Filter looks at the day's top technology news through snapshots and analysis of what the world's media outlets are covering. Washingtonpost.com's new Mon.-Fri. feature is penned by technology reporter Cynthia L. Webb. If a technology story breaks, a company falters or triumphs, or there's a new trend in technology, Filter wants you to know about it.
And more from the Daily News on how the auction will work: "First, investors must register online to receive a 'unique bidder ID,' then contact one of the 30 firms underwriting the deal, finally submit a bid with the number of shares they'd like and the maximum price they'd be willing to pay. Small-time investors who don't have an account with any of the underwriters must establish one to participate. Though rules vary among firms, online Ameritrade requires clients to maintain a $2,000 balance. Google will use the auction to measure market demand and set the offering price of its stock to match what investors seem willing to pay. Auction participants who placed bids at or above that level will win some allocation of Google shares. Though the company won't guarantee to give all successful bidders their full request, Google told the SEC yesterday it hopes to meet 80% of all successful bidders' requests."
Bloomberg: Google Outlines New IPO Investor Rules The New York Daily News: Google Thinks Small The San Francisco Chronicle: Google IPO: No Merrill
The Washington Post wrote: "Google has yet to say precisely how it will conduct the auction, but in a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday it disclosed that based on demand it may increase the number of shares sold in the offering or adjust the price, which it said could dampen demand once trading begins. 'Therefore, the price of our Class A common stock could decline following the offering, and investors should not expect to be able to sell their shares for a profit shortly after trading begins,' the company warned. 'You should consider whether to modify or withdraw your bid as a result of developments during the auction process.' Google said a guide for bidders would be issued before the auction with details about the mechanics of how to participate, and the company said it will ultimately issue a press release with the IPO price. The company has not said when the auction will occur, but the offering is unlikely before the late summer or early fall, analysts said."
The Washington Post: Google Gives IPO Details, Warnings (Registration required)
Meanwhile, The San Jose Mercury News has a good round-up of the changes Google made in the latest filing, including the company's official acknowledgement of privacy concerns with its Gmail e-mail product: "Google noted that privacy concerns might hurt its brand. It said concerns about the collection, use or sharing of personal information related to its new e-mail service, called Gmail, could all hurt its reputation. It also said that proposed legislation in California and Massachusetts could interfere with, or even prohibit, Gmail."
The San Jose Mercury News: Google Changes Its Filing For IPO (Registration required)
The New York Times had an interesting nugget in its coverage. The paper quoted an unnamed source who said Google employees made a Web page on Google's management pop up as the first result on Google when people yesterday entered "out of touch management" in a technique called "Google bombing," the paper said. It "was an indication yesterday that Google's vaunted corporate culture may be under stress as a result of competition and the stock offering," it also reported.
A Google corporate management search yielded one result: No comment. Not a surprise. They're in a quiet period.
Salesforce to Make a Sale
In other IPO news, Salesforce.com could hit the open market tomorrow, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. "The stock sale, twice-delayed by federal securities regulators, is expected to be priced today, according to investment banking sources who asked to remain nameless. If that's true, the innovative and fast-growing software company founded by former Oracle Corp. executive Marc Benioff in 1999 will see its shares begin trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange, under the symbol CRM. 'We're hearing from banking sources that they're finally coming out (this) week,' said Peter Coleman, a software analyst with Schwab SoundView, which is not involved in the IPO," the article said. Reuters said today that Salesforce.com today "raised the proposed price range on its pending initial public offering to $9 to $10 per share from an earlier estimate of $7.50 to $8.50 per share."
The San Francisco Chronicle: Delayed Tech IPO TO Price Today (Registration required)
Reuters: Salesforce Raises IPO Price Range
New Life in the Valley?
The New York Times wrote about some of the signs of a tech resurgence in Silicon Valley ... but pointed out some telling contradictory evidence: "The famed traffic jams of Silicon Valley's boom times are still uncommon. A last-minute reservation at some of the area's hot restaurants, like Tamarine or Spago Palo Alto, can still be had. And a suite in a gleaming office park that would have cost nearly $10 a square foot in monthly rent in 1999 can now be had for less than $3. Big portions of sprawling projects built on optimism in the mid-1990s, like the Midpoint Technology Park in Redwood City, sit dark and unoccupied. On Mission College Boulevard in Santa Clara, 750,000 square feet of office space is still available in an archipelago of office parks built during the boom."
Still, some are finding a silver lining. "The optimists tend to compare today's prospects with that of the mid-1990s, when Netscape Communications' initial public offering in August 1995 touched off the greatest boom the area has ever witnessed. They believe that a new era, which some are calling Web 2.0, is here," the paper reported.
The New York Times: Silicon Valley (Version 2.0) Has Hopes Up (Registration required)
In more good news for the tech sector, more states are putting their prized pension money into biotech start-ups, USA Today reported today. "As competition grows for biotech and other life-science jobs, more states are using pension money to lure start-ups in the risky industry. States from Oregon to Florida are tapping public money to invest in private venture-capital funds because VC firms -- the top investors in start-ups -- favor areas that already dominate life sciences. Most venture money goes to the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego and Boston. States worry they'll miss out on an industry expected to create high-paying jobs making cancer drugs, medical devices and disease-resistant crops. The number of life-science jobs is expected to grow 13% more than overall annual job growth through 2012, says a study by Battelle and other researchers," the paper reported.
USA Today: Life-Science Ventures Lure More State Pension Funds
Popcorn and $500
The movie industry is trying a new bounty program to clean up digital piracy. The Motion Picture Association of America is offering movie theater workers $500 a pop for catching and reporting bootleggers, The Hollywood Reporter wrote. "Camcording has become a very potent source of piracy. A great majority of the films that show up on the Internet for download are a result of camcorders, according to MPAA spokesman Matt Grossman. Typically, according to the MPAA, movies are filmed by camcorder during the first few days of their U.S. release, then distributed in digital form worldwide on file-sharing networks and other online outlets. Overseas labs then use the pirated films to create illegal DVDs, which are distributed en masse on street corners around the world," the article said.
The Hollywood Reporter via The Washington Post: Hollywood Offers $500 Bounty For Movie Bootleggers (Registration required)
The Associated Press via Yahoo!: Studios Offer Rewards To Thwart Piracy
Filter is designed for hard-core techies, news junkies and technology professionals alike. Have suggestions, cool links or interesting tales to share? Send your tips and feedback to cindyDOTwebbATwashingtonpost.com. (Yes, those spammers have been having a lot of fun with my e-mail address lately.)