Friday Grab Bag: Amazon Coins and a look at Sports Betting

Twitter has bought social media tracking company Bluefin Labs, a company that follows how much social media is talking about television shows. The TV analytics company has been in business since 2008 and has had a total of approximately $20 million in venture funding so far.

The reported cost was $100 million according to the New York Times, although Twitter did not release the information. Twitter executives said that they believe that Bluefin’s acquisition will open new ad opportunities for the company.

Amazon develops virtual currency for apps
Going where others have failed before Amazon is introducing Amazon Coins, virtual currency that can be used to purchase apps and will be used as real currency — that means you need to pay for them, although Amazon has not yet spelled out how that process will work.

The virtual currency market has left a trail of tears for developers that have tried to establish them. Failures include Microsoft’s Points, Facebook’s Facebook Credits and several attempts at stand alone currencies including Flooz.

Samsung launches new $100 million fund
Samsung has launched the $100 million Samsung Catalyst Fund, an investment effort that will taget companies seeking early stage or seed investment with an emphasis on mobility, security and mobile privacy among other areas.

At the same time Samsung is opening the Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center (SSIC) in Menlo Park, Calif. and plans to use it as a place where entrepreneurs can meet with executives from Samsung’s nine product divisions to develop products and ideas.

Microsoft talks Windows 8
Three months after Microsoft released its latest generation operating system Windows 8, the company is now providing some insight on how well the platform has been accepted by the industry in a posting at the Windows Blog.
In a Q&A at the blog Microsoft’s chief marketing officer Tami Reller revealed that the company sold 60 million licenses for the operating system, about the same as it had with Windows 7.

Tablets to emerge as major TV platform, research firm claims
The growing popularity of tablets has caused a slowdown in sales of PCs, and a recent study by The Diffusion Group shows that they will also become a stronger factor in the television viewing world as we go forward.

The group estimates that by 2017 television viewing on tablets will grow to 58 billion hours, with an estimated 65% of all US households according to TDG’s “Tablet Diffusion and Its Impact on Video Use – Forecasts and Recommendations” report.

A look at sports betting
Did you drop a dime on the Super Bowl last week? Then in all likelihood you were committing a crime, but then you probably already knew that. A nice piece in the New Yorker spells out what is the current state of sports betting and how appeals to a Federal law currently ongoing in New Jersey may change everything.

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