Stories for Apr. 22, 2014

Upcoming Events

loading external resource
In Brief

Cloud storage service Bitcasa is adding Chromecast support for its Android app, the company announced Tuesday. Bitcasa offers an “infinite drive” for an annual price of $999, as well as a free 20 GB plan. The most interesting uses for this new feature should be centered around casting personal content like photos and home videos onto a TV. While the Chromecast can natively cast image file types from a desktop browser, streaming from a cloud app streamlines the process. You can download Bitcasa from Google Play right here.

In Brief

IBM has made another investment out of the $100 million it has set aside to fund companies using the Watson cognitive computing system, this time investing an undisclosed amount of money into a company called Fluid. IBM and Fluid are working on an application, called Expert Shopper, that will let consumers ask complex, natural language questions on retail websites and receive product recommendations in return. Fluid is IBM’s second publicly announced Watson-fund investment, with the first going to a health care startup called Welltok. Both were early partners in IBM’s cloud-based Watson service and API.

Stories for Apr. 21, 2014
In Brief

Hey, Ma Bell! Your peering policies are so lame, your fiber network is slower than DSL! That’s essentially the insult that Netflix is flinging at AT&T in a shareholder letter accompanying the streaming video service’s first quarter financials. The gist of the accusation is that by refusing to sign an interconnection deal with Netflix, AT&T’s customers are getting a streaming experience that sucks. It’s the same tactic Netflix employed with Comcast, putting the customer in the middle of an esoteric fight about internet interconnection agreements. Absent FCC intervention, we’ll see if the Netflix strategy works a second time around.

On The Web

The New York Times Bits blog reports on the close of InBloom, a database for student data that became a privacy lightning rod. On the one hand, it’s a great idea: there’s a lot that educators and researchers could learn from analyzing this type of data across regions, demographics, etc. On the other hand, it’s probably not a wise idea to connect students’ names with sensitive or personal information. Objectivity is key, too. You’d like to measure attributes in a way that doesn’t lend itself to educators’ biases and reinforcement of stereotypes.

In Brief

Beats Music, the newly-launched music subscription service spearheaded by Jimmy Iovine, is in the midst of raising another $60 million to $100 million in funding, according to a Billboard report that notes that the company spent tens of millions on advertising, including its Super Bowl TV spot. However, a Beats Music spokesperson denied those claims, sending us the following statement via email: “Beats Music is not in any active process of raising more funding.” Billboard also reported that some in the music industry are disappointed by Beats Music’s uptake, while insiders unsurprisingly say that first numbers exceeded expectations.

Updated at 10:48am with a statement from Beats Music.

In Brief

Ecommerce startup Birchbox, which specializes in subscriptions to monthly beauty kits, announced Monday that it raised a $60 million Series B round, led by Viking Global Investors and including existing investors such as First Round Capital and Accel Partners. The company said that it would use the funds “to continue to tell its story through marketing initiatives, refine its mobile application, fortify Birchbox Man and develop its team worldwide.” According to Fortune, the new round gives the company a $485 million valuation, which prompted a “no comment” from Birchbox.

12344,126page 2 of 4,126