Game over for 'Flappy Bird;' Google-Cisco patent deal; Google value tops Exxon; Yahoo-Yelp talks; LinkedIn falls; Pfizer blocks generic
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Research Triangle Park, N.C. — In WRALTechWire's wrap up of technology and life science news: The developer of the wildly popular game "Floppy Bird" has pulled it; Google and Cisco strike a deal on patents; Google No. 2 most valuable company - for a while; Yahoo may partner with Yelp; LinkedIn shares fall; and Pfizer wins court battle against generic Lyrica.
- Game over for Flappy Bird
HANOI, Vietnam - The creator of hit mobile game Flappy Bird has removed it from the App Store and Google Play saying it had ruined his life.
The game which was uploaded in 2013 but only surged to the top in downloads earlier this year was removed early Monday.
Creator Nguyen Ha Dong, 29, from Hanoi, wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the Internet sensation caused by the game "ruins my simple life" and he now hated it.
Dong's move comes amid claims he was using tricks to artificially increase downloads.
Vietnamese media reported that the game made $50,000 a day in advertising revenue.
- Google, Cisco Make Patent Deal
NEW YORK - Google and Cisco Systems, two of Silicon Valley’s largest companies, entered a long-term deal to license each other’s intellectual property, saying they want to curb the patent lawsuits that have plagued the industry.
The agreement covers a broad range of products and allows each company to extract “significant value” from its patents, according to a statement yesterday. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
The pact brings together two businesses that rarely compete directly. Cisco is the largest maker of networking equipment, while Google is the market leader in Internet searches and smartphone software. The agreement will decrease the risk of future lawsuits, the companies said in the statement.
Both San Jose, California-based Cisco and Mountain View, California-based Google belong to the advocacy group Coalition for Patent Fairness.
- Google Briefly Tops Exxon as Second-Most Valuable Company
NEW YORK - Google Inc. briefly surpassed Exxon Mobil Corp. as the second-most valuable company, trailing only Apple Inc. and underscoring the growing role of technology in the economy.
Google, which became the world’s largest online advertiser through its dominant search engine, had a higher market capitalization during intraday trading today before falling back at the close in New York to a value of $395.4 billion compared to Exxon’s $395.7 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Apple had a market value of $463.5 billion. Software company Microsoft Corp. is No. 4 with $303.5 billion.
Technology companies are establishing themselves as key players worldwide as they disrupt industries from retail to finance. Google, which went public in 2004 -- 84 years after Exxon -- has benefited from consumers moving to online services and content, a trend that’s being accelerated by the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets.
“It’s the sign of the times,” said Fadel Gheit, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. in New York. “Out with the old and in with the new.”
- Yahoo Said to Partner With Yelp to Attract Search Users
SAN FRANCISCO - Yahoo! Inc. will form a partnership with reviews provider Yelp Inc. to bolster search results and draw users, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
The U.S.’s biggest Web portal will offer Yelp’s ratings of local merchants, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The companies plan to offer the service within weeks, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing an unnamed person who attended a Yahoo employee meeting.
Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer is seeking content and features to attract and keep users as it tries to close the gap with Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. The Sunnyvale, California-based company’s share of the search market has dropped by about a half since 2008 to less than 11 percent in December, compared with 18 percent for Microsoft and 67 percent for Google, according to ComScore Inc.
Both Sara Gorman, a spokeswoman for Yahoo, and Yelp spokesman Vince Sollitto declined to comment.
While Yahoo gets its main search technology through a multiyear agreement with Microsoft, it provides its own features and interface to tailor services for visitors. Yelp supplies consumer-generated data in the U.S., Europe and Asia on businesses including restaurants.
Yahoo’s first-quarter sales, excluding revenue passed to partner sites, will be $1.06 billion to $1.1 billion, the company said last month. The middle of that range would represent growth of less than 1 percent from $1.07 billion a year earlier.
Yelp is forecasting full-year net revenue of $353 million to $358 million, or about 53 percent growth. It has also made deals with Microsoft and Apple Inc. to display information on their services.
While Yahoo’s shares have declined 7.9 percent this year, San Francisco-based Yelp has climbed almost 30 percent.
- LinkedIn Drops as Sales Forecast Trails Analysts’ Estimates
SAN FRANCISCO - LinkedIn Corp. forecast sales that trailed analysts’ estimates, pushing the stock down more than 6 percent Friday, as growth slows in all three of the professional networking site’s businesses.
First-quarter revenue will be $455 million to $460 million, the Mountain View, California-based company said THursday in a statement. Analysts on average projected sales of $469.4 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
LinkedIn, whose shares have more than quadrupled since the company’s 2011 initial public offering, is headed for its fifth straight quarter of decelerating sales growth. To expand its potential revenue base, LinkedIn is seeking to reach workers overseas, add mobile features and make acquisitions. The company said yesterday that it bought Bright Media Corp., an analytics company that helps match candidates with the right employers, for about $120 million in cash and stock.
“LinkedIn is continuing to grow, but that growth is slowing because of a scaling up of the business,” said Steve Weinstein, an analyst at ITG Investment Research. “As you get bigger, it gets harder and harder to find a lever that can be material to growing your business.”
The shares fell 6.2 percent to $209.59 at the close in New York.
- Pfizer Wins U.S. Ruling to Block Generic Lyrica Until 2018
NEW YORK - Pfizer, the world’s biggest drugmaker, won a court ruling that will block generic versions of its No. 1 product, Lyrica, in the U.S. until December 2018.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Actavis Plc and Lupin Ltd. are among the generic-drug makers that would infringe a valid patent on the pain medicine, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington said in an opinion today on its website. The other generic-drug makers in the case were Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Wockhardt Ltd. and Mylan Inc.
Lyrica has become increasingly important to Pfizer’s earnings since the New York-based company lost patent protection on its cholesterol pill Lipitor, which once generated almost $13 billion a year. Sales of Lyrica, used to treat shingles, fibromyalgia, epilepsy, and hot flashes, reached $4.6 billion last year, accounting for 9 percent of Pfizer’s total revenue.
The appeal centered on a single aspect of a patent covering the active ingredient, pregabalin. The generic-drug makers argued that the patent didn’t adequately describe a new invention, and was an obvious variation of other compounds. They conceded that, if the patent claim was upheld, they had no chance at winning on that or a second patent.
“We perceive no error in the district court’s construction” of what the patent claim covers, the three-judge panel wrote.
The case is Pfizer Inc. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., 12-1576, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower court case is Pfizer Inc. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., 09cv307, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware (Wilmington).
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