Digital music licensing revenues surpassed those from radio for the first time ever, mostly thanks to Google Play and Xbox. [The Guardian]
If this really is Mark Zuckerberg’s first ever Angelfire page, it’s just as mortifying as yours was. [Gizmodo]
Q1 of 2013 yielded a strangely low number of IPOs: only eight companies went public in the three-month period. [Silicon Valley Business Journal]
Not to be eclipsed by Microsoft, Samsung is getting its own brick and mortar stores, but with a twist: they’ll exist solely inside Best Buys. Guess they really like the Geek Squad? [AllThingsD]
The Facebook phone is expected to be announced today. Yay? [New York Times]
Tap It To Me
Before most consumers have gotten around to downloading a single mobile payments app onto their smartphone, a consortium of a big chain stores are preparing to push out yet another alternative. The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart, Target, 7-Eleven, Best Buy, CVS, Sunoco, and more are in the early stages of developing a horribly-named payments network called Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), which will let users pay with a tap of their phone.
Rather than go the Starbucks route and partner with Square or follow other national retailers (like Duane Reade, RadioShack, Banana Republic, etc.) into Google Wallet, the group is going rogue, arguing that Google and other telecom providers–AT&T and T-Mobile have a payments app called Isis; Verizon and Vodafone have one as well–don’t understand customers like they do. The retailers behind MCX point out that they have a combined $1 trillion in annual sales and “serve nearly every smartphone user in the U.S.”
Oh You Fancy Huh?
Blame Michael Phelps fever for our oversight, but we seem to have missed a milestone in Silicon Alley’s rise to celebrity status. This past weekend, “Breaking Bad” viewers were treated to the visage of Dennis Crowley, staring back at them from a Best Buy commercial. Best Buy released two different thirty second spots starring the Foursquare cofounder, one of which is also running during the Olympics.
Mr. Crowley, the de facto poster boy for New York’s tech scene, doesn’t shy away from the limelight. There was last year’s print ad for Gap (alongside the defoundered Naveen Selvadurai), as well as his upcoming debut in Vanity Fair. ”Have a SAG card yet?,” Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer quipped on Twitter.
When Hackers Attack
Signal hacking, which probably reached its Zenith with the infamous and surreal “Max Headroom” hack of a Chicago TV broadcast in 1987, may be making a bit of a comeback with the advent of WiFi enabled Smart TVs. That’s one possibility suggested by the WiFi hack of a South Carolina Best Buy that displayed “extremely, extremely pornographic” images on several 55-inch TVs in the store’s display.
Gloria Berg, who was in the store with her children at the time, complained to the manager. In an interview with a local TV station, Mrs. Berg told of the the manager’s interesting response to her concerns: