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This week’s news is a collection of news since December 20, 2011 and has been organized in new categories to make navigation a bit easier as there is quite a bit to cover.

eCommerce

Online holiday spending reaches $30.8B in 2010, up from $27.4B in 2010, according to Comscore. Computer hardware grew by 23% driven by tablets, books and magazines grew by 22%, Toys grew by 16%, Jewelry by 11% and fashion by 8%.

Adwords targets small businesses with $100M of free AdWords credits, in $100 grants to 1M SMBs. In response to this, Google’s new focus on local, Yext has allied Yelp, SuperPages, MapQuest, CitySearch, MerchantCircle and others to release new products to compete with Google. The first of such products is Tags, a highlighted search result for local businesses across all partners in the alliance.

Two thirds of internet users are currently paying for digital content on the web. Of those surveyed, the average user spends $47 per month, heavily skewed by superusers. A typical user spends $10 per month. Pew Research.

ABI Research forecasts $4.9B in total mobile commerce in 2010 or 3% of US ecommerce. In Japan, 17% of all ecommerce is mobile indicating tremendous growth is in the wings. eMarketer.

2010 Virtual goods market data according to Instat:

  • $7.3B of goods sold globally, $2.1B in the US
  • 20% of EA’s sales are digital (both in game content and digital items)

Paypal announces 300% growth in mobile payments y/y from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15 and $700M in total mobile purchased GMV in 2010. eBay mobile sales grew 134% y/y in the same period. Fashion is the top category on mobile for the company, unlike on the web. 

Media

Facebook is the most visited website and most searched term in 2010, according to Experian. 

Activity on Facebook, every 20 minutes

  • Messages: 4.6M; compared to 110M SMS sent every 20 minutes globally and 700M non-spam emalis
  • Event invites: 1.5M
  • Friend requests accepted: 2M
  • Photos uploaded: 2.7M

Comcast announces 4B streams in 2010 across 25,0000 pieces of content. YouTube has 2B free streams per day. Netflix has about 1.8B streams per year based on March 2010 figures.

FCC approves the Comcast NBC merger with provisions to share content with other networks and to enable other networks content to appear on Comcast’s network.

MySpace lays off 550 staff, about 50% of the company. Fox Mobile Group sold to Jesta Group for an undisclosed price.

Adobe announces first $1B quarter, up 33% y/y.

China’s internet population grew 30% in 2010 to 450M. China bans Skype, allowing only China Unicom and China Telecom are the only two sanctioned VOIP providers.

Gaming

Zynga’s CityVille on Facebook has 73M monthly active users, 25% larger than Farmville. It is now the largest social game in the world.

OpenFeint reports 187% increase in downloads of iOS games compared to more than 400% increase in iOS devices sold. Assuming a 50% replacement rate for new devices, this increase shows a relatively constant demand for applications across time.

AngryBirds announced 1M+ downloads on Christmas day alone. 

Mobile 

Android releases carrier billing with AT&T. Also, Android Gingerbread, the next version of the OS, will enable Wifi only calling. This move coupled with Google Voice points to the increasing focus on Google as a carrier.

Nielsen reports mobile OS share is nearly equal among Apple, Android and RIM. Android is gaining share at RIM’s expense while Apple holds steady.

eBook readers excelled in the holiday season. Amazon announced Kindle is the best selling product of all time, with about 8M Kindles sold in 2010. Barnes and Noble’s Nook has reached the same milestone, best selling product of all time. 

Skype upgraded its iOS app to support video calling to compete with FaceTime, Nimbuzz and Tango, among others. Tango announces 4M users.

Millennial Media reports the mobile web grew to 89M users in the US. The ad market is growing at huge rates. Finance: 802% y/y. Retail & Restaurants: 745%. Telecom: 719%.

FourSquare enables photos and comments. The feature is enabled through the application and an API which accepts photos from Instagram and PicPlz. It’s unclear whether these applications will be competitors or partners in the long term.

Samsung announced 9.3M Galaxy S units sold in six months. One Galaxy S is sold for every two iPhones. 

Microsoft announces 1.5M Windows Phone 7 sold in 6 weeks. 7M iOS devices and roughly 13M Android devices are sold in the same period.

Financing and M&A

GroupOn is rumored to be raising a $1B round at $4.75B pre-money. DST, Fidelity and Morgan Stanley are said to be the new investors.

Twitter raises a $200M round from KPCB. 

Facebook raises $500M from Goldman Sachs and DST at $50B valuation.

Lookout announces 4M users and $20M in Series C financing led by Index.

Josh Berman’s Beachmint raises $10M from Trinity and NEA for celebrity endorsed e-commerce.

Zumbox raises $10M from angel investors including Michael Eisner for paperless postal system.

Bleacher Report, the fifth largest sports site, per raises $10.5M from Crosslink.

AOL acquires About.me for an undisclosed amount, just four days after leaving beta. AOL also has acquired Pictela, a rich media ad technology provider, for about $20M.

Meebo raises $27.5M from Khosla Ventures in Series C financing.

x+1, a DSP, raises $10M from Intel Capital in its Series B.

PogoPlug raises $15M from Softbank and Morgan Stanley.

Rackspace acquires CloudKick for an undisclosed amount.

Clustrix, providers of database scaling systems, announces $12M in financing from Sequoia.

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