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tech TWiST News #248  

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News stories we're covering for This Week in Startups Episode #248, airing on Friday, April 13th, will be posted here. Vote up the stories you most want to see discussed on the show. If you have suggestions for news topics that aren't listed here, leave them in the comments section below and we can add them! And don't forget to click through to Page 2 for more of the stories we're covering!
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Apple Has a $600B Market Cap is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list TWiST News #248
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Apple Has a $600B Market Cap

Although the broader market was down, shares in Apple rose to a new 52-week high on Tuesday: $644
That jump was enough to carry Apple’s market cap across the $600B threshold. The new milestone came only a month after the company reached the $500B mark.

Apple is the second company ever with a market cap this large. The first was Microsoft, which nabbed a $604 billion market capitalization in December of 1999. Apple’s market cap is the largest in the world by a good measure, gaining ground against the former record-holder, Exxon Mobil.

QUESTION: If the $600B threshold has been broken, is it inevitable that Apple will eventually reach a trillion dollar cap? Think the loss of Steve Jobs will have any long-term negative impact on Apple's value or financial future?

SOURCE: AllThingsD
Microsoft Buys Part of Netscap... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list TWiST News #248
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Microsoft Buys Part of Netscape

Microsoft announced this week that it is buying a large portion of Netscape from AOL. The deal is one part of a $1 billion patent sale that AOL and Microsoft announced on Monday. As part of the transaction, AOL announced that it was selling off "stock of an AOL subsidiary" at a loss. The subsidiary in question? Netscape. Microsoft will buy the underlying patents for the old browser; AOL will retain the brand and the related Netscape businesses.

Netscape's web browser was once dominant, but in 1995, the company memorably lost a significant chunk of its user base to Internet Explorer in what was then referred to as the "browser wars."

QUESTION: What does Microsoft want with these patents? Think they're planning the next round of costly patent lawsuits?

SOURCE: AllThingsD
Apple Slapped with an Anti-Tru... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list TWiST News #248
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Apple Slapped with an Anti-Trust Lawsuit

The U.S. government hit Apple and five of the nation's largest publishers with an antitrust lawsuit, alleging they conspired to limit competition in the sale and pricing of e-books. Specifically, the government claims the publishers met as a group about once a quarter, "in private dining rooms of upscale Manhattan restaurants," and mutually agreed raise prices and block Amazon from selling e-books at $9.99. Along with collaboration from Apple, the group pursued the so-called "agency model" of book sales, in which publishers set the sales price without input from retailers. Amazon was given a choice of either accepting the agency model or losing the right to sell new titles until months after their release.

Three of the publishers - Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins - settled the U.S. suit and agreed to let Amazon and other retailers set the consumer price of e-books. Penguin Group (USA) and Macmillan are the other two publishers named in the suit.

Atty. General Eric Holder said of the suit, "As a result of this alleged conspiracy, we believe consumers paid millions of dollars more for some of the most popular titles." Apple has responded as well, saying "The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry... Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore."

A separate settlement with states could lead to tens of millions of dollars in restitution to consumers who bought e-books.

QUESTION: How damning for Apple are the accusations in the suit? Does it sound like someone on the inside of Apple or one of the other publishing houses talked to the government?

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal
Are Google and Amazon Eyeing T... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list TWiST News #248
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Are Google and Amazon Eyeing Travelzoo?

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Travelzoo, the 14-year-old deals site, is planning to sell itself. After apparently receiving some takeover interest from private equity firms, the company started seeking a financial adviser, setting off speculation that a sale was imminent. Their stock soared by nearly 30% after the news broke, gaining $6 to close at $27.06

A pioneer in the daily deals business, Travelzoo has been sending subscribers a weekly email highlighting what it calls the top 20 travel deals for more than a decade.

AllThingsD speculates that Google - which snapped up ITA Software and memorably tried to purchase newsletter-based deals giant Groupon - may be interested in Travelzoo, but also names Amazon, Expedia and Priceline as potential buyers.

Travelzoo’s revenue stream is based on an advertising model where companies pay a fee to get in front of its large email audience. The company’s market value is hovering around $300 million - the main sources of value are a sales team and its list of subscribers.

In 2011, the company reported revenues of $148 million, up from $112 million over the same period during the previous year.

QUESTION: With so many startups vying for acquisition by the big guys, it’s easy to forget that more well-established companies can also be ripe for the picking. What would a sale of a long-tailer like Travelzoo mean for the industry? Who do you think will get it?

SOURCE: AllThingsD