Archive for March, 2013

Hollywood Reporter Parent Company Settles With PMC in Copyright Suit

March 30, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Penske Media Corporation has settled a copyright infringement suit against the Hollywood Reporter, resolving a dispute over the source code used by THR’s website. PMC, the parent company of Variety, said in its suit that the Reporter stole code from TVLine.com, another Penske property. In a filing with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles,... Read more

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Amazon’s Tax Dispute May Be Destined for the Supreme Court

March 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

One of the less-remembered legacies of Eliot Spitzer’s governorship was the “Amazon tax.” It was his administration that came up with a plan to get Amazon.com and other out-of-state online retailers to start collecting state and local sales taxes from New York customers. Read the rest of this post on the original site »

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If Tech Companies Made Easter Candy (Comic)

March 29, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

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Prana Studios Affiliate Seals R&H Deal

March 29, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Updated 5:56 p.m. PDT As news swirled of layoffs and retrenchment across the visual effects industry, Rhythm & Hues studios was officially sold to an affiliate of Prana Studios. Prana is often called an American company but the official announcement identifies Prana as “a U.S. animation and visual effects studio with offices in Los Angeles... Read more

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LivingSocial CTO and Co-Founder Departs Company

March 29, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Aaron Batalion, chief technical officer of the social deals site LivingSocial, will leave the company, he announced Friday on his personal blog . “We built a culture I am proud of and millions of consumers around the world have experienced their local cities because of our products,” Batalion wrote. “My decision to depart has in no way been easy. The experience and, most importantly, the friendships … have been the best of my career.” Batalion co-founded LivingSocial in 2007 with partners Tim O’Shaughnessy, Eddie Frederick and Val Aleksenko, and has been on board ever since. Over the past few years, the company has taken on large investments from outside partners, including hundreds of millions from Lightspeed Venture Partners, T. Rowe Price and the online retail giant Amazon. But the company has faced sharp criticism in recent years, as it has yet to turn a profit, and posted upward of $600 million in operating losses for fiscal year 2012. More recently, the company laid off 400 employees — approximately 10 percent of its workforce — in an attempt at cutbacks and an aim toward profitability. In his departure announcement, which was first reported by TechCrunch , Batalion didn’t indicate any future plans

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Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer Leans In About How She Decided to Become CEO While Pregnant

March 29, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer just posted a “lean-in” story on the new site launched by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in conjunction with her new book, “Lean In.” Sandberg and her team have been encouraging women to post their personal stories of when they leaned into their careers and Mayer does that in her post, including taking the job at the top of the troubled Silicon Valley Internet company when she was pregnant. She wrote: Looking back to reflect on the question: Could I really take the helm of Yahoo when I was 28 weeks pregnant? Even now, it sounds absolutely crazy. I considered if and how I could make it work: learning more about the role, getting words of encouragement from close friends and family, and developing a plan. I’ve always believed you can never have everything that you want, but with work and dedication, you can have the things that really matter to you. If I took the opportunity, it was clear that I would have to find a way to have time with my baby without a long maternity leave. I also knew going forward that there wouldn’t be much time beyond my job and my family for anything else. Ultimately, I decided I was fine with that, because my family and my job are what really matter to me. In the piece, Mayer also noted that she jumped at the chance to run Yahoo, which had actually put Google in business in many ways with an early search deal

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SXSW Serves Film Fanatics with Movies About Movies

March 29, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Working on the reasonable assumption that people who attend film festivals are receptive to films about other films, SXSW programmers sprinkled the 2013 lineup with a number of biographical documentaries about noted directors and actors, a tribute to the era of VHS and, of course, mashups and homages that require audiences to be aware of... Read more

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Dell’s Go-Private Case Emerged as Business Eroded

March 29, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Michael Dell negotiated for the better part of five months, in a tortured, tedious process with the board of directors of Dell Inc., the troubled computing company that bears his name, over the details of a proposed $24.4 billion buyout plan, a new proxy filing released today shows. Dell and his partner in the deal, the private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, first offered $11.22 a share for the company, and during the course of a lengthy negotiation process that included 25 separate meetings, raised its offer price six times, adding $4 billion to to the pot. The parties finally settled on $13.65 in an offer announced last month . The filing also shows that CEO Michael Dell met with representatives of private equity firms Blackstone Group and Francisco Partners, which have teamed up to make a competing offer for the company. The meetings occurred on March 7 and 8, during a 45-day go-shop period, when a special committee of Dell’s board overseeing the process sought superior offers. Blackstone, as well as the activist investor Carl Icahn, last week uncorked offers they argue are better than than the Dell-Silver Lake bid. The new disclosures are contained in a massive 274-page proxy filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that was made public only minutes ago. Among the other new disclosures made in the filing, which you can read below: The process of going private began in earnest on June 15, 2012, when Dell’s largest shareholder, Southeastern Asset Management, which owns about 7 percent of Dell’s shares, contacted Michael Dell about the possibility. Dell said he’d think about the idea. The special committee was motivated to embrace the go-private option in part by the rapid slowdown in Dell’s various lines of business; they were not satisfied that the turnaround plan put in place by CEO Michael Dell to push the company away from personal computers and toward enterprise hardware and services was having the desired effect. As of the end of Dell’s third fiscal quarter in 2013, its revenue for each of its prior seven quarters had fallen below internal forecasts. Dell had missed numerous quarters and, except in one case, the expectations of analysts.

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Does Anyone Actually Want a "Facebook Phone"?

March 29, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Something Facebook mobile this way comes . And depending on what you read, it’s a little different here and there. A proper Facebook phone. Or not a Facebook phone, but a very Facebook-y version of a phone . Whatever it is, we’re in agreement that it involves Facebook and a phone. But let’s rewind for a second: Who among us would actually want to buy a Facebook phone, much less use it as a primary device? Yes, more than half a billion people use Facebook on their phones daily. And yes! Facebook is the most downloaded app across modern-day smartphones! But Facebook has slowly made its endgame here very clear: The company wants you to use all its services — namely texting, voice calling and emailing — as your primary mode of communication over your existing SMS, email and voice services. There’s probably a hardcore set of Facebook lovers who do indeed use, or would desire to use, all of Facebook’s mobile services to contact others. But that group has to be incredibly small. And some of Facebook’s more interesting mobile features, like voice calling, have only been out for a handful of months, and only in certain countries. I’d argue that the majority of the world’s mobile-loving population isn’t built the way Facebook wants it to be. I may use SMS texts to contact, say, my friend who hates using Facebook and doesn’t want an account.

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Actually, Amazon Paid About $150 Million for Goodreads

March 29, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

According to sources, Amazon paid about $150 million for Goodreads, the popular books recommendation service. But that number could close in on $200 million, if certain performance metrics are met. And, while BusinessWeek ran a we-are-just-guessing story today that posited a self-described “overly simple, back-of-the-envelope estimate” of $1 billion, sources said that number is simply wrong. I am still trying to determine how much of the deal was cash — most of it, said sources — and how much was stock. The San Francisco-based Goodreads had raised close to $3 million from a range of angel investors, as well as True Ventures.

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