Dropbox gets chatty and buys workplace chat service Zulip

Dropbox has quietly acquired a workplace chat service startup called Zulip, according to TechCrunch.

While the two companies are keeping mum on the buyout, an email that Zulip sent its customers was published on Pastebin Monday. In the email, the company confirmed the acquisition.

"We have some news for you, but you gotta keep it secret. Can you do that? Alright, sweet," the email said. "Here's the deal: Dropbox is acquiring Zulip. We're incredibly excited about working with an awesome group of people on a problem with huge scale, at a company that's as … Read more

Ex-Apple CEO Sculley said to have Indian smartphone plans

Former Apple CEO John Sculley reportedly is planning to launch a smartphone brand in India, according to a report by tech-news site BGR that didn't cite sources.

Smartphone usage is exploding in India, with major players like Apple and Samsung pushing their phones through distribution networks and Indian companies like Micromax luxuriating in annual growth in smartphone sales between 200 and 500 percent. Last year, Strategy Analytics said India had surpassed Japan to become the third biggest smartphone market in the world.

Sculley, known for firing Steve Jobs from Apple in 1985, is said to be one of the … Read more

Comcast to buy video-ad platform FreeWheel for about $320M

Comcast is buying FreeWheel -- whose service is designed to help TV networks, film studios, and other content companies sell and manage in-video ads across numerous Web sites and devices -- for about $320 million, according to sources familiar with the deal.

FreeWheel's setup automatically allocates ad inventory, keeps track of ad revenue, and accounts for revenue splits between Web sites and content owners. It's also designed to help marketers place their ads more easily. It was founded by former executives of Internet-display-ad company DoubleClick, which was purchased by Google in 2007 for $3.1 billion.

FreeWheel's … Read more

If WhatsApp can fetch $19B, what's BlackBerry's BBM worth?

You might think that Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp for $19 billion suggests that BlackBerry is sitting on a gold mine with its BBM messenger service.

Well, not so fast.

Facebook shocked the market on Wednesday with the purchase of messaging app WhatsApp in a deal that included $16 billion in cash and stock, and another $3 billion in restricted stock that would vest over the next four years.

The deal set a new, much higher benchmark on the valuation of mobile messaging companies. Based on the $19 billion figure, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $42 per monthly active user (450 … Read more

Musk talked to Apple, but said acquisition of Tesla 'unlikely'

After speculation spread across the Web this week about Apple possibly courting Elon Musk to acquire Tesla, the electric car company CEO dispelled the myth on Wednesday.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Musk confirmed that he did meet with Apple and "had conversations" but that he "can't comment on whether those revolved around any kind of acquisition."

On Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Musk met with Apple's chief of mergers and acquisitions and possibly CEO Tim Cook last spring. The newspaper floated the idea of a high-level merger between the two … Read more

eBay acquires PhiSix, which lets users try on 3D clothes virtually

While online shopping can make buying the latest gear easier, there are some downsides -- like not being able to try on clothes.

eBay appears to be all too aware of this issue, especially when it comes to item returns. In an effort to make it easier for shoppers and to cut down on returns, the e-commerce giant announced on Wednesday that it acquired 3D virtual clothing try-on company PhiSix.

PhiSix is a computer graphics company that creates 3D models of jeans, button-up shirts, dresses, and other clothing from photos, pattern files, and other sources. These models simulate how a … Read more

Who is WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum?

WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum isn't what you'd call a bragger, but he has plenty to boast about.

In just five years, Koum and WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton have created one of the world's largest messaging apps -- an app that Facebook just agreed to buy for $16 billion, plus an additional $3 billion in stock options that will vest over the next several years.

With the acquisition, Koum, 38, will join Facebook's board of directors, but WhatsApp will remain autonomous and independent from the social network, much like Instagram. Koum wrote in a blog postRead more

Google said to open 200-worker office in San Francisco

San Francisco may be seeing more Google engineers roaming the city's Mission neighborhood in the upcoming future. According to Financial Times, the Web giant has reportedly leased a massive building in the area for employee office space.

The 35,000-square-foot building is big enough to fit 200 workers and reportedly will be geared toward housing engineers who came with Google's recent acquisitions, such as Nest Labs, SlickLogin, and Boston Dynamics.

Google has bought several companies over the last year. Just yesterday it was announced that Google acquired SlickLogin, an Israeli security startup that uses smartphones and high-frequency sounds … Read more

FTC approves key condition of Google's Nest acquisition

Google's acquisition of Nest Labs appears to have been sped up.

The Federal Trade Commission announced Wednesday that the deal was granted an "early termination" of the acquisition waiting period. This means applicable antitrust and competition regulations for the deal have been satisfied and the acquisition could be complete earlier than previously forecast.

Google announced last month that it was buying Nest, maker of the Learning Thermostat and the Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector, for $3.2 billion. While Nest will be joining Google's ranks, the company said it will still be run by current … Read more

AOL lands Gravity in $83M acquisition

AOL has felt the pull of content-personalization company Gravity.

AOL announced the deal on Thursday, saying it'll pay $83 million for Gravity. AOL says that the acquisition will make it easier for its network of sites to present relevant content to users, and could improve the company's analytics, targeting, and advertising offerings.

Gravity is perhaps best known for its Interest Graph -- a visual representation of what topics are trending across the Internet. Gravity then analyzes a user's actions on the Web and delivers real-time content and advertising based on their interests. According to AOL, Gravity has … Read more