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Milk Shuts Down Oink App, Rose Hired by GoogleThe first app introduced from Kevin Rose's new startup app incubator - Milk - will be shut down at the end of this month. Milk is saying that Oink - a social app allowing people to not only "check in" at local businesses but also to rate individual things at those places - was really just meant as a test anyway, and that this kind of quick iteration and experimentation was always at the heart of the company's mission.
UPDATE: All Things D is reporting that Rose has been hired by Google and will start at the company on Monday, along with a few other Milk employees, leaving the future of Milk very much in doubt. Google Ventures was one of Milk's original investors.
When it first launched in November of 2011, Oink saw a strong initial wave of downloads - over 100,000 within the first 3 weeks. In December, at LeWeb, Rose announced that Oink had reached 150,000 registered users - but the consensus now seems to be that this was mostly due to Rose's own name recognition rather than genuine interest in the product.
QUESTION: How significant a boost do you think Google will get from bringing Rose and his team on board? What kind of changes do you think we can expect from the Milk team to Google's social products, particularly Google+?
SOURCE: All Things D
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Yahoo Sues FacebookYahoo has filed a suit against Facebook, claiming the social networking giant has infringed on 10 Yahoo patents. The patents in question cover fairly familiar concepts across social networking sites, including targeted advertising, customized portal pages, suggested user recommendations, social music and messaging applications and the ability to limit updates to a certain select group of followers rather than everyone at once.
The Internet consensus seemed to be that Yahoo was "patent trolling" in this case, considering how widely adopted and vague these concepts are in the current social Web. Yammer CEO David Sacks was particularly critical of the move, calling on other Silicon Valley companies to take a stand against Yahoo. On Twitter, he vowed that Yammer would not hire anyone who remained at Yahoo for more than 60 days following the filing of the lawsuit, and later offered a $25,000 signing bonus to any Yahoo employees who defected and came to work at Yammer.
Yahoo, for their part, are specifically insisting that Facebook's theft of these innovations have led to its massive increase in market share against the once mighty portal site. Yahoo is requesting triple damages to be paid, and for Facebook to remove all the infringing features from its own site.
QUESTION: Thoughts on Sacks response to the lawsuit? Do you agree that it's the responsibility of other tech companies to shame Yahoo? Or is this cynical posturing and an attempt to get some press for his company?
SOURCE: Wired Epicenter Blog and Wired Enterprise Blog
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PayPal Introduces PayPal Here Added by: cbedgood1PayPal has announced plans to market a portable credit card reader - a dongle that attaches to a smartphone - called PayPal Here. The device is a direct competitor to a similar product offered by startup Square, which also features a smartphone accessory allowing for direct credit card payments. Other than the shape itself - PayPal here takes the form of a triangle, as opposed to Square's... well, square - the devices function similarly. PayPal Here comes with a mobile app that expands the functionality as well, allowing a user to take a photo of a credit card and scan it, using Card.io during times the Card Reader itself is unavailable. It also allows for instant scanning of checks, and immediate crediting of the funds to a PayPal account.
Merchants will be charged a 2.7% fee for using PayPal Here, similar to Square's 2.75% fee. The service launched in the US, Hong Kong, Canada and Australia on Thursday.
QUESTION: PayPal has over 100 million registered users already. How can Square compete with a userbase like that? What features or functionality can they add to pose a serious threat to PayPal in the mobile payments space? How would you respond if you were Square's CEO?
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New iPads Arrive!The new iPads are shipping and the reviews are in, and though the reactions are once again overwhelmingly positive, the sentiment also seems to be that, if you already have an iPad 2, there's no need to upgrade. And coming in at $100 less than the newest edition, the iPad 2 itself remains a considerable value.
Some common complaints: The length of time needed to charge the new iPad is considerably longer than previous versions, as the "retina display" screen requires a lot more juice. As well, because of the larger battery needed, the new iPad is a bit heavier than previous versions - by a full 1.8 ounces. (It's also a millimeter thicker.) Some reviewers also noted that glare remains a problem for the iPad, particularly if it's being used in direct sunlight.
QUESTION: Would this new iPad superior, or be greeted with more fanfare, if Steve Jobs were the one introducing it? As David Pogue indicated, is Apple missing the "one more thing" Jobs spirit? Or is such talk inevitable now that Jobs is gone? And why did Apple decline to go with "iPad 3" or some other new term this time around, opting instead to force us to keep saying "the newest iPad" or the "iPad update"?
SOURCE: Business Insider
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SEC Secondary Market Investigations Result in Official Charges Added by: cbedgood1Following an extensive investigation into secondary markets, the SEC has filed charges against the managers of two private funds for misleading investors and charging undisclosed fees after raising over $70 million to acquire and trade pre-IPO Facebook shares. EB Financial Group founder Laurence Albukerk allegedly failed to disclose to investors or the SEC compensation earned from two funds consisting of Facebook shares, and has agreed to pay $210,499 in fees and a penalty of $100,000. Albukerk has not admitted to any wrongdoing. The other complaint was filed against Frank Mazzola of Felix Investments and Facie Libre Management Associations, who is accused of overcharging investors for Facebook shares and pocketing the difference.
Additionally, the SharesPost service and its CEO, CEO Greg Brogger, have also been charged with engaging in securities transactions despite not being registered as a broker-dealer. SharesPost and Brogger have already agreed to fines of $80,000 and $20,000, respectively.
QUESTION: Noticeably absent from this suit is SecondMarket. Are they in danger of being the next SEC target?
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