In this week’s episode of Ask A VC, we had GGV Capital’s Glenn Solomon in the studio to talk about the developing technology market in China, and his predictions for 2014.
Windows Phone, Microsoft’s smartphone platform has ground out its place at the mobile table employing a combination of tenacity, marketing dollars, improving firmware, and, at last, a world-class device lineup. It has not been an easy road for Microsoft, who launched Windows Phone 7 Series straight from the ashes of Kin, a time in which your uncle had more credibility in the mobile market. It came to the public nearly 2 years before Windows 8 did the same, for perspective. And yet, following the release of Windows Phone 8 at the end of last year, along with new hardware from Nokia that could match, at last, rival devices, Windows Phone has outlasted BlackBerry, made market share progress, bolstered its app store depth, and has more or less become the accepted third place mobile platform. Or, as Paul Thurrott wrote recently, “We’re number three. And no, that doesn’t suck.” But is that right? The Struggle It is something like vindication to see Windows Phone walk on its own two feet. If you were around when user interface experiments landed on Zune helped set the groundwork for much of Windows Phone’s GUI, there is a historical element at play in this narrative. And, personally, I loved the idea behind Windows Phone the first time we got a taste, eventually calling for Microsoft to release a Windows Phone tablet in the pre-Windows 8 days. They did, but they called it Surface. Still, we need to be careful. That Microsoft has answered the ”can we beat BlackBerry and become an accepted mobile player” question aside, most of its work still remains ahead of the company. As Thurrott notes, Windows Phone ended 2012 with 2.8% global market share. It is concluding 2013 with 3.6%, a mere 28.57% increase in a year that we in the media are generally heralding as pivotal in the best possible sense for the company. So, what gives? The mobile market is growing, and while Windows Phone is growing more quickly — hence its market share improvements — it is hardly tearing up the charts, and Android is increasingly taking on the mantle of smartphone hegemon. Android Thurrott details the precise issue that I think could constrain Windows Phone’s forward momentum, perhaps lowering a ceiling onto to how far it can grow in 2014 and beyond: 2013 was, alas, the year that Android became the Windows of the mobile world. Android surpassed 80
Let’s say you’re at the airport, checking your email on your iPhone over the wifi. Well, you’ve already made your first mistake. You’ve trusted the airport network to be secure enough to protect you from hacker attacks.
Twenty-somethings are some of the hardest people to shop for. They’re changing so quickly, interests waxing and waning by the day, that it can be pretty difficult to figure out a great gift for the holidays.
But have no fear.
At least one of these four suggestions should be a good fit for a young professional or college student, whether they’re your family member or friend.
Foursquare just raised a bunch of money, again. This time it’s a Series D round of $35M, back in April of this year it was $41M in debt financing. The company seems to keep being able to convince people there’s something of value in its global location service.
We now have more details on Facebook’s plans to acquire Bangalore-based Little Eye Labs, an Indian startup whose primary product is a software tool for analyzing Android apps’ performance. Multiple sources have told us that the two companies exchanged the term sheets few weeks ago, and that a final announcement could be made by mid-January. The deal size is expected to be in the range of $10-15 million. Overall, the Little Eye Labs acquisition fits right into in Facebook’s mobile ambitions, an area where it has lagged rivals like Twitter, despite having some 874 million of its 1.19 billion-strong (September figures) user base logged on via mobile devices. And Facebook has been on the lookout for startups that could potentially help it gain a greater foothold on mobile devices. As part of its aggressive mobile strategy, Facebook acquired Parse, a mobile-backend-as-a-service startup in April of this year. A Facebook acquisition of Little Eye Labs would mean a lot for an Indian startup that’s less than one-and-a-half years old, and it would mean much more for the Indian startup ecosystem as a whole, where acquisitions of this profile have been tough to come by. While exploring potential acquirers, Little Eye Labs also pitched to Twitter, but Facebook seemed to offer a better deal, another source added. One of the sources who shared some details about this proposed acquisition said that if the deal closes, most of the Little Eye Labs’ founding team will move to Facebook’s U.S. headquarters, and work there as part of the mobile engineering team. Little Eye Labs caught the attention of potential acquirer(s) in Seedcamp, London, where the startup was refining its product along with 20 other companies. Gaurav Lochan, who joined Little Eye labs from India’s largest e-commerce company, Flipkart, earlier this year, had this to say about using the startup’s tool for fixing a bug in Google’s official I/Q app at the event. Flipkart, was also the first customer for Little Eye Labs. Kumar Rangarajan, co-founder of Little Eye labs, had even acknowledged that the company was in discussions with Facebook earlier this month, after reports of the acquisition first surfaced. However, Rangarajan could not be reached at the time of publication. A Facebook spokesperson, who had earlier declined to offer any comments, has also not responded. The Little Eye founders — Kumar Rangarajan, Satyam Kandula, Lakshman Kakkirala and Giridhar Murthy, all worked together previously at IBM.
It’s the most reflective and introspective time of the year, so this week on the TechCrunch Gadgets Podcast we take a look back at the year that was and offer up our favorite gadgets. John likes a lot of stuff, including the treadmill desk that has become a permanent fixture on the Gadgets cast, and some more broadly transformative gadgets, too. Predictably, I like Apple stuff, and also predictably, Matt Burns likes some kind of reciprocating saw or tool or whatever. Some of the devices that come to mind can be found in our team gift guide, or on one of the other various gift guides we’ve been gifting you all season long. So have a listen to this week’s episode of the TechCrunch John Biggs Treadmill Deskcast, featuring John Biggs in the title role, Darrell Etherington, and Matt Burns. We invite you to enjoy our weekly podcasts every Friday at 3 p.m. Eastern and noon Pacific. And feel free to check out the TechCrunch Gadgets Flipboard magazine right here. Click here to download an MP3 of this show. You can subscribe to the show via RSS. Subscribe in iTunes Intro Music by Rick Barr.
BlackBerry announced today that it would be partnering with Foxconn to produce devices going forward, and CEO John Chen revealed a few details about the first fruits of that partnership on the company’s earnings call today.