Daily Links 2/29/2012: Enterprise collaboration network Yammer raises $85 million

PANL (Universal Display) Slips: Q4 Beats, Year Revenue View Weak (Barron's: Tech Trader Daily)

Comcast to offer smart thermostat service via EcoFactor (Gigaom)

Senate Hearing on Verizon Purchase of Cable Spectrum Set
Antitrust Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on March 21
(Multichannel News)

Q&A: Comcast's Cathy Avgiris (Light Reading Cable)

Netflix CEO to Comcast: Quit the poor-mouthing (CNET News)

SAP Sees Mobile Products Boosting Sales (Bloomberg)

Yammer Connects With $85 Million Funding Round (Wall Street Journal: Digits)

Ellison's Oracle cloud lives as hype winds down (The Register)

Brett Berson - Turning a Portfolio into a Community... (Redeye VC)

There are two ways to increase ROI (Nat Turner's Blog)

New Scala Software Helps Organizations Create Bold Digital Signage That Commands Attention (PR Web)
Scala is based in Exton.

Quantum Leap Innovations Offers Free Subscription to Twitter Analysis Tool “Quantum Leap Buzz”
Free Consumer Edition Provides Never Before Available Twitterverse Analytics; Business Edition Available for Purchase in April
(Business Wire)

Del. card firms get closer to offering “mobile wallets” (Delaware Online: Delaware Inc.)

U.S. Federal Reserve Beige Book: Philadelphia District (Bloomberg)


Welcome to Comcast Town?

My brother Rob shot this photo recently. Can anyone guess what city it was taken in?

Daily Links 2/28/2012: Edison Ventures raises $249 million for new fund

OpenX Acquires SSP LiftDNA, Pulls Demand Channels Into One Place (Adotas)

OpenX opens kimono to reveal financials – prepwork for an IPO? (Reuters Blogs)

Edison VII Raises $249 Million (PR Web)

Safeguard Scientifics Announces Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2011 Financial Results (Business Wire)

Cisco wants to light up data centers
Cisco buys Lightwire to create high-speed, high-volume switches that are priced for data centers.
(IT World)

SunGard: Cloud Concepts Are ‘In Our DNA’ (Data Center Knowledge)

Baltimore's top IT official resigns after alleged ethical violations emerge in N.Y.
Public official sought job for himself, girlfriend with software vendor after contract award, N.Y. audit says
(Baltimore Sun)

Malone’s Transparency Reversal (Wall Street Journal: Overheard)

MediaMorph Raises $8 Million From Motorola Mobility, Smedvig Capital
Startup Provides Cross-Platform Audience Measurement and Analytics
(Multichannel News)

Comcast’s Xfinity Home and EcoFactor Announce Agreement to Deliver Cloud-Based Energy Management Solution to Residential Customers (Business Wire)

Comcast Files First NBCU Condition Compliance Report
Says conditions have become part of company's DNA, and that it has overdelivered on some promises
(Broadcasting & Cable)
"Company's DNA" rapidly becoming one of the most overused buzzwords.

Angelakis: No Usage-Based Pricing For Now
Comcast CFO Says Cable Giant Won't Rock The HSD Boat
(Multichannel News)

Cablevision Declines After Forecasting Lower Free Cash Flow in 2012 (Bloomberg)

Cable Operator Knology Explores Potential Sale (Wall Street Journal: Deal Journal)

Epicor suit claims company is providing third-party support illegally (IDG News Service)
TomorrowNow-like suit.

ICON Acquires PriceSpective (Applied Clinical Trials)

EResearch 4Q profit rises and stock advances (AP via CBS News)


Highlights: Last week on Philly Tech News (2/20/2012 to 2/26/2012)

Comcast announced it was launching a Netflix-like streaming service named Xfinity Streampix, although it will be only available for now to Comcast video subscribers. Comcast and the other cable operators behind Canoe Ventures pulled the plug on its interactive advertising business, closing Canoe's New York office and letting go 120 employees. Also, Reuters reported that Comcast's Universal Theme Parks was in talks with the Chinese city of Tianjin about a possible joint venture to build a theme park and undertake other possible opportunities there.

Cisco spent $271 million to acquire Allentown-based Lightwire for its optical connectivity technology used in high-speed networks. Believe it or not, the Lehigh Valley has long been a kind of mini-Silicon Valley due to its chip-related industry.

After reporting its earnings and saying it was splitting into two tracking stocks, Liberty Interactive announced that its QVC unit had acquired Send The Trend, a website for personal fashion accessories.

Coming off a strong year, SAP AG announced a 25% dividend increase and a one time 35-cent payout for the 40th anniversary of its founding.

Austin-based social commerce company Bazaarvoice had a strong IPO, the first ever for a First Round Capital portfolio company. Investors stand to make a nice return, and FRC's may be among the highest as an early investor.

The centerpiece conference of the Healthcare IT industry, HIMSS12, took place in Las Vegas last week. The big announcements from the Feds were the release of Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements, the implementation of which will be delayed from 2013 to 2014, and a delay in rolling out an updated medical billing code system, ICD-10. Numerous Philly area companies had a major presence at HIMSS12. Siemens Healthcare announced several new iniatives, including an alliance with Dell to provide Cloud-based image storage and sharing. Blue Bell-based healthcare IT firm Halfpenny Technologies raised $2.25 million in new venture capital, increasing its total raise to $6.6 million.


Phorum 2012 Cloud Computing Conference promises to shake up Philly Cloud scene

Tom Paine

Philadelphia has many excellent tech events and conferences that serve different constituencies. Chariot Solutions' annual Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise conference (already sold out this year), for example, is focused more on the developer commmunity. But there has been for some time the lack of a premier event geared towards enterprise executives and CIOs/CTOs emphasizing business solutions that is national in scope yet distinctly Philadelphian in its focus.

Also, the rise of cloud-based technologies and Software as a Service (SaaS) has undeniably become a tidal wave transforming the enterprise IT landscape, not only by improving cost effectiveness but also by adding new capabilities and flexibility. I recently highlighted parts of the local Salesforce.com ecosystem; in addition legacy vendors such as SunGard Availability Services and Unisys have ambitious strategies and architectures for the Cloud. Newer companies such as Dell Boomi and Xtium, and numerous other smaller startups, have great potential. Also, SAP AG is becoming a major Cloud vendor through its recently completed acquisition of SuccessFactors as well as its internally developed platforms.

Sensing a need that was not being served, Bob Moul, formerly GM of Dell Boomi and now President of Philly Startup Leaders (who also recently became Chairman & CEO of Philly-based mobile developer appRennaisance), and Charles Robins, Managing Director of Philadelphia-based investment bank Fairmount Partners, got together at the encouragement of PACT (the Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies) to put together a world class event for Philadelphia focusing on cloud technologies for the enterprise. The result is PACT's Phorum 2012 Cloud Computing Conference, to be held on March 28 at the World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

Moul said in a phone interview with Philly Tech News that Phorum is not intended so much for developers but more for enterprise general managers and IT execs. Although leaders from different businesses will give presentations, the atmosphere will not be one of sales-oriented pitches but rather informative and educational content, providing perspectives on the types of solutions available through the Cloud and some of the obstacles that might be encountered in implementing them. The goal is to achieve an environment similar to a Gartner or Forrester conference. And while the event may be national in stature, Moul emphasizes that the program is specifically designed for the Philadelphia business & tech community. Phorum is also trying to shake up the "east coast suit and tie banker / lawyer stereotype" with a more informal and trendy atmosphere.

The keynote speaker will be Nicholas Carr, a provocative commentator and sometimes skeptic on technology issues whose books include The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains (a 2011 Pulitzer Prize finalist) and The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google (2008). He also writes the blog Rough Type. Other speakers include Peter Coffee, VP and Head of Platform Research for Salesforce.com, James Staten, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, and John Treadway, North American practice director for cloud and data center transformation at Unisys. All are prominent Cloud Computing experts.

The afternoon will feature panel discussions along two tracks: New Enterprise Models, and Mobility. Another major aspect of Phorum will be the Demo Pit, which will feature 12 mostly local early stage ventures demonstrating cloud offerings. You can see who they are here.

The event will close with "A Call to Action" featuring Salesforce's Peter Coffee and the announcement of the Demo Pit “Best in Show” finalists. A Cocktail Reception & Networking Event will follow with what is promised to be "great live music".

In addition to PACT, sponsors include Dell and Fairmount Partners. Some other sponsorship opportunities may still be available. The price is $250 for PACT members and $350 for non-members, or $50 and $75 for the reception only. You can register for the event here.

The Phorum Conference is intended to be an annual event, though it may focus on different topics in future years. You can follow information about Phorum on its LinkedIn page.


Daily Links 2/27/2012: OpenX buys King of Prussia's LiftDNA

OpenX buys King of Prussia's LiftDNA (Philly.com: Philly Inc)

CoPilot GPS app includes free offline maps with optional traffic data and turn-by-turn navigation, headed to Android and iOS (Engadget)
CoPilot is based in Princeton.

Dell Buys AppAssure for Software Backup (PC World)
AppAssure competitors include Philly-based PHD Virtual Technologies.

Dell's 12G Servers, New Storage Arrays: What's The Endgame? (CRN)

Evercore’s Mestre Gives Up U.S. Investment Banking Head Title (New York Times: DealBook)
Staying on at Evercore, but stepping down as top investment banker to avoid potential conflicts as he joins Comcast's audit committee. Mestre joined Comcast's board about one year ago. Evercore, coincidentally, is the same firm handling the Philadelphia Media Network sale.

Oracle's Exalytics now available, set for showdown with SAP's HANA (IT World)

The emerging competition between SuccessFactors’ Jam and SAP StreamWork – is it necessary? (Richard Hirsch/SAP Community Networks Blogs)

Sprint to Raise $2 Billion Debt, May Use to Fund Clearwire (Bloomberg)

Here's What Life Is Like When You're 22 And You've Sold A Company For $100 Million (Video: Silicon Alley Insider)
Interview with myYearbook's Geoff and Catherine Cook.

Google Maps Now Taking You Inside Your Favorite Philadelphia Restaurants And Bars (uwishunu)


Exclusive: Universal in early talks on China park, joint venture (Reuters via Chicago Tribune)

The Week the Cloud Won (New York Times: Bits)

It’s the end of the line for telco (Gigaom)

Don’t Call It A Comeback: How Carriers Could Take Back Control of The Mobile Ecosystem (TechCrunch)

Bazaarvoice Makes Loud Debut; Austin Ventures and Other VCs Could See 16x Return (PE Hub)
Valued at almost $1 billion after IPO; First Round Capital's (1.8% stake) return might be greater since it was early in.

Newgrounds Relaunches, My Interview With Founder Tom Fulp (Flesh Eating Zipper)

QVC posts a 26% increase in U.S. web sales in 2011
The TV and web retailer reportedly also buys a fashion accessories e-retailer
(Internet Retailer)

Daily Links 2/24/2012: Cisco to acquire Allentown's Lightwire for $271 million

SAP Beats Estimates With 25% Dividend Boost, Plus One-Time Payout for 40th anniversary (Bloomberg)

Salesforce.com's monster quarter: Cloud renaissance for enterprise? (ZDNet Blogs)

The Death of ERP! Long Live ERP! (ASUG News)

Oracle is Merging Two Clouds (Wall Street Journal: Digits)

Cisco Agrees to Buy Lightwire for $271 Million to Gain Optical Technology (Bloomberg)
Lightwire investors included New Science Ventures, Artiman Ventures, Wayne-based Novitas Capital, and individual investors, according to the company's website.

Cisco to buy Lightwire to bring optics to the data center (Gigaom)

Comcast Trial Fuses TiVo With VoD
(Light Reading Cable)

Comcast On Demand TiVo Integration Weeks Away (Zatz Not Funny!)

Google files applications to offer TV service in KC
Fast fiber could make video-on-demand service possible, but company isn’t saying what it has in mind.
(Kansas City Star)

Google to sell stake in Clearwire for $47m, a tenth of the price it originally paid (The Verge)

DISH Network Adds Customers, Continues to Eye Wireless (Morningstar via Toronto Star)

A look at the sale process for companies like PMN (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Austin’s Bazaarvoice off to strong start on first trading day (Austin American-Statesman)
First Round Capital was an early investor in Bazaarvoice. This is the first IPO by an FRC portfolio company.


Daily Links 2/23/2012: Salesforce results top estimates

Comcast’s Netflix Killer Isn’t One Yet. But It Could Be. (Peter Kafka/All Things D)

Verizon Wireless Takes Down Comcast Plug (Wall Street Journal: Digits)

Mets Asked To Use SNY As Collateral For Comcast And Time Warner Cable Investment

Salesforce Tops Estimates After New Features (Bloomberg)

Liberty Interactive Plans to Split Into Two Tracking Stocks (Bloomberg)
Liberty Interactive owns QVC.

Liberty Interactive Reports Fourth Quarter and Year End 2011 Financial Results (Business Wire)
QVC revenue up 5% in Q4.

QVC Acquires Personalized E-Commerce Site For Fashion Accessories, Send The Trend (TechCrunch)

InterDigital Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2011 Financial Results (Business Wire)

Interdigital Q4 Tops Street; Seeks To Sell Some Patents (Eric Savitz/Forbes)

Motorola (Mobility) prepares to hail new Google overlords (Gigaom)

Checkpoint Systems, Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2011 Results (Business Wire)

Checkpoint Systems posts 4Q loss on restructuring (AP via CBS News)

ICG Group’s revenue guidance misses, stock price lower (Philadelphia Business Journal)

CardioNet, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2011 Financial Results (Business Wire)

Yammer Integrates Into SAP Software (New York Times: Bits)

Integromics Intends to Reign Beyond Spain
New CEO Michael McManus candidly discusses software market priorities and challenges.
(Bio-IT World)
Integromics' US headquarters are in Philadelphia.

ThingWorx Joins Carnegie Mellon, IBM in Pennsylvania Smart Infrastructure Incubator (Business Wire)


Daily Links 2/22/2012: Cable syndicate scuttles much of Canoe Ventures

Auction plot thickens (Philadelphia Daily News)

A cloud-based cap table for startups (ZDNet Blogs)
TicketLeap's CFO creates cool product for startups.

Canoe Ventures Pulls the Plug on Interactive TV Commercials Business (Ad Age)
Cable TV-backed venture cuts 120 employees and closes New York office.

Tableau thinking IPO next year (Dan Primack/Fortune: Term Sheet)
Rapidly growing competitor to QlikTech.

SAP and SuccessFactors Accelerate Unified Product Direction (PR Newswire)

SAP lays out product direction post-SuccessFactors deal
Analyst: SAP's plans reflect competition from the likes of Workday for cloud-based HR software

Samsung and SAP to Push Corporate Use of Android (Bloomberg)

Dell Falls After Forecast Misses Estimates: San Francisco Mover (Bloomberg)

Halfpenny Technologies Secures $2.25 Million in Capital Investment
Funding Will Support Halfpenny’s Continued Accelerated Growth as It Expands Its Lab and EHR Integration Offering for Hospitals, Labs, Physicians, Payors, HIEs, and Regional Extension Centers
(Business Wire)
Halfpenny Technologies is based in Blue Bell.

Safeguard Scientifics Leads $2.5M Series A Financing for Lumesis
Financial Technology Company Supports Market Participants during Transformation of Municipal Bond Market
(Business Wire)
NextStage Capital also invests in Connecticut-based startup.

T-Mobile, MetroPCS Try to Block Verizon-MSO Deal (Light Reading Cable)

Comcast's Avgiris: Verizon Wireless Adds Muscle To Triple Play
Q&A With MSO's EVP for Data and Communications
(Multichannel News)

Gartner BI And Data Warehouse Quadrants: More Science, Less 'Magic' ( Doug Henschen/Information Week)

Who are Vibrant Media, WPP and PointRoll? (Washington Post)
PointRoll was named as one of the companies going around Safari's privacy settings, but Rob Gatto, CEO of the King of Prussia-based online advertising firm, said in a blog post that it was a limited test that ended on February 8.

Gannett Touts Digital Growth Plans, Partners With MLB (ClickZ)

Gannett’s Big Paywall Play: Will It Work? (paidContent)
First noticed this yesterday on Wilmington News Journal site.

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Universal Surveillance Systems, Paving Way for Antitrust Lawsuit Against Checkpoint Systems (PR Web)

Checkpoint Systems Launches Broad Portfolio of Solutions for Large-Scale RFID Deployments in Apparel Retail (Business Wire)


Highlights: Last week on Philly Tech News (2/13/2012 to 2/19/2012)

SAP AG completed its $3.4 billion acquisition of cloud vendor SuccessFactors. Also, SAP and Oracle were given a June date for the retrial of the TomorrowNow case.

Radnor-based QlikTech last week reported Q4 2011 earnings per share (non-GAAP) slightly below analyst expctations, although revenue was on track at over $320 million for the full year (up 42% over 2010). The outlook for Q1 2012 was also soft compared to prior estimates. Chairman & CEO Lars Björk described QlikTech's growth outlook as being for "25% or greater over the next several years". QlikTech's shares closed down more than 8% the following day.

Comcast's 4th quarter 2011 results beat estimates, although apples to apples (including NBCU for 2010) revenue growth was only 3% and operating cash flow grew at a 4.2% rate. The most significant metric was the virtual halt in the decline in video subscribers. Comcast also made many shareholders happy by announcing a 44% dividend increase and a $6.5 billion stock repurchase program. On Friday, Comcast filed suit in Federal Court in Philadelphia against Sprint, alleging patent infringement, likely a countermove to Sprint's lawsuit against Comcast filed in December. This came after Comcast and other cable operators announced they were selling spectrum to and starting a joint venture with Verizon Wireless, signaling the end of their Clearwire (majority owned by Sprint) joint venture. Breaking up can be messy.

The circus around Philadelphia Media Network continued. The New York Times wrote a scathing piece on ownership interference in the newsroom and management's (specifically, Greg Osberg's) account of events being disputed by Daily News editor Larry Platt. Plans for layoffs and the integration of Inquirer and Daily News newsrooms were announced. The Rendell group trying to acquire the papers came under increasing criticism from both former and current Inquirer staffers, and many signed a statement protesting censorship and stressing the importance of maintaining editorial integrity. A local blogger said Rendell told her the deal was probably off, a position he denied (while not totally denying that he said it) . Then Rendell said his lips were sealed, something everyone knew he couldn't do, and soon he was talking about it on the radio and promising some type of firewall between ownership and the newsroom.

The Federal Reserve Board approved Capital One's $9 billion acquisition of Wilmington-based ING Direct USA, the online banking pioneer. The deal closed at the end of the week. Chairman & CEO Arkadi Kuhlmann will step down, although he will stay on for a while as an advisor. And Google received US and EU approval of its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, which includes its Horsham-based set-top box business. The deal still awaits approval from China.

Highmark, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, and Independence Blue Cross joined with Lumeris to buy NaviNet , a communications portal that links physicians, hospitals and insurers.

Paoli-based search engine startup DuckDuckGO passed 1 million searches per day, and Union Square Ventures' Fred Wilson wrote about it here. And King of Prussia-based ICG Commerce was renamed as Procurian.


Daily Links 2/21/2012: Comcast intros Netflix-like service: available to Comcast video subscribers only

Rendell's silence lasts all of 2 days (Philadelphia Daily News)

Comcast launching new subscription VOD service
Streampix in the mold of Netflix business

Comcast launching Netflix-like streaming service (LA Times: Company Town)

Magic Johnson, P. Diddy To Gain Comcast Channel Berths
Aspire, Revolt Are First Two New Multicultural Nets to be Offered by MSO under NBCU Merger Mandate
(Multichannel News)

Verizon expands its push for younger, tech-oriented FiOS subscribers (FierceIPTV)

Cisco: Downplays Rumors It Will Sell Set-Top Box Unit (Eric Savitz/Forbes)

QlikTech Reveals Pricing for its QlikView Business Discovery Platform (Business Wire)

Is The Cloud Finally Catching Up With Mighty Oracle? (Victoria Barrett/Forbes)

Massive Air Force ERP Software Project Still Struggling (PC World)

Transcend United Technologies Continues to Scale Rapidly Growing Footprint by Acquiring Platinum Avaya Partner Relational Technology Solutions (PR Newswire)

Alteva Partners With Parallels to Provide Hosted VoIP Services to Cloud Services Customers (Marketwire)

ING and Capital One: Is a Culture Clash Inevitable (Time: Moneyland)


Rendell: From now on, no comment (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Rendell to keep quiet? Impossible.

Cisco thinking out of the set-top box biz (New York Post)

Healthcare IT Conference HIMSS 12 kicks off in Vegas

Tom Paine

HIMSS 12, the annual conference of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, starts in Las Vegas today, and Philadelphia area businesses and organizations are well represented there. In addition to large players Siemens Healthcare (Malvern), SAP AG (Newtown Square), NextGen Healthcare (Horsham), Medecision (Wayne) and Precyse Solutions (Wayne), there are scores of smaller ventures, institutions, providers, payers, industry experts and consultants who have made the arduous trek from Philly to Vegas. (You can get an idea of what other areas companies are at HIMSS by searching for Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Delaware on this page). Although I am not one of them (boycotting Nevada because of its approval of Google's self-driving cars), I will do the best I can to stay on top of major developments remotely.

Dell, Siemens Partner On Image Sharing, Archiving (Information Week)

Firm logs instant feedback on doctor visits (Philadelphia Inquirer)

MEDecision: A New Day for Accountable Care at HIMSS 2012 (Marketwire)

Fiberlink Launches MaaS360 Mobile Device Management for Healthcare (PR Newswire)


Philly Tech People News 2/20/2012

ING's Kuhlmann moving on
Personal savings advocate will serve as consultant, adviser after acquisition
(Wilmington News Journal)

Comcast Promotes Cathy Avgiris to Executive Vice President and General Manager of Data and Communications Services for Comcast Cable
Avgiris to Lead Rollout of New Verizon Wireless Packages for Consumers
(Business Wire)

Krishan Bhatia Expands Digital Duties at NBCU
Promoted to executive VP of digital Strategy and operations at NBCU's Entertainment and Digital Networks and Integrated Media division
(Broadcasting & Cable)
Bhatia was a founding executive team member of Comcast Interactive Media.

Three Execs Elevated At Comcast's ThePlatform
Operator's Online-Video Unit Promotes Glass, Roberts and Horwitz
(Multichannel News)

Fandango's former CEO joins Invidi's advisory board (Communications, Engineering & Design Magazine)

Michael Hagan Returns to Nutrisystem Board of Directors
Original architect of Nutrisystem’s direct-to-consumer e-commerce business model to rejoin board as lead independent director
(Business Wire)

Top SAP Labs Executive Joins Saffron Technology (PR Newswire)

EXTOL Appoints Michael DeCosta Vice President of Sales (PR Newswire)

Boathouse Capital Adds Colin Raws (PE Hub)

Thomas McCole Joins Heartland Payment Systems® as Executive Director of Affiliates (Marketwire)

Elsevier Appoints New Managing Director for Clinical Decision Support Group (PR Newswire)


Patent wars: Comcast sues Sprint, returning fire

Tom Paine

In what is probably a direct response to Sprint's lawsuits against Comcast and other cable companies filed in December, Comcast filed suit on Friday in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennslvania against Sprint, alleging infringment of four of its patents.

The patents are US 6,112,305, Mechanism for dynamically binding a network computer client device to an approved internet service provider, US 5,987,323, Starting a short message transmission in a cellular communication system, US 6,885,870, Transferring of a message, and US 7,684,391, Communications system for delivering multimedia internet protocol packets across network boundaries.

Being neither a communications technology or IP expert, I have no idea what the significance of these specific patents might be, but this is not an unusual response in this type of patent dispute. Sprint's lawsuits were filed shortly after Comcast and other cable operators announced they were selling their wireless spectrum to and entering into a joint marketing agreement with Verizion Wireless, a deal that could alter the competitive landscape in the communications market. That move also signaled the ending of Comcast's reselling agreement with Clearwire, in which it still holds a minority stake. Sprint holds a majority stake in Clearwire.

The case number is 2:12-cv-00859. More information can be found on Pacer (registration required and fees may apply).


Who Will Tell Philadelphia’s Story? (BUZZ BISSINGER/New York Times OP-ED)

Rendell says bid for papers is still on (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Capital One completes acquisition of ING Direct (AP via CBS News)

Journalists at Philly papers sign statement opposing “censored” coverage (Poynter)

Time Warner and MSG Network End Their Cable Dispute (New York Times)

Innovator’s Dilemma at its Finest – SAP, Oracle, and the Cloud ( Michael Bestvina/Tech Disruptive)

QlikTech shares down over 8% today after yesterday's earnings report

Tom Paine

Radnor-based Business Intelligence software vendor QlikTech reported its results late yesterday for the fourth quarter and full year 2011.

Total revenue increased 33% to $108.1 million in the fourth quarter, and total revenue for the full year 2011 was $320.6 million, a 42% increase from 2010. GAAP net income was $15.8 million in Q4, and $9 million for the year compared to $13.5 million for the full year 2010. Revenue slightly exceeded analysts' expectations, though non-GAAP earnings per share were 3¢ below expectations. QlikTech had cash and cash equivalents of $177.4 million as of the end of 2011.

During QlikTech's earnings conference call, Chairman & CEO Lars Björk said the company continues to ramp up for what he described as the opportunity to triple the size of the addressable BI market. He estimated QlikTech's growth outlook as being for "25% or greater over the next several years". Whether he was being prudently conservative, or signaling somewhat slower growth than might have been anticipated, is unclear. Guidance for 2012 is for revenue in the range of $405.0 million to $415.0 million (meaning growth of around 25 to 30% ) , and non-GAAP operating income in the range of $53 million to $58 million.

The number of customers at year end was 24,000 versus 18,000 the prior year. Year end headcount was 1,054, and if I understood Björk correctly he said about 100 more would be "onboarding" during Q1. Revenue grew faster in Europe than in the Americas in Q4, somewhat surprisingly given the economic issues there. Qliktech said it continued to see larger deals, but was not very specific about the size of them. Björk said that its inside sales channel continues to perform better than expected, and has shown itself capable of handling larger deals. QlikTech continues to expand it partners channel, its system integrator relationships, and its technology partners program with emphasis on value added solutions.

QlikTech shares finished down more than 8% for the day. I'm not sure whether investors were more concerned about the slight EPS miss or somewhat soft Q1 2102 outlook than they were about longer term growth and profitability issues. The other issue is competition; although Qliktech never mentions competitors it is not distinctly unique and up and comers such as Tableau are doing well. Although still considerably smaller than QlikTech, it said its revenue grew 94% in 2011 and it planned to hire 300 employees in 2012.


Daily Links 2/17/2012: Philadelphia Media Network to merge newsrooms

Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Philly.com to share newsroom (Mike Armstrong/Philadelphia Inquirer)

Inside Tennis Channel's fight with Comcast
Independent fights cable Goliath for better dial positioning

Ad Group: Comcast Can Keep Claiming Better HD, Faster Internet Than AT&T
Better Business Bureau's Advertising Division Says MSO Cannot Claim Telco Offers Poor Quality
(Multichannel News)

Johns Hopkins and VMware forge medical records mega-cloud
The tech is ready this time
(The Register)

The ABCs of in-memory: What is in-memory and how does HANA fit into the SAP landscape? (SearchSAP.com)
Excellent presentation (about 1/2 hour) for those wanting to understand more about HANA and the evolution of in-memory within SAP.

Note to SuccessFactors: you can stop selling yourself (Dennis Howlett/ZDNet Blogs)

Oracle and SAP given June court date for TomorrowNow retrial (Infoworld)

Suddenly, Dell is a Software Company! (ZDNet Blogs)

Futura Mobility, LLC Announces Launch and Expanded Leadership Team to Take Advantage of Rapidly Expanding Mobility Space
Futura Mobility offers complete Mobile Managed Services to enterprise clients with new IT infrastructure, investment capital and expanded senior team
(Business Wire)

Comcast Puts RFID in Data Centers to Track Assets
(RFID Journal)
Solution provided by two Philly area companies.

Software AG Helps Build “Hospital of the Future” for Nemours (Business Wire)

Squirro Launch Accelerated (PE Hub)
Startup has several QlikTech, SAP people connections.


SAP completes SuccessFactors acquisition

Tom Paine

SAP AG has completed its $3.4 billion acquisition of SuccessFactors.

SAP announced in a press release this morning "the successful completion of SAP AG's cash tender offer, commenced through its indirectly wholly-owned subsidiary Saturn Expansion Corporation, for all issued and outstanding shares of common stock of SuccessFactors, Inc". An SAP spokesperson confirmed to Philly Tech News by email that "the transaction is complete as of today's announcement". However, he said, the review of the deal by the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States (CIFIUS) is not yet finished, although that process is likely to be completed shortly. SuccessFactors now refers to itself on its website as "an SAP company",

SAP announced its agreement to acquire California-based SuccessFactors on December 3 of last year. Completion of the transaction had been held up for at least a couple of weeks by the CIFIUS review.


Daily Links 2/16/2012: QlikTech revenue up 42% for 2011; ICG Commerce renamed Procurian

SuccessFactors Partners Applaud SAP Acquisition
(PR Newswire via MarketWatch)
Deal closes.

SAP Gets Set to Embrace HTML5 (IT Business Edge)

Rebrand or Remake? ICG Commerce Becomes Procurian, Introduces "The New Procurement" (Spend Matters)

HIStalk Interviews John Glaser, CEO Health Services Business, Siemens Healthcare (HIStalk)
A must read if you follow Healthcare IT.

QlikTech Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2011 Financial Results (Business Wire)
Revenue increases 33% in Q4 and 42% for 2011; somewhat slower growth forecasted for 2012. Small GAAP net profit for full year.

Duck Duck Go Passed 1mm Searches Per Day (A VC)


Philly Fed index hits four-month high in February (MarketWatch)
Software spending index particularly strong.
February 2012 Business Outlook Survey (Philly Fed)

Retrans ammo: Aereo could help cable operators bring broadcasters to their knees (FierceCable)

Barry Diller's OTT Service Aereo Is Dead On Arrival (StreamingMediaBlog.com)

MSG, Time Warner meet as demand for Knicks games grows (Claire Atkinson/New York Post)


More on meltdown at Philadelphia Media Network

Interference Seen in Philadelphia Papers (New York Times)

PMN seeks to reduce newsroom positions by 37 (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Inquirer’s top editor speaks (Washington Post)


Comcast results beat estimates; contain other positive signs

Tom Paine

Normally, it is difficult to get too excited when a giant corporation reports quarterly revenue growth of 3% (apples to apples) over the prior year with adjusted operating cash flow growth of 4.2%. But Comcast's results announced this morning exceeded analysts' estimates, and perhaps contain other positive signs that could point to increased growth, although NBCU remains an area of uncertainty.

Perhaps the most important number was the decline in video subscriber losses. Net losses in Q4 2011 were 17,000, versus 135,00 in Q4 2010. During Comcast's earnings conference call, management indicated a belief that they have stabilized video subscriber losses, despite the lack of new housing starts, although they are not yet predicting growth. Comcast Cable CEO Neil Smit cited an improving competitive environment, including the slowing RBOC (Verizon, AT&T) buildout as well as Comcast's own marketing efforts. Another positive area was High-Speed Internet services, where Comcast added over 1 million (net) new customers in 2011 and revenue grew by 10.1%.

While the NBC broadcast network and Universal Studios continued to lag, NBCU's cable networks produced solid results. The real star of the NBCU side of the businesss was the Universal Theme Parks business, where revenue grew 24% and operating cash flow grew 41% for the year. This reflects a full year comparison to 2010, although Comcast only acquired full ownership on July 1, 2011. In terms of the NBC broadcast network, management emphasized that 2011 was a year for investment and integration, with the hoped for payoff coming further down the road.

Business Services revenue grew at a 37% rate in the 4th quarter, and that segment is now at a $2 billion annual run rate. Comcast believes it is well positioned for further expansion in a market that has $20 to 30 billion potential.

Comcast Chairman & CEO Brian Roberts spoke of the rollout of the new Xcalibur initiative, which now been branded as the X1 platform. Roberts said the goal for 2012 was to get X1 into "hundreds of thousands of homes in multiple markets". Roberts emphasized that XCalibur would move many capabilities "out of the box and into the cloud", and change the way users interact with their TVs and other consumer electronics devices.

Although the controversial Comcast/Verizon Wireless joint marketing arrangement is now active in four markets, Comcast execs didn't seem anxious to discuss details about it, other than saying they hoped to get regulatory approval for the spectrum sale part of the arrangement later this year.

Comcast also spoke of expanding its WiFi initiative, which now is mostly running in the Philadelphia/New Jersey area, into other markets, with an emphasis on data rather than voice.

Key cost pressures were sales & marketing, up 11.8%, and programming expenses, up 5.8%. Programming cost increases are expected to remain a major issue.

In terms of its financial strategy, Comcast boosted its dividend by 44% and announced a $6.5 billion share repurchase plan. The company emphasizes that through these two means most of its free operating cash flow from the cable business is being returned to shareholders, while cash flow from NBCU is being accumulated toward the possible eventual buyout of GE's interest in the NBCU joint venture.

Comcast shares are up 4.73% in mid-day trading today.


Daily Links 2/15/2012: Layoffs coming at PMN?; FCC pulls plug on LightSquared

Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News could face layoffs later today (Poynter)

Comcast Reports 4th Quarter and Year End 2011 Results (Comcast Press Release)
Beats analyst estimates, although pro forma (includes last year's NBCU results) 4th quarter revenue growth was 3%; raises dividend and announces new share buyback program.

Comcast 4Q Profit Jumps On Broadband, Business Service Gains (Dow Jones Newswires via NASDAQ.com)

Comcast's Freedom Region Launches Home-Security Suite
'Xfinity Home' Available to 2.1 Million Subscribers in Philadelphia, N.J. and Delaware
(Multichannel News)

Time Warner Cable Brings Streaming Video to PCs, Macs (PC World)

FCC to pull plug on Falcone’s LightSquared (Washington Post: Post Tech)

SunGard Availability Services Announces Solution Provider Relationship with Amazon Web Services to Deliver Highly Available Cloud Computing Offerings (PR Newswire)

NextGen Healthcare Partners with Humana to Accelerate Adoption and Exchange of Electronic Health Records (Business Wire)

Aereo likely to face fight over its plans to distribute broadcast TV (LA Times: Company Town)
Aero, formerly known as Bamboom, received seed funding last year from investors including First Round Capital. It just completed a $20.5-million round of financing led by Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp. Much of that funding will probably go towards legal bills.

IBM acquires Green Hat (Ovum)
Green Hat has dual headquarters in London and Wilmington.

Product Review: SAP’s Recalls Plus App – The Crossover From Enterprise To Consumer Begins (Ray Wang/A Software Insider's Point of View)

Frontline Technologies Announces K-12 Teacher and Employee Evaluation System
(Business Wire)


How the Telecom Market in Philadelphia compares to other areas of the country

John Gelhard

The incumbent phone company can shape the telecom market in a region. Verizon holds that title in the Philadelphia market.

Verizon is a behemoth. Mostly due to its wireless service, Verizon has built itself into one of the most well known brands in the country.

I worked for US West, which became Qwest and now is CenturyLink, the incumbent provider in 14 western states, including the Phoenix market, where I was located. CenturyLink is on the outside, looking in, at the Verizon-AT&T duopoly. That’s despite operating in more states than Verizon or AT&T. Why is that?

In the 90’s US West needed money and sold its wireless network. At the time, people still ordered home phone service. In fact, most homes had two lines - one for phone calls and the second for internet access.
In 1997, Airtouch was the second largest wireless provider, behind AT&T. They acquired US West’s cellular network that year. US West sold the division to rid them of some debt and focus on their core services - phone service and internet access.

Basically, US West reached a fork in the road and chose traditional phone service over wireless. It sounds crazy now but this happened at the peak of the internet, when companies like Pets.com were receiving millions in venture capital. Internet T1 lines were going for over $1000 a month and businesses were ordering them like toner.

At the same time, wireless was hugely competitive and the belief was wireless would be more of a regional business. When you bought a wireless phone in the nineties you’re only concern was whether or not you’d receive adequate coverage in your hometown.

Here’s what happened. The tech boom exploded. Turns out people weren’t too keen on ordering dog food on the internet and having it shipped to their homes. It made more sense to buy dog food when you were buying your own food. All the companies buying T1s from the local phone company and trying to resell the bandwidth to local businesses realized that business model didn’t work. Cable modems and DSL became prevalent and replaced second home phone lines and cannibalized the phone companies T1 business. Most of the smaller internet service providers went out of business and millions of fiber miles were sold for pennies on the dollar. New competitive exchange carriers entered the market with much lower overheads and little or no debt. The telecom industry became very competitive and prices dropped.

Meanwhile, wireless took off. The smaller regional networks were bought up by AT&T and Verizon. Those companies realized that people were replacing their home phone service with cell phones, except instead of having just one or two home phone lines, people were ordering cell phones for every person in their family. Wireless customers were stickier. Customers couldn’t buy a phone just anywhere and then plug it into a wireless network; they needed to purchase their equipment from the wireless provider. In order to bring down the cost of the phones, people were willing to sign term agreements. Number portability wasn’t available and customers didn’t want to lose their phone numbers.

Maybe most important, because wireless was primarily a consumer product, advertising had to be widespread. The advertising that Verizon and AT&T conducted for their wireless services helped build their phone business and brands. The people that were purchasing network services for their businesses were affected by their experience with their personal wireless devices. It’s no surprise that the two largest wireless providers are also the two biggest telecommunication companies.

When companies are big and successful, they can restrict whom they do business with. Alternatively, in Phoenix, US West-Qwest-CenturyLink was scrambling to retain customers and revenue; they were willing to do almost anything to win new business. When CenturyLink acquired Qwest, it retained Qwest’s channel integration program. Channel integration is a process that allows an agent of CenturyLink to work a deal directly with one of their direct sales reps. Agents are independent contractors that are authorized to sell a carrier’s services. Typically a carrier retains two sales channels, an agent channel and a direct sales channel, and they seldom work together. With channel integration, customers get the best of both worlds; they’re able to deal directly with the carrier and receive value adds, like project management and vendor integration, from the agent. With channel integration, when a deal closes, both the agents and direct sales reps receive carrier compensation.

In Philadelphia, Verizon barely has an agent channel. Most telecom agents won’t work with Verizon because they don’t think they’ll be compensated. If I want to help a Philadelphia based business reduce their telecom expenses, I need to look for alternatives to Verizon.

By limiting their involvement with telecom consultants, Verizon is basically controlling the information that is being delivered to consumers. If only Verizon employees can sell their services, business customers will only be informed of certain products and services. Certain price plans might not be made available.

In Phoenix, channel integration helped keep CenturyLink’s account managers honest. If they weren’t doing right by their customers, by placing them on the best pricing plans, etc., an agent could swoop in, show the customer potential savings and take over the account. If you think phone company account managers would normally operate with their customer’s best interests in mind, know that they are typically compensated by their customers’ total billed revenue. If they lower a customer’s bill, they’ll make less money.

To summarize, Philadelphians can be thankful that they are serviced by a financially stable phone company that can offer just about every telecom service in existence. But financial stability comes with an abundance of control and Verizon’s customers might not be experiencing the benefits that result from a supremely competitive environment.

John Gelhard, originally from Devon, returned to the Philadelphia area after spending several years living out West. He is now Director of Sales & Marketing for CarrierBid Communications, a telecom consulting firm and agent with offices in Philly and Phoenix. He can be reached at 888-706-5656 x 701 or by email at johngelhard@carrierbid.com.


Daily Links 2/14/2012: Fed approves ING Direct deal; Amazon warehouse to open in Delaware

Fed Approves Capital One’s Deal for ING Direct (New York Times: DealBook)

eBay vs Amazon: decentralized vs centralized e-commerce (Chris Dixon)

Amazon To Open 1 Million-Square-Foot, $90 Million Fulfillment Center In Delaware (TechCrunch)

Amazon commits to Del. warehouse; impact on possible N.J. investment unknown (NJBIZ)
Replaces earlier NJBIZ story posted here that may not have been completely accurate.

Amazon's Quidsi mulls more stores, starts Casa.com (Reuters)

John Doerr’s Patient Health Care Start-Up Gains Momentum (New York Times: Bits)
Highmark, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, and Independence Blue Cross partner with Lumeris to buy NaviNet.

Optum takes health care to the cloud (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Protesters seek to get Al-Jazeera on Comcast (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Group takes petition to Comcast Center.

Earnings Preview: Comcast to Report 4Q Earnings (AP via ABC News)

NBC Universal's New Olympics Challenge: Screen-Jumping
NBCU Partners With Google, ComScore to Analyze Tech-Savvy Olympics Fans
(Ad Age)

Inside the Phillies: Phils swinging for fences with next TV deal (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Fed's Plosser Warns Against Keeping Rates Low For Longer (Reuters via CNBC)
Speaking at University of Delaware.

Synygy Reports Across-the-Board Growth for 2011 (Business Wire)

SAS Prepares Hadoop-Powered In-Memory BI Platform (Information Week)

Cloud Software Consolidation – Is it all good? (Brian Sommer/Enterprise Irregulars)


Highlights: Last week on Philly Tech News (2/6/2012 to 2/12/2012)

Questions were raised about how open Philadelphia Media Network's bidding process is after groups represented by developer Bart Blatstein and members of the Perelman family claimed they were being shut out of it. PMN (non-editorial) spokesman Mark Block actually requested that two stories about Blatstein's interest be taken down, and they were. Blatstein, who purchased the Inky building last year, threatened to start a competing paper and website. It was unclear what other bids may have been received other than one from an Ed Rendell-led group.

Oracle announced a $1.9 billion acquisition of cloud talent management vendor Taleo; some saw it as a direct response to SAP's pending SuccessFactors deal, while others wondered whether it might have had more to do with the rising competitive threat from Workday.

Newtown-based systems development outsourcer EPAM Systems, Inc. completed its IPO last week after cutting back on its offering price and size; it currently trades at $13.65 up from the initial offering price of $12, and has a market cap of $555 million.

Questions were raised concerning Fisker Automotive's viability as it faced a cash crunch when the Feds held up the balance of a $529 million loan pending a review. Fisker laid off 26 employees in Delaware and halted
subcontracting work there. The Wilmington News Journal has provided excellent ongoing coverage of Fisker's troubles.

Two Philly area companies made fairly small but potentially important acquisitions. Amazon Prime competitor ShopRunner, part of Michael Rubin's holding company, acquired California-based startup Shopsanity, which helps ecommerce shoppers keep track of data about their various purchases. And Wayne-based Kenexa agreed to acquire OutStart, a Boston-based provider of SaaS e-Learning solutions, for $38.9 million.

Bob Moul, former GM of Dell Boomi and current President of Philly Startup Leaders, got back on the entrepreneurial side by becoming chairman & CEO of Philly-based appRenaissance, a mobile app development startup.

And I wrote about a new book by Joseph Turow of Penn's Annenberg School, "The Daily You", which raises issues about how all the data being collected on us through our online activities is being used.


Daily Links 2/13/2012: DOJ, EU approve Google/Motorola Mobility deal

Can Fisker keep its promise?
It started with good feelings and a pledge to bring thousands of jobs to Delaware
(Wilmington News Journal)

Comcast's new Xfinity stores aim for an Apple Store experience — and Katy's the first test market (CultureMap Houston)

Comcast intros free text messaging; integrates Twitter, Facebook in Xfinity Connect portal (FierceCable)

Triple play for your 'smart' home
Systems combine security, automation, energy control
(Wilmington News Journal)

Cox-to-Time Warner Cable Firms Hit Phone Grip on Hospitals (Bloomberg)

Justice Dept, EU Approve Google’s Motorola Purchase (mocoNews)

Why Oracle May Really Be Doomed This Time (PandoDaily)

Workday’s Financials: Maturing (Ventana Research)

Information is beautiful: Lars Björk of QlikTech (Ernst & Young)

Baltimore files $9M suit against Unisys over tax system (Baltimore Business Journal)

AppMobi Bets on Monetizing the Mobile HTML5 Apps Ecosystem With playMobi (ReadWriteWeb)
AppMobi is based in Lancaster.

DreamIt Ventures Formalizes Focus on Minority-Owned Startups With DreamIt Access NYC (BetaBeat)

ULL, Drexel planning research center (The Advocate of Baton Rouge)

ARI to Implement SAP HANA to Slash Fleet Report Processing Time (Marketwire)