Just when I think it can't get any worse or stranger for
Clearwire, Sprint steps in and adds some more life into this crazy money train we call a wireless network. On March 1st, Sprint sold $2 billion - not a typo - in notes to further aid Clearwire in refinancing, funding and to help with their network upgrades. They've now moved past the "helping too much" level and shot right to "might as well own the company" status.
These notes, totaling $2 billion, include notes due in 2017 at 9.125% interest and notes due in 2020 at 7% interest. This is on top of the $4 billion they put up in November to start Clearwire's recovery process. I suppose Sprint recognizes that they need to continue the upgrades for Clearwire, after
LightSquared's problems with the FCC.
It could also have something to do with their abandonment of
buying MetroPCS. We learned this week, after the rumors from last week, that the board decided not to acquire the company, as it would have cost up to $8 billion, including debt, which would have been way too much for Sprint to take on, especially with their stock price being around $2.50.
Perhaps all of this will make sense in the long run. Sprint has $6 billion+ tied up into Clearwire now. I hope they really don't decide to abandon them in 2014 as their network support and instead just move to their potential LTE network that Sprint is helping Clearwire build.
Earlier this month, Google
hit a security snag with Google Wallet that ended up exposing sensitive payment information for people who had their phones stolen and settings wiped. In general, Google doesn't like to think things through and seeing as how they've been racing through development to be at the forefront of digital-wallet adoption, this is not a surprise. Thankfully, Google was proactive about solving the problem and at least gave Google Wallet users some half-baked recourse.
What may come as a surprise to some is the reaction of Isis CEO Michael Abbot. For those of you not familiar, Isis has been in the process of developing a technology that would act as a framework for payment processors to integrate with. It's similar in concept to Bump in the sense that mobile phone manufacturers would build in their NFC technology and consumers could simply tap their phones against a retailers cash registers to render payment. They have been developing this technology with backing from Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and AT&T and are looking to start technology trials in Austin Texas and Salt Lake City Utah around July this year.
Find out why Abbot's thinks Google hasn't ruined digital-wallet adoption after the break.
Recently, we've seen technology companies realizing the potential in launching new products or concepts at major sporting events and other festivities.
IE9 showed up at SXSW, Silverlight was a heavy hitter at both the 2010 Winter Olympics and The PGA Masters, Twitter and HP teamed together with the iconic Tiesto to host a concert from Vegas on the web and we've even learned that the 2012 London Olympics will feature new UHDTV technology. This week, add Samsung and Visa to the list of Olympic participants, as they will be launching payWave, an NFC wireless payment system, at the London games.
We have the full details after the break.
Zynga has had an extremely lucrative partnership with Facebook and it was revealed that Zynga accounted for 12% of their revenue when
Facebook filed for its IPO. Their relationship wasn't always as pleasant as a sunshine-filled day on the farm, however. Back in May 2005 Zynga wasn't happy with Facebook taking 30% of their revenue and it prompted some uneasy negotiations that ended up in Zynga reaching out to other potential partners.
It also prompted Zynga to start developing games that were independent of Facebook and, within a few months after their Facebook fight, they had managed to churn out a few games on their own. They also managed to become a public company and have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into their own server farms in order to transition from Amazon services. Their goal here is to take Zynga.com and turn it into their own platform where they can carve out their own territory. According to CEO Mark Pincus,
We want to grow the market for everyone. Our vision is a billion people playing together.
That's not the whole story though. Read on after the break to find out what else Zynga has in mind to make their vision a reality.
It has been almost 2 years since I first wrote about the founding of the
Wholesale Applications Community and their 24 original members. Today, the organization has over 60 members and an even stronger focus on open standards for the wireless industry. The project they are currently tackling is the increasingly interesting wireless payment problem.
We know that
Google Wallet has had some problems, and Paypal wants in, but there is a flaw in both of these platforms: you have to attach an outside funding source. WAC aims to change that.
How do they plan to accomplish this goal? Hit the break to find out.
Not a lot of people know what
Bitcoin is, so we will start this story there. Bitcoin is a digital currency, similar to Microsoft Points, with a twist. Bitcoins are not purchased in unlimited quantities - instead, they are " mined" on servers and personal computers. Essentially, you are paid for the usage of your computer's idle CPU usage. According to the Bitcoin FAQ,
New coins are generated by a network node each time it finds the solution to a certain mathematical problem (i.e. creates a new block), which is difficult to perform and can demonstrate a proof of work. The reward for solving a block is automatically adjusted so that in the first 4 years of the Bitcoin network, 10,500,000 BTC will be created. The amount is halved each 4 years, so it will be 5,250,000 over years 4-8, 2,625,000 over years 8-12 and so on. Thus the total number of bitcoins in existence will not exceed 21,000,000.
Blocks are generated every 10 minutes, on average. As the number of people who attempt to generate these new coins changes, the difficulty of creating new coins changes. This happens in a manner that is agreed upon in advance by the network as a whole, based upon the time taken to generate the previous 2016 blocks. The difficulty is therefore related to the average computing resources devoted to generate these new coins over the time it took to create these previous blocks. The likelihood of somebody creating a block is based on the calculation speed of the system that they are using compared to the aggregate calculation speed of all the other systems generating blocks on the network.
Why does any of this matter? Hit the break to find out where a lot of this money went.