Microsoft and Facebook: Mark Zukerberg gets his way

Microsoft buys stake in facebook It is confirmed, Microsoft is in, Google is out. As we mentioned yesterday, Microsoft has announced that it is investing $240 million in Facebook, at a valuation of $15 billion!

This puts the current Microsoft stake in Facebook at 1.6% which is much less than the 5% stake that Microsoft was initially considering. We had written on September 24th, that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was “pushing for a whopping 15 billion valuation” for the Facebook site. Looks like this round has gone to Mark!

So Mark Zukerberg got his $15 billion valuation for Facebook, but it is not clear if Microsoft reduced the amount that they had planned to invest in the company or whether the 15% share that they had planned on acquiring was based on a lower valuation of $1.6 B. If that were the case, then indeed, Facebook got a a very good deal.

There has been much said about Mark “Zuke” Zukerberg’s spurning of lucrative offers for Facebook, but certainly a lot of credit has to be given for the fact that he has managed to grow the company into the 5th largest Internet presence, right behind the likes of Google, Ebay, Yahoo and Amazon.

Microsoft will begin serving targeted ads to Facebook’s 20 million active users (their user base has been growing by 3% a month). While Google has been spurned by Facebook, they will probably not be sitting still for long. They already have an advertising network deal signed with MySpaces’ parent company Fox Interactive Media, to serve ads to the 100 million MySpace members. One wonders if there is are any ownership discussions in the offing….

Technorati Tags: Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Myspace, ad network, social network


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Lunch 20 event in Burbank

lunch2.0 event burbankLunch2.0 organized a luncheon event at the offices of YellowBot in Burbank, this afternoon. This was a well attended meet and greet for local entrepreneurs, with about 70 to 80 showing up to network over a great lunch.

The last Lunch2.0 Los Angeles area meeting was hosted at the office of ThisNext in Santa Monica.

ImageThe YellowBot site is Yellow pages meets Facebook. It is a place for discovering local hot-spots and sharing opinions with others. YellowBot is a resource for bringing people together locally, in a similar way that Lunch 2.0 does, at its frequent lunch meetings hosted at the offices of companies in many cities throughout the US.

YellowBot is in beta, and self funded.

lunch2.0event in burbank

Photo courtesy Lunch2.0


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Google and Jaiku - the puzzle is getter clearer

jaiku logoGoogle has acquired the mobile microblogging service Jaiku for an undisclosed sum, fueling some speculation on Google’s future plans for forays into the social networking space, particularly via mobile devices.

For right now, existing users of Jaiku will carry on as usual. New users will be able to join in future, through an invitation, according to the official Google Blog.

There is further speculation that the Jaiku mobile service will be bundled in with the yet to materialize but highly hyped Google G-phone.

jaiku mobileTwitter, Jaiku, Pownce and other mobile chat applications give people one more way to communicate. The advantage to these applications is that the communications can be (and have to be) brief, so people do not feel they have to write long volumes, or stand on literary ceremony, such when writing emails - or have the need to make idle chit chat when calling acquaintances on the phone. It conveys “thinking of you” while providing a “what’s news” highlight in the briefest way possible.

Twitter is a very simple application geared at providing “What I am doing” updates - rather like the status updates on Facebook. People who travel frequently tend to embed Twitter into their web pages or blogs, to send quick bulletins on what they are up to. However, it is hard to say anything really meaningful within 140 characters.

jaikuJaiku, the more complicated cousin of Twitter, allows users to create an “activity stream” where they post Jaikus (a variation of the word haiku which means a short poem), as well as add pictures and contacts lists. The brain child of Jyri Engeström and Petteri Koponen from Finland, Jaiku was founded in February, 2006 and launched in July of that year. This is indeed a quick turn around for selling a start up that is only a year and a half old!

Google’s acquisition of Jaiku also came hot on the heels the acquisition of Zingku, the mobile social networking networking service, along with Google’s much publicized bid on wireless spectrum in the US and UK.

The interesting matter to speculate on is what does Google plan to do with Jaiku in the future? If Google were to set up their own social network, they would definitely want a quick chat or status update application, like the other social networks. One that is mobile ready and can exchange multimedia via mobile and other platforms, would definitely be a big asset.

And if the Gphone materializes, Google would definitely have the social-mobile market well covered. With Jaiku, yet another piece seems to have dropped into the puzzle!


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Event: TiECon Southwest 2007 Conference on September 15th: Sean Parker

Anatomy of a Conference: Day D-4:

The TiECon Southwest yearly conference is rapidly approaching (in 4 days), and all systems are a go!

The much-anticipated opening keynote will be delivered by the serial entrepreneur Sean Parker . At 19, Sean had founded the very popular (and controversial) Napster. After Napster, Sean went on to found Plaxo, the site for organizing contacts. Plaxo was later funded by Sequoia Capital.

After some hell raising at Plaxo, Sean Parker left to help Mark Zukerberg with the newly launched Facebook, and became its founding president. Little known fact - Facebook only raised $500,000 until recent rumors that they might be raising more, “at a huge valuation”. Facebook raised seed funding from the Founder’s Fund led by Peter Thiel, who also co-founded Pay Pal.

Sean Parker has gone on to join Peter Thiel at the Founder’s Fund.

tiecon southwest 2007 sean parker, Promod Haque, Andy Bird


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