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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

IBM, smartphones and a graffiti wall: what's the real message?

Mark Bridge writes:

I was ready to poke fun at IBM for its sponsored graffiti wall at Mobile World Congress this year. Graffiti and IBM don't have a comfortable history, as anyone who remembers the Linux campaign from 2001 will tell you.

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Last week at The Fonecast: 24th February 2014

Are you ready?

Mark Bridge writes:

Some companies have saved their big announcements for the week of Mobile World Congress. Samsung and Nokia, for example. Others have issued a press release in advance.

Author: The Fonecast
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When customer service stops working: a complaint about Vodafone

Iain Graham writes:

Vodafone’s admission last week that ‘some customers’ may have been experiencing issues with mobile services came three weeks late for me. I’ve been having my own ongoing battle with the network since the beginning of the month.

Author: The Fonecast
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Last week at The Fonecast: 17th February 2014

Love is in the air

Mark Bridge writes:

Mobile World Congress is just a week away, with lovers of mobile technology preparing to be wooed by manufacturers, networks and developers. But if MWC is like St Valentine’s Day, then LG has been behaving rather like the world’s worst boyfriend.

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Last week at The Fonecast: 10th February 2014

New deals and old problems

Mark Bridge writes:

Mobile phones have been hitting the mainstream news over the past few days. There was Channel 4’s report about data on second-hand phones not being properly deleted before the handsets were re-sold, there was the latest round of the Smart UK Project and there was Tim Muffett’s story about the mobile-enabled high street on BBC Breakfast this morning.

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Recent Podcasts

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A month of mobile: O2 counts on 3, Microsoft counts to 10 and Apple counts its profits

Podcast - 30th January 2015

We're back with a month of mobile industry news, including takeover talks and takeover rumours. O2 and Three are said to be discussing a merger... but is there any truth in the suggestions that BlackBerry could be up for grabs?

We also discuss Apple's record-breaking quarterly figures, the highlights of CES and the launch of Microsoft Windows 10, as well as saying farewell to the current version of Google Glass.

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