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US Mac shipments down 7.5% … or maybe up 7.4% … or possibly up 14%

specs_peripherals

Market tracker IDC says Apple’s Q1 Mac shipments in the US fell 7.5 percent year-on-year, while rival company Gartner says they increased 7.4 percent in the same period. Meantime, the NPD Group – which measures sales rather than shipments – says those are up 14 percent …

Despite the conflicting figures, reported by CNET, IDC and Gartner do agree on one thing: overall, the PC market is continuing to decline as we enter the post-PC era predicted by Steve Jobs back in January 2010. Global PC shipments across all platforms fell by either 11 percent (Gartner) or 14 percent (IDC).


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Ben Lovejoy

April 11th

Apple

Mac

Apple to live webcast Tim Cook’s Goldman Sachs technology conference presentation Feb. 12

Tim-Cook-Presentation-GoldmanSachs-2013

Apple announced today on its Investor News page that CEO Tim Cook, like in previous years, is scheduled once again to speak at the upcoming Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. Apple will make a live webcast available for anyone who wants to listen to live-streaming audio from the conference call. Cook’s talk is scheduled for 7:15 a.m. PST on Feb. 12 and will be available to stream from Apple’s website.

If you miss the live broadcast, Apple will most likely post audio of Cook’s full talk after the event as it did last year. You can listen to Cook’s presentation from the 2012 Goldman Sachs conference here.


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Jordan Kahn

February 11th

Apple

Mac

With Top Firms On Hand, Israeli-American Accelerator UpWest Labs Debuts Its Second Class

Screen shot 2012-06-12 at 11.47.23 PM

At Aol’s offices in Palo Alto this evening, UpWest Labs pulled back the curtain on its second batch of startups. While the accelerator is open to companies of all breeds, be they advertising, mobile, or security-focused, its second class is largely consumer-focused and leans heavily towards video.

More than 120 private investors, angels, and firms were on hand for UpWest’s Demo Day Tuesday night, including representatives from Menlo Ventures, General Catalyst, CrunchFund, Accel, Trinity Venture, and Charles River Ventures.

Founded by Gil Ben-Artzy and Shuly Galili, UpWest Labs is a bit different than the traditional Silicon Valley accelerator, focusing exclusively on Israeli entrepreneurs. The accelerator’s mission is to combine the brainpower and R&D prowess of Israel with the market knowledge and capital resources of Silicon Valley.

As part of its three month program, UpWest typically chooses five or six promising Israeli teams and brings them to Palo Alto to live together in one house for the duration of the program — Real World-style. Typically, these companies have launched an alpha or beta in Israel and already have a product in development, as UpWest focuses on providing network and mentoring resources that will help its startups come to market and expose them to American customers and investors.

The accelerator offers $15K for a team of two and $20K for teams of three and above — a smaller capital investment than founders might find elsewhere — because the focus of the program is on helping its startups raise outside capital from Silicon Valley investors.

Galili told us, for example, that each of the five startups in its second batch are raising between $500K and $1.5 million and that several of its teams are close to closing rounds. (More on its first batch here.)

All of the companies are ready to expand to the U.S. and create momentum in Silicon Valley and intend to use funding to do just that. However, the goal of UpWest Labs’, she says, is not just to pull great entrepreneurs out of Israel and plant them in Silicon Valley, it’s to provide them with a bridge.

“Our companies often end up having headquarters in the U.S. with R&D offices in Israel,” the UpWest founder said. “But it’s difficult for these entrepreneurs to build relationships when they’re thousands of miles away, so being here for three months or more gives them a better chance to get Silicon Valley into their DNA early on.”

It’s a great program, and one that we’re seeing countries with strong entrepreneurial ecosystems adopt themselves, like the recently launched Chinese-American accelerator, InnoSpring, for example.

Unlike other accelerators, UpWest’s Demo Day doesn’t take place at the end of the program, so the companies still have two weeks left before they graduate. But the team is already beginning to think about its Fall Program, which will begin at the end of August.

But, without further ado, here are the five startups from UpWest’s second class:

Groovideo is a web and mobile platform for collaborative video creation, which enables a group of friends to create videos together, without the need to meet in person or manually edit the video. With Groovideo, each participant records their own part, at their own leisure. The recordings are then sent to Groovideo where they are automatically edited and mashed into a stunning looking group video.

PlayerDuel is a platform that transforms any single-player mobile game into “play with friends” game. Most of the mobile games today are built for single-player use even though it has been proven that social games are more attractive for players. The complexities and limitations for developers in making social games are real.

PlayerDuel believes that every game can be social, and every game can allow friends to play together, so it’s created a layer on top of mobile games enabling developers an easy 10 minutes integration. The startup aims to increase the user-retention, virality and revenue of any game on its platform.

Preen.Me aims to transform what is currently an inefficient $60 billion beauty market in the U.S. into a modern marketplace. Women today are overwhelmed by product variety, with little ability to discern which products are right for them. The lack of personalization means that purchases are hit or miss, and many purchases are unused or discarded.

Utilizing social graphs and crowdsourcing, Preen.Me provides personalized product recommendations based on preferences of women with similar profiles. Offering a broad variety of products, from budget to prestige, means that women can pinpoint and compare products at different price points. Preen.me provides everything necessary to make a confident purchase, while creating the fun and engaging experience that buying beauty should be.

Deja.io simplifies the online and mobile video experience. Its unique technology creates channels defined by the emotions they evoke. Deja employs a Pandora-like approach in order to continuously adapt each user’s taste and improve their viewing experience. The idea being that, with Deja, they’ll be able to lean back and enjoy a simple and beautiful TV-like experience, tailor-made to their specific mood.

Deja’s team of creative designers and coders recently brought home a victory at the Google TV Hackathon (after their second week at UpWest) and will be showing more of Deja at Google I/O.

Bites is a mobile platform for user engagement around live TV that allows viewers of live events can use our mobile app to enhance their TV experience. Bites turns every live TV event to an interactive, real-time, social experience by adding games, content and other engaging activities. Bites focuses on “DVR proof” events like reality TV, live sporting events and award shows, as those event drive the highest ratings, discussions and break frequency. It’s not yet ready for public consumption, but will be opening its doors soon.

UpWest Labs at home here.



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Rip Empson

June 13th

Uncategorized

With Top Firms On Hand, Israeli-American Accelerator UpWest Labs Debuts Its Second Class

Screen shot 2012-06-12 at 11.47.23 PM

At Aol’s offices in Palo Alto this evening, UpWest Labs pulled back the curtain on its second batch of startups. While the accelerator is open to companies of all breeds, be they advertising, mobile, or security-focused, its second class is largely consumer-focused and leans heavily towards video.

More than 120 private investors, angels, and firms were on hand for UpWest’s Demo Day Tuesday night, including representatives from Menlo Ventures, General Catalyst, CrunchFund, Accel, Trinity Venture, and Charles River Ventures.

Founded by Gil Ben-Artzy and Shuly Galili, UpWest Labs is a bit different than the traditional Silicon Valley accelerator, focusing exclusively on Israeli entrepreneurs. The accelerator’s mission is to combine the brainpower and R&D prowess of Israel with the market knowledge and capital resources of Silicon Valley.

As part of its three month program, UpWest typically chooses five or six promising Israeli teams and brings them to Palo Alto to live together in one house for the duration of the program — Real World-style. Typically, these companies have launched an alpha or beta in Israel and already have a product in development, as UpWest focuses on providing network and mentoring resources that will help its startups come to market and expose them to American customers and investors.

The accelerator offers $15K for a team of two and $20K for teams of three and above — a smaller capital investment than founders might find elsewhere — because the focus of the program is on helping its startups raise outside capital from Silicon Valley investors.

Galili told us, for example, that each of the five startups in its second batch are raising between $500K and $1.5 million and that several of its teams are close to closing rounds. (More on its first batch here.)

All of the companies are ready to expand to the U.S. and create momentum in Silicon Valley and intend to use funding to do just that. However, the goal of UpWest Labs’, she says, is not just to pull great entrepreneurs out of Israel and plant them in Silicon Valley, it’s to provide them with a bridge.

“Our companies often end up having headquarters in the U.S. with R&D offices in Israel,” the UpWest founder said. “But it’s difficult for these entrepreneurs to build relationships when they’re thousands of miles away, so being here for three months or more gives them a better chance to get Silicon Valley into their DNA early on.”

It’s a great program, and one that we’re seeing countries with strong entrepreneurial ecosystems adopt themselves, like the recently launched Chinese-American accelerator, InnoSpring, for example.

Unlike other accelerators, UpWest’s Demo Day doesn’t take place at the end of the program, so the companies still have two weeks left before they graduate. But the team is already beginning to think about its Fall Program, which will begin at the end of August.

But, without further ado, here are the five startups from UpWest’s second class:

Groovideo is a web and mobile platform for collaborative video creation, which enables a group of friends to create videos together, without the need to meet in person or manually edit the video. With Groovideo, each participant records their own part, at their own leisure. The recordings are then sent to Groovideo where they are automatically edited and mashed into a stunning looking group video.

PlayerDuel is a platform that transforms any single-player mobile game into “play with friends” game. Most of the mobile games today are built for single-player use even though it has been proven that social games are more attractive for players. The complexities and limitations for developers in making social games are real.

PlayerDuel believes that every game can be social, and every game can allow friends to play together, so it’s created a layer on top of mobile games enabling developers an easy 10 minutes integration. The startup aims to increase the user-retention, virality and revenue of any game on its platform.

Preen.Me aims to transform what is currently an inefficient $60 billion beauty market in the U.S. into a modern marketplace. Women today are overwhelmed by product variety, with little ability to discern which products are right for them. The lack of personalization means that purchases are hit or miss, and many purchases are unused or discarded.

Utilizing social graphs and crowdsourcing, Preen.Me provides personalized product recommendations based on preferences of women with similar profiles. Offering a broad variety of products, from budget to prestige, means that women can pinpoint and compare products at different price points. Preen.me provides everything necessary to make a confident purchase, while creating the fun and engaging experience that buying beauty should be.

Deja.io simplifies the online and mobile video experience. Its unique technology creates channels defined by the emotions they evoke. Deja employs a Pandora-like approach in order to continuously adapt each user’s taste and improve their viewing experience. The idea being that, with Deja, they’ll be able to lean back and enjoy a simple and beautiful TV-like experience, tailor-made to their specific mood.

Deja’s team of creative designers and coders recently brought home a victory at the Google TV Hackathon (after their second week at UpWest) and will be showing more of Deja at Google I/O.

Bites is a mobile platform for user engagement around live TV that allows viewers of live events can use our mobile app to enhance their TV experience. Bites turns every live TV event to an interactive, real-time, social experience by adding games, content and other engaging activities. Bites focuses on “DVR proof” events like reality TV, live sporting events and award shows, as those event drive the highest ratings, discussions and break frequency. It’s not yet ready for public consumption, but will be opening its doors soon.

UpWest Labs at home here.



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Photo

Rip Empson

June 13th

Uncategorized

Win A Meeting With Sean Parker, SV Angel & More In An Auction To Benefit Cancer Research

LLS_logo

Unfortunately, an estimated 148,040 people will be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma in 2012. Whether it be blood-based, or any other form, cancer has and will touch many of us. Since its founding in 1949, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has invested more than $814 million in research to study the cause (and to find a cure) for hematologic cancers, in the hopes that blood cancer research may act as a gateway to curing cancers of all types.

The Motion To Dismiss Cancer, a team formed to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman Of The Year Campaign, recently launched the “2012 Venture Capital Master’s Lunch Series,” an auction that gives anyone and everyone an opportunity to win private meetings with some of Silicon Valley’s top venture capitalists and startup founders — with all proceeds going towards LLS and cancer research.

The VC/Founder’s Auction has become an annual event, and Campaign Manager Christina Resasco tells us that this is the third year the event has been held, with past events including names like Tim Draper, who in 2010 sold for $30,000. All proceeds go to LLS’ blood cancer research, with bidding being listed through eBay Giving Words. (Find the auction on eBay here.)

Bidding for this year’s auction opened last Tuesday, and will continue through Thursday the 19th. The first lunch being auctioned is with the SV Angel team, including co-founder David Lee, and partners Kevin Carter, Topher Conway, and Robert Pollack. As you may know, SV Angel has collectively advised scores of top entrepreneurs, from Larry Page and Sergey Brin to Jack Dorsey, and invested in companies like Twitter, Square, Dropbox, and Airbnb.

For this particular auction, there are five available seats, with bidding to start at $100 and a reserve price of $5,000 (meaning Motion To Dismiss Cancer doesn’t have to sell the item if bidding does not exceed this price.) The well-known “Buy It Now” eBay price is set at $10,000.

But what’s so awesome is that SV Angel is hardly the only firm participating in Motion To Dismiss’ fundraising events. Over the next two months, in six rounds of auctions, investors from New Enterprise Associates, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Menlo Ventures, North Bridge Venture Partners, Greylock Partners, and Walden Venture Capital will make themselves available for one-on-one private meetings. (There will also be more announced over the next few weeks.) Entrepreneurs can have representatives from these teams all to themselves to get feedback on their ideas, plead with them to fund their ventures, or maybe even get them to help create a pitch deck. (You can find out more about which members of the VC teams will be participating here.)

What’s more, the auctions will not just be limited to investors. Maybe you want to get feedback from successful entrepreneurs themselves. Motion To Dismiss Cancer will also be auctioning off lunches with founders of companies like Lytro (Co-founder and CEO Ren NG), 23andMe (Chief Business Officer Ashley Dombkowski), Rock Health (CEO Halle Tecco), BandPage (Founder & CEO J Sider), Spotify, Pulse (Co-founders Akshay Kothari & Ankit Gupta), Loopt (Founder Sam Altman), Votizen (Co-founder Jason Putorti), and more.

Other recent additions include lunches with the “PayPal Mafia.” Currently only Keith Rabois (COO of Square) has confirmed, but more are expected to join soon. And, finally, Round 6 features a one-on-one lunch with Sean Parker, better known as the co-founder of Napster, Plaxo, Causes, and Airtime, early advisor and board member of Facebook and Spotify, and current Managing Director of FoundersFund.

The VC/Founders Auction obviously represents an incredible opportunity to both meet and get to know some of the most recognizable names in Silicon Valley, while donating money to an extremely important cause. It’s a win-win, and both Motion To Dismiss Cancer and the participating investors and entrepreneurs should be recognized for coming together to participate in such an awesome event.

Again, the first auction, which features SV Angel, will end on Thursday, at which point the second auction will begin (featuring Menlo, NEA, Pulse, and Lytro). Thereafter, every ten days, another round of VCs and founders auctions will be announced, hosted on eBay. Not all of the auctions will have a minimum of $5,000, there will be auctions for VCs and founders going for $1,000 as well, in an effort to make the opportunity to available to a wider audience. Plus, it’s a tax write-off.

For more information on the individual auctions, check out Motion To Dismiss’ page here, for a direct link to eBay’s auction page go here, and for more on Leukemia & Lyphoma Society, check it out here.

Note: Motion To Dismiss Cancer has kindly offered one winning ticket to the TechCrunch comment/commenter with the best pitch. So, in a few sentences describe why you think you deserve a meeting with an investor or entrepreneur in the comments, and you may just get that opportunity.



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Rip Empson

April 17th

Uncategorized

Following Apple dividend, Google shareholders seek the same

A number of Google shareholders are asking for the Internet giant to follow in Apple’s footsteps and return part of its $44.6 billion in cash to investors, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. Google has more cash as a percentage of market value than five of its largest competitors, including Apple. The iPhone maker recently reinstated a dividend and unveiled plans for a $10 billion stock buyout last month. Google is currently the only U.S. technology company with a market value of more than $125 billion that doesn’t offer a regular shareholder payout. The Mountain View-based company’s cash has almost doubled since 2009, and it has increased by between $2 billion and $3 billion each quarter. A dividend would ease the tensions between the company and its investors, who have endured a 1.5% decline this year. “There’s a pattern here that makes sense, and I’m sure Google will figure out the right thing to do,” said Michael Holland, chairman of Holland & Co., a New York investment firm that oversees more than $4 billion in assets. “It’s a little bit of a victory dance, if you will, to be able to have the sort of cash surplus that a company like Apple does and Google does. To share some of it is sharing the victory dance.”

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Dan Graziano

April 12th

Apple

Sprint’s board is watching CEO Dan Hesse closely amid investor unrest

After five years at Sprint’s helm, CEO Dan Hesse’s effectiveness is being called into question. While Hesse and his team have managed to stall subscriber defection, revenue continues to decline. With flops in Clearwire, WiMAX, LightSquared and a risky $15.5 billion gamble on Apple’s iPhone, Sprint investors fear the CEO may not have what it takes to lead the company against AT&T and Verizon Wireless in an industry that regulators fear has already grown too concentrated. Big investors have voiced strong concerns that the company’s management, led by Hesse, isn’t up to the job, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Dragos Stefanescu, a director for the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, sharply criticized Mr. Hesse at a lunch meeting in Boston last year, voicing his concerns about Sprint’s complicated network plan. The Journal’s sources, however, claim that the board remains confident in Hesse, though their close watch over every move the CEO makes suggests otherwise. “The board has been stunningly engaged,” one person said. “It sort of has to be because the company’s not doing well.”

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Dan Graziano

March 13th

Apple

Sprint seeks an additional $2 billion from investors

Sprint on Monday announced that the carrier is issuing another round of notes due in 2017 and 2020 in an attempt to generate approximately $2 billion in capital. The investment would allow Sprint to fund general operations, build out its LTE network and possibly help fund the Clearwire as it continues to struggle. “The company intends to use the net proceeds from the offering of the Notes for general corporate purposes, which may include, among other things, redemptions or service requirements of outstanding debt, network expansion and modernization and potential funding of Clearwire Corporation and its subsidiary Clearwire Communications LLC,” Sprint said. Read on for Sprint’s press release.

Sprint Announces Private Placement of Notes

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), February 27, 2012 – Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) announced today that it plans to offer approximately $2 billion in aggregate principal amount of notes due 2020 (the “2020 Notes”) and notes due 2017 (the “2017 Notes” and, together with the 2020 Notes, the “Notes”) in a private transaction that is exempt from the registration requirements of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Act”). The 2020 Notes will be guaranteed by the company’s wholly-owned subsidiaries that guarantee its existing credit agreements.

The company intends to use the net proceeds from the offering of the Notes for general corporate purposes, which may include, among other things, redemptions or service requirements of outstanding debt, network expansion and modernization and potential funding of Clearwire Corporation and its subsidiary Clearwire Communications LLC.

The Notes and the guarantees related to the 2020 Notes have not been registered under the Act or the securities laws of any other place and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an applicable exemption therefrom. The Notes will be offered only to qualified institutional buyers under Rule 144A and to persons outside the United States under Regulation S.

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Dan Graziano

February 27th

Uncategorized

Tim Cook: Apple has more cash than it needs

During the company’s annual shareholders meeting on Thursday, CEO Tim Cook acknowledged that Apple has more money “than we need to run a company.” Apple’s board is currently engaged in “active discussions” about what to do with the $100 billion in cash it has on hand, hinting at the possibility of a dividend. “The board and management team are thinking about this very deeply,” Cook said. A dividend returns a portion of the company’s profit to shareholders, and the last time Apple paid one was in 1995 prior to the return of Steve Jobs. Investors have pushed the company to again pay a dividend, hoping it will boost Apple’s stock price by bringing in a new breed of investors, reports Bloomberg. “You can be assured we are working as hard as ever this year to deliver an incredible year and some products that will blow your mind,” Tim Cook also noted during the meeting. Apple is expected to release a new iPad next month, an HDTV this summer and a redesigned iPhone this fall.

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Dan Graziano

February 23rd

Apple

Apple iPhone 4S fails to impress Wall Street

Apple took the wraps off of the iPhone 4S today but its stock price dipped by as much as 5% as investors looked to the Cupertino-based company to release a more impressive next-generation smartphone. Fifteen months after last updating its iPhone, investors wanted to see an all new design but instead were met with an incremental update in a case identical to the iPhone 4. It offers a dual-core Apple A5 processor, an improved 8-megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p HD video and Apple’s new voice-based Siri technology, but the iPhone 4S does not offer a completely revamped industrial design, as many had suspected. The iPhone 4S will launch on October 14th and Sprint will join AT&T and Verizon Wireless in offering the phone. Apple’s stock closed down 0.56% on Tuesday.

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Todd Haselton

October 4th

Apple
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