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TWiST News #211

News stories we're covering for This Week in Startups Episode #21, airing on Friday, December 2nd, will be posted here. This is an open list, so in addition to voting for the stories you want to hear about, now you can go to the bottom of the page and suggest your own! The big startup and tech industry stories from the week that get the most votes will be featured on the show, and if you suggested them, we may even give you a shoutout on the air! And don't forget to click through to Page 2 to see all the stories we're working on!

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    Marc Andreessen Mulling Yahoo Leadership Role in Bid

    VC Marc Andreessen is deciding whether or not to play a significant role—as a key board member and even possibly as chairman—at Yahoo Andreessen currently runs the Andreessen Horowitz venture firm with Ben Horowitz He has also reportedly been allied with Silver Lake Ventures on the Yahoo effort since September Andreessen Horowitz and Silver Lake last worked together to flip Skype from eBay to Microsoft while making a few cool billions Questions: What do you think of having Andreseen in charge? Will a re-invigorated Yahoo make a grab for AOL? SOURCE: AllThingsD

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    Groupon’s Stock Falls 50%

    The deal giant’s shares closed down nine percent on Monday, settling at $15.24 after bouncing off a new low of $14.85 That’s less than half the $31.14 that some investors paid at the stock’s high point, just after it went public in early November The drop is especially painful because it puts the company’s market valuation below $10 billion On the day trading opened, Groupon priced its shares at $20, several dollars above the expected price range of $16 to $18, and ended up raising $700 million at a valuation of close to $13 billion (just shy of its initial goal of raising $750 million) Questions: Is their under-performance bad news for the planned and rumoured upcoming IPOs of Zynga and Facebook, respectively? Is Groupon a "built to last" company or a flash in the pan? SOURCE: AllThingsD

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    Google+ Goes After Skype, Adds Voice Calling to Hangouts

    Google+ increased the features in Hangout, adding Hangouts with Extras that supports voice calling The feature is free to calls in the US or Canada, but to make an international call, you have to use your Google Voice account Competitor Skype currently charges for all voice calls to phones with pay-you-go rates starting at roughly $0.02 per minute, monthly subscriptions starting at about $0.01 per minute and a premium plan at a rate of $4.49 per month. As of October, Google+ had a reported 40M+ users compared to Facebook's 800M, so the new feature could bring some welcome growth Back in September, Google added screen sharing to Hangouts, posing a potential threat to web conferencing service GoToMeeting, which costs $49 per month SOURCE: The LAUNCH Blog

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    Twitter Launches Self-Service Ad Platform

    Twitter quietly launched a self-serve option for its ad platform this week in beta Advertisers with early access can now buy ads directly via Twitter, using a credit card and a Web browser, without ever having to talk to a human being The only products currently available are promoted accounts and promoted tweets, but Twitter says that will expand over time It’s a significant milestone for Twitter, as the service will need to be able to handle a huge volume of ad transactions--like Google and Facebook--if they’re going to grow into their $8B valuation SOURCE: AllThingsD

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    Google to Launch Amazon Competitor

    Google is said to be teaming with online retailers to launch a standardized way to ship goods, a la Amazon Prime Sources say that Google is becoming concerned with people searching for products on Amazon, rather than through its search engine The new offering would use Google's existing product search in Google Shopping and combine it with a back-end to show shoppers what’s in stock and how fast they can get it, with the possibilities of same-day or next-day delivery Retailers said to be ready to participate include Macy's, Gap and OfficeMax SOURCE: Gizmodo

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    Zynga Files for their IPO

    The company filed documents with the Securities & Exchange Commission this morning, indicating that it intends to raise between $850 million and $1.15 billion in its public offering At the high end of the range, that would translate to roughly $15 million more than it had previously estimated it could raise The company is seeking to sell 100 million shares at $8.50 to $10 a share and will reserve 15 million additional shares for extra demand Under the best circumstances, the company will be valued at nearly $7 billion based on 699.3 million shares outstanding That value comes close to the public valuation of EA, around $7.8 billion, but falls short of other game publishers, like Activision, which has a value of $14 billion SOURCE: AllThingsD

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