Digital Video Experts React to Google’s WebM, Motorola Out Scouting for Spinoff Headquarters, BakBone Cuts ColdSpark, & More San Diego BizTech News

6/1/10Follow @bvbigelow

It might be hard to remember last week’s flood of local high-tech news after enjoying the three-day weekend that usually kicks off the summer vacation season. Lucky we’re here to remember it for you.

—The digital video experts at Qualcomm, Sorenson Media, VMIX, and elsewhere provided their perspective on WebM, an Internet video technology standard that Google is promoting with roughly 40 other companies. Two companies conspicuously missing from the list of WebM supporters are Microsoft and Apple.

San Diego’s wave war continues: American Wave Machines, the Solana Beach, CA, startup with technology that is making waves (quite literally), says the U.S. Patent Office invalidated all of the patent claims that its cross-town rival, San Diego-based Wave Loch, asserted in a patent infringement suit. But Wave Loch counters that neither the litigation nor the patent review process is complete, and that its patent claims against American Wave Machines are stronger than ever.

—San Diego is on the list of cities that Schaumberg, IL-based Motorola (NYSE: MOT) is considering as the possible headquarters for its cell phone spinoff set for next year, along with Chicago, Houston, and California’s Silicon Valley. Motorola co-chief executive (and former Qualcomm COO) Sanjay Jha, who will continue to head the business post-spinoff, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that his family is still living in San Diego.

Cymer (NASDAQ: CYMI), the leading maker of deep-ultraviolet lasers that are used in semiconductor manufacturing, opened a facility in Santa Clara, CA. With the move, San Diego-based Cymer said it could more easily recruit leading technology experts in the region.

—Cymer’s David Knowles told me the TCZ display division he heads has installed its first system for making ultrathin OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) displays for an unnamed customer in South Korea. Knowles said the San Diego company plans to deliver its second OLED manufacturing system, which cost about $10 million apiece, to another unnamed customer in China this Fall.

—Members of the Tech Coast Angels invested $1.6 million—and helped induce another $9.9 million in venture investments—in five startup deals during the first three months of 2010. TCA Chairman Richard Sudek said that investors’ mood seems to be improving, even though the pace of angel investing remained sluggish.

—So much for this idea: San Diego’s BakBone Software, which acquired ColdSpark a year ago for $15.9 million in cash and stock, shut down the business and said it is taking a $300,000 charge in personnel-related expenses and writing off $12.6 million in non-cash goodwill. A BakBone spokeswoman never responded to my phone call or e-mail inquiries concerning the number of layoffs. Chris Mellor of the Register provided the most incisive, or should I say, eviscerating, analysis of the move.

Zeebo, the San Diego video game console maker, has raised $8 million in a combination of equity, debt, and loans convertible to stock. Zeebo, which is backed by wireless giant Qualcomm and Brazilian video-game developer Tectoy S.A., is selling its equipment now in Brazil and Mexico.

Qualcomm is opening its second multimillion-dollar R&D facility in China—this time in Shanghai—in a move that underscores the importance of the huge Chinese market to the San Diego wireless technology provider.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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