Archive for July 31st, 2012

Left 4 Dead fan short is ‘Seriously’ gory

Seriously Left 4 Dead is a new fan short revolving around three characters that seem to hate each other as much as they do the zombies. Watch this one in the comfort of your own home, unless your office approves of excessive swearing and blood-filled zombie heads popping all over your monitor.

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Amazon drops free Gravity Rush in with Vita

We recommended Gravity Rush pretty enthusiastically. But we understand that not everyone has had a chance to play it, due to unfortunate factors like not owning it, and not owning a Vita to play it on.

That’s where Amazon comes in. Through August 4, any purchase of a Vita will qualify the buyer for a free copy of Gravity Rush. Amazon is also throwing in a screen cover, which you’d want anyway to keep the dangers of the world from reaching that precious screen.

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Twitter clocks half-billion users: Study

PARIS: Over 500 million people are on micro-blogging site Twitter and Americans and Brazilians are the most connected, according to a study by social media monitor Semiocast released Monday.

Twitter surpassed the half-billion mark at the end of June, with the United States accounting for both the most users and largest number of “tweets” or short messages of no more than 140 characters posted on the site.

The Paris-based monitor carried out the study by analysing data like time zone, geolocation and language available for the social networking site’s total 517 million accounts.

The US accounted for more than 141 million of Twitter users, with Brazil ranking second with 41 million after seeing its number rise by 23 percent since the start of the year. Japan came in third with 35 million users.

Americans also posted the highest number of Twitter messages, with 25.8 percent of all tweets hailing from the US.

Japan came second accounting for 10.6 percent of all tweets, making Japanese the second most common language on Twitter after English.

The study found Jakarta to be the most active Twitter zone, with 2.4 percent of all tweets originating in the Indonesian capital.

The popularity of Twitter continued to soar in the Arab world following the site’s key role in the “Arab Spring” revolutions last year, with Arabic now the site’s sixth most common language.

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General Atlantic in talks to buy stake in Snapdeal

Online retailer Snapdeal is close to sealing a deal to raise $80-100 million (Rs 440-550 crore), in the process potentially snagging private equity investor General Atlantic Partners which was once in funding negotiations with rival Flipkart.

Snapdeal’s existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Nexus Venture Partners and IndoUS Venture Partners will also participate in this round of investment, a person directly involved in the negotiations said without divulging details about how much stake is being sold.

General Atlantic did not reply to questions sent by email. Kunal Bahl, founder and chief executive officer of Snapdeal, declined to comment.

The transaction, when it is complete, will possibly see Snapdeal pull ahead of Flipkart in terms of the total amount of private equity capital raised.

In July 2011, it raised $40 million from Bessemer, along with existing investors Nexus and IndoUS, at a valuation of around Rs 1,000 crore. This followed an investment of $12 million by Nexus and IndoUS in January the same year.

The deal will also mark General Atlantic’s first investment in an Indian ecommerce venture. Last year, talks between the fund and Flipkart failed due to differences over valuation.

Snapdeal model resembles that of eBay in that it connects retailers from across the country with consumers. The online retailer does not hold any inventory and it is the retailer who handles packaging and deliveries through Snapdeal-accredited courier companies.

Flipkart, on the other hand, has chosen the Amazon model of holding inventory. Flipkart also handles its own logistics, including product delivery to customers, employing around 4,800 staff, many of whom are posted at its logistics arm. In comparison, Snapdeal employs around 1,500 staff.

Flipkart, which is based in Bangalore, has formally announced receiving private equity capital of $31 million but has offered no official confirmation of the additional funding from its existing investors Tiger Global and Accel Partners in early 2012.

Three independent industry professionals have told ET that the fund-raising was in the range of $75-100 million at a valuation of $500-600 million.

For General Atlantic, which has invested over $1 billion in Indian companies, including Genpact, the current negotiations with Snapdeal coincide with a sharp dip in valuations of ecommerce companies.

Few online retailers have registered consistent profits and most are spending $1-3 million every month on marketing, overheads and salaries in pursuit of growth.

“Last year, entrepreneurs dictated valuations, but now it is investors who are calling the shots,” said Deepak Srinath, director at Viedea Capital Advisors.

Valuations have plummeted to 1-2 times revenue from a high of 4-10 times, according to bankers with knowledge of deals in the sector. By this token, Snapdeal, which is targeting revenue of Rs 600 crore in fiscal 2013, will have a value of around Rs 1,200 crore.

Bahl, along with Rohit Bansal, founded Snapdeal in 2010 as a group buying site featuring heavily discounted deals on local services. However in 2011 the company changed its focus to products as consumers shifted from daily deals to actual online retail.

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3 mn copies of Mountain Lion downloaded in 4 days

NEW YORK: Apple says Mac users downloaded 3 million copies of Mountain Lion, its latest operating system, in the first four days it was available.

That makes it the fastest launch of an Apple operating system ever, the company says. It released Mountain Lion Wednesday.

Apple charges $20 for the software. That pays for downloads for all of a buyer’s personal computers.

Apple also provides the OS for free to buyers who bought a Mac on or after June 11.

Mountain Lion brings features from the iPhone and iPad to the Mac. The enhancements include tight integration with Apple’s online storage service, iCloud, and a “Notification Center” that shows incoming mail, calendar reminders and other events.

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Oracle to buy Xsigo Systems

Software maker Oracle Corp said it would buy privately held Xsigo Systems, a network virtualization software maker.

San Jose, California-based Xsigo’s software helps customers save costs by allowing them to connect any server to any network.

The eight-year-old company, backed by Kleiner Perkins and Khosla Ventures, counts British Telecom Plc, eBay Inc and Verizon Communication Inc among its customers.

“The acquisition is a testament to the momentum behind software-defined networking and network virtualization technology and a sense of urgency among large IT vendors to position themselves following VMware Inc’s acquisition of Nicira,” ISI Group analyst Brian Marshall said.

VMware last week said it would acquire privately held Nicira Inc for $1.05 billion in cash to expand its portfolio and establish a leading position in virtualized networks.

Oracle did not disclose the terms of the deal. Evercore Partners advised Xsigo Systems on the deal. Earlier this month, Oracle bought software maker Skire Inc for an undisclosed amount.

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