Seattle Startup and Tech News from the past week
The upcoming tablet war will herald the holiday buying blitz and give shoppers a choice of gadgets to tuck under the tree, with Amazon, Apple and Sony all slated for fall debuts. Amazon is keeping quiet about the specifications of its tablet, but the recent launch of its own Android Appstore laid the foundation for a totally integrated digital consumer platform.
Electronic Arts Makes Deal To Buy PopCap Red Orbit
EA is prepared to shell out in excess of a billion dollars for PopCap Games, Inc., including bonuses if the Seattle game-maker hits preset profit targets in the next few years. In return, Electronic Arts, Inc. expects to gain a needed edge in the digital and social gaming market that continues to erode console game sales by acquiring the creator of a series of hit titles with the advantage of games playable on platforms like Facebook.
Not just for gaming anymore, Xbox 360 continues its evolution into an all-purpose entertainment system, although a Business Insider announcement of an upcoming Xbox Music service was a misnomer. Xbox Live already offers access to millions of Zune titles, but a new Kinect feature will add voice command capability along with other enhancements that transform the concept of a game console.
Amazon is counting on the power of the people to win its ongoing sales tax battle, but the online retailer needs a half million signatures to bring its cause to a vote in California. Continuing to decry efforts to force the collection of sales tax in states where it lacks a physical presence, Amazon has already pulled affiliate programs in a handful of states, with more facing the axe.
Swype is sweeping in investors and generating buzz with its smart keyboard swipe science that is poised to launch on iOS and spread from tablets and cellphones to game systems, cars and beyond. The Seattle startup founded by Cliff Kushler and headed by Mike McSherry expects to see Swype sweep the touchscreen device market with a growing list of OEM partnerships.
With a fresh $30M, Lockerz is adding AddToAny to its buying blitz, and CEO Kathy Savitt counts the acquisition as a major coup in its quest to reign as the homepage of Gen Z. Creator of the content-sharing platform with a half billion monthly users and a solid WordPress presence, wunderkind Pat Diven II now heads to the San Fran branch of the Seattle-based social network biz.
Wireless power for heart pumps: Medical breakthrough from UW researchers GeekWire
Recently honored for its advance in the science of artificial hearts, research conducted by a University of Washington team offers the advantage of wireless power. A vest containing a transmitter could at least temporarily free patients now confined by a cord, with the potential for even greater freedom with further advances.
The debut of free Android app Localicious by WhitePages offers distinctively neighborhood-based info, including reviews and trendy locales along with the user’s precise location. For those who literally have trouble keeping up with the Joneses, the Seattle startup headed by Alex Algard also launched Neighbors, a site that helps put a name to the faces next door.
Livemocha boasts the planet’s biggest language learner base, 38 languages and a recipe that rivals Rosetta Stone with the advantage of native-speaking study buddies to facilitate mastery. The Seattle startup headed by Michael Schutzler and founded by Microsoft vet Shirish Nadkarni added another $5M in funding to overcome language barriers and bridge cultures in the process.
MOD Systems is out of business and its founder faces a 4-year prison stay after a conviction on multiple counts of fraud and money laundering, a sentence intended as a warning to CEOs who would abuse their positions of trust. The Seattle company that once raised $35M has closed its operation, and prosecutors blame Mark Phillips for neglecting his duties in favor of misappropriating funds, costing dozens of employees their livelihood.
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Date: July 25, 2011
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