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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Facebook moves into virtual reality with $2 billion Oculus VR deal

Facebook has agreed to acquire virtual reality company Oculus VR in a deal worth approximately $2 billion (£1.2 billion).

Oculus VR has become well-known for its ‘immersive’ virtual reality technology, having received more than 75,000 development kit orders for its Oculus Rift 3D virtual reality headset.

The deal includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock, with the option of an extra $300 million in cash and stock based on future targets. It’s expected to be finalised in the summer.

Although Oculus has been focussed on gaming, Facebook says it plans to move the company into communications, media, entertainment, education and other areas - with virtual reality technology described as “a strong candidate to emerge as the next social and communications platform”.

Brendan Iribe, co-founder and CEO of Oculus VR, said “We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world. We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences that connect people in magical, new ways. It is a transformative and disruptive technology, that enables the world to experience the impossible, and it’s only just the beginning.”

Oculus will maintain a separate headquarters building in California and will continue its development of the Oculus Rift.

[Oculus blog]

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Opinion Articles

Mobile & Contactless Payments

James Rosewell offers his opinion on the current state of mobile and contactless payments.

The banking and mobile industries have big plans for Near Field Communication (NFC) as the mobile payment mechanism of the future. Barclaycard has been leading the way from the credit card sector forming a partnership with Orange, having previously worked with O2, and running a catchy TV advert prompting contactless cards using VISA’s paywave system.

However the reality of NFC payments appears a lot further away. The Point of Sale (POS) technology appears to be badly deployed by some of the first-phase retailers mainly made up of low-value high-volume businesses like coffee shops, fast food outlets and newsagents.

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Insecure Mobile Browsers

James Rosewell writes: I note with interest Barclays mobile on-line banking home page extolling the safety of mobile banking whilst claiming it’s as secure as their non-mobile equivalent. This is on the same page that recommends customers use Opera Mini to access Barclays mobile on-line banking.

Yet following the link to the operamini.com web site and looking at the help section we can read Opera’s answer to the question “Is there any end-to-end security between my handset and — for example — paypal.com or my bank?” and the answer is “No. If you need full end-to-end encryption, you should use a full Web browser such as Opera Mobile.”

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