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From: da_cheif™8/1/2017 3:26:11 PM
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From: Glenn Petersen8/3/2017 10:16:01 PM
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Insiders say Google was interested in buying Snap for at least $30 billion last year

Alex Heath
Business Insider
August v3, 2017

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel. Reuters

We keep hearing that Google floated an offer of at least $30 billion to buy Snap in early 2016.

Three people, including people inside and close to the company, separately confirmed they had heard the chatter and price tag, with one calling it an "open secret" among Snap's upper ranks and certain tech industry circles.

Business Insider first heard the rumor of Google's $30 billion-plus interest in Snap last year and heard further tales of the discussions from more insiders over the past several days.

It's unclear how formal the discussions these insiders say happened may have been, but Snap and Google have long been close. Informal discussions between companies are frequent in the tech world, especially surrounding major events, like an initial public offering or a large round of fundraising.

Google's initial offer would have been discussed just before Snap raised its Series F round of private funding in May 2016, valuing the company at $20 billion. CapitalG, the growth equity fund managed by Google's parent company, Alphabet, ended up quietly participating in the round.

One person said Google and Snap also had discussions about a potential buyout just ahead of Snap's IPO in March, and that an offer in the ballpark of $30 billion had been on the table since the IPO.

Chatter that Snap passed up a chance to sell to Google for at least twice its current value could be especially painful for investors and employees grappling with the company's sinking stock. Snap's shares are trading at around $12.50, and it has a market cap of roughly $14 billion, well below the $24 billion valuation at which it priced its IPO.

When asked for comment, a Snap representative told Business Insider that as far as formal discussions go, "these rumors are false." Google declined to comment.

One possible motivation behind the rumors is that people are hoping Snap will get acquired. But the rumors have persisted for months, and they're being talked about as fact both inside and outside the company by lots of people in a position to know.

Why a deal between Snap and Google would make sense

Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. REUTERS/Rebecca Naden

The two companies are already close. Sources say there is mutual respect between each side's leadership, and Alphabet's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, is an early adviser to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel. Snap is one of the largest customers of Google Cloud and uses Google's suite of apps internally.

Google has always wanted to own a hot social network and has tried several times with products like Google Plus and Google Buzz. In 2013, it was rumored that Google had tried to grab Snapchat for $4 billion as Spiegel turned down an offer from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Joining forces with Google could also help Snap better monetize its platform — Google is raking in the vast majority of all digital ad money — and it could be a good way for Spiegel to stick it to Zuckerberg, with whom he has had a rocky relationship.

And here's why a deal may not work

27-year-old Spiegel would ultimately decide whether to sell Snap, and people close to the company say he's fiercely independent and has shown no serious interest in selling. He is widely considered to be a visionary, contrarian CEO who values running his company in Southern California, outside of the Silicon Valley bubble where Alphabet is headquartered.

It's also unclear how Spiegel and his roughly 2,500 employees would integrate into Google or Alphabet. Spiegel doesn't strike us as the kind of executive who would like reporting to a boss.

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From: Sr K8/4/2017 10:37:32 PM
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Google is developing technology to let publishers create visual-oriented media content along the lines of Snapchat’s “Discover,” upping the ante in a race among tech giants to dominate news dissemination on smartphones.

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From: Glenn Petersen10/4/2017 5:32:28 AM
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Snap has sold more Spectacles than Apple sold iPods in their first year, says CEO, but investors still 'fearful'
  • Snap CEO Spiegel spoke to author Walter Isaacson at Vanity Fair's fourth annual New Establishment Summit in Beverly Hills, California.
  • Spiegel's comments on Tuesday indicated that Spectacles unit sales are now higher than the iPod's after a year — a figure he's proud of, given that Apple's iPod had about 143,000 net unit sales in its first full year, 2002.
  • "I think investors are fearful, and fear is a powerful motivator -- they're fearful we'll never be profitable, or they're fearful that competition will kill us or something like that," Spiegel said. "But I think those are kind of normal fears for any start-up."
Anita Balakrishnan | @MsABalakrishnan
October 3, 2017

Getty Images
Evan Spiegel, co-founder and CEO of Snapchat

Snap has sold about 150,000 of its camera glasses, called Spectacles, CEO Evan Spiegel said on Tuesday.

Spiegel spoke to author Walter Isaacson at Vanity Fair's fourth annual New Establishment Summit in Beverly Hills, California. But while Spiegel said the sales figure far exceeded internal expectations for the product, Isaacson argued it seemed like the device wasn't catching on.

Snap, which makes the ephemeral messaging app Snapchat, has rebranded itself as a "camera company." But at least as of May, it seemed like its much-hyped camera device wasn't making a mark on Snap's business, which is funded mostly by advertising on Snapchat.

In May, Snap said its $130 augmented reality and camera glasses generated a little more than $8 million in revenue during the quarter — out of total revenue of $150 million — which would have indicated sales of about 61,500 units of the Spectacles if they were sold at full price.

Spiegel's comments on Tuesday indicated that Spectacle unit sales are now higher — a figure he's proud of, given that Apple's iPod had about 143,000 net unit sales in its first full year, 2002. For Snap, the glasses are a way to build expertise in the hardware field, in anticipation of greater adoption in the next ten years — "so many things" are coming for Spectacles, he said.

But Spiegel conceded that he's had trouble selling parts of his long-term vision to investors, not just when it comes to Spectacles.

"One of the things I did underestimate was how much more important communication becomes," Spiegel said. "When you go public… you really need to explain to a huge new investor base, right – instead of having 10 new investors, you have 10,000 – you have to explain how your business works. And at the same time you need to do that, there are also all these new regulations about what you can and cannot say and how you can communicate. So I think one of the things we've been going through this year is how to communicate the Snap story."

Spiegel had an awkward exchange with Wall Street analysts in August, when a hot mic caught an analyst describing how it was difficult to understand Spiegel's answer to a question. While Snap's IPO saw big gains out of the gate, shares have fallen more than 34 percent over the past six months.

"I think investors are fearful, and fear is a powerful motivator – they're fearful we'll never be profitable, or they're fearful that competition will kill us or something like that," Spiegel said. "But I think those are kind of normal fears for any start-up – and the really successful companies just grow through that. And that's why we've just tried to stay focused on the business this year and execute and deliver results."

--Additional reporting by Leanne Miller

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From: hollyhunter10/12/2017 7:44:39 PM
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On watch for breakout at 16.86.

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From: Glenn Petersen10/22/2017 11:00:55 AM
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There is perhaps no better example of this dynamic than what has happened to Snap, the company that makes the disappearing messaging app Snapchat. Although it is one of the most innovative consumer-focused internet companies — Snap created a whole new paradigm in social networking, and pioneered the idea that the camera is the future of human communication — it has been battered by the giants.

How the Frightful Five Put Start-Ups in a Lose-Lose Situation

Farhad Manjoo
New York Times
OCT. 18, 2017

Credit Doug Chayka

The tech giants are too big. But so what? Hasn’t that always been the case?

As the men who run Silicon Valley will be the first to tell you, a company’s size doesn’t matter here. For every lumbering Goliath, there are always one or two smarter, faster Davids just now starting up in some fabled garage, getting ready to slay the giants when they least expect it.

So if you’re worried about the power of the Frightful Five — Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft — just look at how IBM, Hewlett-Packard or monopoly-era Microsoft fell to earth. They were all victims of “ creative destruction,” of an “ innovator’s dilemma,” the theories that bolster Silicon Valley’s vision of itself as a roiling sea of pathbreaking upstarts, where the very thing that made you big also makes you vulnerable.

Well, maybe not this time.

The technology industry is now a playground for giants. Where 10 or 20 years ago we looked to start-ups as a font of future wonders, today the energy and momentum have shifted almost completely to the big guys. In addition to the many platforms they own already, one or more of the Five are on their way to owning artificial intelligence, voice assistants, virtual and augmented reality, robotics, home automation, and every other cool and crazy thing that will rule tomorrow.

Start-ups are still getting funding and still making breakthroughs. But their victory has never been likely (fewer than 1 percent of start-ups end up as $1 billion companies), and recently their chances of breakout success — and especially of knocking the giants off their perches — have diminished considerably.

The best start-ups keep being scooped up by the big guys (see Instagram and WhatsApp, owned by Facebook). Those that escape face merciless, sometimes unfair competition (their innovations copied, their projects litigated against). And even when the start-ups succeed, the Five still win.

Because today’s giants are nimbler and more paranoid about upstart competition than the tech behemoths of yore, they have cleverly created an ecosystem that enriches themselves even when they don’t think of the best ideas first. The Five run server clouds, app stores, ad networks and venture firms, altars to which the smaller guys must pay a sizable tax just for existing. For the Five, the start-up economy has turned into a heads-I-win-tails-you-lose proposition — they love start-ups, but in the same way that orcas love baby seals.

There is perhaps no better example of this dynamic than what has happened to Snap, the company that makes the disappearing messaging app Snapchat. Although it is one of the most innovative consumer-focused internet companies — Snap created a whole new paradigm in social networking, and pioneered the idea that the camera is the future of human communication — it has been battered by the giants.

After failing to buy Snap several years ago, Facebook repeatedly tried to copy its key innovations. This year, when Facebook lifted Snapchat’s Stories feature for Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook’s main app, it seemed to deliver a death blow.

Joey Levin, the chief executive of IAC, an internet and media company that looks for opportunities above, beneath and between the giants. Credit Audrey C. Tiernan

Facebook isn’t the only behemoth trying to feed off Snap’s carcass. In January, Snap signed a cloud hosting deal with Google. It agreed to pay Google $400 million a year for the next five years. Note that Snap booked only about $330 million in ad revenue in the first half of this year. In other words, it’s paying more than half of its revenue to Google.

Oh, and do you know who its largest competitors in the internet ad market are? Surprise! Facebook and Google.

The small guys won’t concede any this, of course. Unbridled optimism fuels start-up world, and many investors and start-up executives I talked to in recent weeks argued that with the insane amounts of money pouring into start-ups, the Five don’t have the whole game won.

They said the Five’s platforms had made starting companies cheaper and easier, and pointed to several successful start-ups that managed to elude the Five’s clutches in the last few years: Netflix, Uber and Airbnb. And when you look at business-focused companies that aren’t household names, you come up with dozens more, from Slack to Stripe to Square.

“In a lot of ways I’d say it hasn’t changed,” said Joey Levin, the chief executive of IAC, an internet and media company based in New York. “I’ve been around the internet long enough, and the first thing we used to ask in every meeting when I started was, ‘Why won’t Microsoft do your business?’ Then six years later it was, ‘Why doesn’t Google do it?’ Now it’s a combination of why can’t Facebook, Google, Apple or Amazon do this?”

Mr. Levin’s position is interesting. Even if you may not have heard of it, IAC has been battling giants online for a long time. The company grew out of the media tycoon Barry Diller’s television holdings of the 1990s; over the last two decades, IAC created a string of digital brands that tried to find some foothold outside the fiefs of the giants. Among them are Expedia,, Tinder, and Vimeo.

Some of these companies became the biggest brands in their categories, while others were also-rans that came up short against the day’s tech giants. In many cases, though, IAC made money by shrewdly navigating the giants. Sometimes it worked with the behemoths, other times it competed with them, and always it looked for opportunities above and beneath and between the giants, like a clever pigeon picking up crumbs around a picnic table.

IAC’s latest gambit is Angi Homeservices, a company that combines two big brands aimed at home repair and refurbishing, Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor. That company competes directly with some of the Five — both Google and Amazon have services meant to help you find people to install things your house.

Chris Terrill, the chief executive, told me that Angi Homeservices had a dedicated team working on providing a service that’s superior to anything the giants can build. But he also said his company was eager to team up with one of the big guys — for instance, on one of their voice-assistant platforms — because working with one of the Five could ease its path into the big leagues.

“We think that a smart voice provider will say, ‘If I want to win at all costs, we’ll go get the very best partner’ — and that’s us,” Mr. Terrill said.

In some ways, IAC could be a model for the internet company of tomorrow. It clearly aims big and isn’t going for second place. But it has also internalized a kind of working method that recognizes the Five as more-or-less permanent fixtures of the internet. It’s not betting on their demise; rather, it’s betting on their continued success. If Angi is to win, so will one or more of the Five.

IAC’s executives recognize the danger of a digital marketplace that is so heavily dependent on big guys. “I think the opportunities are still there, but I do worry that some of the biggest players are going to stifle that competition by trying to do and own too much themselves,” Mr. Terrill said.

I asked another IAC veteran, Dara Khosrowshahi — who until recently was the chief executive of Expedia — whether he believed the internet was still an open field for innovation, or whether the Five were closing it off.

“I’m mixed as it relates to that,” he said. “I fundamentally think innovative ideas can still survive and thrive, but the Googles and Facebooks of the world have so much more intelligence as to mass consumer behavior that they probably have an unfair advantage in identifying these early fast movers — and are willing to pay prices that are extraordinary for them.”

In August, Mr. Khosrowshahi was appointed chief executive of Uber, where he will have to deal with the giants more directly. Though his company is the most highly valued start-up of our age, its success seems far from assured. Many of its problems are of its own making, and Mr. Khosrowshahi is determined to fix them.

But like Snap, Uber is at the mercy of the Five. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is an investor in Uber. But Alphabet’s autonomous-car company, Waymo, is also a competitor to Uber. On top of that, Waymo has sued Uber, alleging theft of trade secrets.

The future of Uber, of ride-hailing and of autonomous vehicles in America is hazy. But here’s one thing that seems a sure bet: Whether Uber wins or loses, Google will end up doing just fine.

Email:; Twitter: @fmanjoo

A version of this article appears in print on October 19, 2017, on Page B1 of the New York edition with the headline: A Frightful Stranglehold On Tech Start-Ups.

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From: Glenn Petersen10/23/2017 3:08:29 PM
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Snap reportedly stuck with ‘hundreds of thousands' of unsold Spectacles

Apparently its drone plans are done for, too

by Jacob Kastrenakes
The Verge
Oct 23, 2017, 12:30pm EDT

Spectacles were one of last winter’s hottest gifts, but apparently demand for them quickly died off and left Snap in a bad position. The Information reports that Snap expected demand for Spectacles to continue after the holidays and ordered “hundreds of thousands” of additional units. But after it opened sales to a wider audience, that didn’t happen, and those units are now reported to be sitting around in warehouses, unsold.

It’s not known exactly how many Spectacles have been sold so far, but from the sound of it, Snap may have dramatically over-ordered units of its debut hardware device. Earlier this month, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said the company had sold “over 150,000 units,” which sounds pretty bad in the context of having hundreds of thousands sitting around waiting to be sold; although The Information says that figure includes unassembled units with parts that could potentially be used in other products.

“Hardware is going to be an important vehicle for delivering our customer experience maybe in a decade.”
Spiegel has tried to paint Spectacles as both relatively successful and merely an early start in hardware. He claims they outsold Apple’s first iPod — a comparison clearly meant to suggest they could eventually have enormous success. But Spiegel also said hardware would really only be important to Snap a decade from now.

“Our view is that hardware is going to be an important vehicle for delivering our customer experience maybe in a decade,” Spiegel said at a conference earlier this month, according to TechCrunch. “But if we believe it’s going to be important in a decade, we don’t want to be starting a decade from now.”

Snap now has a 150-person hardware team, according to The Information, though it isn’t entirely clear what the team is working on. There had been signs Snap was working on a drone, but The Information says that effort has been scrapped. There are also signs that it’s looking into augmented reality glasses, though that’d be a tough effort. It would also put Snap up against tech giants like Microsoft and Facebook, which haven’t had any luck expanding the tech outside of a gaming audience. Earlier this month, Apple said the tech to make good AR glasses “ doesn’t exist” yet.

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From: Glenn Petersen11/7/2017 10:56:37 PM
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Snap stock is down big after reporting less revenue — and fewer users — than Wall Street expected

That’s the third straight bad quarter for Snap.

by Kurt Wagner
Nov 7, 2017, 4:43pm EST

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty
Snap has disappointed Wall Street. Again.

The media and messaging company reported Q3 earnings on Tuesday, and the numbers were well below the modest expectations analysts had set.

Snap reported revenue of about $208 million, roughly 12 percent less than the $237 million analysts were hoping for. Snap also reported a net loss of $443 million on the quarter.

Snapchat also reported disappointing user growth. The company added just 4.5 million new daily users; analysts were expecting closer to eight million new users. It now has 178 million total daily users.

Snap stock was down more than 18 percent in early after-hours trading.

It’s the third straight disappointing quarter for Snap, which hasn’t been able to get its business or user base growing as fast as many expected when it completed a high-profile IPO in March. Some Snap investors and insiders thought that Snap would be a $1 billion business in 2017, and some outsiders agreed. Goodwater Capital, for example, pegged Snap’s 2017 revenue at $1.1. billion back in February.

Through the first nine months of the year, Snap has brought in just $539 million in revenue.

It’s not entirely clear why the company’s business hasn’t lived up to early expectations, though the general consensus is that Snap’s transition to automated advertising sales — where advertisers can buy ads through software programs — is just taking longer than expected to ramp up.

In Snap’s prepared remarks for its Tuesday earnings call, the company admitted as much. Snap claims that it has five times as many advertisers buying ads through its automated auction, which sells ad inventory to the highest bidder, than it did at the beginning of the year.

But it also claims that selling via the auction versus selling directly to an advertiser through a human sales team has also “dramatically reduced pricing,” CEO Evan Spiegel wrote. “Our auction has a lower price-point than our reserved business because there is no fixed rate card,” Spiegel continued.

Simply put: Advertisers can get the same ads for cheaper when buying through the auction than if they bought them via Snap’s sales team. Spiegel says this is just temporary. “As we onboard more advertisers and multiple advertisers compete for the same ad impression, we should see higher pricing,” he wrote.

Average revenue per user rose 39 percent to $1.17.

Snap also cautioned on its last earnings call that Q3 revenue in particular might be smaller than expected because the company wouldn’t have major world events like the Olympics and a U.S. presidential election to help boost spending like it did in 2016.

Spiegel and other Snap execs will take questions from investors during an earnings call at 5 pm ET Tuesday. We will update here or at Recode with anything interesting.

Update: More bad news from the company’s call: Snap says it “misjudged” the popularity of its video-recording sunglasses, called Spectacles, and says it’s adding a one-time, $40 million expense to its balance sheet because of “excess inventory and purchase commitment cancellations,” which means Snap thought it had $40 million worth of glasses, but now it doesn’t.

“Ultimately we made the wrong decision,” Spiegel said. “We’re learning from it.”

Spiegel also announced that Snap is redesigning its app in the hopes of making it easier to use for a broader subset of people.

“There is a strong likelihood that the redesign of our application will be disruptive to our business in the short term, and we don’t yet know how the behavior of our community will change when they begin to use our updated application,” he added.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (42)11/8/2017 10:05:34 AM
From: Glenn Petersen
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Snap stock whipsawed after China's Tencent takes a stake in Snapchat's parent

  • Chinese internet giant Tencent has taken about a 10 percent stake in Snapchat parent Snap.
  • The news comes as a vote of confidence in Snap, one day after the company posted a huge revenue miss for the third quarter.
Terri Cullen | @TerriCullen
November 8, 2017

China's Tencent buys 10 percent stake in Snap 2 Hours Ago | 04:02

Chinese internet giant Tencent has taken a roughly 10 percent stake in Snapchat parent Snap, according to documents released Wednesday.

In a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Snap said Tencent notified the company this month of the purchase. Tencent runs the WeChat messaging app, as well as online payment platforms and games. Earlier this year, it bought a 5 percent stake in Tesla.

Sources told CNBC earlier that Tencent had purchased 145.8 million nonvoting shares of Snap on the open market over the last quarter. China's largest messaging app has invested in social messaging company before, in 2012 and 2013, in private rounds.

News of the investment comes as a vote of confidence in Snap, one day after the company posted a huge revenue miss for the third quarter.

Average revenue per user was up 39 percent compared with the third quarter last year, falling short of Wall Street's estimates. Snap did beat expectations on the bottom line by a penny a share.

Shares of Snap, which plunged nearly 20 percent in after-hours on Tuesday's revenue miss, erased all of the losses to trade slightly higher on the Tencent filing before losing momentum. In early trading Wednesday, it was nearly 10 percent lower.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Snap.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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From: Sr K11/19/2017 1:35:28 PM
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Snap Execs Sell $38M in Stock Below IPO Price

Four sellers established trading plans shortly after the lockup period ended and sold nearly 2.7 million shares.

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