Facebook has acquired FriendFeed

Today Facebook announced it had acquired FriendFeed. This is exciting, interesting news for a number of reasons. First, I think FriendFeed is a fantastic platform. Facebook is about to get a whole lot better thanks to the engineers behind FriendFeed (this is very much a talent acquisition). Second, I think this will cause Twitter, Google, and everyone else in the real-time space to pick up the pace. We’re going to see a whole ton of innovation in the months ahead. That’s good news for all of us.

Here’s the TechCrunch story on the deal, which is where I first read it. Here’s the official Facebook press release, and here’s the official FriendFeed post.

Here are some other relevant posts I’ve found interesting:

Also today: Facebook launched improved search for everyone.

I haven’t used FriendFeed much lately, and I’m not incredibly active on Facebook either. Still, I’m stoked about this deal. In addition to making Facebook a whole heck of a lot better, I think it’s going to have that “a rising tide lifts all boats” kind of effect. At least I hope so (I’m looking at you Twitter).

Twitter officially acquires and rebrands Summize

twitter When I wrote about Summize last week, I mentioned the rumor that the search engine was being acquired by Twitter. Today the deal was formally announced, though no financial details were shared:

We’re excited to announce that Twitter has acquired Summize—an extraordinary search tool and an amazing group of engineers. All five Summize engineers will move to San Francisco, CA and take jobs at Twitter, Inc. This is an important step forward in the evolution of Twitter as a service and as a company.

The old Summize site started redirecting to http://search.twitter.com earlier this morning, and the colorful Summize logo has been replaced with the blue Twitter one. Sadly, they’ve also shut down the Summize Labs section of the site, with a loose promise to bring the prototypes back in some form down the road.

According to TechCrunch, the deal was mostly stock. They have a video up with Twitter co-founder Evan Williams and will be posting a transcript of the interview later today.

For a much more interesting take on the deal, check out the Summize blog post:

It’s with great pride that I officially confirm Twitter’s acquisition of Summize. The rationale for this transaction from Twitter can be found here. I’ll outline my motivation to sell our beloved Summize, talk about our experience soup to nuts, and recognize the players who made this deal possible.

They provide an excellent overview of how they got to today, and they specifically cite Fred Wilson‘s help in getting the deal done.

Congrats to everyone involved!

UPDATE: Here’s the interview (with transcript and analysis) that Michael Arrington did with Evan Williams. They talk about Summize, the API, and Twitter’s revenue model.

Maybe Microsoft should buy Amazon instead

The Microsoft-Yahoo deal continues to be the hot topic in the blogosphere right now, with Techmeme still dominated by related discussion. The latest news is that Google has posted an official response to the proposed takeover. In general, discussion has moved from “can you believe what just happened” to “this deal with fail/succeed because…” If you read only two posts on the topic, read this one from Fake Steve Jobs and this one from Henry Blodget.

I really have no idea how this is going to play out. Based on what I’ve read, it seems pretty likely that Microsoft will successfully acquire Yahoo. Many think the deal is as good as done. Far less certain, however, is whether they can make the acquisition a success. It could go either way.

I think what’s clear is that this is a strategy change for Microsoft. A bold recognition that they need to succeed on the web. They trail Google in both search and advertising, and it makes a certain amount of sense that combining with Yahoo will create a stronger competitor.

Microsoft is a platform company. Their cash cow is Windows, the most widely used technology platform in history. They are good at platforms. If the strategy shift is to the web, shouldn’t it be slanted towards a great platform?

amazonawsSuch as Amazon’s Web Services platform. On Wednesday Amazon announced their fourth quarter earnings, and shared this tidbit about Amazon Web Services (AWS):

Adoption of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) continues to grow. As an indicator of adoption, bandwidth utilized by these services in fourth quarter 2007 was even greater than bandwidth utilized in the same period by all of Amazon.com’s global websites combined.

ReadWriteWeb has a good discussion of what this means.

Obviously Microsoft isn’t a retailer, and owning Amazon.com itself probably isn’t in the company’s best interests. It could acquire the company for AWS and spin off the rest, however. I suppose Microsoft could just try to duplicate what Amazon has already accomplished with AWS, but why bother? Grab the early market leader and take it to the next level.

I think AWS is an indication of what the platform of the future will look like. Microsoft would be wise to pay attention.

Microsoft bids $44.6 billion for Yahoo!

Post Image This is no longer just a rumor, this is the real deal. I’ve never seen so many articles on the same topic so fast on Techmeme, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. This is big, big news! Here’s what they had to say in the press release:

The combination will create a more efficient company with synergies in four areas: scale economics driven by audience critical mass and increased value for advertisers; combined engineering talent to accelerate innovation; operational efficiencies through elimination of redundant cost; and the ability to innovate in emerging user experiences such as video and mobile. Microsoft believes these four areas will generate at least $1 billion in annual synergy for the combined entity.

Microsoft has developed a plan and process that will include the employees of both companies to focus on the integration of the combined business. Microsoft intends to offer significant retention packages to Yahoo! engineers, key leaders and employees across all disciplines.

The offer is a combination of cash and stock. Microsoft thinks they can have regulatory approval and a completed deal in the second half of 2008.

Look out Google!

Read: Techmeme

Microsoft and Yahoo…again

Post ImageAs the saying goes: where there’s smoke there’s fire. Perhaps that axiom should have a time limit though. I mean, there can only be so much smoke before you have to wonder…is there one fire? Multiple fires? Any fire at all? Is that even smoke?!

The reason I bring this up: Microsoft buying Yahoo was in the news again. Still a rumor. How many times are we going to hear this?

"It’s just speculation at this point. But there were rumors this past weekend that Microsoft offered $80 billion for Yahoo. Yahoo was said to have rejected the bid as too low."
Microsoft Watch, 1/3/2006

"Microsoft has been in talks with Yahoo! about potentially acquiring a major portion of the company, according to a report published Wednesday."
CNNMoney.com, 5/3/2006

"Microsoft should buy Yahoo! to give its struggling MSN Web unit a much-needed boost, according to a report issued by Merrill Lynch analyst Justin Post."
TheStreet.com, 6/23/2006

"Microsoft can afford Yahoo! and a combined MSN/Yahoo! would certainly be a stronger competitive player against Google, something that is clearly on Ballmer’s mind right now. That seems the most likely deal to me."
Fred Wilson, 10/15/2006

"Should Microsoft buy Yahoo? UBS analysts Heather Bellini and Benjamin Schachter raise the question in a report issued this afternoon about the troubles in Microsoft’s online business."
Barron’s, 3/1/2007

"While Microsoft and Yahoo! have held informal deal talks over the years, sources say the latest approach signals an urgency on Microsoft’s part that has up until now been lacking."
New York Post, 5/4/2007

"Microsoft Corp.’s plan to buy AQuantive Inc. for $6 billion increases the likelihood that the software maker will also buy Yahoo! Inc."
Bloomberg, 5/18/2007

"In a TV interview, Microsoft’s Chairman and CEO Steve Ballmer wouldn’t answer whether the company continues to mull buying Yahoo."
PC World, 8/20/2007

"A Microsoft acquisition of Yahoo would be disastrous for Yahoo…But what such an acquisition would do to Yahoo is irrelevant. If Microsoft comes in with a Murdoch-like offer, Yahoo won’t be able to refuse."
Henry Blodget, 11/16/2007

There’s certainly been other times that I haven’t listed above (a quick search reveals millions of results). The point is that we’ve heard this rumor many times, and nothing has come of it. Will the next time be any different? I’m thinking no, but who knows.

Acquisitions of this size take time. Maybe the strategy is to have it mentioned multiple times for a few years so that it is less shocking (and thus easier for everyone to swallow and for the Feds to approve) when it actually happens?

Or maybe it’s just such a fascinating combination that it’s hard not to speculate.

Read: Techmeme

Electronic Arts acquires Edmonton's BioWare

Post ImageElectronic Arts today announced that they have acquired Edmonton’s very own BioWare Corp. in a deal that could be worth $860 million USD. More accurately, EA is buying VG Holding, the parent company of both BioWare and Pandemic Studios. From GameSpot:

VG Holding Corp. was formed in late 2005 when esteemed Canadian role-playing game studio BioWare formed the aforementioned “superdeveloper” with Californian shop Pandemic Studios. The union was funded by Elevation Partners, a venture capital firm with rock star Bono on its board, and brokered by then-Elevation board member John Riccitiello, who became BioWare/Pandemic’s CEO.

A number of articles today have mentioned the fact that John Riccitiello left Elevation in February to become the CEO of Electronic Arts. So essentially, he has purchased BioWare and Pandemic twice. He must really like their games!

This is a great move for Electronic Arts. I’m sure fans of both BioWare’s and Pandemic’s games will have some reservations about the deal though. Will EA cause the studios to lose their mojo? I guess we’ll find out. Both companies will become part of the EA Games division, but Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka will continue to run BioWare, and Andrew Goldman, Josh Resnick, and Greg Borrud will stay in charge of Pandemic, according to GameSpot. At least for the time being.

The official BioWare press release is here (PDF).

Read: GameSpot

Google buys Jaiku – why?

Post Image Today microblogging service Jaiku announced that they have been purchased by Google. I came across the news via a barrage of Twitter updates this morning, and it wasn’t long before everyone started wondering why Google chose Jaiku over Twitter. It seems that most people feel Jaiku is the superior platform technology-wise, but the community at Twitter is better. I’d more or less agree with that statement. For instance, I chose Jaiku to display “my status” on the right side of my website instead of Twitter because the reliability and performance of Jaiku was just so much better. It still is.

Marc Orchant has a great post on the topic. Scoble thinks that Google made the move for Jaiku because of Facebook. He suggests that Google is gearing up to launch some major competition for Facebook on November 5th. That may be true, but I like what Ross Mayfield had to say better (though he too mentions Facebook):

But perhaps the greatest direction they can go with this is lifestreaming.

With Google’s savvy around structuring the unstructured, picture lifestreaming evolving into something that infers permalinks for social activity.  One day your Google homepage may be a stream of your friends and what they are doing, sharing, and adopting.

Yes! Enough of this manually updating my lifestream already, let’s make it update automagically. Even better, give everyone a lifestream by default. That idea gets me excited.

A follow-up post from Scoble highlights that Google has built themselves a “very strong position in the RSS ecosystem” as they now own Google Reader, FeedBurner, and Jaiku (which imports/aggregates RSS feeds). Very good point indeed.

Now the question is – who will snap up Twitter?

Read: Ross Mayfield

Telus and Bell to merge?

Post ImageI didn’t see this one coming, but apparently Telus is interested in acquiring Bell parent BCE Inc. Such a move would create a truly national telecommunications company here in Canada, but I am not sure that’s such a good thing. Telus CEO Darren Entwistle seems convinced though:

“This acquisition will create a strong, integrated competitor that would generate continued expansion and growth in the years ahead,” CEO Darren Entwistle said in a media conference call.

“This particular acquisition makes enormous sense for our country. This move will create a truly national provider with the size to stand along side any telecom company in the world.”

Fellow blogger Mark Evans speculates on the deal and wonders if Rogers and Shaw would cozy up in response.

Who knew the Canadian telecommunications industry could be so interesting?

Read: TheStar.com

Google Acquires FeedBurner

Post ImageLots of talk today about Google’s $100 million acquisition of RSS management company FeedBurner. Congrats to the FeedBurner guys! I do have to admit though that I am bit sad that FeedBurner is now a Google property. I guess they were too valuable to remain independent forever though. From TechCrunch:

Feedburner is in the closing stages of being acquired by Google for around $100 million. The deal is all cash and mostly upfront, according to our source, although the founders will be locked in for a couple of years.

The information we have is that the deal is now under a binding term sheet and will close in 2-3 weeks, and there is nothing that can really derail it at this point.

Must be pretty sweet to get an all cash deal. TechCrunch confirmed it today, but it looks like Valleywag had the story right last week.

Not everyone is happy about the deal. Todd Cochrane does a good job of spreading FUD in his post. Todd, you need to worry less!

Read: TechCrunch

Odeo bought by SonicMountain

Post ImageBack in February I posted about Evan Williams and Obvious Corp. trying to sell Odeo. I hadn’t heard anything since then, so I kind of figured they were unable to find a buyer. Turns out they did though. From TechCrunch:

Details are just coming out, but New York based SonicMountain, a new startup, has acquired Evan Williams’ Odeo. The announcement will come sometime tomorrow. The price is not being disclosed but is in excess of $1 million, and the deal was all cash.

Mike Arrington isn’t joking when he calls SonicMountain a new startup – their website is plain and empty. The only thing of interest is the news release:

SonicMountain intends to incorporate exciting enhancements to the Odeo community within the next few months. Improvements in content organization, search, crawl, plus podcast hosting of both audio and video are only a sampling of upcoming upgrades planned for the site.

Evan Williams will work with SonicMountain as an advisor for the next six months or so.

I’m interested to see what SonicMountain actually does with the site. Intentions are one thing, actions are quite another.

Read: TechCrunch