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington Taking Leave of Absence

January 28, 2009

Michael Arrington, founder of the influential technology blog TechCrunch, announced today that he is taking a leave of absence after suffering from several instances of physical and verbal abuse, including a death threat last summer.

From TechCrunch:

Yesterday as I was leaving the DLD Conference in Munich, Germany someone walked up to me and quite deliberately spat in my face. Before I even understood what was happening, he veered off into the crowd, just another dark head in a dark suit. People around me stared, then looked away and continued their conversation.

Generally at events people come up to me to talk about their startups. My reaction varies depending on how much sleep I’ve gotten and how many times I’ve been pitched in the previous hour. Sometimes I sit down and watch a demo. Sometimes I give them my card and ask them to contact me. Yesterday I was battling the flu, jetlag and little sleep, and had been battered for three days straight with product pitches from entrepreneurs desperate for press. The event was over and I was on my way back to my hotel. The last thing I wanted was another product pitch as I hurried to the car that would drive me to Davos for the next event. So when I saw this person approach me out of the corner of my eye, I turned away slightly and avoided eye contact. Sometimes that works. But in this case all it did was make me vulnerable to the last thing I expected.

In the past I’ve been grabbed, pulled, shoved and otherwise abused at events, but never spat on. I think this is where I’m going to draw a line.

TechCrunch is a successful startup in its own right, and I’m proud of what we’ve built over the years. We are aggressive proponents of the startup community, and do what we can to give exposure to new ventures that previously had little chance at public exposure. I generally enjoy attending and speaking at events, talking to entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, and debating whatever the topic of the day is with others.

But I can’t say my job is much fun any more. Startups that don’t get the coverage they want and competing journalists and bloggers tend to accuse us of the most ridiculous things. It hasn’t been worth our time to respond to these accusations; I always assumed that our work and integrity would speak for itself. But as we’ve grown and become more successful the attacks have also grown. On any given day, when I care to look, dozens of highly negative comments are made about me, TechCrunch or one of our employees in our comments, on Twitter, or on blogs or other sites. Some of these are appropriately critical comments on things we can be doing better. But the majority of comments are among the more horrible things I can imagine a human being say.

Luckily my tolerance level for verbal abuse has risen proportionately to our growth, so I can handle most of the verbal abuse thrown our way. I can even handle it when my so called friends decide it’s in their best interest to spread negative rumors about us privately. I believe that it has changed me as a person to the point where I generally don’t trust people until they’ve earned it. Before TechCrunch I assumed most people were essentially good, and assumed that an individual was trustworthy until proven otherwise. Today, its exactly the opposite.

But like I said, I draw the line at being spat on. It’s one step away from something far more violent.

Something very few people know: last year over the summer an off balance individual threatened to kill me and my family. He wasn’t very stealthy about it – he called our office number, sent me emails and even posted threats on his blog, so it wasn’t hard to determine who he was. The threats were, in the opinion of security experts we consulted, serious. The individual has a felony record and owns a gun. Police in three states became involved and we hired a personal security team to protect me, my family and TechCrunch employees.

At over $2,000 a day we couldn’t keep paying for security indefinitely. And the police were helpful but couldn’t do much based on the threats until he acted. We had the option of getting a restraining order but that just tells the person exactly where you are (the places they can’t go). So for a week I was literally in hiding with my parents at their home. The TechCrunch office was empty, and the police made regular checks to see if things were ok. One evening they almost arrested one of our employees who stopped by the office to pick up something.

Seeing my parents fear for their lives and not understand how or why their son was in this position changed me, made me a much less forgiving person in general.

I write about technology startups and news. In any sane world that shouldn’t make me someone who has to deal with death threats and being spat on. It shouldn’t require me to absorb more verbal abuse than a human being can realistically deal with.

The problem is that I love what I do when I’m not hiding from some crazy fucker who wants to kill me or being spat on by some unhappy European entrepreneur we didn’t write about.

I’ve decided the right thing to do is take some time off and get a better perspective on what I’m spending my life doing. I’ll be taking most of February off from writing, and decide what the best future for me is while sitting on a beach somewhere far away from my iPhone and laptop. I’ll be continuing to write this week and cover news from the World Economic Forum in Davos, then I’ll take time off starting next week.

I hope that some of my peers will realize that competitive pressures do not give them carte blanche to accuse us and others of literally anything that pops into their head and repeat it publicly or privately. I want them to compete hard with us, but fight clean. I want them to realize that their words influence others who may be inclined to “take matters into their own hands” under the mistaken impression that threatening to kill someone, or physically attacking them, is somehow righteous. And I hope that my peers who tend to sit on the sideline while others attack will start to take a stand against it.

We write about technology and entrepreneurship. These things are important, but not so important that we should fear for our safety or the safety of our families.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Arrington, well-known in Silicon Valley for breaking tech news as well as reviewing start-up companies, said he is leaving the blog at least through February because the abuse has intensified. The final straw came Tuesday at a conference in Germany when “someone walked up to me and quite deliberately spat in my face,” he said.

“I draw the line at being spat on,” Arrington wrote in a blog post. “It’s one step away from something far more violent.”

Arrington, 38, also revealed on his blog Wednesday that someone threatened to kill him and his family last summer. Arrington said the individual called the TechCrunch office, sent him emails and posted threats on the blog. Arrington hired personal security, which cost more than $2,000 a day, and police in three states were involved in the situation.

“For a week I was literally in hiding with my parents at their home,” Arrington wrote. “I write about technology startups and news. In any sane world that shouldn’t make me someone who has to deal with death threats and being spat on.”

Arrington, a former corporate attorney and Internet executive, launched TechCrunch in 2005 and has become a highly trafficked blogger for many Silicon Valley venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. Many tech start-ups hope to get featured on his blog because of its wide-ranging exposure.

He’s also spent significant time writing about corporate news, as he’s had several scoops about discussions between Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) about potential deals. Yahoo rejected Microsoft’s $47.5 billion takeover bid last year, but rumors continue to swirl that Microsoft may still have interest in Yahoo’s search business. Arrington’s reporting on the subject has proven to move markets several times.

But his style is often criticized because he’s previously advised companies that he’s written about or accepted paid ads from them. His journalistic integrity has also been put to question, as he recently wrote a blistering post bashing PR firms and saying TechCrunch will break every embargo it agrees to. An embargo is an agreement between a source and news provider that information doesn’t get published until a certain date or conditions have been met.