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A roundup of the latest high-tech news “Hot Off the Wire” from The
Associated Press and Local Tech Wire:
• Co-president Hirschhorn to leave MySpace
LOS ANGELES — After just four months on the job, co-president Jason Hirschhorn is leaving the struggling social networking site MySpace. Mike Jones, the other co-president who shared the title and an office, will now lead the company as president.
Hirschhorn confirmed his departure on Twitter.
"Yes i am moving back to NYC. Concrete jungle where dreams are made of," he tweeted. "I believe in MySpace, its leader Jonesy and its wonderful team."
Hirschhorn, Jones, and former CEO Owen Van Natta joined MySpace in April of last year with the goal of bringing back its mojo.
After a series of acquisitions of smaller firms that failed to jumpstart a recovery, Van Natta, formerly chief revenue officer of rival Facebook, quit in February and Hirschhorn and Jones took over.
MySpace contributed to growing segment losses at parent News Corp. The "other" segment that houses MySpace lost $150 million in the three months through March. News Corp. bought MySpace for $580 million in 2005.
News Corp. chief digital officer Jon Miller described Hirschhorn’s departure as a personal decision that reflected his "desire to return to New York.
• AOL unloads social networking site Bebo
NEW YORK — AOL Inc. is paring its ambitions in online social networking, selling a website called Bebo that it bought a little more than two years ago for $850 million when AOL was still part of Time Warner Inc.
Bebo, which launched in 2005, has failed to match the huge popularity of sites like Facebook and Twitter.
It has been strong in foreign markets, though, including Britain. AOL tried to take advantage of that to drive traffic to its other ad-supported Web properties, but the site has been losing ground. Worldwide, it had about 12.6 million users in April, less than half of the 26.9 million it had in the same month a year ago, according to comScore Inc.
In the U.S., Bebo was down to 4.9 million from 10.2 million a year earlier. In the same period, Facebook has grown to 121.8 million users in the U.S. from 67.5 million.
AOL said in April it planned to shut Bebo or sell it. The company said Wednesday that the buyer is the private investment firm Criterion Capital Partners LLC.
The California firm did not say how much it is paying, but analysts have speculated that the site would fetch just a small fraction of what AOL paid for it.
Gartner Inc. analyst Ray Valdes said AOL probably got at least $10 million for Bebo.
"They’re probably donating the puppy to the shelter, so to speak. Anything less than $10 million and it’s really almost not worth the transaction costs," he said.
In a note AOL CEO Tim Armstrong sent to employees Thursday, he said the deal provides a "meaningful" tax deduction for AOL.
• Electronic Arts in Web streaming deal with Gaikai
LOS ANGELES — Online video streaming company Gaikai Inc. said Thursday it has signed a deal to stream video games from Electronic Arts Inc.
The multiyear deal will allow EA to stream several of its titles directly to any Web browser, the company said. Titles to be offered include "The SimsT," ”Medal of Honor" and "Need for Speed," among others. Gaikai said its server-based, cloud computing technology is designed to dramatically boost audience reach and participation, while bringing down game costs.
By playing games remotely from Gaikai servers around the world, players simply play wherever they are browsing, removing the need to pay for advertising clicks to move gamers around on the Internet," the company said.
Gaikai, a privately held company backed by venture capital firms Benchmark Capital, TriplePoint Capital, Rustic Canyon Partners and another unnamed investor, did not disclose financial details.