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Google last month responded to the growing queries ranging from a floating data center to new movable showrooms for Google Glass eyewear and other computing devices. Google said it's considering using the barge as an "interactive space where people can learn about new technology," a near confirmation of the latter.
Facebook in 2013 recovered from its public offering flop. Stagnating below its $38 pricing, Facebook had cast a pall on the IPO market in 2012. Yet Facebook's new status as a public company soon delivered earnings results that put to rest doubts over its mobile transition, revenue trajectory and profitability.
Mark Zuckerberg's elite CEO status -- he'd come under question over company morale concerns -- was remarkably restored. But more than that, investor confidence was recharged in the potential for social media advertising and related businesses.
With Facebook doubts cast aside, start-up valuations rocketed in 2013. Social-related businesses scored big in particular. But it doesn't stop there. Facebook last month dangled $3 billion to social newbie Snapchat in a bid for its popular app that sends disappearing photo and video messages. That came as social scrapbook Pinterest scored new funding valuing the company at $3.8 billion.
Investors pumped funding into streaming music service Spotify that valued the company at $4 billion, and Dropbox was reportedly eyeing a round at an $8 billion valuation near year's end.
BlackBerry launched its do-or-die revamped smartphone lineup and operating system at the start of this year. The smartphone pioneer's last shot came too late and fell short in revitalizing the company. BlackBerry failed last month in efforts to sell itself and has replaced CEO Thorsten Heins. The company has seen an exodus of executives and done massive layoffs.
The company's COO and marketing chief split last month, and its CFO was replaced. Investor confidence in BlackBerry, whose shares have plummeted 68% from earlier this year, is shattered as a suitor has yet to emerge.
Dell Goes Private
Michael Dell's namesake PC company is another casualty of the mobile computing revolution. Shareholders in September approved a $25 billion bid to go private with funding coming from CEO Dell and Silver Lake. The plan took 14 months of wrangling to get passed, with Carl Icahn proposing an alternative plan in a match-up with Southeastern Asset Management, expecting to extract a higher price than what was on the table. (continued...)
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