Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Clearwire, Sprint resume talks

Wireless Internet provider Clearwire Corp. and cellular operator Sprint Nextel Corp. have reportedly restarted talks to combine their high-speed wireless WiMax networks.

Sprint and Clearwire are discussing a joint venture that would attract funding from Intel Corp., a major backer of WiMax technology, which promises faster wireless Web connection speeds for laptops and cell phones than mobile operators' third-generation networks.

The companies have also approached Google Inc. and Best Buy Inc. about financing, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Sprint has started rolling out its WiMax network in some markets and has said it wants to reach 100 million U.S. consumers by the end of this year.

Helen Chung, a Clearwire spokeswoman, declined to comment on the report. A Sprint spokesman did not immediately return a call and an e-mail for comment.

The companies' first attempt to forge a WiMax partnership ended in November, sending shares of the much smaller Clearwire down more than 40 percent in the ensuing weeks. Since then, the companies have discussed a plan to spin off Sprint's WiMax unit, called Xohm, and merge it with Clearwire, according to the report.

Clearwire operates pre-WiMax networks in 46 U.S. markets, including Seattle, Syracuse, N.Y., and Duluth, Minn. The Seattle-based company, founded by cellular pioneer Craig McCaw, is testing a full-fledged WiMax network in Portland, Ore.

Shares of Clearwire skyrocketed $2.43, or 19.5 percent, to $14.88 in afternoon trading, while Sprint's stock jumped 78 cents, or 7.8 percent, to $10.75.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

DoCoMo disbands WiMAX partnership

Following its failure to secure a chunk of WiMAX spectrum in December, leading Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has dissolved its wireless broadband partnership with ACCA Wireless.

Network technology firm ACCA had entered into a strategic partnership with DoCoMo last summer, for the purpose of securing a license to provide broadband wireless services based on mobile WiMAX technology.

But Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications granted the two available broadband wireless service licenses to rival operator KDDI and PHS operator Willcom, rendering the DoCoMo partnership no longer relevant.

KDDI and WIllcom are set to launch WiMAX services in 2009 and may also lease out spectrum to other parties interested in offering WiMAX services.

Monday, January 14, 2008

OpenTV and Auction Network Announce Deal

OpenTV Participate(TM) Solution to power first-ever Internet and TV network devoted to the auction industry in the US

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- OpenTV Corp. , a leading provider of solutions for the delivery of advanced television and cross-platform interactive services, announced today that Auction Network, the first-ever US television network devoted to the auction industry, has chosen the OpenTV Participate solution to power its live Internet auction business and upcoming television launch.

Auction Network, whose programming will feature televised and live auctions ranging from thoroughbred horse sales in Kentucky to Ozzy Osbourne's celebrity auction to wine auctions from around the world, will use OpenTV Participate to handle all auction transactions, allowing viewers to interact in real-time with television programming via Web, IVR voice telephony, portable devices and, in the future, set-top boxes. Auction Network delivers the thrill and excitement of live auction programming with the interactivity to make it easy to view items, place bids and become the high bidder, even if the auction is on the other side of the world.

"Auction Network has a unique and exciting vision that fully embraces many of the new concepts OpenTV has been developing in our enterprise product strategy for broadcasters," said Ben Bennett, OpenTV's Chief Operating Officer. "One of the most important concepts, in our view, is the absolute pre-requisite for broadcasters to have a direct two-way relationship with their viewers -- Auction Network is a wonderful example of that capability."

"With Auction Network launching as a 24/7 streaming Internet Network rapidly migrating to live TV, the biggest challenge we faced was seamless integration of traditional and new media broadcast technologies with customer interaction and data aggregation," said Pam McKissick, Auction Network's Chief Executive Officer. "OpenTV Participate allows us to do that without over-complicating our daily operations. We have found that OpenTV Participate is a visionary, second-generation system that dramatically alleviates issues our cutting edge broadcast network might face."

OpenTV Participate's powerful servers enable unlimited concurrent auctions to be set up using simple wizard-based auction logic that supports more than 17 types of auction events. OpenTV Participate's fully integrated scheduling and studio console applications will give auction clerks, production staff and auctioneers live auction data providing dynamic TV programming, originated in studios and on location, with real-time viewer participation and instant business analysis.

OpenTV Participate's modular solution also enables Auction Network to manage viewer registration, billing, fulfillment, accounts, customer care, loyalty schemes, and marketing using a single back-office application. With its state of the art CRM and marketing modules, and cross-platform data aggregation, OpenTV Participate will provide Auction Network with flexible business reporting, deep insight into customer behavior, global business analysis and instant communication with consumers at the touch of a button. In addition, the product can provide added-value content such as trivia, sponsor messages and interactive and targeted advertising.

About OpenTV

OpenTV is one of the world's leading providers of solutions for the delivery of digital and interactive television. The company's software has been integrated in more than 96 million digital set-top boxes and digital televisions around the world, and enables enhanced program guides, video-on-demand, personal video recording, enhanced television, interactive shopping, interactive and addressable advertising, games and a variety of consumer care and communication applications. For more information, please visit http://www.opentv.com

Thursday, January 10, 2008


D-Box Motion Code Technology To Be Featured on Two "Must Have"
Blu-ray Disc Titles From Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

INDEPENDENCE DAY and I, ROBOT Debut on BD with D-BOX March 11

LAS VEGAS - CES Booth South 1 20659 - January 9, 2008 - D-BOX Technologies (TSX-V:
) today announced that Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment's Blu-ray disc
releases of INDEPENDENCE DAY and I, ROBOT, available March 11, 2008, will feature DBOX's
award-winning motion code technology.

With D-BOX, viewers can get right into the action of their favorite films in a way they never
thought possible. Every FRAME in INDEPENDENCE DAY and I, ROBOT has been encoded
by the motion artists at the D-BOXTM motion editing studio, from the most subtle to the most
explosive. Viewers equipped with a D-BOX integrated motion system will actually feel the rush
of flight, the torque of speed and bumps in the road, and virtually every pulse in these two science fiction action thrillers.

"We are thrilled to continue this work with Fox and help movie-viewers experience these
amazing Blu-ray titles in a whole new way," said Claude Mc Master, President and Chief
Executive Officer, D-BOX Technologies. "A Blu-ray home entertainment system that includes DBOX's integrated motion system is really the ultimate in in-home cinematic experiences for
movie lovers."

In addition to the upcoming releases of INDEPENDENCE DAY and I, ROBOT, Fox has
previously released several of its high profile Blu-ray Disc titles with the D-BOX Motion Code
including the recent top-selling releases of FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER

"D-BOX offers viewers a truly immersive home entertainment experience perfectly suited to the action in INDEPENDENCE DAY and I,ROBOT," stated Danny Kaye, Executive Vice
President, Global Research & Technology Strategy, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

"We believe motion technology could be the wave of the future and is a complement to Blu-ray's
superior picture and audio quality and advanced interactivity."

About D-BOX Technologies

D-BOX Technologies designs and manufactures high-technology motion systems destined
mainly for the entertainment industry. Its unique, patented technology uses motion codes
specifically programmed for each film, TV program or video game, resulting in motion that is

OpenTV Selected by TrueVisions UBC for PVR Launch

Thailand's leading digital pay-TV operator to offer personal video recording services powered by OpenTV Core2(TM), OpenTV PVR2(TM)

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- OpenTV Corp. , a leading provider of solutions for the delivery of advanced digital television and cross-platform interactive services, announced today that TrueVisions UBC, Thailand's leading digital pay-TV operator, has selected OpenTV's middleware solution to enable and power their new PVR services.

"OpenTV is very excited to have been selected by TrueVisions UBC to enable a wide array of PVR functionalities and power a strong offering of new services," said Mike Ivanchenko, OpenTV's Senior Vice President of Sales. "This new deployment further strengthens OpenTV's position as the provider of choice for middleware solutions and reinforces our vision of an integrated digital world where consumers have easy access to meaningful and targeted content."

TrueVisions UBC will be offering standard definition personal video recorders by Humax integrated with OpenTV Core2 and OpenTV PVR2 solutions, in combination with Irdeto's content security for digital TV. OpenTV's advanced platform will provide TrueVisions UBC subscribers with a range of interactive TV content, PVR services and will allow for mobile and Web management of their PVR services. The EPG, PVR applications, and interactive TV services were developed by TrueVisions UBC and integrated seamlessly with OpenTV's platform.

"OpenTV has been a key partner in our efforts to offer compelling and advanced services to better enable our customers' lifestyle to enjoy television and other value added services," said Ongard Prapakamol, Chief Commercial Officer for TrueVisions UBC. "Their solutions enable us to fulfill our product strategy in providing a well integrated PVR with a highly intuitive user experience and compelling interactive TV services like football live score, games, and much more exciting services to come."

TrueVisions UBC's PVR services are currently in final testing and are expected to launch early 2008.

About OpenTV

OpenTV is one of the world's leading providers of solutions for the delivery of digital and interactive television. The company's software has been integrated in more than 96 million digital set-top boxes and digital televisions around the world, and enables enhanced program guides, video-on-demand, personal video recording, enhanced television, interactive shopping, interactive and addressable advertising, games and a variety of consumer care and communication applications. For more information, please visit http://www.opentv.com.

About True Visions Plc.

TrueVisions UBC, a subsidiary of True Corporation Plc, is the largest subscription-based television provider in Thailand. TrueVisions provides a superior-quality signal through its CAtv and DStv networks. TrueVisions is committed to delivering globally-popular programming on 82 high-quality channels, including infotainment, knowledge, news, sports, and entertainment content. TrueVisions boasts a wide selection of home entertainment as well as impressive after sale service. TrueVisions offer its subscribers the Platinum Package, Gold Package, Silver Package, True Knowledge Package, and 38 channel convergence package known as TrueLife Free View. And now TrueVisions also offers a new buy-through package from HBO, Discovery and Disney.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2008 Facebook Predictions

1. Facebook will break the 125 Million User Watermark
2. There will be over 37,000 Different Facebook Applications
3. Facebook will license it’s platform to 3 Major Social Networking Sites
4. Facebook will Partner with a Major Media Outlet to bring unique Multi-Media content to Facebook (or create their own)
5. Facebook will be the top social networking site in over 13 countries
6. Facebook will announce Facebook Platform 2 which will blow away how we think of social connections and add more robust features
7. Facebook will acquire 2 “widget companies”
8. Facebook will become the most commonly used standard for social widget/app development (Not Google’s Open Social)
9. You will no longer have to install an application to use it on Facebook
10. Facebooks unified payment system will bring the beginnings of ecommerce to a social ecosystem that generates over 300 Million in transactions.
11. Facebook will launch an Advertising Network for application developers that delivers higher value to consumers and application owners (revenue).
12. Facebook will hit 400+ Million in Revenue
13. Facebook will have 400 Applications from Brands in the ecosystem (70% will suck and get no traction because they don’t understand social networks and how to touch users in that environment)

2008 The Year of Widget Growth

Seemingly overnight, everyone is in love with widgets.

Consumers love the tiny software applications that let them share music, photos and videos, and even throw virtual sheep at one another, on social networks. And social networks love widgets because they help boost traffic and ad revenue on their sites.

On Facebook alone, users have installed nearly 13,000 widgets approximately 765 million times, according to Adonomics, a Web site that tracks widgets on the social network. Adonomics estimates the combined value of these widgets to be $374 million. There are also rumors that major media companies, notably News Corp. (nyse: NWS - news - people ), want to add developers to their stable of properties.

As a result, the number of individual hackers and companies that develop widgets has mushroomed to an estimated 100,000 worldwide, begging the question of whether the sector is in a bubble. Industry experts, however, say the concern is misplaced--for now--and that the fast ramp up is no different from what has happened in past generations of software development.

"It's too early to call it a bubble or a success," says Ross Levinsohn, the former News Corp. executive who oversaw the company's celebrated acquisition of MySpace. "You're really talking about the last six months as the real beginning of the growth of applications. It's just the beginning of what we're going to see over the next 12 to 18 months."

David Weiden, a partner at Khosla Ventures, which has invested in widget companies Slide and iLike, says a modest number of developers--about 20--received venture funding in 2007. He says investors are much more prudent now, and want to avoid the bubble conditions of a decade ago. "If there were widget companies that are public and have no revenue, I would say that's a financial bubble," Weiden says.

Slide founder Max Levchin likens the flurry of activity to the 1980s software-development boom. "It's very similar to shareware and freeware," says Levchin, who also co-founded online payment system PayPal. But widget development is a lot faster, he says. "It's like the 1980s played out in half a year."

The widget sector kicked into high gear last May when Facebook created an open platform for developers. Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ) followed suit in November, announcing its own platform, OpenSocial. Applications for OpenSocial, however, have not been released yet, and development is said to be slow.

Jia Shen, co-founder of widget company RockYou!, says widget development is similar to Web site development, and thus, widgets are being valued the same way. "The metrics are about reach and not about how much money they're making," Shen says.

But unlike the dot-coms of old, many widgets are making money, mostly through advertising. Shen declined to discuss RockYou!'s revenues, but said that widget shops with just a few developers are raking in $80,000 a month in ad revenues.

Shen also says that some widgets have the potential to morph into full-fledged Web sites that can generate even more revenue. "There's been a lot of criticism of the applications as toys," he says. "One of our applications was Zombie, a goofy application that lets users ‘bite' friends virtually. After awhile people got bored with it, so we built it into a full-fledged game with virtual goods."

Indeed, corporations are viewing widgets less as frivolous gadgets, and more as business tools to boost traffic and ad revenue on their sites. "Six months ago, the thought of someone altering his or her homepage to incorporate someone else's widget into their brand [was considered] dilutive," says Jay Adelson, chief executive of social network Digg. "There's been an acceptance by traditional media that widgets give them some reciprocal benefit. In 2008, you'll see traditional brands that have controlled every element of their page open up."

To meet rising demand, developer shops are adding engineers and working round the clock to make new and better widgets. Flixster, which says its movie-review widgets have been installed on Facebook more than 13 million times and is also developing applications for Google's OpenSocial, has doubled its engineering staff to 12 since November.

But competition for engineering talent is fierce. "Most people have several options," says Flixster Chief Executive Joe Greenstein. "We pay reasonable salaries and give people generous stock options, but do we have to compete with the relatively high salaries from Google and Yahoo! (nasdaq: YHOO - news - people )? Yes."

Digg's Adelson says he has resorted to looking outside Silicon Valley for engineers. "We are trying like mad to hire more engineers," he says. "It's really, really hard. I pretty much have to import people from other states."

Levinsohn, now a partner at venture firm Velocity Interactive Group, says 2008 will be a big year for media-company acquisitions of Web 2.0 companies. In 2007, just a few tiny widget shops were absorbed by bigger ones, such as Slide. "There are a lot of good ideas that could benefit from big media," Levinsohn says. "You have a lot of companies that hit a wall and can't get beyond a certain level. They need the infrastructure and distribution of a large company."

Still, widget developers know they can't all be winners. "Not all the developers will survive," or get acquired, says Slide's Levchin. "I can look back to the '80s playbook and know what's going to happen."

Widget Wave
Bubbling Widget Growth
Wendy Tanaka, 01.02.08, 12:01 AM ET