Seattle Tech and Startup News for the Week Ending on July 10, 2011
Chinese search giant Baidu to use Microsoft Bing New York Times
A partnership with China’s Baidu.com puts Bing in position to power searches for the most massive online market anywhere. Providing service in English on China’s largest search engine brings the search battle to its biggest arena yet, where Microsoft will likely face the same censorship from Beijing that drove Google to Hong Kong.
Pending approval, acquisition of major UK rival The Book Depository International gives Amazon access to its 6 million titles and adds to the e-retailer’s tally of book stores across the globe. Dodo Press, which revives books that are out-of-print, is part of the purchase, providing fuel for Amazon.com’s drive into the publishing arena.
With the launch of Wag.com, Amazon hopes this time it is barking up the right tree – and the e-retailer has no plans to resurrect the sock puppet pup that became a symbol for dot.com debacles. The promise of quick, and frequently free, delivery through its new Quidsi division overcomes one hurdle that hindered Pets.com, and it demonstrates Amazon’s willingness to learn from history’s harsh lessons.
The Seattle startup in the business of providing salary comparisons just got its own $7M raise in VC funding to fuel its growth trajectory. Headed by Mike Metzger, PayScale boasts a partnership with LinkedIn and a thriving commercial client base that relies on its Insight service and a database of nearly 30 million job profiles.
Seattle’s Zipline Games got a ringing endorsement for its Moai mobile gaming platform from Bungie Aerospace, the mobile arm of the studio famous for Halo that is readying its inaugural game, Crimson. Headed by Todd Hooper, Zipline is moving Moai from private beta and preparing its own Chronosaur game for launch.
Self-funded startup Pinpoint Pickup has global ambitions, a scalable model, and a stiff competitor in Uber, which is headed to Seattle soon. But co-founder Desiree Phair promises a smoother ride from the Seattle-based drive service accessible by web or smartphone.
Already in bed with Microsoft, so to speak, Skype’s marriage with Facebook makes video-chatting a breeze and makes the social network even more pervasive in every aspect of life. Now, for a small fee, users can call offline numbers from within Facebook – a feature that could win converts from the dwindling ranks of non-fans.
Google suspends Realtime Search as Twitter deal expires Computerworld
The fate of Google Realtime Search on Twitter hangs in the balance, terminated – for now, at least – by the expiration of a long-standing agreement with the micro-blogging service. While Google reports the shutdown is part of its plan to integrate Google+, Bing and Yahoo! continue to enjoy real-time access to Twitter’s chatty traffic.
Startup of the Week: Sewichi Inc. TechFlash
Sewichi Inc. CEO David Shim is betting on the ripe field of mobile analytics and the rising adoption of smartphones, whose sales eclipsed PCs in the final quarter of 2010. The Seattle startup is counting on a smart team and solid support from Madrona Venture Group to tackle a promising but fragmented sector.
Bellevue-based Finsphere matched its March haul with a new $1.75M VC haul. The startup headed by Michael Buhrmann promises to transform the ubiquitous cellphone into a tool to counter fraud and protect privacy with its PinPoint service that detects a mismatch between phone location and financial transactions.