Nokia Sells Off Qt Licensing To Digia

With what would seem to be a consequence of the Microsoft and Nokia partnership, Digia will be acquiring the Qt commercial licensing business from Nokia. Trolltech, the original company of Qt, was acquired by Nokia in 2008 and Qt became the main cross-platform development environment for Nokia. All existing and new commercial customers for Qt licensing will be handled solely by Digia who strive to ensure continuity of the development of desktop, embedded (mobile) and any new models that may arise. Nokia will continue with in-house development for Qt as it is an important technology for Nokia and it is critical that Qt’s growth and success can continue.says  Sebastian Nystrom, who is the Vice President, Head of MeeGo, Qt and WebKit at Nokia. Similar to when Nokia took control of Qt, many in the open source community were concerned about the future, many today are very concerned about how much Nokia will continue to invest in the open source project, especially seeing that they now have an alliance to produce Windows Phone devices with Microsoft. Many open source community projects, such a KDE, depend on Qt in order to continue shipping software to consumers and developers back in 2008 Nokia and Trolltech did future proofthe development of Qt by including the abilities of the KDE Free Qt Foundation to unilaterally release the latest source of Qt under a BSD license in the event that an open source version was ever ceased the poison pill.

Digia is set to take over roughly 3,500 desktop and embedded licensed customers who are currently using Qt as well as any new licensees. Harri Paani, Senior Vice President of Digia stated in the press release that they are excited to extend our Qt business to serve new customersand that they look forward to driving further the evolution of Qt by bringing in new features and services.

More information is available at the Nokia Qt Blog as well as the official acquisition press release available from Digia.

YouTube Acquires Next New Network For Under $100 Million

If anybody needs a proof that web video is here to stay, they don’t need to go any further than the latest YouTube acquisition. Next new Network is a web only video production house that mostly broadcasts its videos through various channels on YouTube. With their plan to produce and own original content, YouTube had been planning to acquire Next New Network for a while now and today the deal finalized for an amount that is still undisclosed but surely under $100 Million.

Next New Network was founded in March 2007 and broadcasts its videos through 123 different channels to a subscriber base of around 7 million users. If you are wondering how much activity that is, well their cumulative video views as of today stand at ¬†2,791,536,754. As announced by the Next New Network CEO, the team will become part of a new YouTube group called YouTube Next that will focus on “supercharging content creator development on YouTube, driving deeper expertise in partner audience development, and incubating new ideas that can be shared with the broader community”.

This initiative by YouTube reaffirms its plan to expand its partner network to bring in more original content and move away from the premise that YouTube is simply a video hosting company. There is also a lot of buzz about YouTube trying to lure various Hollywood artists to have their own branded channels on YouTube and do small 3 minute shows. Adding to that is the YouTube’s Partner Grants Program that gives advance advertisement revenue to high-quality content producers to ease their financial burden of production costs. Next New Network was one of the first participants of the program.

UberMedia Acquires TweetDeck, Aims for Twitter Monopoly across Platforms

UberMedia, the company that brought you UberTwitter, Echofon and Twidroyd for the Blackberry, iOS and Android mobile platforms is now the proud owner of TweetDeck, the de facto Twitter client for Windows.

tweetdeck-uber-media

If you have not heard of UberMedia earlier, now would be the time to know that,

UberMedia was founded in early 2010 as TweetUp (later PostUp) by Internet entrepreneur, Bill Gross, in an effort to provide Twitter users with a way to find the world’s best Tweeters on topics of particular interest and at the same time enable Tweeters to increase their following among people keen to hear what they have to say.

Being a company based totally on the social-media ecosystem is not an easy job. One has to keep innovating because users prefer a service only so long as it remains the best of the lot. There is a drive urge to deliver and excel in all three mobile platforms that has taken UberMedia to the next level. For example, UberMedia was the first to develop an app that brought live preview of links and media in tweets. This prevented the application from navigating away to launch a browser.

This company is not all about talking big and missing in action. They describe their feedback policy as,

We’re always open to new ideas and would love to get your feedback. Each of our apps has a suggestion button that provides a direct message back to our development team. Our Support and Contact Us pages also include links, and we read everything people write to us about. So let us know what you think, and of course, enjoy our apps and the UberMarket.

Bill Gross holds some of the biggest name in the Twitter app world and the acquisition of TweetDeck will definitely be a relevant and valuable addition to his company’s inventory of apps. The deal valued in the $25 $30 million range is the largest deal ever for UberMedia, given that TweetDeck is the largest Twitter client.

Looks like TweetDeck is in good hands and we can expect it to keep growing under UberMedia.

Skype Buys Qik

Skype Buys QikSkype has acquired the mobile video streaming startup, Qik. Earlier, the acquisition price was reported to be around $100 million, but BI has confirmed it to be $150 million with an earnout.

Qik has been a very strong mobile player and has a huge presence in the mobile video streaming and sharing segment. It has close to 5 million users and is available on multiple platforms including Android, iPhone, Symbian, Windows Mobile and Blackberry.

Through this acquisition, Skype hopes to “leverage the engineering expertise that is behind Qik’s technology, which optimizes video transmission over wireless networks”. The acquisition of Qik will “accelerate Skype’s leadership in video by adding recording, sharing and storing capabilities to Skype’s product portfolio”.

Check out the official press release by Skype.

Zynga Acquires Flock; May Take Social Gaming To A New Level

While is getting billions of dollars as investment, one of it’s success stories Zynga (which is worth $5billion too) is ramping up it’s offerings and buying Flock, the social web browser.

flock_logo

Flock, which was initially written on the Gecko engine from Mozilla and later shifted to Chromium which powers was one of the first browsers which was created specifically for social networking and connecting with people. It now looks like Flock will be a part of Zynga and possibly convert into more of a social and social gaming experience.

TechCrunch has reported the deal and also said that both Google and were interested in buying Zynga, however, not for the browser but for the engineering talent behind it.

Nevertheless, Flock has not been a huge success, so the idea of Zynga buying it does not makes much sense, unless that Zynga is either planning to integrate their social gaming experience into the browser or are going to use the engineering team to build more social games for users.

Zynga is the company behind popular Facebook games such as Farmville and Cityville. The details of the deal is not known, but it should be anywhere between $50-$200 million. We’ll update when more information becomes available.

Google Acquires Plannr [Rumor]

TechCrunch has released an exclusive report on Google’s acquisition of Plannr. The acquisition has seen no official statement from Google yet and so, the prices have not been confirmed as well.

In my opinion, Google is particularly interested in the integrated email; SMS and phone call service offered by Plannr and will somehow use these technologies to enhance Gmail or the Voice service. Plannr also has an amazing feature of geolocation and group management that can take mail and SMS experience to a new level.

However, the startup has a considerable resemblance with Google Calendar and is suitable for the mobile web as well. Plannr was founded by Ben Eidelson and Jason Prado, who are both ex-Microsoft employees. TechCrunch could not get any official response from Google on the acquisition or the price.

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AOL Acquires TechCrunch: It’s Official

AOL Buys TechcrunchAOL is one of the oldest names in the web business. However, it has seen a huge drop in traffic in the past few years.

Yesterday, GigaOM first reported that AOL was in the process of buying out TechCrunch, a leading technology blog focused on startups which was started by Michael Arrington. It was hard to believe, but coming from Om Malik definitely gave it some credence.

Today, it has been officially confirmed by Tim Armstrong. He took to the stage with Michael Arrington at TC Disrupt and announced the acquisition. TechCrunch will now be a part of the AOL Technology Network.

AOL previously acquired Weblogs Inc., the company behind Engadget, from Jason Calacanis in 2005.

According to Business Insider, the deal size is reported to be around $25 million as an initial payment and performance based earn-outs. Plausibly, this is to ensure that TechCrunch retains its brand value even if Michael Arrington is not leading the charge.

Here is the full PR statement:

AOL TO ACQUIRE TECHCRUNCH NETWORK OF SITES

Leading Authority on Tech News Will Expand AOL’s Growing Offering of World-Class, Audience-Relevant Content

San Francisco, CA, September 28, 2010 AOL Inc. [NYSE: AOL] today announced that it has agreed to acquire TechCrunch, Inc., the company that owns and operates TechCrunch and its network of websites dedicated to technology news, information and analysis. TechCrunch and its associated properties and conferences will join the AOL Technology Network while retaining their editorial independence, further bolstering AOL’s position as one of the world’s leading providers of high-quality, tech-oriented content. The announcement will be made on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, CA.

Founded by Michael Arrington, TechCrunch operates a global network of dedicated properties from Europe to Japan, as well as vertically-oriented websites, including MobileCrunch, CrunchGear, TechCrunchIT, GreenTech, TechCrunchTV and CrunchBase. The TechMeme Leaderboard ranks TechCrunch as the No. 1 source of breaking tech news online, followed by AOL’s Engadget.*

Michael and his colleagues have made the TechCrunch network a byword for breaking tech news and insight into the innovative world of start-ups, and their reputation for top-class journalism precisely matches AOL’s commitment to delivering the expert content critical to this audience,said Tim Armstrong, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AOL. TechCrunch and its team will be an outstanding addition to the high-quality content on the AOL Technology Network, which is now a must-buy for advertisers seeking to associate their brands with leading technology content and its audience.

Heather Harde, Chief Executive Officer of TechCrunch, said: TechCrunch and AOL share a motivating passion for quality technology news and information, and we’re delighted about becoming part of the AOL family. This represents a compelling opportunity to extend the TechCrunch brand while complementing the great work of sites like Engadget and Switched. Our contributors, and our audiences, can look to the future with excitement about what we can build when we have the significant resources of AOL behind us.

Michael Arrington, Founder and Co-Editor of TechCrunch, said: Tim Armstrong and his team have an exciting vision for the future of AOL as a global leader in creating and delivering world-class content to consumers, be it through original content creation, partnerships or acquisitions. I look forward to working with everyone at AOL as we build on our reputation for independent tech journalism and continue to set the agenda for insight, reviews and collaborative discussion about the future of the technology industry.

TechCrunch also hosts industry-leading conferences and events, including The Disrupt series, The Crunchies Awards and various meet-ups worldwide. These conferences bring together industry innovators, entrepreneurs and financing sources to exchange ideas, forge new relationships and discuss the current and future industry trends.

Engagement with thought leaders is as important to AOL as our engagement with our contributors, audiences, publishers and advertisers, and TechCrunch’s conferences and websites will give us a promising, additional springboard to join and amplify these conversations. We’re committed to quality in everything we do at AOL, and look forward to working with Heather, Michael and the TechCrunch team to extend the brand,said David Eun, President of AOL Media and Studios.

The AOL Technology Network consists of AOL’s tech-oriented properties including Engadget, the Web magazine about everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics; Switched, which covers the intersection of the digital world with entertainment, sports, art, fashion and lifestyle; TUAW, the unofficial Apple weblog; and DownloadSquad, the weblog about downloadable software and other computer subjects. The AOL Technology Network ranks in the top five for tech news according to comScore Media Metrix, August 2010 data, and leads the top five in average time spent and average visits per user.

This acquisition will further AOL’s strategy to become the global leader in sourcing, creating, producing and delivering high-quality, trusted, original content to consumers. TechCrunch will remain headquartered in San Francisco, CA, as a wholly owned AOL unit. Deal terms were not disclosed.

Source: TechCrunch

AOL Acquires TechCrunch

It is finally official, Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL, announced today at TechCrunch Disrupt that AOL has finally acquired TechCrunch and all their properties in a successful deal today.

AOL Inc. [NYSE: AOL] today announced that it has agreed to acquire TechCrunch, Inc., the company that owns and operates TechCrunch and its network of websites dedicated to technology news, information and analysis. TechCrunch and its associated properties and conferences will join the AOL Technology Network while retaining their editorial independence, further bolstering AOL’s position as one of the world’s leading providers of high-quality, tech-oriented content. The announcement will be made on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, CA.

The deal gives AOL a big lead in the tech reporting industry after it had also bought Weblogs Inc. through which they got hold of Engadget. Today with the acquisition of TechCrunch, AOL has their hands on two of the biggest tech reporting sites in the world.

TechCrunch which was started out 5 years ago by a lawyer Michael Arrington has quickly grown to become a huge establishment with several web properties and events under their umbrella. TechCrunch network contains MobileCrunch, CrunchGear, TechCrunchIT, GreenTech, TechCrunchTV and CrunchBase.

Michael Arrington, Founder and Co-Editor of TechCrunch, said: Tim Armstrong and his team have an exciting vision for the future of AOL as a global leader in creating and delivering world-class content to consumers, be it through original content creation, partnerships or acquisitions. I look forward to working with everyone at AOL as we build on our reputation for independent tech journalism and continue to set the agenda for insight, reviews and collaborative discussion about the future of the technology industry.

So does this mean that AOL has now bigger control over the tech news industry with both Engadget and TechCrunch under them? It could certainly be. Another big social website Mashable also syndicates content to AOL rival Yahoo, so will Yahoo now start looking for another acquisition to bolster their news section?

More details at the TechCrunch Press Release and AOL Corporate website.

Is AOL Buying TechCrunch?

AOL is one of the oldest companies in the web industry but its services have failed to evolve with time. Therefore, it took to acquiring services to compensate for the losses. In past AOL has acquired Weblogs Inc., the company behind the popular gadget review website Engadget. AOL has seen serious drops in traffic and this acquisition allowed it to compensate for the losses it was making with the existing business. Taking a further step, AOL is probably out to buy TechCrunch, the acclaimed tech blog focused on startups and industry news.

The announcement has not been made yet but the news is already out in the wild and can be seen  here on Techmeme. Tim Armstrong, the AOL CEO is about to make an appearance at the TechCrunch Disrupt  conference and will probably make the announcement too. However, we hope it is not a rumor like the last AOL-Mashable acquisition.

While Engadget is regarded as the top gadget blog, TechCrunch is the top tech blog and this acquisition will give AOL a stronghold over two of the most popular niche in the world of blogging. There is no final word on the deal and there is a very good chance that it falls apart. TechCrunch disrupt will decide soon.

GoDaddy.com On Sale.. Not At $.99 Though

GoDaddy is probably the king of domain registrations and hosting solutions with it being the registrant of a significant percentage of registered domains. Now the big daddy of domain registration, e-commerce and hosting services has put itself up on sale for a staggering $1 billion.

GoDaddy

According to WSJ, GoDaddy is up on the block for a cool sum of $1 billion. GoDaddy, which heavily advertises raunchy advertisements, specially during the Super Bowl posted revenue between $750 and $800 million in 2009 and is by far the biggest domain registrant and service provider for websites.

GoDaddy.com currently handles about 43 million domain registrations, the sale for Go Daddy Group Inc will be handled by Qatalyst Partners. GoDaddy has been known to provide steep discounts on domain registration including 99 cent domain deals to lure customers towards them. However, it would be interesting to see who they lure with the $1 billion price tag.