Less than two years ago, the fledgling virtual reality company was soliciting $10 to $300 contributions on the crowdfunding site.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 26, 2014 12:13PM

Peter Mason tries the Oculus virtual reality headset at the Game Developers Conference 2014 in San Francisco, March 19, 2014. © AP Photo/Jeff ChiuThe Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyBy Tom Gara and Lora Kolodny, The Wall Street Journal

On Aug. 1, 2012, a fledgling company called Oculus took to crowdfunding site Kickstarter to raise money to get its virtual reality headset off the ground.

What did you get in return for an investment? Everybody who funded the company with $10 was promised "a sincere thank you from the Oculus team" and regular updates on the project.

When the funding period closed at the beginning of September, 1,009 people had kicked in ten bucks each. A $25 investment got you a t-shirt as well as a thank you.

The real action was the $300 investment: For that, you we promised an early "developer kit" including a prototype headset and access to the software development tools needed to build games for the headset. 5,642 people signed up for that. In total, the campaign raised $2.4 million from 9,500 contributors.

About 18 months after accepting $10 investments repaid with thanks (and with some venture capital investments along the way) the company Tuesday sold itself for $2 billion to Facebook (FB).


Signing up new members is the easy part -- getting them to stay active proves more difficult, according to a new report.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 24, 2014 11:30AM

The Wall St. Journal on MSN MoneyThe Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile device © Bethany Clarke/Getty ImagesBy Yoree Koh, The Wall Street Journal

To celebrate its eighth birthday, Twitter (TWTR) released a nifty tool that allows users to travel back in their timelines to find the first tweet they ever sent.

But here's the thing: The first tweet is the easiest. Getting users to send follow up tweets is the hard part.

According to a forthcoming report from Twopcharts, a website that monitors Twitter account activity, about 40 percent of the 20 million accounts that are registered on Twitter each month send at least one tweet the month they sign up. This excludes accounts that were suspended or deleted.

By the time Twitter celebrates its ninth birthday next year, Twopcharts estimates only a quarter of those accounts will still be tweeting.


As the smartphone maker clings to its dwindling market share, one of its last and most prominent strongholds – the White House – is reportedly weighing other options.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 21, 2014 12:08PM

The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyPresident Barack Obama uses his BlackBerry as first lady Michelle Obama talks to him at a NCAA basketball game between Oregon State Beavers and Towson Tigers at Towson University in Maryland, Nov. 26, 2011 © REUTERS/Yuri GripasBy Will Connors, The Wall Street Journal

The White House is testing smartphones from Samsung (SSNLF) and LG Electronics for internal use, a person familiar with the matter said, threatening one of the last and most high-profile strongholds of BlackBerry (BBRY).

The devices are being tested by the White House's internal technology team and the White House Communications Agency, a military unit in charge of President Barack Obama's communications, the person said. The tests are in the early stages, the person said, and any implementation of Samsung or LG phones is still "months away." There was no indication that President Obama is switching from his modified BlackBerry.


After purchasing controller company Green Throttle Games, the tech giant appears closer to entering the gaming market.

By Forbes Digital Mar 20, 2014 12:15PM
Forbes on MSN MoneyThe By Dave Thier, Forbes contributor

If we were looking for more proof about search giant Google's (GOOG) designs on the living room, this is it. The BBC reports that Google has acquired controller company Green Throttle Games for an undisclosed amount.

A quick look at one of their products proves that the company is making things designed for sitting on a couch. Google hasn't bought this company for use with its phones.

We've heard a lot of rumors about Google's set-top box in the past, enough to believe with reasonable certainty that it exists and we'll see it sometime. The specs are what we wonder about now -- considering that the company already has Chromecast, I think that whatever it makes has to be a little more than a box with an Internet connection. Local computing would be a reasonable addition, and there's no better use for that than gaming.

Telepresence robots are a new niche of products that hope to improve the video conferencing experience.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 18, 2014 12:05PM

iRobot Ava 500 Courtesy of iRobot
The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyBy Priya Ganapati, The Wall Street Journal

Want to work from home? Send a robot to the office instead. The Ava 500 is virtual collaboration gadget from iRobot (IRBT) you can use to make your presence felt at meetings or in the hallways of the office, without physically being there.

In development for years, the Ava is finally available in the U.S., Canada and some European countries through authorized resellers of Cisco (CSCO) teleconferencing gear.

The robot has an automated navigation system and a 21.5-inch LCD screen so it can move around while transmitting a video of your face. Powerful microphones and cameras pick up and transmit surrounding audio and video back to you. 

Channeling oneself through the robot requires no more than an iPad Mini. Open the app, select a meeting room or a location on the map and the robot will find its way there and get started.



Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the holiday-shortened week on a mixed note as the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.1%, while the S&P 500 added 0.1% with seven sectors posting gains.

Equity indices faced an uphill climb from the opening bell after disappointing quarterly results from Google (GOOG 536.10, -20.44) and IBM (IBM 190.04, -6.36) weighed on the early sentiment. Google reported earnings $0.15 below the Capital IQ consensus estimate on revenue of $15.42 ... More


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