Tag Archives: Video Sharing

Microsoft Acquires WebFives, yet another multimedia sharing site

Microsoft has acquired yet another photo/video and audio sharing site called WebFives.

The agreement has been reached during November 2007 and according it Microsoft has acquired all rights to WebFives technology, patents pending, trademarks, and software to incorporate into its products and services over time. In order to make WebFives’s wind down process as easy as possible for their users, Microsoft has agreed to provide them with a license to continue operating WebFives until the end of the year, giving their users time to copy any information you would like to keep to your own PCs or another service prior to the end of the year.

WebFives has initially been founded by a former Microsoft engineer Mike Toutonghi as Vizrea, which later became WebFives. Vizrea launched in 2006 and is based in Seattle and had a handful number of employees in both locations Seattle and Prague (Czechs Republic). Originally they idea is known to have started in August of 2003 with a vision of making video, photo, music sharing, and blogging easy and accessible to everyone from any device. The company launched with the support from some early Microsoft executives. Mike Toutonghi was the engineer who initiated the Media Center version of Windows at Microsoft before leaving for the startup world.

The company realized that building a great sharing and social network means serving the community at first place. They are making it possible for anyone who creates videos, pictures, or music to easily share their creations in stunning quality to the entire world or just a small group of friends. WebFives includes advertising so they can offer you a great, free level of service for creating and sharing videos, pictures, blogs, and audio on your own personal WebFives website. Users are provided with standard social networking profile pages complete with blogging, and have the option of accessing their sites via computer or via a WAP specific page.

Some of the site’s fundaments:

1 WebFives is Quality
The video you watch and share on the web doesn’t have to be fuzzy and low quality any more. WebFives can deliver full-screen, digital-TV quality video, and CD quality audio. It’s high quality on mobile phones too.

2 WebFives is Everywhere
Easily share what you create. You and your friends can use the web browser on almost any phone to upload to WebFives, and watch WebFives video or listen to WebFives music. You can also use multimedia messages (MMS) to send movies and photos directly from your phone to WebFives. (Your web address is: webfives.com/username, your mobile address is: wap.webfives.com/username. It really is as simple as that.) Plus, for some phones we have additional, optional software.

 3 WebFives is Friendly
Already using another service? No problem, WebFives likes them all. Easily put your high quality WebFives media on other sites like MySpace, Xanga—or even on all of them at the same time. Send a video from your phone to WebFives and it’ll update for all of your friends right away.

4 WebFives is the Whole Enchilada
It’s got everything you’d expect from a sharing service—video, music, blogs, comments, ratings, tags, ‘friends,’ fast and easy search, and more—on both PCs and mobile phones.

5 WebFives is You
It’s designed from the ground up with you in mind, so it’s easy and fun to use. You can whip out great looking, custom web pages in minutes, and decide who can see them. (People who can’t see them don’t know they exist.)

Other prominent acquisitions within the sector are Photobucket by MySpace (News Corp/Fox Interactive), Flickr by Yahoo and Picasa by Google some years ago. In just recent weeks American greetings has acquired Webshots Inc, one of the leaders of Photo sharing sites. 

The deal terms and the acquisition price were not disclosed and typically for big buys (Microsoft, Google, etc.) the site stopped working and current users are given with 30 days to have their content downloaded and moved away from the site.


[ http://mashable.com/2007/12/01/microsoft-acquires-photo-sharing-site-webfives/ ]
[ http://www.webfives.com/whatis.aspx ]
[ http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/258559_vizrea07.html ]
[ http://blogs.zdnet.com/mobile-gadgeteer/?p=723 ]
[ http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/brierdudley/2007/11/microsoft_buys_toutonghis_seat_1.html ]
[ http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/30/microsoft-acquires-mobile-focused-social-networking-site-webfives/ ]

China-based video-sharing Youku takes $25 million, totals $40M

In its the third round of funding for the company Youku raised $25 million which is pretty large amount for a China based web site. We remember large scale funding happened before for a couple of other China Internet companies one of which is Maxthon, the China based browser organized as donateware (part of Charles River Venture’s portfolio). Brookside Capital Partners, a subsidiary of Ban Capital, led the round with previous investors Sutter Hill Ventures, Farraloon Capital Management and Chengwei Ventures also participating. Youku’s previous two rounds were for $3 million and $12 million, giving the video-sharing site a total of $40 million in funding to date.

Youku.com is a rapidly growing Chinese YouTube-style video sharing site. It is one of the larger Chinese video sites, with more than 70 million video plays a day according to Pacific Epoch. Youku also has a lot of big-time connections. Victor Koo, the chief executive of Youku, used to be the chief executive of Sohu, and the two companies have a business relationship. Farallon Capital, the hedge fund, led an initial round of $3 million in March 2006. Bain Capital venture subsidiary Brookside Capital Partners led this latest round, with other investors including Chengwei Ventures and Sutter Hill Ventures. Also the well-known Sutter Hill partner Len Baker is on Youku’s board.

The investment money is said to be used towards infrastructure and operations, according to the company. There is a belief that part of the money will go for improving the copyright protection methods, which for a country like China are more than important. Google’s YouTube is also heading towards the Chinese market trying to increase its market share there.

The site was hard to open from outside China.

In other news Sohu.com Inc. (Nasdaq: SOHU), China’s leading online media, communications and search company and Youku.com, China’s leading online video website, announced today that they entered into strategic cooperation to jointly foster the development of the online video industry in China and to promote video-based citizen journalism and user generated content among Chinese online users.

[ via Mashable ]

[ via Paidcontent ]

[ via Venturebeat ]