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Makerbot Inks Deal; Waze Worries; Tumblr Attacks

Eric Rosenbaum, CNBC.com
Friday, 21 Jun 2013 | 2:18 PM ET
MakerBot's popular Replicator 2
Photo: makerbot.com
MakerBot's popular Replicator 2

A weekly recap of news on the CNBC Disruptor 50 companies seeking to upend the status quo in the markets.

Makerbot Makes a Deal

MakerBot is being acquired by Stratasys for $403 million. Stratasys, which in December completed a $1.4 billion merger with the privately held 3-D printing company Objet, said MakerBot will operate as a separate subsidiary when the deal closes in the third quarter, and Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis will continue to lead the business.

MakerBot has sold more than 22,000 3-D printers since its launch in 2009 and generated revenue of $11.5 million in first-quarter 2013.

Airbnb Is Cheaper Than Hotels, Survey Says

Is it really less expensive to stay at an Airbnb than a hotel? Yes, according to a recent study.

Looking at every major U.S. city and comparing the cost of renting an apartment on Airbnb to a hotel, Priceonomics found that Airbnb rentals are 21.2% less than hotels. For budget travelers, a private room booked on Airbnb can be as much as 49.5% less than a hotel room.

(Read more: 3-D Printing Set to Be This Generation's 'Moon Shot')

In cities where Airbnb has less inventory, it is not always cheaper to rent an apartment, but it's almost always cheaper to stay in an Airbnb private room than book a hotel, the study found. The cities with the most Airbnb listings relative to their population are San Francisco; Cambridge, Mass.; Berkeley, Calif.; Boulder, Colo.; and Washington.

Ouya: Game-Changer

A week after Microsoft and Sony's big splash at the E3 conference, CEO Julie Urhman of $99 gaming-console maker Ouya, appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box" to discuss the future of the gaming market and opening up the last "closed" platform: television. All games are free to try on Ouya.

"The console industry has not changed in over 30 years, and games cost $60 before you even know if you like it. We're telling any creator with excitement and vision to build a game for the television, Uhrman said. "The consoles don't allow that today. … This is truly disruptive."

(Read More: Why Health Care Needs a Dose of Social Disruption)

Google, Waze Driving Toward Regulatory Roadblock?

Google's purchase of Waze could attract more attention from regulators. The company bypassed U.S. regulatory review under an exemption for acquisitions of foreign companies lacking substantial U.S. revenues.

But comments by Waze CEO Noam Bardin in which he referred to Waze as Google's "only reasonable competition" has raised concerns that the Department of Justice or Federal Trade Commission could take a closer look at any antitrust aspects of the deal.

At an AllThingsD conference in May, Bardin said, "What search is for the Web, maps are for mobile ... We feel that we're the only reasonable competition to [Google] in this market of creating maps that are really geared for mobile, for real-time, for consumers—for the new world that we're moving into."

Social Media Stats Are 'Gross': Tumblr's Karp

Tumblr founder David Karp lashed out at other social media companies in a conference appearance this week, calling the arms race in follower numbers promoted by social media companies, including Twitter, as "really gross."

(Read More: A $34 Billion Conversation in the Cloud)

Tumblr does not share its stats, a policy that Karp considers critical to allowing for creativity and experimentation without the "shame" associated with not amassing a huge following.

Karp sold Tumblr to Yahoo in May for $1.1 billion.

HotelTonight's Battle for the 15 Percent

HotelTonight CEO Sam Shank appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box" and challenged skepticism that his company's mobile app for booking last-minute hotel deals is no different than any online travel booking site.

"It's completely different than legacy online travel agency websites," he said. "We're inspiring people to be more spontaneous and create more primary demand," Shank said.

Shank explained that the company is targeting only the last-minute, same-day booking market, which is 15% of the overall lodging industry, though he expects it to grow over time. The company's target demographic is 25 to 40 year olds.

"Even at the Superbowl we had rooms. They were expensive, but sold in 20 minutes," Shank said.

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