So the makers of Candy Crush Saga want to do an IPO:
Midasplayer International Holding Co., the publisher of online and mobile games including the popular “Candy Crush Saga,” has hired banks to pursue a U.S. initial public offering, according to people familiar with the move.
It seems to me that another game company went public a while back with less than optimal results:
Zynga’s revenues for the first quarter of 2013 declined 18% year-over-year to $264 million as the company is in the midst of doing a big pivot onto mobile platforms. The company swung to a profit from a year ago though, with net income of $4 million. Last year, during the same quarter, Zynga earned $321 million in revenue.
Building a successful company based on the whims of game players doesn’t seem like a good long term strategy. People often play a game incessantly for a while, then tire of it en masse. At least Candy Crush Saga already has a mobile strategy in place.
IPOs like this seem destined as a way to create a big pop for a few fortunate well-connected investors, and that’s about it.
Like many companies in the past couple of weeks, Apple has issued a statement that they do not provide direct access to your data to the NSA:
In the wake of the PRISM scandal, Apple has issued a public statement detailing the extent of US government data requests. In the statement, it repeats that it does not provide any agency with direct access to its servers, noting that all requests for customer data need to be backed by a court order.
They also note that, as previously reported, they can’t decrypt iMessage and FaceTime data because of end-to-end encryption. So anyone using those technologies is currently safe from NSA snooping.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if the PRISM story provided the tipping point for mass adoption of secure end-to-end encrypted communications, making it impossible for the NSA to listen in to any conversations?
Would the U.S. then consider passing a law making it illegal to use such encrypted communications, which would have the effect of intentionally obliterating the Fourth Amendment – for U.S. citizens only – but still allowing anyone else to communicate securely? Though at this point is seems that the Fourth Amendment is no longer respected by the government anyway.
I see so many articles about the internet being the scourge of the earth. The internet is responsible for the spread of pornography. The internet is the tool of pedophiles. The internet is the cause of cyber-bullying. And apparently so much more.
The internet is just a tool. Like any other tool, it does what the user wants it to. It does nothing of its own volition.
Before the internet pornography was delivered by mail. Pedophiles hung around school yards I assume. And while the term “cyber-bullying” was coined for the internet, bullying has been around forever.
And stupid people do stupid things. It isn’t the fault of Facebook. Before the internet people just used different tools to do the same things:
Mr. Manaugh said that although there was a big difference between street art and outright vandalism, it is all social media. The inscriptions left on rocks in the desert and petroglyphs “are, to some extent, the Facebook wall of an earlier era in human communication,” he said, “a kind of geoliterature left in place for others to discover.”
A couple of months ago I wrote about the purported labor shortage in the tech industry. I wondered why basic economics didn’t seem to apply. There was a claimed shortage but wages weren’t rising.
And now today a Times editorial entitled Don’t Blame the Work Force asks:
If a business really needed workers, it would pay up. That is not happening, which calls into question the existence of a skills gap as well as the urgency on the part of employers to fill their openings. Research from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that “recruiting intensity” — that is, business efforts to fill job openings — has been low in this recovery. Employers may be posting openings, but they are not trying all that hard to fill them, say, by increasing job ads or offering better pay packages.
So perhaps this isn’t a real labor shortage as much as a way to convince the government to let them hire more lower paid foreign labor.
Microsoft, if you pay me $100,000 I will happily port my mobile app to Windows Phone 8:
Word is that Microsoft is offering some developers way more than that, as much $100,000 to bring their apps to Windows Phone 8. This tidbit was first reported by Bloomberg’s Ashlee Vance, but its been confirmed by two sources contacted by Business Insider.
I’ve been a Path user since it was new, despite their questionable use of my address book to spam my contacts. It’s a nice application, but it really never reached the kind of critical mass among people I communicate with to make it that useful to me.
It would be nice if other applications, like Instagram for example, supported posting to Path. However, since they don’t, I’ve just found it to be a bit of a bother to post to yet another social app. So it sits on my iPhone, mostly unused. Ok, completely unused right now.
But it’s nice to hear that they are still plugging along and getting some further funding. I have the feeling that there is a gem in the rough in there somewhere, but they need to find it and polish it soon.
I don’t get the logic of Microsoft stores, either standalone or inside BestBuy locations:
Microsoft today announced a strategic partnership with Best Buy and Future Shop. The company plans to build Windows Stores in 500 Best Buy locations across the US and more than 100 Best Buy and Future Shop locations in Canada, launching from late June through September.
This seems more like a case of “Look how successful Apple is. We should do that too.” than a well thought out strategy.
Apple sells a variety of consumer driven products in their stores, and in other retail stores like BestBuy. Someone who purchases an iPod is also a likely purchaser of iPod accessories, an iPhone, iPad, or even a MacBook. The audience is generally the same for all of their products. This similar audience has drive huge follow on sales.
That isn’t true of Microsoft though. You can already buy WIndows PCs, which are not made by Microsoft, as well as Microsoft software, in stores already. But Microsoft wants to lump products like the Surface tablets and the XBox together.
I’d argue that the audiences for these two products alone are very different. And XBox purchaser already has no problem purchasing XBox pretty much anywhere, even someplace like WalMart. But they are not likely the target audience for the Surface tablet. And Microsoft has not phone or music player solution of their own.
So I just don’t see the point of spending money on creating stores where customers can see things they likely wouldn’t ever buy lumped together with things they can already find everywhere else. Does Microsoft really believe that this will help to generate a retail bonanza?
If it were my choice, I would suggest that they create commercials that actually show people working and playing with the Surface tablets, and not just dancing around on tables with them.
I’ve noted the standstill in warming of the earth recently. Even the New York Times had to admit it today:
The rise in the surface temperature of earth has been markedly slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that. And that lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace.
They even referred to it as global warming. The models don’t explain this at all. They predict increasing warming. But they explain it away with some weasel words:
To the contrary, in a climate system still dominated by natural variability, there is every reason to think the warming will proceed in fits and starts.
Ah yes, the lull is just an example of fits and starts. They throw in a few more possibilities just for good measure, but the conclusion is simple:
So, if past is prologue, this current plateau will end at some point, too, and a new era of rapid global warming will begin.
So we can’t explain what is happening with the climate. We don’t know why warming has stopped. But even though the best scientists admit they just don’t know, the conclusion is “Trust us, it’s gonna get warmer”.
I long for the forgotten days of yesteryear in science, when you actually had to prove your hypothesis in the real world, and not by tweaking a few parameters in a model that doesn’t really model anything.
The city of Kitchener, Canada has been overcharging its citizens for natural gas:
In that period of time Union Gas, the main private-sector competitor for Kitchener Utilities, charged rates very close to the market rate.
“But our rate averaged out to 90 per cent higher,” Gazzola said.
Last year the city utility’s rate was 125 per cent higher than the average market rate, he said.
That isn’t the overcharging I’m referring to though. This is what I am talking about:
Kitchener is one of only two municipalities in Ontario that retained ownership of its natural-gas distribution company. Kingston is the other one. The local utility pumps millions of dollars into city coffers every year.
Some of that money is used to keep property taxes down and fund the operating costs of the city network of community centres. The revenues from the utility were used to pay for the massive clean up of a large coal tar deposit under the area of Joseph and Gaukel streets several years ago.
The gas utility is intentionally overcharging citizens for natural gas and turning it over to the city. That’s just taxation by another name, and taxation without representation too, because citizens do not get a vote in the operation of the utility. Kitchener isn’t the only one either; the other local cities do this with their electric utilities too:
City councils have hiked rates while spending more than $149 million in electricity cash to build a new City Hall in Cambridge, pay RIM Park debt in Waterloo and build the Kingsdale Community Centre in Kitchener, among other projects.
Next time these municipalities complain about needing more money for the infrastructure deficit, let’s remember that they are already picking our pockets in numerous ways that they don’t like to refer to as “taxes”, but they are taking the money just the same. But the infrastructure deficit doesn’t seem to be improving.
The city of Kitchener, Canada wants to rebrand itself Start-up City, and as a means to revitalize its downtown it plans to offer grants of up to $40,000 to tech startups to locate downtown:
The City of Kitchener wants to brand itself Start-up City and the neighbourhoods within a 15-minute walk of Queen and Victoria streets — the future site of a new central transit station — as the Innovation District.
The city’s latest proposal to support startups in the downtown — grants of up to $40,000 each. If the plan is approved by councillors later this year it will be too late to help Litt and Vidyard, but he loves the idea anyway.
I’m in tech myself and, while this is a nice idea, I have to disagree with it on principle. It creates two classes of companies; tech startups versus everyone else.
If someone wants to open a retail store in downtown Kitchener, whether it be selling shoes or sandwiches, they get nothing. But decide to write a mobile app and the city will throw cash at you. Mind you, these are also companies with the potential to attract millions in venture capital funding, not available to the shoe store or sandwich shop.
These companies have decided to locate here and not someplace like Silicon Valley because the costs are FAR lower:
Lake said Thalmic Labs located in Kitchener because operating costs are much higher in Silicon Valley. Engineers are paid twice as much there because of competition from Google, Facebook, Apple and Yahoo! It can easily cost $2,500-a-month for a one-bedroom apartment. Employee turnover in Silicon Valley can be 30 per cent a year.
Since they are already saving so much money it seems patently unreasonable to me to be taking money from the shoe store, the sandwich shops, or local residents to give to a single type of business as a grant. A low or no interest loan perhaps, but not a grant. The city needs to treat local businesses equally.
One really interesting side note in the article is something I’ve been saying for years. We don’t need a crosstown LRT. We desperately need fast, frequent rail service to Toronto, similar to the BART service available between Silicon Valley and San Francisco:
“Geographically we are the same distance from Toronto as parts of the valley from San Francisco, but we just don’t have that direct transportation link they have down there,” Lake said.
Lake is supported by Klugman, who said: “When we look long-term down the road, that train in and out of Toronto is the key missing piece in the equation right now.”
So why don’t we just take that $818 million dollars for the LRT and improve rail transit to Toronto instead?