Booyah Ouya; Square Fair; LA Rideshare Traffic
The latest news on the CNBC Disruptor 50 companies upending the status quo in the markets:
Ouya Sells Out, Google 'Impressed'?
Ouya's gaming console hit the market on June 25th and sold out quickly on Amazon and the website of retailer Target. The company is no stranger to impressive debuts, turning a record crowdfunding site Kickstarter raise of $8 million into a second round of serious venture capital investment from Silicon Valley power brokers including Kleiner Perkins.
"Unreal," Ouya said in a Twitter post. "Ouya has officially sold out on @amazon US and UK." Even though consoles were still available on the Ouya website for sale, eBay prices were higher than the $99 list price.
Is it good news/bad news for Ouya, and could it soon be a victim of its own success? Ouya may have just sold out in its initial launch of a gaming console powered by Google Android, but it may still have Google to worry about. The Wall Street Journal reported that Google may launch its own gaming console.
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Square Launches Online Marketplace
Square has launched an e-commerce site, Square Market, where local merchants can sell their wares. The same businesses that use Square's payments technology can now leverage Square's technology for online sales. The business model extends Square's revenue footprint from payments to e-commerce, and places Square into competition with e-commerce platforms like eBay, Amazon and craft-focused Etsy.
Uber and Lyft Ignore LA's Hail
The Transportation Department of the City of Los Angeles sent cease-and-desist letters to three companies in the ridesharing space: Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. Uber, though, says it isn't worried, and that it has an agreement in place with the California Public Utilities Commission that permits it to operate statewide.
"We already signed an agreement with the California Public Utilities Commission explicitly stating that Uber services, including the eco-friendly UberX, are authorized to operate statewide," an Uber spokesman told the Los Angeles Times.
The letter to the ridesharing companies threatens arrest of its drivers and impounding of cars for up to 30 days. Taxicab drivers protested in in Los Angeles on Tuesday outside City Hall. But the ridesharing companies argue that this is nothing new in terms of opposition at a local level, and California has already ruled it's a state, not a city, issue.
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Google-Waze Deal Getting Antitrust Review
The Federal Trade Commission is reviewing Google's acquisition of mapping app Waze, Google said, confirming speculation that began right after Google announced the $1.1 billion deal. Google's deal escaped automatic regulatory scrutiny because Wave lacked significant revenue—a key threshold for automatic antitrust review. However, a comment made by Waze founder and CEO Noam Bardin at a May conference that Waze was Google's "only reasonable competition" attracted attention once the deal was made, and led to speculation that the government might still scrutinize the speedy transaction.
Aereo Launching in Chicago
Internet television company Aereo has set its sights on the Windy City. After starting in New York and recently expanding to Boston and Atlanta, Aereo plans to begin service in Chicago on September 13. The expansion to Chicago will cover 16 counties across Illinois and Indiana.
Aereo CEO and Founder Chet Kanojia said in a release, "Consumers want more choice and flexibility when it comes to how they watch television and the enthusiastic response to our technology from people across the country has been humbling...However, there's still much more to come as we continue our expansion into new cities throughout the summer and fall."
In news of interest to the CNBC Disruptor 50 companies:
Fitbit vs. Jawbone
New York Times gadget reviewer David Pogue chimed in on the healthy life wearable device battle between Fitbit and Jawbone—Fitbit is a partner of Audax Health. Pogue's view is that any device aimed at monitoring and improving daily health is a plus, but there are some pros and cons to the Jawbone and Fitbit "banded" devices. Pogue seems to side with the Fitbit Flex in overall design and ease of use, but concedes that Jawbone's software is still way ahead.
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PayPal Wants to Dominate Outer Space
SpaceX wants to usher in the era of private space travel and human colonization of Mars, but how will you pay for things once you get there? eBay's PayPal is working with space architects and researchers to create an Internet payments system for outer space transactions. PayPal's initiative is called PayPal Galactic.
Apple Sets Radio Royalty Rates
Stepping into the market dominated by Spotify and Pandora, Apple has set terms with record labels for its online radio service, terms that the Wall Street Journal deemed to be more generous to the music companies than what Pandora Media currently pays.
Apple royalty payments will be based on a blend of how many times listeners hear their songs and how much advertising Apple sells, the WSJ reported, after reviewing contract documents. During iTunes Radio's first year, Apple will pay a label 0.13 cents each time a song is played, as well as 15% of net advertising revenue, proportionate to a given label's share of the music played on iTunes. In the second year, that bumps up to 0.14 cents per listen, plus 19% of ad revenue.
_ By Eric Rosenbaum