Posts Tagged ‘Acquisition’

Here’s How To Explain Amazon’s $970 Million Twitch Acquisition To Your Parents

Quite simply, it’s a portal to the young gamer’s wallet.

Riot Games

In 2011, the first World Finals of League of Legends, the preposterously popular online multiplayer fantasy game, were held in Sweden as part of a computer festival, for a grand prize of $ 100,000.

Last year, the third World Finals were held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, for a grand prize of $ 1,000,000. I was there, and I was flabbergasted by the extravaganza created by Riot Games, who make LoL. At the time, I called it “a half rock show, half sporting event…a dress rehearsal for the future.”

And this October, the fourth World Finals will be held in South Korea, where competitive gaming is a religion, at Sangam Stadium, which hosted the 2002 World Cup Final between Brazil and Germany. That's how big we're talking.

In three years, LoL has gone from hobbyist sideshow to world-renowned spectacular, and if you want to know what Amazon invested in when they bought the livestreaming service Twitch for nearly a billion dollars today, that exponential curve is a good place to start. Twitch, which has experienced a similarly explosive growth (their CEO, Emmett Shear, wrote in a letter announcing the sale that “It's almost unbelievable that slightly more than 3 years ago, Twitch didn't exist”) is the leading place for fans of LoL, and games with similarly ravenous fandoms, like Defense of the Ancients 2 and World of Warcraft and Hearthstone, to gather to watch their favorite players of their favorite games, well, play. When I visited Staples last year, I was struck most by the sense of a new, collaborative culture being created on the fly by a tide of passionate, young, international gamers. Honestly, it's a movement that is so specific and siloed from contemporary culture that it is almost impossible to describe to somebody who hasn't grown up online.

It's a culture with its own celebrities (most famously the Swedish game commentator, or “shoutcaster”, PewDiePie, who hosts the most popular channel on YouTube and makes millions of dollars a year in advertising) and mores and there is no question that it's booming. Yes, it's also inchoate and rough around the edges and beset by all the problems of the open internet.

But that's not really the point. Even though though many of the people who stream and play games on Twitch don't pay directly for the privilege, they've proven themselves to be a remarkably profitable audience for both Twitch and game developers through the sale of advertising and the purchase of special in-game items. To Amazon, those millions of gamers (Twitch gets 55 million visitors a month) watching games for thousands of hours represent the digital consumers of the future, people whose entertainment connects effortlessly via a computer or Amazon phone or enhanced television to purchase prompts. For gamers, Twitch is a portal to other gamers. For Amazon, its a portal to their wallets even if we don't yet know exactly how it'll happen.

That's not to mention, of course, the games Amazon is building for their FireTV, which could themselves be tailored to game streaming. But even if a hit game for that device never comes to fruition, by buying Twitch, Amazon has neatly bought into the lives of a booming segment of the consumer culture of the future.

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FCC approves AT&T’s acquisition of Leap Wireless, with some strings attached

AT&T’s buyout of Leap Wireless is clearly going more smoothly than its failed bid for T-Mobile. The FCC has just approved the Leap acquisition, leaving only the Department of Justice’s A-OK between AT&T and its dreams of additional spectrum. However,…

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Sprint + T-Mobile: What everyone else is saying about a possible acquisition

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son has been on a mission to purchase T-Mobile and merge it with the Now Network. His campaign began in secret, first involving several visits to regulators in Washington DC. In the past week, however, he’s become much more…

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Rumor: Brainwave-Sensing Startup InteraXon Was Approached By Google About An Acquisition

Toronto-based startup InteraXon, maker of the Muse brainwave-sensing headband, had a very interesting potential suitor, according to a source close to the startup speaking to TechCrunch. Specifically, Google came calling, but InteraXon isn’t necessarily interested in being acquired by the search giant, our source reports. A recent profile of InteraXon from the Financial Post provides a… Read More

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Basis In Acquisition Talks With Everyone

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 7.30.24 PM

Looks like Google might be ticking off a box on its wearables shopping list, or someone else might be. Basis Science, the company behind the Basis Health Tracker Watch, is on the market, according to two people familiar with the matter.

We’ve heard that the company has been shopping itself around over the past few weeks and has spoken to Google, Apple and possibly Samsung and Microsoft about a potential sale.

The price we’ve heard for any possible activity is “sub-hundred million,” which could mean a small return for investors like Norwest Venture Partners, Mayfield Fund and Intel Capital, who have poured over $ 30 million into the company.

The alternative to an acquisition for Basis would be a long-sought-after C round of funding, say those people.

Though its market share is unclear, the company would be an interesting buy for any of the big four mentioned above. Google, which recently scooped up “Internet of Things” darling Nest, is gunning to be the frontrunner in both the AI and hardware spaces. It is also said to be working on its own wristwatch as an entry into the consumer hardware market.

Apple, too, is rumored to be keeping an iWatch product waiting in the wings, while Samsung’s smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, has already hit the shelves, leaving much to be desired from a design perspective.

Microsoft would be the dark horse in this race, with only the Kinect to boast of from a wearables and hardware standpoint.

Of all the fitness trackers available currently, Basis is said to be the most accurate in its data collection and reporting, but the most clunky with regards to design. A generous parent company could give it the chance to experiment with a more-streamlined, Jawbone or Fitbit-esque product without it having to go through the pains of raising another round of capital to support R&D.

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Google-Nest Acquisition, Starbucks Security, Autobahn Apple Heist and More- Buffalo Bulletin

Buffalo Bulletin: Google-Nest Acquisition, Starbucks Security, Autobahn Apple Heist and More Welcome to a fresh new episode of Buffalo Bulletin. Today Ashley…

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Apple stepping into social with acquisition of Twitter analytics firm Topsy

Despite the number of acquisitions Apple has made over the year, the Cupertino company is not done buying up companies just yet. Indeed, Apple has just purchased Topsy, a company that specializes in Twitter analytics, for a reported $ 200 million. For …

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Pebble’s Eric Migicovsky Is Uninterested In A Potential Acquisition

When it comes to competition, Pebble has plenty to be concerned about. In an interview onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013, founder Eric Migicovsky seemed unconcerned about questions on competition from Apple and Samsung, claiming that Motorola and Sony have offered smartwatch products for quite some time.

However, speaking backstage, Migicovsky went a bit more in-depth with the latest products from Samsung and the idea of a forthcoming Apple iWatch, stating that Pebble would be pretty uninterested in the idea of an acquisition by the competition, should it be offered.

“In the Samsung Galaxy Gear presentation on stage, Samsung was really heavy on features for the watch but skirted how people actually use it every day,” said Migicovsky. “I use my watch on a daily basis, looking at upcoming weather forecast, with an app for Evernote, and an app on the phone to customize the watch with drag-and-drop functions that auto syncs to the watch.”

According to Migicovsky, Pebble is fortunate to have been working on wearable computing for years in the background, constantly iterating, as wearables heat up in general.

“We’re in a great position because we get to figure out what works first,” said Migicovsky.

That said, Migicovsky didn’t seem interested in the idea of an acquisition. For the record, Migicovsky claims that Pebble has never had an acquisition offer by Samsung or Apple or anyone else for that matter, but hypothetically speaking, it’s not something that piques his interest.

“We’re staying laser focused on the task of creating a platform that people can build on top of to communicate with wearables, and we won’t do anything that causes a distraction from that goal.”

But that doesn’t mean that there’s no new hardware in the pipeline. For now, Pebble is working on building the ecosystem around the product, like the companies building special bands or the developers building apps. Eventually, though, Migicovsky hinted that Pebble is looking at the other materials people wear on their wrists, perhaps hinting at a luxury model down the road.

After all, the Pebble is a sports watch.

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Despite Nokia acquisition, Microsoft claims it’s committed to Windows Phone partners

With everyone in the tech world fixated on Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s devices business, one question people are demanding the answer to is what Microsoft’s new integration will mean for its device partners. The official line at Microsoft is that it’s still eager to work with other manufacturers making Windows Phone devices. “Our OS group mission is to enable the innovations of our hardware partners to shine through on the Windows platform,” said Terry Myerson, the company’s vice president of operating systems. But while Microsoft still plans to license its mobile software to other companies building Windows Phone devices, is anyone even interested?

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Instagram chases better video editing with Luma acquisition

Facebook acquires Luma to make real Instagram's video dreams

According to TechCrunch, Instagram has just acquired Luma for an undisclosed amount to help bring its video service to the next level. In addition to basics like video stabilization and adjustments for brightness and saturation, Luma will bring its “Infinite Filter” tech into the fold. What does this do? Well, with it you can add or remove filters to video clips at will once the footage is in the can. If you’re one of Luma’s existing users, the company is shutting its doors come December 31st, so consider this your fair warning to grab your clips before then. A revamped platform certainly couldn’t hurt Instagram’s video ambitions — after all, the competition isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

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Source: TechCrunch, AllThingsD

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