A new feature that allows users to send photos, videos and messages to private groups is a clear shot at Snapchat and other rivals.
Instagram, the social photo-sharing network purchased last year by Facebook (FB) for $1 billion, has unveiled a new app that allows its 150 million users to send pictures, videos and written messages to a select group of people.
With the new Instagram Direct feature, users can also chat privately about their selected photos and videos.
"This is important because Instagram is a two-way street," Memeburn quotes Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom saying at Thursday's press conference.
The app, available for iOS and Android, is being seen as a direct challenge to other message-sharing services such as Snapchat – which made headlines earlier this year when it walked away from Facebook's $3 billion acquisition offer.
After years of speculation, industry experts say Internet-based TV could become reality by the end of next year.
By Jim Probasco
Speculation about so-called over-the-top or streaming cable via the Internet has been around for years.
According to some TV-industry experts, it may be about to happen -- as early as in 2014.
Viacom (VIA) CEO Philippe Dauman started the ball rolling at the UBS media conference in New York this week saying, "I think there's a very strong chance of that," speaking about the possible rollout of over-the-top service next year.
Debate has already begun about who would be the first to offer the service. The first name mentioned was that of Verizon (VZ), which has mobile rights to primetime NFL games.
From data mining to mysterious barges, the Internet giant sometimes seems at odds with its 'Don't be evil' philosophy. But a positive image plays a crucial role in its success.
By Dana Blankenhorn
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Recently I noted that Amazon.com (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos has entered the "Bond villain" stage of his career -- a point where he's larger than life, and where every pronouncement he makes, no matter how strange (Let's have drones deliver packages!) is seen as brilliant insight.
Blofeld was the "super villain" in nine different Bond films, and was played by a succession of actors, most memorably by Donald Pleasence, his head shaved, stroking a white cat in "You Only Live Twice."
How does a company whose unofficial motto was "Don't be evil" suddenly appear to be the personification of evil? Mainly it's a product of its own success.
It may sound trivial, but the on-demand video company is selling used content at an unsustainably low price.
Keep it simple.
That's good advice in life, and it's great advice for technology investors. The more novel a thing is, the less we can predict about its future -- so it's important that we stick to the basics. What is a company selling? What price can it get? What are its costs?
Netflix (NFLX) sells used video content. It repackages movies that have left the theater, and television shows that have concluded their season. The video-on-demand service charges $7.99/month per subscriber, and pays somewhere in the neighborhood of $6/month per viewer for content, plus any and all expenses.
The company is widely seen as a threat to cable TV, and the success of original content like the Emmy Award-winning "House of Cards" would seem to be proof that the challenge is real. However, definition and price work together. Original content cannot be had for $6/month per viewer, and in order to turn a profit, Netflix must resell content that it cannot afford to produce on its own. That makes it a used video seller.
This is may sound trivial, but it's an important point. The moving pictures that Netflix sells for $7.99/month cost far more than that to create.
Eight leading technology companies -- bitter rivals in some cases -- are pushing the White House and members of Congress to rein in government surveillance.
By Danny Yadron, The Wall Street Journal
Eight U.S. technology giants are making a joint appeal to reform government surveillance activities, following a stream of disclosures about actions by the National Security Agency.
Google (GOOG), Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Twitter (TWTR), Yahoo (YHOO), LinkedIn (LNKD) and AOL (AOL) -- bitter rivals in some cases --are issuing an open letter to President Obama and members of Congress along with a set of reform principles to better safeguard the information of Internet users. (Microsoft owns and publishes MSN Money.)
A shorter version of the open letter is appearing in full-page ads in the Monday editions of several print publications, including The New York Times and several D.C.-focused newspapers, including the Washington Post, Politico, Roll Call and The Hill.
"This summer's revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide," the ad reads in part. "The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual -- rights that are enshrined in our Constitution."
- MSN Money: 12 ways you could be tracked
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
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[BRIEFING.COM] Stocks have hit a bit of rough patch during the past 30 minutes as the major averages tumbled from their highs to lows. The move sent the Dow, Nasdaq, and S&P 500 into the red while the Russell 2000 continues to outperform with a modest gain of 0.1%.
The retreat from highs to lows was not paced by any particular sector, but rather the result of a broad-based move across almost all economic groups. Furthermore, the recent wave of selling caused the CBOE Volatility ... More
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