Apple just bought digital magazine subscription service Texture

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Apple acquires Texture

Apple’s tendrils are expanding even further as the company announced on Monday that it has signed an agreement to acquire digital magazine subscription service Texture from its current owners. Texture is a service that gives users unlimited access to over 200 of the most popular magazines in the world for a single monthly fee. Available on both iOS and Android, Apple says that the app will continue to work on both platforms after the acquisition.

“We’re excited Texture will join Apple, along with an impressive catalog of magazines from many of the world’s leading publishers,” said Apple’s Eddy Cue in a statement. “We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users.”

Apple made journalism a priority on its platform when it introduced the News app back in 2016 alongside the iOS 10 update. This acquisition also comes just as Facebook is taking a step back from bombarding users with headlines, as the company has struggled to help its users distinguish real stories from fake ones.

Apple did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, nor did it discuss how or if the app and the team behind the app will be changing once the deal is complete. TechCrunch reports that Apple is acquiring the company intact, with all of its employees, which means the $ 9.99 subscription fee will likely be unchanged as well.

“I’m thrilled that Next Issue Media, and its award-winning Texture app, are being acquired by Apple,” John Loughlin, CEO of Next Issue Media / Texture, said on Monday. “The Texture team and its current owners, Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, Rogers Media and KKR, could not be more pleased or excited with this development. We could not imagine a better home or future for the service.”

Apple – BGR

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ can now be bought from the Microsoft Store

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

You can now pre-order the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ from the Microsoft store and get free shipping starting March 16. The phones ship with the usual Microsoft apps preinstalled – Word, Excel and OneNote – and a few additional ones – Skype and the Microsoft Launcher. Both phones are unlocked. You can pre-order the Galaxy S9 for $ 719.99 and the Galaxy S9+ for $ 839.99. These match the official prices and shipping dates for the US. You can compare the US prices and dates with those for India, the UK and Canada.

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Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

After a decade of resisting, I finally bought a Kindle

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Amazon launched the Kindle just after I graduated college in 2007, a device which Walt Mossberg called a milestone for the company. I remember seeing the first devices pop up at the time, but it wasn’t something I was interested in since I was firmly wedded to the paper book. A decade after Amazon debuted its revolutionary device, I finally broke down during last year’s Prime Day sale and purchased a refurbished Kindle Paperwhite.

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Amazon. My first purchases were facilitated by my high school librarian, who helped me keep up with the latest Star Wars novels. Amazon.com later proved to be useful for my textbooks in college. But I was also wary of the site: during and after college, I was a…

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Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Here’s how a lawsuit against Ring scuttled one deal a few months before Amazon bought it

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Did a private equity firm lose out on a quick dollar because it got spooked?

An injunction against Ring scuttled one fundraising deal it had planned just a few months before Amazon’s billion-dollar purchase of the smart-home security company, according to sources.

Ring did end up raising $ 100 million anyway this winter before the sale. But it experienced a series of unusual back-and-forth fundraising and legal events that offers a window into how deals can abruptly fall apart, how investors can miss out on a quick buck, and most intriguingly, how Amazon history could perhaps have played out differently if a judge had made a different decision.

Here’s what happened.

Ring saw an earlier planned financing round canceled after an investor got spooked by an intellectual property lawsuit filed by ADT, a competitor to Ring in the home security world. If the lead investor, Valor Equity Partners, had stuck around, the firm would’ve made a small payday in just a few months.

Ring authorized a fundraising round last August that would’ve valued the company at around $ 1 billion, albeit with heavy protection for investors. That financing was going to be in a round led by Valor, according to people with knowledge of the situation. A term sheet was signed and an updated certificate of incorporation — authorizing a new round of fundraising — had been filed with the State of Delaware.

But the deal broke down after the private equity firm grew concerned about the lawsuit. The suit was filed in the spring, so Valor knew the company was in a fight. But then a judge in November issued a preliminary injunction that forced Ring to stop selling its Ring Protect system. ADT had claimed Ring had stolen some of ADT’s software when Ring acquired a company called Zonoff, in which ADT itself had invested.

It was a setback. That injunction, according to the people, spooked Valor, a Chicago-based firm most well-known for its investments in SpaceX and Tesla. (Private equity investors are typically more risk-averse than venture investors.) The injunction came at the worst possible moment — Valor needed time to figure out if this investment was still worth it, the people say, and Ring wanted a decision.

So the deal fell through — it’s unclear who walked from whom — and Valor didn’t pay.

Would Amazon have acquired Ring if Valor hadn’t left the picture? It’s impossible to know. But let’s play it out.

The ‘no’ argument: If Ring had been fully funded as an independent company in the late summer or early fall, it may not have felt the financial need to sell in the winter. Maybe the conversations don’t even happen: Sources say the Amazon talks only got serious several months later, in the winter.

And even if they did, Valor could have tried to block the sale if their return was seen as too small and pushed Amazon for a higher price. Maybe Amazon balks.

The ‘yes’ argument: Ring did end up raising money around December before Amazon came calling — so they had the same sell-or-raise choice and made the ‘sell’ decision.

And while the talks certainly accelerated in the winter, Ring and Amazon, a Ring investor, had been speaking for a while — startups these days commonly will at least explore an acquisition and a funding round simultaneously, known as a dual-track process. So it’s certainly possible Valor could have invested and then just a few months later taken home a profit when Amazon completed the purchase.

Amazon and Ring declined to comment. Valor did not respond to requests for comment.

Ring and ADT would end up settling the suit for $ 25 million. But that settlement — maybe due to the bad taste in Ring investors’ mouths after the suddenly-dropped deal — did not ignite a new round of talks between Ring and Valor.

What Ring did need, though, was a new plan. The company, which sources say did more than $ 400 million in revenue in 2017, hadn’t raised money since December 2016 and wanted cash. That’s when a group of existing investors orchestrated a quickly-executed round of financing — about $ 200 million at the same $ 1 billion valuation.

Ring had to, again, send off a new Delaware filing. And again budget for a new investment.

But, even then, things did not go according to plan.

About half — not all — of the $ 200 million had been wired to Ring after the round’s first close. But then with the ADT suit settled, talks with Amazon heated up. And so the company halted the fundraising process between the first and second close, the people say, meaning that some existing investors got additional stakes in Ring but the second tranche of people who had yet to wire money did not.

Those who did were lucky. Amazon came with an offer that valued the company at more than the $ 1 billion that Valor felt the company was worth.


Recode – All

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Why Ring needed to sell and why Amazon bought it

Home security from Ring competes with new services from Wink, Nest, ADT and more.

Amazon plans to buy Ring, the maker of a connected doorbell and security system, in a deal that Reuters says is valued at $ 1 billion. The move is another expansion into home security hardware by Amazon, and a necessary exit for Ring after almost six years making consumer hardware and raising almost $ 210 million.

It also heralds the end of the IoT consumer hardware startup explosion that occurred between 2012 and culminated after Google purchased Nest for $ 3.2 billion 2014.  From that peak, we entered a gradual winnowing of consumer device startups with the sale of Revolv, Pebble, and August. Those that sold were lucky. Untold crowdfunded startups failed to deliver such as Goji and Sense. And in the last six months we’ve seen the demise and formal shut down of products from Emberlight, Juicero, Staples Connect and Otto.

Last year a source in the industry told me that pretty much every company in the consumer IoT space was for sale. The challenge in figuring out which ones to buy boiled down to their technical specs or their success so far in the consumer market. With the Ring buy coming so soon after Amazon purchased Blink, which also has a connected camera and doorbell, Amazon has doubled down on home security, buying a technical advantage in Blink and a market advantage in Ring.

In December, when Amazon purchased Blink, I pointed out that Blink’s heritage as a low power video processor startup was the real value for Amazon. As I wrote then:

Amazon now has the cameras and future doorbell. It also now has its own image processing chip technology. As companies like Google and Apple build dedicated silicon for their mass-market devices, that could become an advantage. Even if it doesn’t Amazon now has another advantage in the smart home — a security offering.

Security is the gateway drug for the smart home. While many companies started out with fancy automated light bulbs or platforms like SmartThings, the consistent value and real short-term opportunity in the connected home is around security. Roughly a fifth of American homes subscribe to a commercial security product, according to industry figures. But IP cameras and sensors tied to smartphones are changing the economics of monitored security.

In that model, companies such as ADT or Alarm.com charge a monthly fee for keeping an eye on hardware they’ve installed. The hardware costs are paid out over time as part of the contract. But for an amount that can range between $ 100 for Korner to $ 500 from Nest, a consumer can get a basic security setup they can monitor on their own.  ADT, Vivint and Alarm.com see the threat. They’ve invested in bringing hot connected devices into their own platforms and changing up their pricing models. ADT now offers a DIY security product created with SmartThings you can purchase in Best Buy.

The security giants aren’t alone in seeing an opportunity. Comcast now has 1.1 million Xfinity Home customers that get security and home automation features with their broadband. Nest has teamed up with an outside company to provide monitoring for its Nest security system if a users wants it. Increasingly if you want to play in the smart home, you start with or add security.

So it’s no surprise that Amazon, recognizing the potential of the smart home with Alexa, has decided to make sure it has all of its bases covered. Alexa can be the brains on the inside with Ring as the eyes on the outside. Plus, even my friends who know nothing about tech know about Ring. While the tech nerds of the world embrace Alexa, mainstream America has embraced Ring.

Ring will also undoubtedly help Amazon improve its Key program that gives Amazon delivery folks access to the user’s home. Amazon is expected to let Ring operate as its own business much like it does with Audible and Zappos, according to a source briefed on the deal. This makes sense as Amazon could otherwise alienate some of it’s existing Alexa partners who compete with Ring.

That’s why Amazon bought Ring, but why would Ring, a company that was raising money at almost a billion dollar valuation earlier this year sell?

It has to. It faces lawsuits from ADT that have prevented it from selling its newly-created home security system and a patent suit from a rival video doorbell company. But primarily,  the economics of building and supporting connected devices is punishing. Last April, the maker of several connected consumer devices sat down with me to do the math. For every $ 200 device he sold, he faced roughly $ 3 in annual costs associated with that product. If he sells 10 million of them, he’s suddenly looking at $ 30 million annually in cloud, software, and security update costs. Those costs exist as long as the device does, eroding any profits made on the product.

Subscription feeds can offset these costs, but not every buyer will take up a subscription. Without knowing what percent of Ring’s customers are paying subscribers, it’s hard to know how profitable the company was and could remain for the long run. If it planned to go public, investors would certainly ask these questions. These are the same questions people should be asking as Netgear tries to sell of a 20 percent stake in its Arlo camera business through an initial public offering.

So far, Fitbit and GoPro have not provided a stellar example for consumer hardware companies. So between the reckoning happening on the startup side and the potential of an IPO, it’s no wonder Amazon’s offer looked like the best option. Frankly, Ring is getting off easy.

 

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

Circle has bought Poloniex, a cryptocurrency exchange, for around $400 million

Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire

It’s one of the larger deals in the crypto-economy.

Circle, which runs a cryptocurrency platform that allows larger clients to trade bitcoin on the market, has bought one of the underlying exchanges, Poloniex, in a deal that values Poloniex at about $ 400 million.

The ballpark deal price, confirmed by a person with knowledge of the terms, is one of the larger transactions in the burgeoning cryptocurrency industry, though Circle itself remains private (and could go up or down in value). Poloniex is the 18th largest cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume, according to Coin Market Cap.

Circle, which also functions as a social payments company for people to send cash or cryptocurrencies to one another, is now positioning itself with this acquisition as a competitor to Coinbase. Coinbase is one of the hottest startups in Silicon Valley — thanks to a surge of consumer and investor interest in trading cryptocurrency — and Circle seems to think there’s room for another player.

Circle has raised $ 140 million from investors like Goldman Sachs and Jim Breyer. Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire appeared on Recode’s Too Embarassed to Ask podcast last year — you can listen here.


Recode – All

T-Mobile bought Layer3 TV for $325 million

Last month, T-Mobile closed its acquisition of Layer3 TV, which had been announced back in December. We got the details on how Layer3’s team would join T-Mobile and a tease for T-Mo’s upcoming TV service, but one part of the deal has eluded us: how much T-Mobile paid for Layer3. Now that info has been revealed. T-Mobile paid around $ 325 million for Layer3 TV. That’s according to an SEC document that T-Mobile filed today … [read full article]

The post T-Mobile bought Layer3 TV for $ 325 million appeared first on TmoNews.

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If you bought a replacement iPhone battery for $79, Apple might have some good news

iPhone Slowdown

As Apple tells it, the company was simply trying to help users when it began throttling CPU performance on older iPhones with degraded batteries. Consumers, however, felt swindled and completely taken advantage of. Once Apple admitted that it artificially slows down older devices, the company was swiftly hit with dozens of class-action lawsuits, with the underlying claim being that Apple’s behavior was deceitful and effectively compelled users to shell out hundreds of dollars on device upgrades.

Responding to the backlash, Apple promptly issued a blanket apology and announced a new battery replacement program wherein impacted users across the board are eligible to receive a new battery for just $ 29, no questions asked. Additionally, Apple said that a forthcoming update to iOS will introduce a new power management feature that will provide users with detailed information about the state of their battery along with the ability to turn CPU throttling off.

Not surprisingly, Apple’s behavior also attracted the attention of government agencies, with both the DOJ and the SEC initiating investigations into the matter late last month. Now comes word via Reuters that Apple, in a subsequent letter to lawmakers, has indicated that they’ve seen “strong demand” for replacement batteries. What’s more, Apple adds that it may offer rebates to users who paid full price for replacement batteries before word of Apple’s throttling activity became public.

Apple Inc has seen “strong demand” for replacement iPhone batteries and may offer rebates for consumers who paid full price for new batteries, the company said in a Feb. 2 letter to U.S. lawmakers made public on Tuesday.

Word that Apple has seen strong demand for iPhone battery replacements is especially interesting as it pertains to iPhone sales. As some analysts have opined, a mass of users intent on swapping out their old batteries for new ones could have a substantial impact on the cumulative number of iPhone upgrades Apple sees throughout the year.

Apple – BGR

Pokémon Go developer Niantic just bought an AR backend company called Escher Reality

Pokémon Go is the poster child for augmented reality. Niantic didn’t make quite as big a splash with its first AR game, Ingress, but our collective millennial Pokémon-themed childhood ensured that the company’s second effort had a very different reception. Now Niantic looks to be making an investment for the future, as it’s just purchased Escher Reality, a startup specializing in backend (read: multiplayer) solutions for VR. 

This acquisition was a very smart move for Niantic.

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Pokémon Go developer Niantic just bought an AR backend company called Escher Reality was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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