Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was no stranger to legal battles involving the patent system. Apple is currently waging war on a number of Android vendors and the company’s former CEO vowed to crush Google’s mobile platform before his untimely passing last year. “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said, according to Walter Isaacson’s biography of the Apple boss. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” But more than a decade before the iPhone even existed, Apple was locked in patent battles with Microsoft that would end up saving the company from the brink of bankruptcy. Read on for more. More →
Sprint on Monday announced that the carrier is issuing another round of notes due in 2017 and 2020 in an attempt to generate approximately $2 billion in capital. The investment would allow Sprint to fund general operations, build out its LTE network and possibly help fund the Clearwire as it continues to struggle. “The company intends to use the net proceeds from the offering of the Notes for general corporate purposes, which may include, among other things, redemptions or service requirements of outstanding debt, network expansion and modernization and potential funding of Clearwire Corporation and its subsidiary Clearwire Communications LLC,” Sprint said. Read on for Sprint’s press release. More →
Motorola Mobility announced on Wednesday that its Motorola Mobility Ventures arm has invested in a social networking startup called Shaker. The firm, based in Israel, says its social network is “similar to interacting in the physical world,” and that it “creates a natural setting using your Facebook profile and allows people to meet around mutual friends and shared interests.” Motorola’s MOTOBLUR user interface found on several of its Android smartphones allows users to access multiple social network profiles, but early versions weren’t greeted warmly by users. Motorola may use Shaker to spice things up a bit in future versions of the UI. “Shaker’s innovative platform gives consumers the ability to not only interact with each other, but with brands in groundbreaking ways that could never before have been accomplished on a social network,” Mony Hassid, managing director of Motorola Mobility Ventures, said. It is unclear how much Motorola Mobility Ventures invested in Shaker. A full press release follows after the break. More →
Wireless telcos in the United States are poised to invest as much as $53 billion in 4G wireless network technology and buildouts over the next five years, resulting in as much as $151 billion in gross domestic product growth. A new report from accounting and consulting firm Deloitte suggests that that 4G expansion by U.S. wireless companies could also create as many as 771,000 new jobs between 2012 and 2016. Deloitte sees $25 million as the minimum 4G investment from telecommunications companies over the next five years, resulting from a scenario where companies deploy 4G networks at a moderate pace and transition slowly from 3G to 4G. If Verizon Wireless’ current pace is any indication, this will likely not be the road major carriers will take with 4G rollouts. The firm believes as much as $53 billion will be spent, however, if U.S. carriers take a leadership roll by deploying 4G faster than carriers in other regions. “Investment in such a powerful form of communication contributes to the economic recovery and provides a job-creating engine for the future,” said Phil Asmundson, Deloitte vice chairman and U.S. media and telecommunications sector leader, in a statement. “The key to harnessing the potential benefits of 4G technology lies in America’s market-driven wireless sector, which encourages the emergence of innovative applications that spur productivity and could produce the same surge of innovation and demand we experienced during the 3G era.” Deloitte’s full press release follows below. More →
Pasedena, California-based investment management firm Primecap Management Co. recently doubled its investment in BlackBerry vendor Research In Motion. According to a recent regulatory filing, Primecap now owns 26.4 million shares of RIM stock valued at about $577 million as of Monday’s close, and the stake represents approximately 5% of RIM’s total outstanding shares. According to Bloomberg, Primecap’s stake at the end of the second quarter of this year was approximately 2.5%. As numerous analysts continue to cut their price targets on RIM stock, Primecap’s continued investment could represent a vote of confidence in RIM’s new BlackBerry 7 phones and its future QNX phones as well, which are due to begin launching in the first quarter of 2012. More →
Microsoft secretly participated in a recent $25 million funding round for Israel-based navigation solutions provider Waze, Israeli tech site TheMarker reported last week. Microsoft makes very few investments each year according to TheMarker’s source, but the tech giant apparently took quite an interest in Waze’s unique brand of navigation apps. “Waze is a social mobile application providing free turn-by-turn navigation based on the live conditions of the road. 100% powered by users, the more you drive, the better it gets,” the company’s website states. The company’s apps provide free voice-guided navigation to users, and also provide real-time data such as traffic conditions and speed trap alerts based on both automatic and manual feedback from each of Waze’s 4.5 million users around the world. While the terms of Microsoft’s investment were not revealed, the move is an interesting one — Microsoft is now in bed with Nokia, owner of navigation giant Navteq, and it will supply the OS for Nokia’s smartphones moving forward. Microsoft has already announced that it will use Navteq to power future navigation solutions in its Windows Phone OS, but it looks like a unique version of Waze for Windows Phone is in the works as well. More →
Visa has made an undisclosed investment in payments startup Square in exchange for a seat on the firm’s board of, Reuters reports. Square is a portable credit card reader that was created by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. It allows iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad owners to charge for goods and services on-the-go, but came under some scrutiny earlier this year when VeriFone’s CEO slammed the product in a blog post. On April 21st, Apple and Square announced that the Square credit card reader was available online and in Apple Stores nationwide for just $9.95. More →
No one likes letting a perfectly good operating system go to waste. Reuters is reporting that just as Nokia begins to divest in the MeeGo operating system, other companies are starting to dig in. The publication writes that electronics giant LG has joined the likes of ZTE and China Mobile in a “working group” that aims to develop a MeeGo-based smartphone. “It [Nokia's absence] is opening opportunities for the others to come in,” said a member of MeeGo’s steering committee. “Discussions are taking place. You’ll see things coming out this year, pretty soon.” The fate of the open-source operating system has been in question since Nokia announced it would focus the lion’s share of its development dollars and efforts on Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. It is, however, nice to see that an OS with such great potential will not be put out to pasture just yet. More →
It may soon be possible for you to own your own slice of the Angry Birds empire. Days after announcing $42 million in Series A funding, Rovio’s board chairman has expressed interest in seeking an initial public offering in the United States, according to statements made to Finnish business magazine Talouselama. “The plan is to seek an IPO in New York, but the specific timing and details are still open,” Ville Heijari, a Rovio spokesperson confirmed to Reuters in an email on Friday. Angry Birds has been a smash hit since its launch, and has boosted its fan base by issuing frequent seasonal updates across multiple platforms. More →
It looks like everyone’s favorite themed, fowl-flinging game — Angry Birds Seasons — has been updated to celebrate the March 17th holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. The game has been updated with fifteen new levels, and although the fledglings aren’t actually packing pig-slaying shillelaghs (don’t worry, they are in our heads), the game is littered with shamrocks, leprechaun hats, and pots o’ gold. The company definitely has a little bit of that “luck of the Irish” this month, as today they announced $42 million in Series A funding — led by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström’s company, Accel Partners. Ina Fried of Mobilized reports that Rovio was a bit hesitant to take on venture partners. “It took a while to convince them of the ways we might be able to help,” said Rich Wong of Accel Partners. “They didn’t really need the capital.” Rovio intends to use the funding to help expand and grow the company. “All of these people have been there to build billion dollar companies,” said Rovio’s Mikael Hed. “While being valued at a billion or several billion dollars isn’t an end goal in itself, it’s an interesting metric.” If you’re interested in helping Rovio reach a billion dollar valuation, you can head on over to your mobile platforms app store and download Angry Birds.
Taiwanese handset giant HTC has announced a “strategic investment” made in the digital media-delivery company Saffron Digital. “Saffron Digital has developed an incredible expertise in mobile multimedia delivery,” said Peter Chou, HTC’s CEO. “This ability to deliver optimized content in the future will be a key asset as content becomes more and more complex and localized. We are excited to be working with Saffron to increase our global service delivery capabilities and expertise.” The company, which already does business with HTC, LG, Paramount Digital Entertainment, Sony Ericsson, T-Mobile and Nokia in Europe along with Samsung in the U.S., will, in all likelihood, bring digital content delivery to HTC’s Sense smartphone experience. The press release notes that Saffron will “continue to provide its cutting edge media and content services to its third party partners.” Hit the jump to check out the full announcement.
Social networking giant Facebook may be looking to conquer another market, Wall Street. After news spread of a $500 million investment — $450 million from Goldman Sachs and $50 million from Russia’s Sky Technologies — Facebook was given a valuation of $50 billion by market analysts and firms. The eleven figure price tag was placed upon the privately held company even as the government’s Securities and Exchange Commission has, purportedly, launched a formal inquiry into Facebook’s private-share trading activity. According to the Times, the SEC is investigating the “increasingly hot private market for shares in Internet companies, including Facebook, Twitter, the gaming site Zynga and LinkedIn.” The government agency is looking for loopholes in the public disclosure laws that companies, investors, and firms may be exploiting through the use of private shares. A $50 billion valuation of Facebook makes the company’s youthful CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, worth an estimated $15 billion — more than double the estimated $6.9 billion net-worth put on Facebook’s founder back in September. More →
You can say what you want about the quality of AT&T’s network — and we know you will — but at least they are trying. In a barrage of press releases this morning, AT&T announced that it has spent over $3.5 billion on its network during the first six months of 2010. Some of the investments include $1.1 billion in California, $350 million in Illinois, $275 million in New York City, $225 million in New York, and $200 million in Alabama, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Anyone out there seeing improved AT&T coverage as a result of the investment? More →