Student hub Chegg files for $150M IPO

Chegg, the 8-year-old California company that started as an educational textbook rental service but blossomed into an online learning hub, on Tuesday filed for an initial public offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company managed to do it quietly, thanks to a 2012 U.S. law that allows companies with under $1 billion in annual revenue to work confidentially with regulatory agencies ahead of the announcement.

Chegg is seeking $150 million for its educational platform, which offers (digital and printed) textbook rentals and sales, homework assistance, online courses, and scholarship services. The Santa Clara-based company, which … Read more

Use the Target Cartwheel app for extra in-store savings

I love saving money, and I know I'm not alone. When Target first launched its Cartwheel program with Facebook, I thought it was interesting, but clumsy. The service wasn't integrated into the existing Target app, and it also wasn't easy to find through Facebook. There was no standalone app, which meant that you had to type in a Web address every time you wanted to select deals or redeem savings in the store.

Now there's a standalone app that lets you select up to 12 offers, and then easily get your discounts at the store. Here'… Read more

Apple sells a record $17 billion in debt

Apple had a field day with its first debt offering since 1996.

Investors hungrily gobbled up $17 billion in Apple bonds, the largest offering in corporate history. The proceeds will be used to help fund the company's ambitious plan to return value to shareholders through share repurchases and dividend payouts.

The bond sale comes on the heels of Apple's plans to double its capital return program, which involves spending an additional $55 billion in dividend payments to investors. Apple also said it would be spending an extra $50 billion in repurchasing company stock along with increasing its quarterly … Read more

Dropbox reportedly preparing for IPO later this year

Dropbox has already been in the planning stages and holding meeting with banks about turning into a public company during the second half of 2013, according to Quartz.

Based on unnamed sources said to be "briefed on the talks," Quartz suggested that the cloud storage provider is ready for an initial public offering now following the debut of its new business products.

Earlier this week, Dropbox rolled out several new features and a new console for IT administrators as it attempts to ramp up its enterprise efforts.

The additional set of services for businesses certainly makes Dropbox look … Read more

eBay tries to outdeal Groupon with its own daily deals

eBay is attempting to carve out a piece of Groupon's action with its own daily deals special.

Dubbed Lifestyle Deals, the new service is being tested in several cities across the U.S., including New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. And it works much like the daily deals offered by Groupon.

eBayers in one of the participating cities can choose from a variety of deals each day. New Yorkers who spend $19 can win a walking tour of Central Park. Those in San Francisco can get their dogs walked for a full hour for just $12. And … Read more

Why I'm choosing the Kindle with Special Offers

There was quite the hullabaloo last week regarding Amazon's new Kindles.

Turns out that the Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Fire HD tablets were all "Special Offers" models, meaning they'd display ads on their lock screens and main home screens.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos neglected to mention this when announcing the prices for all these Kindles, causing a minor uproar in the hours that followed -- especially when Amazon reps said there would be no way to opt out. Then, barely a day later, Bezos and Co. reversed course and gave Kindle Fire customers the option of … Read more

Toys 'R' Us takes on tablets with Tabeo

This Monday tech news roundup doesn't want to grow up:

Toys "R" Us has created it's own tablet designed for kids, called Tabeo. It goes on sale in stores Oct. 21 for $150, but the store is now taking preorders online. This kid-safe tablet comes with 50 apps pre-installed for games, education, reading -- even apps for cooking and editing photos. And there's 7,000 more apps available in an app store. It comes with 4GB of memory, but is expandable with a memory card slot. And Toys 'R' Us won't be sharing this … Read more

Amazon backtracks, will offer $15 opt-out for ads on Kindle Fire tablets

It looks like you'll be able to opt out of the ads on the new Kindle Fire tablets after all.

I just received this e-mail from an Amazon spokesperson:

I wanted to let you know that with Kindle Fire HD there will be a special offers opt-out option for $15. We know from our Kindle reader line that customers love our special offers and very few people choose to opt out. We're happy to offer customers the choice.

In answer to my follow-up question, the spokesperson specified that the opt-out will be available on both the Fire HDRead more

No option to remove ads on Kindle Fires

Friday's tech news roundup is bracing for the mini-tablet price war:

UPDATE: Amazon has had a change of heart over the weekend and reversed its stance on lock-screen ads. Find the follow-up report on Monday's Update.

Amazon's new generation of Kindle Fire tablets will have Special Offers and Sponsored Screensavers on the home lock-screen, and you won't be able to pay extra to take it off. For the e-ink readers, Amazon has offered ways to pay a small fee, about $20, to take the ads off. But these ads are not coming off the new tablets. … Read more

Amazon confirms: All new Kindle Fires stuck with ads

Editors' note (September 8, 2012, 6:21 p.m. PT): One day after this story was published, Amazon has reversed course. The company now says it will offer a $15 opt-out option to go ad-free.

Amazon introduced a bevy of new tablets and e-readers at its Santa Monica, Calif., press conference yesterday. And once the dust cleared, it became clear that there was a tiny asterisk that the company wasn't highlighting: all of the new Kindle Fire tablets include ad-supported "Special Offers." That means that the lock-screen will have have an ad, along with a link on … Read more