The cyber locker website MegaUpload was planning to go public with a “multi-billion dollar” IPO when authorities raided their facilities and accused them of a “mega conspiracy” to pirate copyrighted materials, according to a corporate adviser who spoke to a popular tech blog this week.
Torrent Freak, which covers news relating to peer-to-peer media sharing networks, quoted Hong Kong-based corporate adviser Robert Lim in a report Tuesday. He claims to have worked with MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom and the rest of his management team to prepare the company for a top-to-bottom audit by one of the major accounting firms that helps companies go public.
Lim said they were working on an IPO since the beginning of 2011, but it all abruptly died in January 2012 once the U.S. Department of Justice shut them down. MegaUpload had over 150 million users at the time. Lim added that MegaUpload was also speaking with a number of major investment banks about their IPO, and expected that they could hit or exceed the billion dollar mark.
If that’s accurate, MegaUpload could have been one of the largest-ever IPOs for any tech company, but Facebook said in February that it was shooting even higher, aiming to raise $5 billion in an offering that could be valued as much as $75 billion in total. Facebook, however, is exponentially larger than MegaUpload was at its peak — the social network is expected to reach 1 billion users later this year, whereas MegaUpload said it had about 150 million users. Even though the gulf between the two companies’ valuations would have been vast, MegaUpload may yet have achieved the “multi-billion” range, had it been allowed to go public.
“This does not fit with the ‘Mega-Conspiracy’ concept that Megaupload management is accused of, including that they knowingly and secretly conspired to do and hide criminal activities in Megaupload,” Lim said to Torrent Freak.
My argument is that around 1980 the U.S. adopted a fundamentally flawed economic paradigm. From 1945 through to the mid-1970s the U.S. economy was characterized by a “virtuous circle” Keynesian growth model built on full employment and wage growth tied to productivity growth. The political triumph of Ronald Reagan enshrined a new economic paradigm that abandoned full employment and severed the link between wages and productivity growth.
The new paradigm was fundamentally flawed. One flaw was that it relied on debt and asset price inflation to fuel growth instead of wages. A second flaw was the model of globalization which created an economic gash in the form of leakage of spending on imports (the trade deficit), leakage of investment spending offshore, and leakage of manufacturing jobs offshore. These twin flaws created a growing demand gap.
That is where finance enters the picture as its role was to fill the demand gap. Financial deregulation, regulatory forbearance, financial innovation, financial mania, and plain vanilla financial fraud kept the economy going by making ever more credit available, However, as the economy cannibalized itself by undercutting income distribution and accumulating debt, it needed ever larger speculative bubbles to grow. The house price bubble was simply the last and biggest bubble and was effectively the only way around the stagnation that would otherwise have developed in 2001.
The house price bubble delayed the onset of stagnation but at a cost. When it burst it created a financial crisis because of the scale of financial excess. Moreover, it also makes it harder to escape stagnation now because of the scale of debt burdens and the extent of destruction of credit-worthiness.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison took the stand in a San Francisco courtroom today to testify in the copyright infringement case between his company and Google, saying that developing software routines is one of the hardest things that Oracle does.
He was then visibly flustered under cross-examination by Google’s lawyers, who pressed him on apparent contradictions in his testimony. They also aired a 2009 video of Ellison welcoming Google’s Java contributions.
On cross-examination, Google came out firing and the room got tense quickly. “Do you understand that no one owns the Java programming language?” lead counsel Robert Van Nest asked.
Ellison began a longer answer, but Judge William Alsup interrupted him and said it was a “yes or no” question. Finally Ellison said, “I’m not sure.”
“And anyone can use it without royalty?” Van Nest followed up.
“I’m not sure,” Ellison said again.
Then Van Nest showed a video of Ellison receiving the same question on a deposition video and answering “That’s correct” to both.
Like many companies, we apply for patents on a bunch of these inventions. However, we also think a lot about how those patents may be used in the future; we sometimes worry that they may be used to impede the innovation of others. For that reason, we are publishing a draft of the Innovator’s Patent Agreement, which we informally call the “IPA”.
The IPA is a new way to do patent assignment that keeps control in the hands of engineers and designers. It is a commitment from Twitter to our employees that patents can only be used for defensive purposes. We will not use the patents from employees’ inventions in offensive litigation without their permission. What’s more, this control flows with the patents, so if we sold them to others, they could only use them as the inventor intended.
A new report (pdf) from IBIS World looks at 10 industries in the United States that are demonstrating, as the researchers put it, “exceptionally sour performance.” Some are suffering from trade competition, some — like video rental — from the advent of new technology. Here’s the list:
2. Newspaper publishing
3. Appliance repair
4. DVD, game, and video rental
5. Money market and other banking
6. Recordable media manufacturing
7. Hardware manufacturing
8. Shoe and footwear manufacturing
9. Costume and team uniform manufacturing
10. Women’s and girls’ apparel manufacturing
From a casual read, it seems they use % reduction of revenue as the statistic to rank on.
Book publishing hasn’t made the list… yet.
By the late 19th century, Christmas in Manhattan was an excuse for the rabble to go wilding from door to door in upper-class neighborhoods, demanding booze and cash from terrified householders in exchange for an off-key (and sometimes off-color) yuletide song. In desperation, Washington Irving, Clement Clarke Moore, and other members of New York’s cultural elite invented Santa Claus—and Christmas as we know it—as a means of domesticating the drunken revels of the dangerous classes. Their bourgeois myth was designed to channel lumpen unrest into a more acceptable outlet: a domestic ritual consecrated to home, hearth, and conspicuous consumption.
Taking one seat in the city parliament of Innsbruck in a local election may not seem like much – but it’s large enough to make the front page story, heralding a strong trend all over Europe – you can almost read the strong headline “Pirates Get Their First Seat” as though it read “It Begins!”. It is also noteworthy that their election budget was a mere three thousand euros.
In a stinging rebuke, Citigroup shareholders rebuffed on Tuesday the bank’s $15 million pay package for its chief executive, Vikram S. Pandit, marking the first time that stock owners have united in opposition to outsized compensation at a financial giant.
The shareholder vote, which comes amid a rising national debate over income inequality, suggests that anger over pay for chief executives has spread from Occupy Wall Street to wealthy institutional investors like pension fund and mutual fund managers. About 55 percent of the shareholders voting were against the plan, which laid out compensation for the bank’s five top executives, including Mr. Pandit.
“C.E.O.’s deserve good pay but there’s good pay and there’s obscene pay,” said Brian Wenzinger, a principal at Aronson Johnson Ortiz, a Philadelphia money management company that voted against the pay package. Mr. Wenzinger’s firm owns more than 5 million shares of Citigroup.
Over 300 economists have signed on to an open letter to the President, Congress, Governors, and State Legislators asking them to allow this “country to commence an open and honest debate about marijuana prohibition.” The petition states that the undersigned “believe such a debate will favor a regime in which marijuana is legal but taxed and regulated like other goods.”