19:55 PM

Newswatch: A More Social Google; Oracle's SaaS Efforts Show Profit

Friday 8am Silicon Valley news report:

Apple building chip design capability: report -Reuters

An Apple spokesman confirmed the company has hired both Bob Drebin, former chief technology office of the graphics products group at chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices and Raja Koduri, who previously held the same position.

Google's Trojan Horse -Slate

Why would Google want a social network? To get to know you better—and, thus, to serve you more profitable ads. Google has long made gobs of money by running ads based on search keywords—if you search for "shoes," Google runs spots for Zappos and DSW, and it makes a few cents if you click on them. But last month Google announced that it would join many of its rival Web companies in adopting "behavioral targeting," a method of serving ads that relies on a much more extensive picture of your online activity.

Federal government cloud adoption will triple by 2013, report says -NetworkWorld

“This administration seems to be much more technology-savvy than the last one,” Peterson says.
The INPUT report divides cloud computing into three general areas: Web-based applications (software-as-a-service), storage and computing (infrastructure-as-a-service), and application development (platform-as-a-service).

Facebook eyes additional funding: report -Reuters

Facebook held "valuation discussions" with Providence Equity Partners, General Atlantic, Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, among others, the paper said, citing multiple sources close to or involved in the situation.

I Swear I Wasn't There (But I Was) -h+

This is a concept familiar with socially networked Internet users of services such as Facebook and MySpace, as well as virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft or Second Life. Alts –- alternate identities –- give users the ability to experiment with alternate versions of themselves. Initial studies of patients with Asperger’s syndrome –- people with extreme difficulty in social settings –- show great promise for the use of alts as a way of learning social skills.

Cloud Standards Effort Could Turn into a Dustup -WSJ

“Everybody says what’s in it for me and who is trying to screw me,” says Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a longtime IBM employee who is still involved in the company’s standards efforts. “It takes time for people to trust each other and to realize that they don’t have a goddamn choice.”

Oracle to expand Web-based software offerings -Reuters

Oracle Corp, the world's No. 2 business software maker, plans to expand its small line of programs that companies access via the Web, said a person familiar with the strategy.

Venture capital group wants tax breaks and regulatory relief to spur growth -Siliconvalley.com

The proposals also include a review of regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley that are said to raise costs and slow the pace toward an IPO. Two other "pillars" address problems in the private sector ecosystem that includes investment banks, accounting firms and institutional investors. These initiatives involve efforts to develop new banking models to foster IPOs and identify new institutional investors for small companies.

IDT reports fiscal 4th-qtr loss -AP

Calif.-based NetLogic Microsystems Inc. (NETL), which designs chips used in network equipment, said Thursday that it will buy IDT's network search engine assets for $90 million and the cost of inventory on hand when the deal closes.
When the deal is finalized, NetLogic also has the option of paying the total purchase price in cash or $60 million plus the cost of inventory in cash and issue IDT a $30 million secured promissory note that is payable in equal installments. Those installments would be due on the first and second anniversaries of the deal's closing date.

About-face: Microsoft disables Autorun -SFGate

Despite previous assertions by Microsoft that Autorun is not dangerous, the company said this week that the amount of malware now trying to spread through this feature has shot up since last fall -- due in part, perhaps, to the Conficker worm, which infected another 2.7 million PCs just today, according to the Conficker Working Group.

DOCSIS 3.0 Coming Soon to an ISP Near You -GIGaom

A lot has been written about the merits of Verizon’s fiber to the home vs. AT&T’s fiber to the node and U-verse services, but we haven’t spent a lot of time on DOCSIS 3.0 deployments. Sure, it will provide ultrafast broadband, such as the 101 Mbps services that Cablevision is offering or the 50 Mbps that Comcast boasts. But for providers, the upgrade makes a tremendous amount of sense for business reasons beyond happy customers — so much so, that 45 percent of the country will have access to D3 rollouts by the end of this year, according to data from research firm Pike & Fisher.

Tech giants to be honored at computer chip's 50th birthday party -MercuryNews

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the integrated circuit, the National Inventors Hall of Fame will honor 16 people who helped pioneer computer chip technology during a sold-out ceremony Saturday at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

Face(book) Value -WebGuild

The NYT reports that people familiar with the matter said Facebook’s attempt to raise additional capital is creating friction with its existing investors, which include Accel Partners, Greylock Partners, Meritech Capital Partners, Microsoft and Founders Fund.

Texting delays mar popularity of $50 Boost plan -AP

"There's a huge deficiency in the text messaging and multimedia messaging," said John Kim, an independent dealer who has a Boost Mobile store in the Dallas area. He warns new customers about the problems, and tests the system by sending himself text messages.
"I got five text messages at 4 o'clock in the morning that I sent myself nine hours before," he said.
He's been signing up 10 to 12 new customers a day on the plan, three or four times the number that came in before the Boost Unlimited plan was introduced in January. But a lot of them come back, "very irritated" about the text messaging problems, he said.

The Sweet Sound of a Well-Targeted Ad -NYTimes

This is advertising at its best. The film’s producers were telling me about something I didn’t know about and giving me a chance to buy it.
Actually, the targeting here isn’t quite a bull’s-eye. The in-person appearances by Mr. Fleck were last weekend. But at least there is one more screening in New York. I’m not going to be able to go to it. But I did just pay to download the album related to the movie.

Disney climbs on board with Hulu -SFGate

The added partner should push Hulu into the number two online video spot soon. Fox Interactive Media is currently second after YouTube with 3 percent of the market while Hulu is in third with 2.6 percent.

U.S.A. Maintains Spam Lead -WSJ

It has the dubious distinction of being the top relayer — responsible for 15.8% of world-wide spam during the first three months of 2009 — for at least the last five years, said Dmitry Samosseiko, a manager of SophosLabs. “Russia or China would sometimes come close, but the U.S. would still be at No. 1.”

The $100 Million Mobile App Question -NYTimes

Apple just soared past a billion downloads, handsets are becoming more powerful and cellular networks and bandwidth is steadily improving, he said.
But from a venture capitalist’s perspective, Mr. Hazard wondered, is there a $100 million mobile application company out there or just lots of hobbyists?

Maru The Cat Teaches Us The Secret to Viral Success -NYTimes

In the world of online video, cat videos aren’t exactly considered high-brow entertainment, often ranked with punches to the groin and farting babies. But there is a lesson to be learned from their vast popularity — specifically, the lesson that a tightly paced piece of content with nearly universal appeal, a video that captures the essence of what makes for an engaging narrative, will always make a splash.

Clean Tech’s Future Dims as Financing Drops Off -NYTimes

The biggest venture capital deal of any technology sector in the fourth quarter of 2008 was for Solyndra, a company in Fremont, Calif., that makes photovoltaic rooftop systems. It raised $219 million in its fourth round of financing. CaliSolar, a solar cell manufacturer in Sunnyvale, Calif., raised $52 million in the tenth biggest deal of the quarter. In the first quarter of 2009, though, there were no clean-tech deals in the top 10 of all venture capital investments.