Top weekly news from the mobile & tech industry selected by Neomobile
Chinese Internet Giant Baidu Agrees To Buy Chinese Android App Distributor 91 Wireless For $1.9B
Here’s a sign of how valuable China’s biggest alternative app stores have become.
The country’s leading search engine, Baidu, just signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire 91 Wireless for $1.9 billion from NetDragon.
91 Wireless runs some of the country’s biggest smartphone app distribution platforms through 91 Assistant and HiMarket. An independent research firm iResearch put the company as the top third-party distribution platform in China by active users and accumulated downloads.
Because Google Play isn’t available in China and the Android platform has quickly overtaken iOS there in the last two years, independent Android app stores like Qihoo 360′s app store and Wandoujia have flourished. 91 Wireless says 10 billion apps have been downloaded to date through its marketplaces. Baidu has its own app store as well, but this is a way for them to assume more market share.
The 91 Wireless subsidiary, which started back in 2007, had grown so quickly that its owner, NetDragon, was considering spinning the unit off for an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. If this deal goes through, that IPO will get cancelled. NetDragon will receive $1.09 billion from the deal, given its 57 percent share. Baidu says it will buy the remaining shares from minority shareholders on similar terms.
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Paid Apps On The Decline: 90% Of iOS Apps Are Free, Up From 80-84% During 2010-2012, Says Flurry
The trend toward more mobile applications going free continues, app analytics provider Flurry confirms this morning in a new report focused on app price changes over time. The company, whose analytics service now runs in nearly 350,000 mobile applications, found that around 80 to 84 percent of iOS apps were free between 2010 and 2012, but by 2013, 90 percent of iOS apps in its network were now free.
That doesn’t mean that the free apps aren’t making money, of course. Apps often generate revenue through advertisements, in-app purchases, or by pushing a portion of their users to premium, paid version of a mobile app – perhaps for the purpose of removing the ads. In this latter scenario, the upgrade cost to go ad-free is typically $0.99 or $1.99.
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Venture Capitalists invested $226 million in mobile app developers since beginning of 2013
Venture capitalists are looking toward mobile app development start-ups as their next saving grace. The rapidly growing space of mobile app development is leading to race to find and boost funding for the companies that develop these apps.
CB Insights has found that mobile app development companies have invested $262 million across 36 deals in 2013 alone. The pace seems to be picking up quickly as this accounts for 59 percent of the funding in the overall mobile development space in 2012. Just in June, six mobile app development companies received significant rounds of financing.
Venture capitalists aren’t the only people looking to make an impact in the space. The acquisition of Parse by Facebook and IBM’s acquisition of Worklight mark strategic interest in the space by many different companies. It is not just app development that is seeing a significant boost, but venture capital funding to the broader developer tools category hit $646M in the last year, jumping 77% year-over-year. This growth looks to be part of a larger trend and increased interest in the developer tools space.
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Facebook Acquires Assets of U.K. Software Startup Monoidics
Facebook announced on Thursday that the company has acquired the assets of Monoidics, a software-verification company based in the United Kingdom.
As it is not a full company acquisition, only Monoidics’ technical team will be joining Facebook’s London engineering offices after the deal closes.
Monoidics creates programs that check other software for bugs and problems, and Facebook will use Monoidics’ tools to help improve development of Facebook’s mobile products. That’s obviously an area Facebook is focused on, as the company has sped up product development for its Android and iOS apps over the past few years, due to the shifting of the industry toward mobile.
Monoidics’ Founder, the Italian Dino Distefano, who emigrated from Sicily to the UK because he couldn’t find a place in Italian universities.
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Yahoo Acquires Mobile Ad Tech Startup Admovate
Internet giant Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) recently announced the acquisition of mobile advertising startup, Admovate. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
Mountain View, CA-based Admovate was founded in 2012. It focuses on mobile advertising technology that enable advertisers to create and deliver personalized offers to consumers through mobile platforms.
Being a little-known company, it’s not clear whether it has any existing products. But the acquisition stands out because these engineers are focused on the delivery of ads whereas the other were focused on content. After the closure of the deal, Admovate employees will join Yahoo’s display advertising team at its California headquarters.
After CEO Marissa Meyer took over the reins of the company, Yahoo! has been quite active on the acquisition front. Some of its recent acquisitions include Astrid, a task-management app maker; Summly, a news-condenser app maker; Stamped, a mobile-review app maker; OnTheAir, which specializes in broadcasting video chats or interviews to online audiences; Snip.it, which is a kind of clipping service for the web; Propeld, a location-based apps maker; Jybe, a social recommendation site; Loki Studios, a mobile gaming start-up, PlayerScale, a gaming infrastructure company; photo app maker GhostBird Software; enterprise conference call service provider; Rondee, a mobile app developer; Bignoggins Production, amobile app developer; Qwiki Inc. and an email and address book management company, Xobni.
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