Top Stories of the Week – May 19, 2012

Sidecar smartphone app lets you share data while on the phone

A San Francisco-based startup called Sidecar is promising to make your phone calls a little smarter. The company recently launched the Sidecar app for iPhone and Android smartphones that lets users make free VoIP calls, as well as share live videos, photos, contact information, and location data. What sets Sidecar apart from other apps is that it lets you share data while you talk on the phone. So, you don't have to end your current phone call, or start up another app to share photos or location data.

SeaChange drops On Demand Group to focus on software

SeaChange International has taken its last on-demand order, selling its On Demand Group to Avail-TVN, which, probably not coincidentally, announced that it had raised US$100 million of financing from lead investor The Carlyle Group.

Selling On Demand is a major change for SeaChange which is embarked on a strategy of becoming a "pure-play software company," CEO Raghu Rau said in a briefing. "We can now focus our efforts on strengthening our competitive advantage in delivering next generation multi-screen video software solutions to cable, IPTV and mobile operators everywhere."

Vodafone takes US$6.3 billion writedown on European weakness

Mobile operator Vodafone wrote down the value of its assets by US$6.3 billion and cut its medium-term sales target last week, as the debt crisis hit customers in southern Europe, forcing them to save money on phone calls.

Vodafone, the world’s largest telecom operator, posted full-year results in line with forecasts and stood out from its peers by paying a record dividend as strength in emerging markets, Germany, Britain and Turkey offset a big slump in spending in Spain and Italy.

Motorola's gets new CEO

Motorola Mobility, which now belongs to Google, has a new CEO. Google recently said that it has finally closed its acquisition of Motorola. First announced in2011, the US$12.5 billion deal took longer than expected to clear regulatory hurdles in China. Recently, China gave Google the go signal and Google now owns Motorola Mobility, for which it paid US$40 per share in cash.

Now that the deal is complete, Google has already made major changes to the company's leadership. Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha, who led the company for some three and a half years, is stepping aside and being replaced by Dennis Woodside, a Google veteran. According to Google, Woodside played a pivotal role in the acquisition process. Jha will work with Google to assist in completing the leadership transition, but only temporarily.

Verizon releases 'Viewdini' video service for mobile devices

Verizon Wireless' CEO Dan Mead announces new aggregation platform that will enable consumers to find and access video on their mobile devices from cable operators as well as online providers.

Mead described the new video service called Viewdini as a portal that will aggregate and deliver mobile content to a variety of mobile devices. Comcast's Xfinity service is the first to partner with Verizon. Other strategic partners at the launch of Viewdini include: Hulu Plus, mSpot, and Netflix.

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