24 October, 2011

Oracle puts down $1.5B for RightNow’s cloud-based sales force service

Posted: 24 Oct 2011 09:14 AM PDT
Larry EllisonOracle plans to acquire cloud-based sales force automation and customer service company RightNow for $1.5 billion, the company announced Monday morning.
The planned acquisition makes a ton a sense in light of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s announcement earlier this month to finally push Oracle into public cloud computing after many years of shunning cloud services. The Oracle Public Cloud will let its customers use Oracle apps direct from the Web or deploy native apps in the cloud.
The acquisition of RightNow will help Oracle continue branching out in the cloud in a different fashion. RightNow’s focus is on helping clients with with customer engagement and problem solving through social media, rich online interfaces and contact centers. With those services in tow, Oracle will be able to better compete with the likes of Salesforce.com, which Ellison has been critical of.
“Oracle is moving aggressively to offer customers a full range of cloud solutions including sales force automation, human resources, talent management, social networking, databases and Java as part of the Oracle Public Cloud,” said Thomas Kurian, Oracle Development Executive VP, in a statement. “RightNow’s leading customer service cloud is a very important addition to Oracle’s Public Cloud.”
Oracle’s offer of $1.5 billion equals $43 per share, a nearly 20 percent premium over RightNow’s closing price of $32.96 on Friday. Bozeman, Mont.-based RightNow said it has 2,000 customers and is currently listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange alongside Oracle.
CloudBeat 2011CloudBeat 2011 takes place November 30 – December 1 in Redwood City, CA. Unlike other cloud events, we’ll be focusing on 12 case studies to dissect the most disruptive instances of enterprise adoption of the cloud. Using a customer-centric approach, these case studies will highlight the core components of the cloud revolution: security, collaboration, analytics, mobile usage, increased productivity, and integration. Join over 500 executives for two days packed with actionable lessons and networking opportunities as we define the key processes and architectures that companies must put in place in order to survive and prosper. Register now and save 25%.

Filed under: cloud, enterprise

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Posted: 24 Oct 2011 08:49 AM PDT
siri-iphone-4s-adCo-founder of the impressive iPhone 4S voice control feature Siri, Dag Kittlaus, has left Apple.
Kittlaus is someone who’s likely to go down in Apple’s history as having made a big impact on the company and its products. Siri is easily the most recognizable addition to Apple’s latest iPhone. The feature allows users to ask the phone questions, alter personal calendars and even search for nearby restaurants — it’s basically a personal voice assistant you can carry around in your pocket.
Kittlaus’ departure, which happened shortly after Apple launched the iPhone 4S, was amicable and had been planned for a while, reports All Things Digital citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation. The report indicates that Kittlaus wanted to be closer to his family in Chicago and take some time off to work on new projects.
The Norwegian-born Kittlaus was CEO of Siri since 2007, and led the voice recognition efforts of the Siri technology for Apple since Apple acquired the company in 2010. Previously, he was an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Stanford Research Institute and a former Motorola employee.
While Kittlaus has departed, other key executives from Siri are expected to stay at Apple, according to the All Things Digital report.

Filed under: mobile, VentureBeat

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Posted: 24 Oct 2011 08:20 AM PDT
workday-cloud If you’ve doubted that cloud-based services are going to take off in a big way, Workday wants you to put your foot in your mouth. The company has raised a new $85 million round of funding with a reported $2 billion company valuation.
Workday provides more than 230 companies with cloud services for human resources, payroll and financial management. While that may not initially sound exciting, those 230 companies account for more than 2 million users and unlike many new could-based startups, Workday has a track record of helping organizations cut costs and bringing them immediate value.
The company’s latest funding round includes mostly institutional backers rather than VC firms, a sign the company intends to go public. The round was led by T. Rowe Price, Morgan Stanley, Janus Capital and Bezos Expeditions, the investment company of led by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
“We believe the caliber of this group of investors underscores the market opportunity before us,” said Aneel Bhusri, Workday co-founder and CEO, in a statement. “The world’s largest and most global enterprises are moving their business management solutions to the cloud. With this capital, Workday will continue to expand its core technology, products, go-to-market capability, and administrative infrastructure.”
One area Workday has been focused on lately is the mobile experience, with its cloud offerings working in most mobile browsers and native applications for iPad and iPhone. The company has stated previously that it wants to make sure its users have secure access to critical real-time data no matter where they are.
Pleasanton, Calif.-based Workday was founded in 2005. It last raised a $75 million round in April 2009, with funding led by New Enterprise Associates and participation from previous backer Greylock Partners and Workday co-founder Dave Duffield. Its total funding has now reached an eye-popping $250 million.
CloudBeat 2011CloudBeat 2011 takes place November 30 – December 1 in Redwood City, CA. Unlike other cloud events, we’ll be focusing on 12 case studies to dissect the most disruptive instances of enterprise adoption of the cloud. Using a customer-centric approach, these case studies will highlight the core components of the cloud revolution: security, collaboration, analytics, mobile usage, increased productivity, and integration. Join over 500 executives for two days packed with actionable lessons and networking opportunities as we define the key processes and architectures that companies must put in place in order to survive and prosper. Register now and save 25%.

Filed under: cloud

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Posted: 24 Oct 2011 07:57 AM PDT
After years of trying, Dell may have finally bested Apple’s MacBook Pro — at least in terms of thinness.
The company officially announced its XPS 14z laptop today, which is not too subtly being positioned as an alternative to the 13-inch MacBook Pro. But unlike past Dell designs, the XPS 14z may be attractive enough to tempt away those eyeing Apple’s devices.
At 0.9-inches thin and 4.36 pounds, the laptop is both thinner and lighter than the 13-inch MacBook Pro. It also starts at $999, compared to the MBP’s $1199 entry price.
The XPS 14z also manages to stuff a 14-inch screen into the size of a 13-inch notebook, thanks to LG’s Shuriken technology. As you can see from the product images, the screen doesn’t have much of a bezel on the side, so it appears as if it reaches the edge of the laptop.
Dell managed to make the laptop thin by moving ports like HDMI and Ethernet to the rear, something that harkens back to laptop designs from almost a decade ago.
The XPS 14z also features dedicated graphics cards (Nvidia’s GeForce GT 520M), compared to the MBP’s slower integrated Intel graphics. Not surprisingly, the computer sports Intel’s most recent generation of Core i5 and Core i7 processors. The XPS 14z comes standard with a 500 gigabyte 7200rpm hard drive, 6 gigabytes of RAM, and a battery life of around six hours (about an hour less than the MBP).
The laptop will ship with Windows 7 Home Premium on November 1 in the US. Those in other countries will have to wait until November 15 to get their hands on it.

Filed under: VentureBeat

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Posted: 24 Oct 2011 07:09 AM PDT
Matt-Smith-doctor-who-netflix-ukNetflix will launch its popular streaming TV and movie service in the U.K. and Ireland in the first months of 2012, the company announced today.
Netflix has had a turbulent past few months with a price hike that angered users and a botched plan to move physical DVD rentals to a site called Qwikster. But even with its shortcomings, the service has been trying to rapidly expand its presence outside of North America. This year, the company launched its service in 43 Latin American countries and the Caribbean and it has plans in place to launch in Spain in Jan. 2012.
Along with Spain, Netflix’s introduction in the U.K. and Ireland will be important to helping the company get recognition in Europe so that it can later extend into other European markets. British TV shows like Doctor Who (pictured), Sherlock, Being Human, Merlin and Skins are available for streaming on the American version of Netflix, but we’re sure many U.K. and Ireland-based folks will be happy to have access as well.
Netflix may have felt some urgency to announce its product for the U.K. and Ireland because another streaming TV and movie service called Vdio may be launching there soon. Vdio comes from one of the founders of Skype and Rdio, and while it has collected just $5.6 million in startup funding, it could feasibly start small in the U.K., get more VC funding, and then move to other countries. YouTube also recently announced that its U.K. users could rent movies from its service for £2.49 or £3.49 a piece.
Users in the U.K. and Ireland who want to know the precise day the service goes live can go to www.netflix.com and sign up for a notification.
Will you sign up for Netflix when it comes to your country?

Filed under: media

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Posted: 24 Oct 2011 06:00 AM PDT
Fan service is a tried and true way to make money in video games. That’s why Microsoft is re-releasing an upgraded version of its Halo blockbuster game on the 10th anniversary of the game’s debut.
Microsoft has sold more than 40 million Halo games since 2001, or more than $2 billion at retail. By coming out with a new Halo game just about every year, the company hopes to get past 50 million in the not-so-distant future.
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary will debut  Nov. 15. It is being built by Microsoft’s own 343 Industries as well as external game developers Saber Interactive and Certain Affinity. Bungie, the original Halo developer, has moved on to something new. But 343 Industries will continue to develop the Halo franchise into the future, including Halo 4, a new game starring Master Chief (the star of the first three Halo games), coming next year.
“In honor ten years of Halo and fans sticking with the franchise for that long, we wanted to go back and remake the graphics and the audio and the game play features up to speed to be comparable with anything else coming out this year,” Kevin Grace, managing editor for 343 Industries, told VentureBeat.
Master Chief’s purpose is to explore the ring-like planet of Halo and discover its secrets as humanity battles the Covenant, a collection of alien races bent on wiping out human kind. The game was Microsoft’s first successful first-person shooter games on the consoles, and it spawned four blockbuster follow-up games, a bunch of best-selling novels, comics and toys.
I played the game recently and it is a lot like I remember the original Halo from 2001, only prettier. In fact, when Halo debuted on the original Xbox, I thought it was one of the best-looking games I had ever seen, with waterfalls and long outdoor views.
But the before-and-after shots here show how much my memory has exaggerated the original game, which is one of my favorites of all time. The game was indeed state-of-the-art in graphics in 2001, but in 2011, it looks quite quaint. That also shows you how far the quality of graphics in video games have come during the past decade. On the Xbox 360, the new Halo game looks great.
You can hit the back button at any point in the game to see what the old graphics looked like at any given point in the game. Master Chief has 300 percent more resolution than the old character, and the campaign game scenes have anywhere from 3,000 to 8,000 percent more resolution.
The game will sell for the bargain rate of $40, compared to most other $60 brand-new games. You can also play it in stereoscopic 3D if you have the necessary 3D TV and glasses. The game has new achievements, Skulls (which are hidden treats), and Terminals. The Terminals are stations within the game that teach you more about characters around you, including 343 Guilty Spark, who was waiting for Master Chief to arrive for 100,000 years.
The new game has cooperative play over Xbox Live as well as a bundle of six of the most popular multiplayer maps. It even has some of the original bugs that the first game had. Grace said that the team debated whether to fix the bugs, but it decided to leave them because they became features of the game play that players used to their own advantage.
“In some of those cases, fans used those issues to make their own games like Warthog flipping,” Grace said.
Check out our interview with Grace below.

Filed under: games, VentureBeat

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Posted: 24 Oct 2011 05:00 AM PDT
High-value financings for venture-backed private internet and digital media companies seem to be happening at a rapid pace. Dropbox, Tumblr, AirBnB, Foursquare, and Spotify have all raked in big fundings and attained record valuations in recent months. Meanwhile, public investors are decidedly less sanguine. The Nasdaq Composite index is flat for the year – and the average internet and digital media company is down 50% from 52-week highs.
So why such a disconnect? Will the recent class of high-priced venture rounds produce strong results for entrepreneurs, VCs and LPs? Or, will the public market continue to bump along and provide little opportunity for spectacular exits?
Pondering this conundrum, I stumbled onto a very interesting graphic put together by Jose Cobos and his colleagues over at investment banking firm Cowen and Company.

As you can see from the chart, only six of the 116 publicly-traded internet companies are projected by analysts to achieve over 30% top-line growth in 2011 and 2012 and to achieve 2012 EBITDA margins of at least 30%. That means only 5% of the current crop of public internet companies are in the top echelon in terms of profitability and growth.
Let's take a further look at these six companies: Baidu, Tencent, Yandex, Mail.ru, Qihoo 360 Technology, and MercadoLibre. What do these companies all have in common?  Most obviously, they all operate outside the U.S. Second, they are being richly rewarded by public investors – all six are presently valued at at least 10x revenue – a very meaningful premium over the group of internet and digital media companies as a whole, where median revenue multiples fall in the 1-3x range, depending on subset.
Relaxing the 30% EBITDA margin constraint, 12 more companies are projected to have at least 30% growth in 2011 and 2012, so the total number of "high-performing" public internet companies is 18. Scanning this group, you'll see that most of the companies are still highly valued – LinkedIn, Zillow, and Youku, for example, all enjoy very high revenue multiples as well. But, the overall average revenue multiple is lower than the top tier.
Dropping even further, to the 44 companies projected to have at least 30% growth for 2011 alone, the valuation picture is far murkier, with several companies being valued much closer to the 1-3x revenue group median.
For CEOs of high-growth internet companies thinking about IPOs, this chart provides a very clear case for how to ensure success as a public company. The market will reward high growth (30% or more for several years into the future) coupled with high rates of profitability. If you can't see a way to achieve both growth and profitability, you may not achieve a premium public valuation and should plan accordingly.
And remember, the most interesting common trait of the six companies in the top tier is that they're non-US businesses based in China, Russia, and Latin America. Producing both growth and profitability is a time-tested winning strategy to attain high public market valuations. Lately, as several foreign economies have been on a rapid growth curve, a crop of non-U.S. startups has been particularly good at producing both. Perhaps U.S. entrepreneurs seeking high growth and high profits would do well to look outside the U.S. — expanding their businesses into high-growth markets.
For venture investors, this chart is also telling. Big fundings for companies that don't show promise for delivering both high growth and significant profits may produce poor investment returns on the public market. As the chart says, it's a long climb to the top – and very few internet companies will reach the peak. Unless the percent of companies able to summit goes up substantially over the next few years, many of today's high-priced venture investments may falter when it's time for the public to decide their value on the open market.
Glenn Solomon is a partner at GGV Capital, a $1B  venture capital firm with a dual focus on China and the U.S. Some of GGV's investments include Alibaba Group, Pandora Media, YY, Buddy Media, Tudou, SuccessFactors, Square, and 21ViaNet. Glenn blogs at http://sandhillrdmeetswallst.com.

Filed under: deals

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Posted: 23 Oct 2011 11:09 PM PDT
Steve Jobs’s biographer answered questions about the Apple founder’s life on CBS’s 60 Minutes last night, and now you can watch the interview online.
The special interview was recorded about two weeks after Job’s unfortunate death. The version posted online has several extras that weren’t in the original broadcast.
Walter Isaacson’s biography, titled Steve Jobs, goes on sale in brick and mortar retail stores Monday morning. However, Kindle owners and those that have access to Apple’s iBooks can already purchase digital copies of the book.
Isaacson interviewed over a hundred people in Jobs’ life, including acquaintances, close friends and family members. The author interviewed Jobs himself over 40 times for the book.
Here’s an excerpt from the 60 Minutes interview:
Kroft: Explain to me how somebody who was a hippie, a college dropout, somebody who drops LSD and marijuana goes off to India and comes back deciding he wants to be a businessman?
Isaacson: Jobs has within him sort of this conflict, but he doesn’t quite see it as a conflict between being hippie-ish and anti-materialistic but wanting to sell things like Wozniak’s board. Wanting to create a business. And I think that’s exactly what Silicon Valley was all about in those days. Let’s do a startup in our parents’ garage and try to create a business.
Kroft: So we don’t have to work for somebody else?
Isaacson: Right. And Steve Jobs wasn’t all that eager to be an employee at Hewlett-Packard.
You can watch both part one and two of the 60 Minutes interview with Isaacson on CBS’s website or the network’s YouTube channel.

Filed under: media, VentureBeat

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Posted: 23 Oct 2011 09:39 PM PDT
Quicksilver LogoPopular launch app Quicksilver has added support for Mac OS X Lion in the latest update, the development team announced on its blog today.
For those unfamiliar with the impressive app, QuickSilver is sort of like Spotlight on steroids. It’s essentially an application that lets you set your own shortcut/hot keys to launch other apps, open windows and delete files — pretty much anything. The purpose of QuickSilver is to speed up your workflow. Having been a user for years, I can vouch for its effectiveness.
This is the first major update for the app, which was made open-source years ago by original developers Blacktree Software. In addition to Lion support, the update includes over 40 new features, fixes and changes. Among those changes are automatic plugins updates and a brand new logo (which looks like something out of comic book writer Geoff John’s Green Lantern.)
The only downside to the update is for Mac OS X Leopard users, who won’t be getting additional support in the future.
“Let's get this out of the way first. Sorry, Leopard users! The developers can devote their energies to optimising QS for Lion and Snow Leopard without worrying about backwards compatibility,” the developers wrote in the blog post announcing the updates.
It makes sense that the development team wouldn’t want to spread themselves too thin by making sure the app worked across all versions of OS X. Quicksilver is, of course, an open-source project — meaning, not only is the app free but the people working on it are doing it for free.
Quicksilver faces competition from similar launcher apps like Alfred and Chuck.

Filed under: dev, VentureBeat

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Posted: 23 Oct 2011 09:23 PM PDT
Equinix has a lot of bandwidth for running web sites. The web hosting company has more than 99 data centers around the world that form much of the backbone of the internet.
Today, it’s launching the Equinix Marketplace platform so that it can help the company’s more than 4,000 partners, customers and suppliers do business with each other more easily. You could think of it as a federation of housing contractors that all work with each other.
But Redwood City, Calif.-based Equinix isn’t connecting a network of physical goods contractors. It’s hooking up companies that are in the business of buying and selling bandwidth and storage for web sites.
“The network is aimed at transforming the data center into a revenue center,” said Jarrett Appleby, chief marketing officer of Equinix. “You could think of this like a service directory, a Yellow Pages for data centers.”
The platform makes it possible for any company with a presence in an Equinix data center to quickly find and directly connect to others in the network in the name super-fast connectivity and creating new services. For instance, Bloomberg used the Equinix data centers to create regional services in new locations around the world.
This may not be the sexiest market around. But it is a reminder that the internet is a physical place, existing as a series of interconnected data centers. If one service is closely connected to another one, the service level can be higher. Vendors who use the same web-hosting company can also trust each other more easily. And that is what Equinix is trying to make happen.
Equinix created the platform in part because its partners were already connecting to each other. In 2010, interconnections among Equinix customers grew 27 percent.
Equinix is already home to more than 700 software-as-a-service cloud providers, 675 backbone and mobile networks, 450 online media, content and ad sites, and 600 electronic trading and financial market participants. Equinix operates in 38 markets around the world. Rivals include Amazon.com.

Filed under: cloud

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Posted: 23 Oct 2011 08:42 PM PDT
Steve Jobs BioNot only do Kindle users get to avoid fighting through book store crowds to get their hands on Walter Isaacson’s new Steve Jobs biography, but they also got the chance to start reading it long before everyone else.
Amazon delivered electronic copies of the book earlier this evening to Kindle users who preordered it, several hours before the book was supposed to go on sale. At the time of this post, the Jobs bio still says it’s scheduled for release on October 24.
The Kindle version of Isaacson’s book costs $16.99 — just one dollar less than the hardcover version. By releasing it early, Amazon may garner some good will from customers who felt that the e-book version was overpriced (even though prices are set by the publisher, not Amazon.) And for the Kindle devoted, the early release is yet another reason to prefer e-books over paper.
I received my copy of the book on my Kindle around 10:30 pm Eastern, but judging from responses I’m seeing on Twitter, many received it even earlier.
Pre-orders of the Jobs biography skyrocketed after his death earlier this month. Simon & Schuster, the book’s publisher, also bumped up the release date from November 21 to October 24 due to increased consumer anticipation.

Filed under: media, VentureBeat

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Posted: 23 Oct 2011 05:14 PM PDT

It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago today Steve Jobs first introduced the iPod at a low-key event far different from the auditorium-sized keynotes that have since become standard for Apple announcements.
At the time, Apple was entering into a portable digital music player market that had no clear market leader — although companies like Creative, Sonic Blue and Sony had certainly been trying. Jobs talked about how music had been around a long time and wasn’t going away anytime soon.
The original iPod featured a 5 GB hard drive that could hold about a thousand songs. It had a two-inch white backlit LCD display and an estimated 10-hour battery life. The device officially debuted during the holiday season of 2001, but I didn’t get my hands on one until almost a year later. (I still remember my neighbor coming outside with his bulky graphite-colored MP3 player that held only 15-songs. He was shocked and sort of in disbelief when I told him how many mine held.)
For the sake of nostalgia, we’ve embedded a video of Jobs’ first iPod announcement below.
When did you get your first iPod? Let us know in the comments.

Filed under: media, mobile, VentureBeat

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Posted: 23 Oct 2011 01:14 PM PDT
Yah, you read that right. As of today, Microsoft’s patent licensing agreements with Android manufacturers now cover more than half of all Android devices,  thanks to the recent addition of Taiwan-based Compal.
Compal is the tenth company to form an Android licensing deal with Microsoft, and it’s joining more well-known Android manufacturers like Samsung, HTC, and Acer. Companies get protected under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for a fee, which protects them from further patent litigation from Microsoft, as well as from others (like Apple).
“Amidst continuing clamor about uncertainty and litigation relating to smartphone patents, we’re putting in place a series of agreements that are reasonable and fair to both sides,” wrote Brad Smith and Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s general counsel and deputy general counsel, in a blog post today. “Our agreements ensure respect and reasonable compensation for Microsoft’s inventions and patent portfolio. Equally important, they enable licensees to make use of our patented innovations on a long-term and stable basis.”
Microsoft boasts that it has spent over $4.5 billion in the past decade to license patents from other companies — a figure that shows the company’s dedication to respecting intellectual property rights, according to Smith and Gutierrez. The big takeaway here: Microsoft respects IP by licensing responsibly, so it expects other companies to do the same.
With the Compal deal, Microsoft says it now has licensing agreements with 55 percent of Android Original Design Manufacturers (companies who build Android devices for other companies). Microsoft also says that its agreements now cover 53 percent of the US Android smartphone market, thanks to its recent massive Samsung deal.
This latest milestone means that Microsoft is even further intertwined with Android’s success, since it’s earning money for every Android device sold from its partners. Back in May, we said we suspected that Microsoft was making five times as much from its Android licensing deals than Windows Phone — now, that figure is likely much higher.
Via Neowin

Filed under: mobile, VentureBeat

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Posted: 23 Oct 2011 11:06 AM PDT
iPhone 4S Siri
Each week, we take a look at the best and most popular stories that appeared on VentureBeat over the previous seven days. This week, Siri led the headlines.

Most popular

It’s not surprising that three of this week’s most popular stories had to do with Apple, which released its iPhone 4S to an eager public on October 15. And while some were disappointed that it wasn’t the iPhone 5, the phone’s Siri virtual assistant has proved captivating and entertaining.
Cracked! Siri has been successfully ported to an iPhone 4
Ordinarily you need to buy an iPhone 4S to get Siri on your phone. But, as Meghan Kelly reported, some people have succeeded in getting the assistant to run on the older iPhone 4.
How SMS messaging is changing the world (Infographic)
Did you know that 3 out of 5 people on this planet use SMS text messaging? In this guest post by Greg Voaks, we publish an infographic about how people are using texting that will blow your mind.
iPhone 5 was Steve Jobs' last big Apple project
Devindra Hardawar reports that the last big thing Apple cofounder Steve Jobs worked on before his death was the next iPhone.

Nvidia unveils its 3D Vision 2 glasses for 3D gaming

If you’re a gamer and you want truly immersive video games, you’ll be interested in Nvidia’s second-generation 3D glasses. Story by Dean Takahashi.

Apple's Siri personal assistant will make your kids laugh

Dean’s not all business. One of his most popular stories this week was about how much fun his kids had with Siri during a recent car trip.

Editor’s picks

Here are some of the stories that we think you ought to read.
iPhone 4S review: There's something about Siri
Devindra’s review of the iPhone 4S goes deep into the phone’s hardware, software, and of course its amazing virtual personal assistant, Siri.
Deals site BuyWithMe chokes on acquisitions, announces huge layoffs
New VentureBeat writer Chikodi Chima dove right into his job this week and dug up the ugly details on local coupon/deals site BuyWithMe’s layoffs.
Razr reborn: Motorola announces the 4G LTE Droid Razr
One of the most interesting-looking upcoming phones is Motorola’s mashup of its two most successful brands: the Droid and the Razr. Devindra Hardawar got photos, and it doesn’t look half bad.
From Napster to Spotify, Sean Parker is planning for "the next music industry"
Napster and Facebook advisor Sean Parker got famous after the movie The Social Network. Now Jolie O’Dell reports on how he’s trying to reinvent music through Spotify.
Occupy the Web: Hackers join worldwide protest
As people occupy Wall Street and urban financial zones around the country, some hackers are asking what they can do with code to help out the movement. Meghan Kelly reports from a daylong “Occupy the Web” hackathon, where the theme was “hacking for the 99 percent.”

Filed under: VentureBeat

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Posted: 23 Oct 2011 10:48 AM PDT
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Cover art for The End of Business as Usual by Brian SolisToday’s biggest trends — the mobile web, social media, gamification, real-time — are changing the landscape for business. Consumers are connecting with one another, and in the process they’re becoming increasingly empowered and influential.
How these connected consumers discover, share, and communicate is different than the way they used to. This change requires businesses to rethink their approach. Organizations need to examine the impact of technology on consumer behavior and understand how connected consumers make decisions and influence the decisions of their peers.
The End of Business as Usual makes the case that the need for business transformation is bigger than social media and more important than just connecting or communicating with customers in social networks.
In this excerpt from the book, I discuss how social networks are the platform through which people connect to one another.

Social networks as your personal operating system

The medium is no longer just the message. Now, the medium is the platform and people now represent both the medium and the message. Their digital relationships define the nature of information discovery and its course through the social graph.
For example, Facebook started out as a social network, but it is growing into a personal operating system of sorts, where friends and experiences are interconnected, and apps and brand pages connect people through interests. Every month, the Facebook population invests over 700 billion minutes interacting with their social graphs and creating and sharing content and experiences. Facebook is a hub for people and information.
The acts of sharing and consuming content in social media represent the social dealings between people and set the stage for interaction and education, but it is a platform for development and a solid foundation for social architecture.
  • People on Facebook install 20 million applications every day in the popular network.
  • 250 million people engage with Facebook on external websites every month.
  • More than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook, including 80 of comScore's U.S. top 100 websites and over half of comScore's global top 100 websites.
Indeed, according to comScore, Facebook traffic soared by 55.2 percent, hitting 151.1 million in October 2010, up from 97.4 million visitors at the same time last year. It's also important to note that Facebook was home to 300 million active denizens in 2010 and it now has a population of more than 800 million.
  • 50 percent of active users log on to Facebook in any given day.
  • The average user has 130 friends.
Facebook is becoming an epicenter for all online activity. It's where individuals pool all that they are and all that interests them into an organized, presentable, and searchable framework. We can learn a lot about someone based on what they share as well as what they don't share.
Aside from our favorite bands, movies, TV shows, and destinations, we reveal more than we realize. Democracy UK, a UK-focused political campaigning initiative run by Facebook, released some very telling facts and figures in its snapshot report of Facebook in 2010. Let's take a look at relationships in one year:
  •  43,869,800 changed their status to single.
  •  3,025,791 changed their status to "It's complicated."
  •  28,460,516 changed their status to in a relationship.
  •  5,974,574 changed their status to engaged.
  •  36,774,801 changed their status to married.
We now know that more than 700 billion minutes are clocked every month on Facebook. But, what does 20 minutes look like? In the same report by Democracy UK, we are able to look at the events that unfold every 20 minutes.
  • Every 20 minutes, more than one million links are shared.
  • 1.3 million photos are tagged.
  • 1.5 million invites are sent.
  • 1.6 million Wall posts are published.
  • 1.9 million status updates are published.
  • 2 million friend requests are accepted.
  • 2.7 million photos are uploaded, making Facebook the largest photo network online.
  • 10.2 million comments are shared.
  • 4.6 million messages are sent.
The extent of interaction that takes place in 20 minutes reveals a glimpse of the sheer size of Facebook. On a monthly basis, this translates to:
  • The average user creates 90 pieces of content each month.
  • More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, and so on) are shared each month.
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