The digital business week

22 Aug 2011

A digest of the top business and technology news stories from the past week.

Google to acquire Motorola Mobility

Internet search and advertising giant Google and Motorola Mobility have entered into an agreement whereby Google will acquire Motorola Mobility for US$40 per share in cash, or about US$12.5bn.

The board of directors of both companies have approved the transaction.

The acquisition of Motorola Mobility, an Android partner, will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing. Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of 2011 or early 2012.

eBay completes Magento acquisition

Online auction giant eBay has completed it acquisition of Magento, Inc., the creators of Magento, an open-source e-commerce platform. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Magento is a feature-rich and enterprise-class commerce solution that offers merchants flexibility and control over the user experience, catalogue, content and functionality of their online stores. Magento Go, the company’s hosted software-as-a-service solution, provides small and growing merchants with tools to help them succeed online, from payments to inventory management.

Magento will be a part of X.commerce, eBay Inc.’s integrated open commerce platform group, focused on leveraging the company’s assets and partner technologies to build a strong, robust developer community as a resource for merchants and retailers of all sizes.

HP to ditch PC and webOS businesses

Technology giant HP said it is exploring “strategic alternatives” for its Personal Systems Group and just months after revealing new webOS-based TouchPad tablet and Pre smartphone products says it is shutting down operations for webOS devices.

HP reported third-quarter revenues of US$31.2bn, which were pretty flat with just a 1pc year-on-year difference. HP’s commercial businesses remain healthy, with 5pc revenue growth year over year. HP’s consumer businesses, within PSG and IPG, were collectively down 15pc year-over-year.

It warned it will be revising full-year 2011 revenue estimates to between US$127.2bn and US$127.7bn. For the fourth quarter, HP estimates revenue of about US$32.1bn to US$32.5bn.

HP CEO Leo Apotheker said the intention now is to sharpen the company’s focus on strategic priorities of cloud, solutions and software, with an emphasis on enterprise, commercial and government markets.

HP’s board of directors has authorised the exploration of strategic alternatives for the company’s Personal Systems Group. Options may include, among others, a full or partial separation of PSG from HP through a spin-off or other transaction.

HP will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. The company said the devices have not met internal milestones and financial targets.

Apple now seeking Europe-wide ban of all Samsung Galaxy devices

Apple has filed a case against Samsung in the Netherlands seeking the ban of all Galaxy smartphones and tablets across Europe.

Its injunction, which is in regards to design and patent infringement, covers the entire Samsung Galaxy series, such as the Galaxy Ace, the Galaxy S, the Galaxy S II, the first Galaxy Tab and the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Other Galaxy devices covered as a footnote included the Gio, Nexus S, 551, Europa, Apollo and Mini.

The case alleges that Samsung copied the iPad’s design, as well as three functional patents, such as mobile photo management, touch events and the “swipe to unlock” patent.

Computerworld reports that Apple’s case against Samsung in The Hague district court is much broader legally than its case in Germany.

Apple also wants Samsung to send a letter of request to its European clients to recall all products infringing on its intellectual property from its stock “within 14 days” and that if clients do not comply, they would be violating Apple’s rights. Along with this, it wants Samsung to offer compensation of the purchase price and transportation costs.

Angry Birds makers to be valued at US$1.2bn?

Rovio, the company behind mobile gaming phenomenon Angry Birds, could receive funding that would value it at about US$1.2bn.

Bloomberg reports that Rovio may take a strategic investment from an unnamed company in the entertainment industry. Rovio has reportedly rejected similar offers from large institutional investors.

This funding could be used to make an Angry Birds movie and to open offices outside of Finland. It may also use the funds to boost the brand further in countries such as China.

Rovio earns huge money through merchandising for the mobile game. It has sold 7m Angry Birds toys since launching them last year and has recently begun selling Angry Birds baby clothes.

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