Intel Buys McAfee, Facebook Challenges Foursquare, Zynga Acquires Conduit Labs, & More Bay Area BizTech News
Technology newshounds were torn last week between the old and the new. One analyst described Intel’s multi-billion-dollar takeover of McAfee as “a lot like a horseless-carriage vendor buying a leading supplier of buggy-whips.” There was far more buzz over Facebook’s new geolocation platform and what it might mean for competitors. The roundup:
—In dollar terms, at least, the major story of the week was Intel’s surprise announcement that it will acquire its Santa Clara, CA, neighbor McAfee for $7.7 billion. Intel apparently intends to bake some of McAfee’s security software into its next-generation mobile chips.
—Speaking of billion with a “b,” Dell in Round Rock, TX, made a $1.15 billion tender offer for 3Par, the Fremont, CA, company that builds software and servers for virtualized data storage.
—For those who follow social media, the Intel and Dell deals were overshadowed by the debut of Facebook Places, the company’s platform for sharing location-linked information. In a column, I argued that Facebook Places is very bad news for checkin-driven startups like Foursquare, Gowalla, and SCVNGR.
—Speaking of Facebook and checkin systems, Brooklyn, NY-based Hot Potato confirmed rumors that it’s being acquired by Facebook. It’s going to discontinue its mobile app, which connected people around events rather than locations. Reports also surfaced that Facebook is acquiring Chai Labs, a Mountain View, CA, startup apparently working on technology to help publishers and retailers make their online content more searchable.
—And continuing the check-ins theme, Shopkick, a high-profile San Francisco startup launched last year with backing from venture firms like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Greylock Partners, released an iPhone app that lets users earn rewards by checking in at American Eagle, Best Buy, Macy’s, and other stores.
—In a deal of interest to Xconomy’s readers in both San Francisco and Boston, social games giant Zynga bought Cambridge, MA-based Conduit Labs for an undisclosed sum. Conduit founder and CEO Nabeel Hyatt said the startup will shut down its Facebook games Music Pets and Super Dance to focus on creating a new Zynga title.
—Hewlett-Packard said it would acquire Fortify, a venture-backed startup in San Mateo, CA, that makes technology for automated security testing of enterprise software. Terms weren’t disclosed.
—Apple announced that it would phase out the Quattro Wireless mobile advertising network by September 30. The team at Waltham, MA-based Quattro, which Apple acquired in January, will focus all its efforts on ramping up Apple’s iAd platform for rich-media ads in iPhone and iPod touch applications.
—I profiled San Francisco-based AngelList, a matchmaking service for startup entrepreneurs and angel investors run by serial entrepreneurs Babak Nivi and Naval Ravikant.
—Speaking of angels, Silicon Valley super-angel Aydin Senkut, an alumnus of Google, closed fundraising for his new micro-VC fund, Felicis Ventures, at $40 million.
—A new competitor emerged in the travel search business. Y Combinator-backed Hipmunk debuted a flight search engine with a user interface designed to weed out undesirable connections and make it simpler to compare the remaining options. Co-founders Steve Huffman (formerly co-founder of Reddit) and Adam Goldstin (co-founder of BookTour with Wired editor Chris Anderson) already have angel support from Ron Conway’s SV Angel operation.
—I profiled GazeHawk, another Y Combinator-backed startup that enables Web designers and usability experts to commission “eye-tracking” studies of their websites for as little as $49, which is about two orders of magnitude cheaper than alternative methods.
—Continuing my series of profiles of Y Combinator companies, I talked with the founders of 1000Memories, a site where friends and family members of people who’ve died can collaborate to share photos, stories, songs, and other materials celebrating their loved ones’ lives.
—Jambool, a virtual goods and virtual currencies startup with offices in San Francisco and Seattle, revealed that it’s been acquired by Google for an undisclosed sum.
—Cloudcrowd in San Francisco raised $5.1 million from Draper Fisher Jurvetson and other backers for technology that helps businesses outsource data processing and other tasks to a virtual workforce.
—San Francisco’s Fog City Capital supplied a $3 million investment to Needham, MA-based VisualIQ, which makes enterprise software for marketing intelligence.
—Here at Xconomy, we announced that we’re seeking a writer-editor-reporter to help expand our Detroit bureau.