Oct. 3, 2013, 1:16 AM
- Google (GOOG) has acquired Flutter, a developer of hand gesture recognition software. TechCrunch reports the purchase price was around $40M.
- Flutter uses machine vision algorithms to analyze hand gestures picked up by webcams. The company offers a somewhat popular Mac OS app that can be used to control media apps/services such as iTunes, YouTube, Netflix, and Pandora. Google is tight-lipped regarding what applications - PC, mobile, or otherwise - Flutter's technology and engineering team will be applied towards.
- Interest in gesture recognition has been growing lately: this year has seen Intel acquire gesture recognition tech developer Omek, startup Leap Motion launch a PC motion sensor to much fanfare (but mixed reviews), Samsung provide a bit of gesture recognition support for the Galaxy S4 (i.e. Air Gesture), and Microsoft unveil a 2nd-gen Kinect (set to ship with the Xbox One) with better motion-sensing abilities than the original.
Sep. 19, 2013, 5:47 PM
- Google (GOOG) is making popular mobile productivity suite Quickoffice free to all iOS/Android users. Until now, Quickoffice was only free to those subscribing to Google Apps for Business (costs $50-$120/user/year).
- Google claims it's looking to better support Google Apps users collaborating with workers who "haven't gone Google yet" (of which there are many). But its move might also have something to do with Apple's decision to make its iWork suite free to buyers of new iOS hardware.
- Microsoft unveiled Office iPhone/Android apps earlier in 2013, but they're only available to Office 365 subs. The company has held off on creating iPad Office apps in favor of steering users towards its Office Web Apps.
- Dan Primack reports Google has "acqui-hired" part of VC firm and "digital innovation lab" Hattery. The report comes at a time when Google's VC arm (Google Ventures) has been ramping its investment activity.
Sep. 19, 2013, 1:23 PM
- Google (GOOG -0.5%) has provided U.K. regulators reviewing its acquisition of popular crowdsourced traffic/POI app Waze a list of proposed remedies meant to address concerns the deal will hurt rivals in an online/mobile mapping market Google already towers over.
- Among other things, Google promises Waze will remain an independent business with a separate IT infrastructure, and will honor its existing deals with third parties. The Web giant also promises no business secrets or IP shall be transferred between Waze and Google proper, save for unique circumstances.
- However, there's no promise not to integrate Waze's data with Google Maps; Google began doing this last month.
- The FTC is conducting its own investigation of the acquisition.
- Separately, an iPhone Google Wallet app has hit the App Store a couple days after Google gave Wallet a massive overhaul that makes it available to a far larger portion of Android users.
- Since no iOS device has an NFC chip, the iPhone Wallet app doesn't support NFC-based mobile payments (they haven't been too popular anyway). But it does support the money-transfer, loyalty card, and discount/coupon features recently added to the Android app; the features make the iPhone app a direct rival to Apple's Passbook.
Sep. 16, 2013, 12:35 PM
- Bump, a developer of Android/iOS apps that allow users to share contact info, photos, and other files by bumping their phones together, announces it has been acquired by Google (GOOG).
- Bump, which also offers a shared photo album app called Flock, boasts its file-sharing apps have been downloaded over 100M times. The company recently added support for PC/mobile file-sharing and syncing.
- Look for Google to integrate Bump's core feature set with future Android releases, and perhaps also with Gmail, Google+, and Google Drive.
- Other Google mobile app acquisitions: Waze, Snapseed, Quickoffice
- Update: AllThingsD reports the purchase price was "at least $30 million, and as much as $60 million."
Jul. 22, 2013, 7:32 AM
Google (GOOG) has agreed to acquire a 6.3% holding in a subsidiary of Taiwanese chip company Himax Technologies (HIMX) in order to help finance the development of display technology for head-mounted devices such as Google Glass. Google has an option to increase its stake to 14.8% within a year. Financial details weren't disclosed. Intel Capital is an existing investor in the unit. Himax shares surge 31%. (PR)| Jul. 22, 2013, 7:32 AM | 4 Comments
Jun. 22, 2013, 3:40 PM
The FTC plans to review Google's (GOOG) acquisition of Waze. Though Google used an exemption to avoid providing the FTC and DOJ a Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust filing, a review isn't surprising, given Google's dominant online/mobile maps position and a general belief it's buying Waze in part to keep its increasingly accurate crowdsourced traffic/point-of-interest data out of Apple and Facebook's hands. "Lawyers familiar with government antitrust investigations" tell the WSJ the FTC may have asked Google not to integrate Waze's data with Google Maps until its review is finished. (more on Waze)| Jun. 22, 2013, 3:40 PM | 1 Comment
Jun. 19, 2013, 9:16 AM
Google (GOOG) is open to forging alliances with P-E firms to make acquisitions, says M&A chief Don Harrison, who hints additional major deals are being considered in the wake of Waze. Harrison also expounds on Google's broader M&A strategy: "We apply something called the toothbrush test ... Is this something people use once or twice a day and does it solve a problem?" Meanwhile, law prof. Steven Davidoff reports Google skipped providing an antitrust review filing for Waze to the DOJ and FTC by using an exemption for foreign companies with less than $60.9M in U.S. sales/assets.| Jun. 19, 2013, 9:16 AM
Jun. 11, 2013, 11:48 AM
It's official: Google (GOOG -0.7%) is acquiring Waze. No price tag has been given yet. On Google's official blog, Maps/Earth engineering chief Brian McClendon says Waze's R&D team "will remain in Israel and operate separately for now." He adds Google is "excited about the prospect of enhancing Google Maps with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze and enhancing Waze with Google’s search capabilities." (previous)| Jun. 11, 2013, 11:48 AM | 2 Comments
Jun. 9, 2013, 4:25 PM
Google (GOOG) "buying Waze is all defense but great defense wins championships," tweets Howard Lindzon. Quartz's Gideon Lichfield argues a deal, which would reel in 50M users and the top provider of crowdsourced maps/traffic/POI data, "would deal a death blow" to Apple (AAPL) and Facebook's (FB) efforts to develop rival maps platforms (Google Maps already has 1.3K data sources). In Facebook's case, it would also throw a wrench into efforts to be a go-to source for local content and ads. But regulators could oppose Google, given its mobile maps dominance. Sources claim Waze CEO Noam Bardin will remain following a deal, and that Waze's Israeli R&D ops will stay put for at least 3 years.| Jun. 9, 2013, 4:25 PM | 8 Comments
May 29, 2013, 10:27 AM
Facebook's (FB -3%) buyout talks with Waze have fallen apart, sources tell AllThingsD. In-line with prior reports, the reluctance of the Waze team to move from Israel to Silicon Valley is said to be a culprit. The report comes a day after Tim Cook denied Apple ever made a bid for Waze, as had been rumored. Google (GOOG) may or may not be interested ... and in the event that it is, regulators might not be thrilled.| May 29, 2013, 10:27 AM | 3 Comments
May 24, 2013, 3:16 PM
There's no bounce today for Facebook (FB -3.5%) whose slide today takes the stock to a new YTD low. The only news of note is Google's (GOOG) rumored entry into the Waze bidding amid reports Waze isn't interested in Facebook's desire to have part of the team move to Silicon Valley. Adding Waze would make Google Maps an even more robust product while keeping Facebook off of its territory.| May 24, 2013, 3:16 PM | 7 Comments
May 24, 2013, 8:21 AMSpeculation over Google (GOOG) making a bid for Waze doesn't ring true to TechCrunch with its sources indicating no plans of a Google acquisition of the sat-nav smartphone app are in the works. If anything, TechCrunch ponders if Waze investors aren't trying to leverage more out of talks with Facebook. | May 24, 2013, 8:21 AM | 1 Comment
Apr. 27, 2013, 1:24 PMGoogle (GOOG) spent $291M on acquisitions and asset purchases in Q1, the company discloses in its latest 10-Q. Among other things, that figure covers Google's $125M purchase of Channel Intelligence from ICE, and its acquisitions of startups DNNResearch and Talaria. The disclosure comes as Google's $12.5B purchase of Motorola Mobility looks more and more questionable, given Motorola's dismal sales and legal setbacks, and the fact Motorola's IP hasn't done much yet to halt Apple's legal war against Android OEMs (even if the market share impact has been limited). | Apr. 27, 2013, 1:24 PM | 2 Comments
Apr. 16, 2013, 2:50 PM
Google (GOOG +1.4%) roundup: 1) Google has acquired Behavio, developer of a framework (called Funf) for integrating a wide variety of mobile user data (related to location, movement, communications activities, etc.) and making sense out of it. Google is all about collecting/integrating huge quantities of data, and sometimes also about monetizing it. 2) Google has updated its mobile search offerings, so as to provide faster access to links and relevant information on a small screen. 3) Motorola phones due in 2H will run stock Android, and probably won't feature oversized displays. (Eric Schmidt)| Apr. 16, 2013, 2:50 PM
Apr. 12, 2013, 10:11 AMThe DOJ signs off on Arris' (ARRS) $2.35B purchase of Motorola Home from Google (GOOG), paving the way for the acquisition to close around April 17. The deal stands to create a giant in the set-top/cable infrastructure space, and a major rival to Cisco's Scientific-Atlanta unit. (previous) | Apr. 12, 2013, 10:11 AM
Mar. 16, 2013, 3:21 PM
Google (GOOG) acquires Talaria, a developer of Web application server software said to offer superior performance and support for more programming languages than alternatives. Talaria will be used by Google's cloud infrastructure unit as it tries to gain ground on dominant Amazon Web Services (AMZN) following a 2012 launch. News of the purchase comes shortly after startup Scalr unveiled benchmarks that showed Google's solutions often have a big performance edge over Amazon's, while admitting (much like Netflix) Amazon's offerings are more comprehensive.| Mar. 16, 2013, 3:21 PM