Facebook plans to file for its initial public offering as soon as Wednesday next week according to multiple reports from Dow Jones Newswires. Morgan Stanley is expected to win the deal to lead the highly anticipated IPO, and Goldman Sachs is also reportedly expected to play a role. According to Dow Jones Newswires, Facebook is currently looking at a valuation between $75 billion and $100 billion. Following next week’s anticipated filing, it will still be several months until the company goes public. The initial offering is expected to raise as much as $10 billion, which would make it the biggest U.S. Internet IPO in history. The record currently stands at $1.9 billion, achieved by Google when it went public in 2004. At $10 billion, Facebook would also best the largest global technology IPO — Infineon’s $5.9 billion offer — by more than 40%. More →
It’s no secret that U.S. wireless provider Sprint is not a fan of the proposed AT&T and T-Mobile merger. The company’s CEO, Dan Hesse, has been very forthcoming with his concerns — mainly that the merger will create a duopoly between AT&T and Verizon Wireless — and now the carrier is looking for even more anti-merger ammunition. Bloomberg is reporting that Sprint representatives have “signed confidentiality agreements in advance of possibly gaining access to filings that won’t be available to the public.” The merger, were it to go through, would relegate Sprint to a distant third-place amongst U.S. wireless carriers, having just over half as many customers as its next competitor, Verizon Wireless. AT&T is seeking FCC and Department of Justice approval for the blockbuster merger that is expected to be complete within the next year. More →
It looks as though software developer James Laird has opened Pandora’s box for Apple’s AirPlay music streaming system. Frustrated by the fact that an AirPort Express emulator did not exist, Laird began to look for a solution that would allow him to stream iTunes music without the use of AirPlay. “I was disappointed to find that Apple used a public-key crypto scheme, and there’s a private key hiding inside the ApEx [Airport Extreme],” wrote Laird. “So I took it apart (I still have scars from opening the glued case!), dumped the ROM, and reverse engineered the keys out of it.” Laird has published the private key in an open source software project dubbed ShairPort (clever). The software, which is built in Perl and C, will allow users to stream iTunes content to hardware and software designed to talk to ShairPort. Apple has opened up its AirPlay system to third-parties in recent months, but this blows the doors wide open for all those looking to circumvent that red tape-filled process. More →
Hulu Plus, a premium Web-based video streaming service, is now available to the public. Rob Wong, product director for Hulu Plus, made the announcement Thursday on the company’s blog, saying the service is now available without need for an invitation. Hulu provides a service that allows users to stream movies and TV episodes for free to computers. Hulu Plus, which costs $9.99 each month (for the time being, at least), offers enhancements such as additional content and the ability to stream to more devices like Apple’s iPhone and the Sony PlayStation 3. Rumors suggest interest in Hulu Plus has been minimal though, thanks to widely available free content as well as subscription competition like Netflix’s Watch Instantly. Hulu claims to have had a successful closed beta period, however, and it will continue to expand the service to more devices during the current open preview period.
We do wonder what it is like to be 26 years old and have a net worth of $6.9 billion. Seems like a pretty awesome problem to have. Forbes is reporting that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now ranked thirty-fifth on the Forbes 400 list; a list that details the richest Americans. One notable tech persona that Mr. Zuckerberg leapfrogged is Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Mr. Jobs is currently ranked forty-second on the list with an estimated net-worth of $6.1 billion. The young, social-networking tycoon isn’t just hoarding his cash though. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Facebook CEO is expected to announce a $100 million donation to the Newark Public School System. Currently the Newark, NJ system is the lowest performing system in the country; only half of its 40,000 students graduate high school. Nice work Mr. Zuckerburg, we’ll hit the proverbial “like” button for your charitable works. More →
Aside from announcing the C6-01, C7, and E7, Nokia also announced some added features to their Ovi Maps application today at Nokia World. The new, improved Ovi Maps will offer, live traffic flow information, a new drive assist mode, public transportation maps, a redesigned places page, and social check-ins. The public transportation maps will be available via a map layer for over 80 cities around the world and check-ins will allow you to broadcast your location via SMS or to your social network of choice. We’ve got a video demoing the new check-in feature after the break, but we have to warn you… the lame-factor of the video is way up there. More →
Bloomberg is reporting that social network Facebook will postpone an IPO until 2012. Investors have been speculating that the world’s largest social network — valued at $24.9 billion — would go public sometime in 2011. Bloomberg writes, “Waiting lets Zuckerberg, 26, hone the skills needed to steer a company that issues quarterly results while facing criticism on such matters as user privacy.” Facebook declined to comment, and Zuckerberg himself said his company would offer an IPO, “when it makes sense.” People familiar with the company estimate that the social network would bring in as much as $1.4 billion in sales in 2010 alone. Would any of you jump on the Facebook IPO if given the opportunity? More →
Today Swype announced that its popular keyboard alternative is now available for public download for all Android users. The free-for-all beta download will be available for a limited amount of time — a few days most likely — and is a feature limited version of the keyboard. Folks that want the fully featured version will have to purchase a handset like the myTouch 3G with Swype pre-installed. Despite its limitations, the keyboard is a worthy replacement for the stock Android keyboard and is well worth the time it takes to sign up and snag a copy while it is free. Happy Swyping!
As impatient people craving access to Google Voice continue to wait for the arrival of that joyous invitation email, Google Voice head Craig Walker gives us a brief insight into just how long of a wait some users may be looking at. A short while ago, Walker tweeted that the team is currently working on invitations that have been pending since the days of GrandCentral before it moves on to more recent invitations requested since Google acquired the service. The clarify that time frame, Google snatched up GrandCentral way back in July of 2007 — meaning that if you’ve requested an invite recently, you’ve probably got a hell of a wait ahead of you considering the GrandCentral invite system was killed two years ago.
Following a tasty spot with NBC’s Janet Shamlian on NBC’s Today Show this morning, it looks as though Google Voice has taken a big step toward wider availability today. According to GV’s Twitter account, invites are starting to go out en masse. Now, don’t start going crazy if you’ve registered for an invite and don’t see anything hit your inbox today — as Google Voice head Craig Walker notes, the waiting list is a bit lengthy to say the least:
About GV invites…there’s a pretty long list as you can imagine…will take a little bit to get through them all:)
In due time, in due time. Again, Google Voice was spawned from Google’s acquisition of GrandCentral — the all-in-one voice calling/voicemail management solution. The service provides, among other things, a single number that can be given out to contacts. When dialed, GV will ring any and all numbers you wish simultaneously — your cell, home, office, etc — and will transcribe and manage your voicemails as well. The service is free and it also affords users free nationwide calling (and cheap international calling). In a nutshell, it’s big time. Hit the jump to see the GV spot from this morning’s Today Show and hit your inbox with the hope that an invite is ready and waiting.
Following our report yesterday, it looks like we can now confirm Google Voice will not be opening up to the public today. Dry those eyes though — it should be happening soon. To recap, Google has kept its voice communications/SMS management service in private beta since it acquired the service, then branded as GrandCentral. Everyone who uses it loves it, and everyone who doesn’t have it wants it. Cnet’s Natali Del Conte suggested in a podcast yesterday that her source at Google pinned today as the official public launch. We got excited. When Google Voice head Craig Walker was asked about our report however, he tweeted that his team is indeed working towards public availability but today isn’t going to happen. It’s ok, Google Voice team, we’re not trying to rush you. Just know that an army of anxious users is waiting in the wings, ready to stretch out those servers at a moment’s notice.
This is still definitely at rumor status but according to Cnet’s Natali Del Conte, Google plans to make its game-changing service Google Voice open to the public tomorrow, June 18th. During the 999th episode of Cnet’s Buzz Out Loud podcast, Del Conte responded to an anxious caller seeking info about the public availability of Google voice. According to Del Conte, her contact at Google emailed her several weeks ago while she was testing the service and pinned June 18th as the official public launch date. Ever since its previous life as GrandCentral, the service has been widely acclaimed by its beta users and the public has been dying to get its hands, or mouths, on it ever since. The service had been invite-only when independantly owned but Google slammed the doors and killed the invite system as soon as it aquired the service. Well people, according to Cnet the wait is almost over. Woo!
Microsoft and Mickey Rourke have more in common than you might think. Both went from being desirable to being painfully tolerated in an instant and both are now poised to make huge comeback. At this point we’re even giving slightly better odds to Windows 7 over The Wrestler, following the massive demand for Microsoft’s first publicly available 7 beta. Oh, and Windows install discs are made of plastic, just like Rourke. As announced by Ballmer during his keynote at CES, Redmond made Windows 7 available to the world yesterday, for free, but many have noticed that all download links have mysteriously disappeared from the 7 page. Did Microsoft change its mind? Of course not — it did hugely underestimate the demand for its upcoming OS however and the mass of PC users eager to check out the OS so many have been praising proved to be a bit too much for Microsoft’s servers to handle. Don’t worry folks, if you didn’t get there quickly enough to snag your copy of the ISO it should only be a short while now before it goes live again. Microsoft is working overtime beefing up the Microsoft.com infrastructure so it can handle the rush a bit more smoothly and once all of the Tetris blocks are in place, downloading can resume. Sure, it’s hard to say Microsoft is on the brink of a comeback since the company still owns over 89% of the computer OS market, but its Vista-scarred image will no doubt benefit from the homerun Windows 7 is hoping to hit.