The person acknowledged that other parties were involved, adding that DirecTV was “one of many” suitors. Media reports have previously identified Time Warner Cable Inc as another company weighing a potential stake in the company.
Representatives of DirecTV and Time Warner Cable declined to comment on Friday.
Reuters reported in April that former News Corp president Peter Chernin had bid around $500 million for Hulu, the service he helped create in 2007. Reuters also reported that Guggenheim had been hired to advise Hulu and was also contemplating a bid.
DirecTV had circled Hulu once before, when the video company put itself on the block in 2011. Other suitors at the time included Google Inc,Amazon.com Inc and Dish Network Corp. Talks collapsed over the price of that deal.
Hulu has more than 3 million subscribers paying $7.99 a month for its premium service, and generated revenue of around $700 million last year. It sells advertising for its free service.
The Wall Street Journal was the first to report DirecTV’s interest late last Friday.
Tumblr, a place for posting cat memes and duck faces, is apparently in Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s sights, with Allthingsd reporting that she is the main driver of a possible acquisition. Yahoo and Tumblr are in “had been in serious talks,” with Mayer having had her eye on the company ever since she worked for Yahoo rival Google.
The report also claims that Tumblr has been “stepping up its efforts” recently to raise funding that could value the company at $1bn, seemingly interested in a potential buyout by Yahoo as long as the price is right.
Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman quoted said that the firm is looking to attract more 18-24 year olds, which is the demographic of the blogging service.
“One of our challenges is we have had an aging demographic,” Goldman said. “Part of it is going to be just visibility again in making ourselves cool, which we got away from for a couple of years.”
One of Allthingsd’s closely guarded sources said that Yahoo acquiring Tumblr fits in nicely with Mayer’s plans.
“If you could pick a company that fits in with what Marissa Mayer has demonstrated in her career – aesthetics, software technology and fast-growing – you could not land on a better choice,” the unnamed source said.
The merger will come as no surprise, as Tumblr boasts 117 million visitors each month, the majority of which are in the 18-24 demographic. However, it still remains unclear what Yahoo would do with Tumblr.
Yahoo will reportedly announce this afternoon.
Google Inc announced on Thursday a half-dozen apps specially designed to work on its Glass devices. News network CNN, fashion magazine Elle, as well as online apps Tumblr and Evernote were among the half-dozen new apps for Glass unveiled during Google’s annual developer conference in San Francisco.
Google Glass is a stamp-sized electronic screen mounted on the left side of a pair of eyeglass frames which can record video, access email and messages and retrieve information from the Web.
Google began distributing the devices last month to a limited number of developers, but it has yet to specify when a version will be available for consumers or at what price.
The futuristic-looking devices have been a common sight at the Google conference this week, with many of the attendees and staffers wearing Glass. But Google executives gave Glass short shrift during the more than three-hour keynote talks on Wednesday, barely mentioning Glass among the litany of new products and services discussed on stage.
Microsoft research is showing that there has been a spike in malware targeting Java vulnerabilities since the third quarter of 2011. Much of the activity has focused on vulnerabilities which are already patched. This suggests that attackers are hitting vulnerabilities that are in multiple versions of Java, rather than just one specific version. Jeong Wook Oh of Microsoft said that in Q3 and Q4 of 2012 two new vulnerabilities, CVE-2012-4681 and CVE-2012-5076, were found.
“But we didn’t observe any prevalence of Java malware abusing these newer vulnerabilities above malware abusing the older Java vulnerabilities, CVE-2012-0507 and CVE-2012-1723. The reason behind this might be that only Java 7 installations were vulnerable to CVE-2012-4681 and CVE-2012-5076, whereas CVE-2012-0507 and CVE-2012-1723 also target Java 6,” he said.
As there are still many users that use Java 6, the malware writers might have tried to target Java 6 installations by including older vulnerabilities in the exploit package. During 2012 there were two kinds of Java vulnerabilities one applied to both multiple versions of Java including Java 6 and 7, and the others only applies to Java 7.
“So when new vulnerabilities that are only applicable to Java 7 are discovered, the attacker’s strategy was usually to combine it with older vulnerabilities that cover more versions of Java. In that way, they could achieve more coverage than just using a single exploit in one package,” Oh said.
Of the four Java vulnerabilities from 2012 only one of which was a zero day vulnerablity. The other three flaws already had patches available when the malware targeting them appeared. The warning here is to install patches as soon as they come out.
Google also announced several APIs that will let developers add more capabilities to their Android apps, including in the areas of location and improving battery life.
“It’s been an amazing year for Android developers,” said Android and Chrome vice president Sundar Pichai.
Google has sent more money to developers through their Play Store sales in the last four months than it did in all of 2012 and revenue per user is now 2.5 times higher than it was a year ago, the company said.
Showing a map of the world where Android penetration is less than 10 percent — which encompassed most of the world outside North America and Europe — Pichai said Google’s next focus is “bringing the next 4.5 billion online.”
To date, Google has seen more than 48 billion Android application installs, and 2.5 billion in the last four months alone, said Hugo Barra, vice president and product manager of Android.
Google announced an update to Google Play Services, a layer of software managed by Google on top of Android, which includes APIs for Google services like Google Maps and Google Now.
Google Play Services is updated independently of Android, to give developers access to the latest Google APIs, helping to solve the Android fragmentation problem.
Google launched new location APIs as part of Google Play Services. The first, Fused Location Provider, includes a low-power location mode that should extend battery life by using less than 1 percent of battery per hour, Barra said.
The second, Geofencing, let’s developers define “virtual fences” around geographic areas that are triggered when a user enters and leaves those areas. “This has been a big ask from you guys,” Barra told the developer audience, who cheered the news.
The last is Activity Recognition, which uses accelerometer data and machine learning to figure out when the user is doing things like walking, driving or cycling.
The firm is in its ascendancy, and is blowing the ink dry on a deal with Disney and getting ready to show the much anticipated Arrested Development Series Four.
While Lovefilm told us that it does not provide subtitles on the films and TV shows it provides, Netflix, its main rival, has improved the subtitles feature on the PS3, making it easier for the hard of hearing to make their selection.
“The first thing you will notice an updated design that is more consistent with the Netflix player on the Web as well as our mobile and tablet applications,” said Chris Jaffe, director of product innovation at Netflix.
“The key feature in this update is the ability to easily manage your audio and subtitles selections. You can now do that directly in the player on the PS3, without having to return to the browse experience.”
The PS3 app now has the same audio and subtitles feature as the Xbox version. It’s going to prove handy for the hard of hearing, and Jaffe said that users will be able to select the Audio and Subtitles settings while they’re watching a movie. PS3 Blu-ray remote control users can just press the Subtitles button.
This is 2013 and nothing happens without someone adding something “social” to it. This update to the Netflix PS3 app also makes sharing whatever title you are watching easier.
There are some playback improvements including “trickplay” mode – a fast-forward or rewind option, and a 10 second skip back button.
“The updated Netflix player experience is available now on PS3 and will be coming soon to select Smart TVs and Blu-ray players,” said Jaffe.
Analysts regarded the move — announced today at BlackBerry Live — as mostly positive, since it could help an improving BlackBerry expand its reach beyond its own new Z10 and Q10 smartphone customers.
Today, there are 60 million BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) customers, a tiny fraction of the number of messages sent via Facebook or Twitter. But BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said BBM users are very active, sending 10 billion messages a day, and half the messages received are read within 20 seconds.
Opening up BBM to iOS 6 devices and above and Android Ice Cream Sandwich devices and above will expand BBM’s reach, Heins said.
“BBM is so great that it’s too good to keep only to ourselves,”Heins said during an upbeat keynote presentation at the event, which is mainly for BlackBerry developers and partners. “Why now? It’s a statement of confidence, that BlackBerry 10 is strong and the response is so good that it’s time that BBM become multi-platform.”
BBM’s interoperability with Android and iOS is now in beta, and will launch commercially this summer, Heins said. At first, only text messaging will be available to individuals and groups on other platforms. Features already available in BlackBerry 10 on BBM such as voice and video and screen sharing will be added later this year, with updates every two to four weeks.
The company said over the weekend it welcomed Loki, Astrid, GoPollGo and MileWise to its growing mobile team. “We recently added 22 entrepreneurs to our growing mobile team,” the company said in a Twitter message in a possible reference to some of the people from the four companies who have moved to Yahoo.
Loki’s flagship application is its location-aware game, Geomon. “We are thrilled to be joining the exceptional folks at Yahoo!. We believe fully in their commitment to creating outstanding mobile products,” the Loki team said on their website.
Earlier in the week, Yahoo also acquired GoPollGo, a social polling tool. The company’s founder and team said they were moving to Yahoo, and would no longer be supporting their offerings.
It is not clear whether Yahoo has bought all these companies for their products and technology or just to get their experienced staff in the area of mobile as it tries to build up its own mobile capabilities. The way the services are being shut down suggests that their user base did not particularly interest Yahoo. The company could not be immediately reached for comment.
Google said it is expanding the amount of free storage for users of its cloud storage service Google Drive. Google Drive on Monday announced it’s increasing the amount of free storage it offers subscribers from 10GB for Gmail and another 5GB for Drive and Google+ Photos.
Combined, Google subscribers will get a net total of 15GB of free unified storage and will be able to share all the additional data among the Drive cloud storage service, Gmail and Google+ Photos.
Clay Bavor, director of product management at Google Drive, wrote in a blog that with the new combined storage space, “you won’t have to worry about how much you’re storing and where.
“For example, maybe you’re a heavy Gmail user but light on photos, or perhaps you were bumping up against your Drive storage limit but were only using 2 GB in Gmail. Now it doesn’t matter, because you can use your storage the way you want,” he wrote.
Google has been increasing its competitive pressure on other cloud storage providers since launching its Drive service last year.
Among Google Drive’s competitors is Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Apple’s iCloud, but the companies most threatened by Google’s move into online storage are smaller specialized service providers, such as DropBox, Box, SugarSync and YouSendIt, according to analysts.
Dropbox offers 2GB for free, and its first paid upgrade option is to 50GB for $9.99 a month or $99 per year.
“[Average consumers] don’t have much of a relationship with these smaller [cloud] companies,” Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg said at the time of Google Drive’s launch. “The challenge for these smaller companies is reaching out to consumers or shifting to somewhat of a different market; the problem is that Google also wants the business market, the small business market and ultimately the enterprise IT market.”
The improvements include a new “all photos” view that displays thumbnails of all the pictures, organized in a monthly timeline grid.
Microsoft also tweaked both the SkyDrive desktop app and its server counterpart to increase upload speeds, achieving a 2X to 3X improvement, according to the company.
In addition, Microsoft said it has improved “the readability” of files and folders stored in the service, remaking the thumbnail format for PowerPoint and Word files to make it easier to identify and find them.
Photos are the most common files stored in SkyDrive “both in sheer number and in total storage consumed,” Omar Shahine, group program manager of SkyDrive.com, wrote in a blog post on Monday.
It will take about 48 hours for the changes to be applied to all SkyDrive accounts.
SkyDrive rival Dropbox has also been testing new photo storage, sharing and management features, including the ability to organize photos in albums and to share more than one photo or a folder at a time.
Google Drive, another SkyDrive competitor, also has specific features for managing photo files.
The new tools represent yet another expansion of the Microsoft search site to make it more interactive and useful as the company seeks to distinguish itself from Google search.
In March Bing expanded its center column to incorporate more social information from Facebook, Twitter and Klout into how it displays search results involving people. In January its right-hand Social Sidebar was scaled out to include more content from users’ Facebook friends such as status updates, shared links and comments.
Previously, users could see that content, but could not interact with it without leaving the Bing site. But with the latest expansion, they can.
“Now you can see what your friends might know about what you’re searching for and engage with them directly without leaving the search page,” Bing said last Friday in a blog post.
As an example, if a person is searching for tickets to a Beyonce concert, and a friend posted on Facebook that she has an extra ticket, the person could comment directly on the post on the Bing site to let the friend know that he would like to join her for the concert, Bing said.
The person has to be signed into Facebook for the feature to work. The tool honors the user’s account settings and won’t share any information without the person’s approval, Bing said.
There does not appear to be any restriction on how old the Facebook posts can be.
The feature’s focus is on surfacing the most relevant information for the searcher, but on average the technology looks at roughly two years’ worth of Facebook data for each person, a Microsoft spokesperson said.
For instance, searching for the just-released film “The Great Gatsby” displayed Facebook posts from as far back as 2011, some of which did not even refer to the recent Hollywood adaptation of the book.
The flow of information between Bing and Facebook goes both ways. In January Facebook announced the beta launch of Graph Search, a social search tool designed to let users discover a wider range of information across the social network. When there are holes in the Graph Search results, information from Bing will be weaved in, Facebook said.
Bing originally rolled out its right-hand Social Sidebar last year, and since then “we’ve been exploring ways to make it more useful,” the site said last Friday.
The app, which takes the place of the home screen on supported devices, puts Facebook much more at the center of the phone. Rather than an app launch or home screen appearing when a phone is woken from sleep, the user sees the Facebook Home screen and pictures and updates from their friends.
“That’s very much in line with our expectations for the launch,” said Cory Ondrejka, director of mobile engineering at Facebook, during a briefing for reporters. “We thought that was a large enough number to start getting data.”
The users are typically early adopters who have specifically searched the Android Play Store to find the app, said the company. Facebook isn’t currently using its main app to promote Home, but word has spread via the social network.
Putting Facebook updates in front of users has led to a 25 percent increase in the amount of time they spend using Facebook, Ondrejka said.
“Facebook is already the most-used app on mobile devices, so being able to bump that is something we are very excited about,” he said.
A new version of Facebook Home will launch Thursday, along with the latest version of the Facebook app.
The latest version of the software addresses bugs, but Facebook is working on subsequent versions that will address feedback and complaints from those first million users. They include a new way to launch non-Facebook apps and an easier way to initiate chats.
The complaints about the app launcher were mostly related to the way it reorganized apps. If users had spent time organizing and curating their home screen, the Home app changed that.
“Any launcher that juggled apps would get this feedback,” said Ondrejka. “Since I’ve spent time curating my apps, I don’t want Facebook to move them around.”
A new version of the app launcher, shown on Thursday but due in a future update, looks much more like the traditional Android home screen.
The stock’s plunge was the second-worst decline in 18 months, and follows what had been a 67 percent rise over the last year.
“The core issue with this company is can they make content profitable?” said Ben Schachter, an analyst with Macquarie Research. “What you see every quarter is the only thing making money is the membership group. They are clearly going in the right direction, but we want to see more progress.”
For the past several years, AOL has been trying to transform itself into a media destination with a stable of sites like the Huffington Post and Patch. It’s a change from the days when it was best known as an Internet access business with free-trial CDs that clogged mailboxes.
AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong has invested heavily in content, including plowing well over $100 million into Patch, a group of hyperlocal websites that covers neighborhood news and events.
Even with all of that spending, the legacy subscription service is still the most profitable part of the company. The membership group, which includes subscriptions, posted operating profit of $146.4 million in the quarter.
AOL’s media sites turned in an operating loss of almost $5 million. Those sites, which include Patch, Huffington Post, Engadget and TechCrunch, lost almost $17 million in the year-ago period.
“Patch is still a money losing proposition,” said Ron Josey, an analyst with JMP Securities, who estimated Patch lost $100 million last year.
Armstrong reiterated on a call with analysts he expects Patch to be profitable in the fourth quarter.
“If they can get to break-even by fourth quarter, I think that is a win,” said Josey.
A former FBI counter-terrorism agent Tim Clemente appeared on CNN to claim that most of the great unwashed did not know the real capabilities and behavior of the US surveillance state. The comments stem out of anonymous government officials claiming that they are now focused on telephone calls between one of the Boston Bombers and his wife to see if she had prior knowledge of the plot or participated in any way.
The only problem with that was that if the calls were already made, how could the FBI listen to them. Tim Clemente, a former FBI counter-terrorism agent was asked about whether the FBI would be able to discover the contents of past telephone conversations between the two. He quite clearly insisted that they could.
He said that there were ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It’s not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out. He said that all of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether people know it or like it or not.
Amazon.com has updated its mobile app store to include support for its Chinese customers, a potential signal that the U.S. company may be preparing to sell its Kindle e-readers and tablets in the country.
The update effectively launches a new version of Amazon’s app store built in the Chinese language. The store comes in the form of an Android app, and the company has been promoting it since this past weekend.
The arrival of the new store comes just months after Amazon launched its Kindle e-book service in China last December. Both are key platforms for bringing content to the company’s Kindle devices in the U.S. market. But in China, Amazon has yet to start selling its tablet and e-reader hardware, and its local offices have been mum on a future release date. The company on Monday did not immediately respond for comment.
Despite the absence of official sales, the Chinese market is showing some “pent-up demand” for Amazon’s e-readers, said Mark Natkin, managing director of Beijing-based Marbridge Consulting. Research data from last year showed that Chinese consumers were increasingly buying the e-readers from overseas markets, he added.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets could also sell well in the country, Natkin said. Apple currently dominates the nation’s tablet sector, but the company largely focuses on the higher-end market. Amazon’s Kindle Fire products, which start at $159, could appeal to many consumers wanting a lower-priced device from a well-known brand, he added.
Lenovo became the country’s second-largest tablet vendor after Apple, with a 14% market share, by its focus on budget tablets, according to analysts.
Though a big name in the U.S., Amazon is, however, a small player in China’s e-commerce market. It faces fierce competition from the local rivals, including Alibaba Group’s Taobao sites and 360buy, another major online shopping mall. Both Taobao and 360buy also sell e-books.
China’s market is also already saturated with local app stores, some of which are operated by handset makers and telecom operators. Amazon’s new Chinese app store has been designed to include more local products. Software from Chinese social networking site Sina Weibo and video-sharing hub Youku Tudou are listed, but U.S. apps including Netflix and Twitter are not.