SiliconANGLE Extracting the signal from the noise. Mon, 25 May 2015 21:38:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bitcoin paying Streamium plans to cut out the middleman for livestreaming Mon, 25 May 2015 21:29:34 +0000 Livestreaming service Streamium will bring peer-to-peer streaming video to viewers combined with bitcoin micropayment channels. Streamers on Streamium can opt to be paid bitcoin per minute from viewers.

Streamium is the product of a loose collective of Argentinian hackers including Manuel Aráoz, developer of, and Demian Brener, who wrote in a blog post that Streamium’s idea arose from a desire to “empower the long tail of small content creators to open up to the world and get paid accordingly in real time.” Other developers include Esteban Ordano, @franbook, Yemel Jardi, Dario Sneidermanis, and Alex Batallés.

Live video streaming platforms Meerkat (Android and iOS) and Periscope (iOS only) are services Streamium seeks to mimic, but it adds the additional layer of bitcoin pay-per-minute.

Livestreaming is an extremely lucrative profession for a multitude of people especially those who stream videogames. So lucrative, that, Inc. purchased—the most popular video game livestreaming sites on the Internet—for $970 million in August, 2014. Popular streamers can pull down 20,000 concurrent viewers or more and Jesse Aaron from the Huffington Post estimates that could turn into $6,400 a month with the proper schedule.

With Streamium, each concurrent viewer pays the same microtransaction rate in a pay-per-minute fashion, which means that entertainers who can pull in mass numbers would also be raking in the bitcoin.

Of course, gamers aren’t the only professional niche who might use a pay-per-minute streaming service. Kyle Torpey from Bitcoin Magazine explains in an article that this could be useful for the adult entertainment industry (especially freelancer “Cam Girls”), people streaming (or pirating) live sporting events, on-demand professionals doing consultations, and even teachers providing seminars.

Screenshot of the website

Screenshot of the website. Start broadcasting here, today.

The Streamium platform was designed to be as accessible as possible to both streamers and viewers and works entirely out of the browser. A stream can be started simply: Choose a name, which produces a link separated by dashes that can be shared; add a Bitcoin receipt address; choose a pay-by-hour rate; and finally hit the “START BROADCASTING” button. And viola, the stream starts.

Once broadcasting, the platform generates a sharable link that viewers click on, pay with bitcoins, and then gain access to the broadcast.

Although it functions as-is, Streamium is still in beta and warn users there are known security issues and the service does not offer anonymity. During SiliconAngle’s test this reporter was able to begin broadcasting, but viewers were unable to view the exhilarating livestream of this article being written due to unknown errors. Others, such as Reddit’s naughtymaid69, have had much better luck.

The Stremium web client is still somewhat primitive and currently only uses attached webcams to broadcast a livestream, but in the Reddit announcement tread, a developer said that they hope to enable integration OBS (Open Broadcaster Software), an open-source streaming software solution that many gamers use to broadcast to Twitch. Being able to use OBS could open up a whole new dimension for the usefulness of Streamium.

Open source all the way down

The developers of Stremium released the codebase on GitHub for other enterprising developers to create their own fork or tinker with the concept.

The streaming aspect is done with WebRTC, an open source peer-to-peer browser-to-browser application framework drafted by the World Wide Web Consortium(W3C) and developed by Google. And payments are facilitated by bitcoin and a system called payment channels; using the payment channels micropayments protocol stream watchers can pay out fractions of a bitcoin per time spent as the stream continues in micropayments over time. These payments are done off-chain via the Stremium service and then built into a bulk payment made via the bitcoin blockchain.

The in-browser experience is handled with AngularJS and uses a browser-only model with the peer-to-peer networking meaning that Streamium functions entirely using client browsers, there is no server needed.

photo credit: Ben Andreas Harding via photopin cc
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Linux usage on Steam is going down, not up Mon, 25 May 2015 18:20:10 +0000 Linux fans have been predicting the downfall of Windows and the rise of Linux for a while now, but it looks like Windows is still the king of PC gaming. Even worse for Linux users, it looks like usage rates of the operating system have actually dropped slightly on Steam, dipping below 1 percent of all users.

According to the recent Steam Hardware & Software Survey for the month of April, Windows accounts for 95.81 percent of all users on Steam, with OSX making up a measly 3.15 percent. Meanwhile, Linux users represent only 0.94 percent of Steam, down from 1.05 percent the month before.

Steam is the most popular digital distribution system for PC by far, with millions of users and hundreds of games available, but only a small portion of Steam’s games actually support Linux. With the operating system’s abysmal usage numbers, that seems unlikely to change any time soon.

Can SteamOS make a difference?


A key factor that could change that, however, is Steam’s own Linux-based operating system, SteamOS, which is built off of the Debian 7 distribution.

SteamOS is technically a PC gaming system, but the OS is designed to serve as a living room gaming platform with controller support. Valve claims it is designed to be “a new kind of living room entertainment environment – one that is accessible, powerful and open.”

SteamOS is the backbone of Valve Corp’s new Steam Machines, which are essentially Linux gaming PCs that can either be purchased from a few different manufacturers or built by users themselves.

But even with Steam Machines finally hitting the market later this year, there appears to be little incentive for most developers to go through the trouble of creating a Linux version of their games.

This presents something of a catch-22 for Linux gaming. There are not very many Linux gamers because there are not very many Linux games, and there are not very many Linux games because there are not very many Linux gamers.

Add that to the fact that Oculus VR recently suspended development for Rift on operating systems other than Windows, and it does not look like things will be improving for the few Linux gamers out there anytime soon.

Image credit: miezoo | Steam Community
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In honor of Geek Pride Day, what is a geek? Mon, 25 May 2015 17:00:11 +0000 Long before geek became a fashion statement, it was a subcultural movement that could include everyone from band kids to mathletes and everything in between.

The geek label has been applied so liberally lately that it is hard to define just what exactly a geek is anymore, and with today being Geek Pride Day, now is a good time to talk about what makes up a geek.

The word geek originally referred to sideshow freaks, the sort who would bite the heads off snakes. Today, if you go by Wikipedia (which is itself a geek haven), the word geek “typically connotes an expert or enthusiast or a person obsessed with a hobby or intellectual pursuit.” Obsessed is the key word here, and it is what differentiates a geek from a fan.

There are hundreds of different types of geeks. Math geeks, music geeks, Star Wars geeks, and on and on. There are even sports geeks, who obsessively pour over statistics and probabilities. Only a geek could invent fantasy football.

Geek vs Nerd


Some people may say po-tay-to/po-tah-to, but certain corners of the internet have very strong feelings about where geeks and nerds fall on the social hierarchy. Of course, up until recently both were social pariahs on the schoolyard.

Nearly two years ago, Duolingo staff scientist and machine learning expert Burr Settles ran a data model on the words “geek” and “nerd” using Twitter to see how people used the terms. Settles compared the two words using pointwise mutual information (PMI), which measures how often certain words show up together in a text.

For example, if the words band and nerd show up together a lot, they would have a high PMI score.


Settles found a few interesting differences between geeks and nerds. On the above chart, the right side is nerdier and the top is geekier. Words along the diagonal were more evenly split between the two.

The word geek tended to show up with pop culture pastimes like toys and manga (Japanese comics), and Settles notes that the hashtag #shiny (a Firefly reference) is “super-geeky.” Meanwhile, the word nerd appeared alongside hobbies like chess and academic fields like physics and biology.

Interestingly, Settles found that many terms relating to computers and the internet were fairly equal between geeks and nerds.

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc
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Educational games are more effective when they’re hands-on, study finds Mon, 25 May 2015 15:00:04 +0000 Using video games as an educational tool is not a new concept, and edutainment titles have been around since at least the days of Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Lately, educational games have been moving into the mobile space much like everything else, but a recent study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University shows that mixing games with real world interaction is substantially more effective than touchscreen games alone.

“As screen-based technologies such as tablets or computer games become increasingly more appealing for children, it is worth asking whether real-world interaction is really needed to enhance learning and enjoyment,” researcher Nesra Yannier said in a video abstract for the study.

The experiment used multiple versions of a simple game that instructed children to build a block tower that could withstand being shaken.

Children played the game on a laptop and tablet, and their results were then compared to other children who played versions that used real blocks combined with a Kinect and a projected screen. The Kinect monitored the children’s progress and gave them feedback when their tower stood or collapsed.

The results showed that the children who played the Kinect version learned the lesson at a much higher rate than those who played the laptop or tablet versions.

“Utilizing computer vision to provide personalized immediate feedback while children experiment in their physical environment may be a powerful way to learn,” Yannier said. “Our study demonstrates that physical observation accompanied by interactive feedback in our mixed-reality game improves children’s learning by approximately five times compared to an equivalent tablet or computer game while also increasing enjoyment.”

The study noted that simply including physical controls is not enough to improve the educational effect. While the tablet version allowed children to shake the device to see if their tower would fall, the researchers found that this feature did not significantly improve that version’s success rate.

“Our 2×2 experiment found no evidence that adding simple forms of hands-on control enhances learning, while demonstrating a large impact of physical observation,” the study concluded. “A general implication for educational game design is that affording physical observation in the real world accompanied by interactive feedback may be more important than affording simple hands-on control on a tablet.”

Screenshot via YouTube | TheOfficialACM
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Interested in getting banned from World of Warcraft? HonorBuddy bots are back Mon, 25 May 2015 13:45:41 +0000 Despite Blizzard Entertainment’s massive ban of thousands of players earlier this month for using bots to play World of Warcraft for them, the makers of the HonorBuddy have said that they are staying in the automated cheating business and will soon re-launch their service.

If the online game community were high school, then the bot making groups behind tools like HonorBuddy are the smug dweebs who sell their homework to other students. Of course, the difference here is that those smug dweebs are slowly eating away at the system that sustains them by breaking game balance and ruining the play experience for non-cheaters.

The primary purpose behind HonorBuddy is to allow players to earn rewards without actually having to play the game. The bot plays their character for them, allowing “players” to level new characters, grindout professions, or earn PVP rewards. Meanwhile, people who play WoW the old fashioned way (with their hands) have to put up with useless bots crowding PVP battlegrounds or other groups.

As bots become more popular, fewer real players want to stick around. This is bad for the games themselves, and it is especially bad for the studios that create them. This month, both Blizzard Entertainment and Daybreak Game Company went on massive ban sprees, removing tens of thousands of players from their games for using bots.

Risk vs Reward


People who pay for bots are the definition of “more money than sense,” as there is no guarantee that they will not be caught, and those who are discovered lose access to the game for months or even indefinitely. Because WoW is a subscription service, playing the game with HonorBuddy bots effectively costs double the usual rates, and a ban means that the money and the time spent levelling those characters are wasted.

Even HonorBuddy’s creators admit that their tools are not undetectable and warn players that there are no guarantees–other than HonorBuddy getting their money, of course.

“We must say that we have no idea what really happened and all we have are speculations,” staff member Bossland wrote on HonorBuddy’s forums. “Be aware that we have not seen the cause of the bans. … Again, we will give no guarantee and we have never given a guarantee, that our software is immune to detection or bans.”

Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment (c)
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3 reasons why Microsoft’s Edge browser is way superior to Internet Explorer…and might give Google something to worry about Mon, 25 May 2015 13:42:23 +0000 Formally known as Project Spartan, Microsoft’s Edge (default browser for Windows 10) is currently available in the Windows 10 Technical Preview as part of the Windows Insider Program. According to Microsoft the browser is still a bit rough around the edges (excuse the pun), although its performance has already started people talking about a new heavyweight in browser wars. What we can expect we are told is a much more superior, safer browsing experience to that of the oft-maligned Internet Explorer (IE will remain available as a legacy engine). Here are some things set to impress:

It’s faster

Part of the reason for this is the fact that unlike IE the new browser will not have legacy support, which was one of the reasons IE was so ploddingly slow. ActiveX, Vector Markup Language, as well as Browser Helper Objects and third-party toolbars for dated browsers will not be supported (full list here). This will lead to an all-round better performance. In fact, due to the lost baggage and Microsoft’s fine-tuning of its Chakra JavaScript engine, recent tests not only saw Edge performing miles better that IE, but also out-performing Chrome and Mozzila Firefox, the two big names Microsoft intends to compete with. In a blog post Gaurav Seth, Principal PM Lead, for Chakra, detailed how such improvements were possible, and talked about the “never-ending pursuit” of improving performance, adding, “While winning on a benchmark that is not created by us [benchmark by Apple and Google] does feel nice, the key is that Microsoft Edge has already come a long way from IE11 in terms of improved JavaScript performance on both, benchmarks and real world web as it exists today.”


It comes with an assistant and other useful features

Edge come with Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana, a virtual friend in need that can take you to the pages you most desire by understanding what is it you are looking for. Start browsing for a nightclub for instance and Edge will bring up all the relevant information about that place, not only direct information, but also detail for you how you might get there, what it costs, when it opens and closes. Over time the browser will also start to understand your behavior and on a start page bring up news stories and other media – there’s a Reading List and Reading View feature will allows you to read without seeing any ads – that it thinks you might want to see. Once you’ve found your page, or read your story, you can then use the annotation feature to make notes and share with friends, or save to your computer or in OneDrive. If you’re using a touch screen device you can scribble on the page using a stylus.

It will have extensions

Similar to Chrome and Firefox Edge will have extensions developed with HTML and JavaScript code. Extensions for Reddit and Pinterest were shown at Microsoft’s Build conference last month, while Skype and Bing Translate have also created extensions for Edge. Extensions will not be available at first, but will come at some later time after the release of Windows 10. Extension support for mobile browsers will come at an even later date, according to a Microsoft Edge Developer on Twitter who wrote, “It’s a long term goal but initial release will be PC only.”

Bearing just these three things in mind, and they’re pretty big things, the question is will Edge gradually edge out the competition? It seems like a possibility, but then its competitors, we might remind ourselves, are pretty formidable foes.

Photo credit: Microsoft

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5 smart home accessories on Kickstarter to secure and manage your home Mon, 25 May 2015 12:30:56 +0000 To join in the smart home revolution, you don’t necessarily have to rush out and replace all of your ‘dumb’ appliances and home accessories with fancy, expensive Internet-connected smart devices. A number of inventors and tech entrepreneurs are launching smart accessories to help you retrofit your existing appliances, door locks, light bulbs, and more.

Below we’ve rounded up five of the most interesting and useful smart home accessories on crowdfunding site Kickstarter right now:

Peeple: caller ID for your front door



Who is behind it: Building 10 Technology, Inc.

Location: Austin, TX

Kickstarter goal $50,000

Funds raised: $56,422 from 409 backers with 32 days to go

Peeple is a camera that mounts to the existing peephole or sticks on the glass of a door. It connects to your home Wi-Fi and sends notifications to both iOS and Android phones via an app. Using the app, you can see who’s at your door from anywhere in the world.

Peeple also stores a history of knocks and door opens so you can review who came and went while you were away.

Peeple is scheduled to start shipping in May 2015 to Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.

Noki: the smart door lock for Europe


Noki smart door lock

Who is behind it: Noki Home Solutions GmbH

Location: Graz, Austria

Kickstarter goal: €125,000 ($137,350)

Funds raised: €242,187 ($266,115) from 1,344 backers with 32 days to go

The Noki smart door lock for European cylinder locks fits over an existing lock and lets you lock or unlock your door from your smartphone (iOS and Android). You can also give access to friends or family to allow them easy access and revoke a user’s access remotely.

Noki is controlled via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and the app tells you if your door is locked or not.

Noki is scheduled to start shipping worldwide by December 2015.

Nuimo: seamless smart home interface



Who is behind it: Senic

Location: Berlin, Germany

Kickstarter goal: €55,000 ($60,437)

Funds raised: €164,876 ($181,165) from 1,349 backers with 18 days to go

Nuimo is a programmable wireless controller for connected devices. Nuimo lets you control your devices through touch-based inputs using capacitive touch, gesture control, and a 360-degree analog ring. You can quickly switch between devices and Nuimo works with any Bluetooth device or application including Sonos and Philip Hue.

Nuimo currently has more than 30 integrations, and more to come, you can control your music, lights, locks and more.

Nuimo is scheduled to start shipping to select countries in October 2015.

BuddyGuard’s Flare: smarter home security



Who is behind it: BuddyGuard

Location: Berlin, Germany

Kickstarter goal: €80,000 ($87,904)

Funds raised: €79,730 ($87,607) from 400 backers with 17 days to go

BuddyGaurd’s Flare is a clever home alarm that uses facial or voice recognition and/or your smartphone’s location to activate or deactivate itself. If it does not recognize the face picked up by the HD camera or the smartphone, it will send an alert to you or any trusted users you configure.

Flare is quite advanced and includes a thermometer, accelerometer, microphone, loudspeaker, HD camera, siren, motion detector and more.

Flare is scheduled to ship worldwide by December 2015.

Hook: home automation on a budget


Who is behind iy: Hack-a-Joe Labs

Location: Seattle, WA

Kickstarter goal: $25,000

Funds raised: $30,815 from 477 backers with 59 hours to go

Hook is a device that connects inexpensive remote-controlled outlet adapters and bulb sockets to the Internet. This enables existing appliances and lighting in the home like lamps, light bulbs, coffeemaker, window fan, and more to be controlled with your smartphone.

Hook works with IFTTT (now IF). You can schedule operations of routine tasks such as operating holiday lights between sunset and sunrise and create rule-based scenarios like turning your coffee maker ‘on’ when the alarm goes off in the morning.

Hook is scheduled to start shipping to Canada and the U.S. in December 2015.

Main image credit: andyp uk via photopin cc; Product screenshots: SiliconANGLE via Kickstarter
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BlackBerry announces fresh round of lay-offs as it pursues profitability Mon, 25 May 2015 12:15:54 +0000 It’s been a rollercoaster ride for BlackBerry Limited ever since CEO John Chen took over the leadership reins, and after all the optimism earlier this year, things are now looking a bit glum with reports saying the company is set to lay-off staff in an effort to remain profitable.

As The Wall Street Journal reported, the lay-offs were announced shortly after BlackBerry said it was considering closing down its Sweden office. Nevertheless its not clear if it means BlackBerry will axe any of its Swedish staff.

BlackBerry did actually achieve a small profit in Q4 of its fiscal 2015 ending in February, but this slight upturn in fortunes wasn’t enough to prevent an overall year of losses.

CEO Chen has previously stated he wants to achieve sustainable profitability by the end of this fiscal, and that’s what’s prompted the new round of lay-offs, though he didn’t say how many jobs would be affected.

“Our intention is to reallocate resources in ways that will best enable us to capitalise on growth opportunities while driving toward sustainable profitability across all facets of our business,” the company said in a statement. “As a result, we have made the decision to consolidate our device, software, hardware and applications business, impacting a number of employees around the world.”

BlackBerry counted some 6,225 full-time staff scattered across the globe last February, which is way down on the 16,000 employees it had in 2012, when the seriousness of the company’s declining fortunes first became evident. In the company’s last full fiscal year, it reported a turnover of $3.34 billion, down 51 percent from the year before. Its total losses were reported to be $304 million, compared to a $5.9 billion loss in fiscal 2014.

In its statement, the company reiterated it remains laser-focused on the enterprise, with big plans for its burgeoning software businesses in enterprise security and the Internet of Things.

“One of our priorities is making our device business profitable,” BlackBerry said. “At the same time, we must grow software and licensing revenues. You will see in the coming months a significant ramping in our customers facing activities in sales and marketing.”

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Wikibon analyst says Hadoop pessimism is part of natural adoption cycle Mon, 25 May 2015 12:00:26 +0000 Gartner Inc. caused a bit of a ruckus last week when it poured cold water on our hopes for Hadoop with a somewhat pessimistic report highlighting the low rate of adoption among enterprise users.

Gartner found that only one-quarter of the 284 technology and business leaders it surveyed were actually using Hadoop, with an even smaller subset operating their analytic clusters on any meaningful scale. That might not have come as a surprise, as previous surveys have shown similar low rates of adoption, but what did raise eyebrows was Gartner’s assertion that a mere 18 percent of respondents said they plan to try out or adopt Hadoop in the next few years.

But Gartner’s rather sombre outlook doesn’t mean that Hadoop has failed to live up to the hype. On the contrary, the figures are simply a reflection of what it takes for technologies as complex as Hadoop to mature to a point where they can be easily accepted by mainstream users, argues Wikibon’s Big Data and Analytics analyst George Gilbert.

The Gartner findings are “not all that surprising, and we’ve seen this happen before around 1999-2000 when there were lots of new software categories emerging,” Gilbert said. “Things were emerging so fast that there was no way customers could absorb it and put all that new software to work.”

One of Hadoop’s biggest problems is its high level of complexity, Gilbert explained. Hadoop, with its ecosystem of products that can be mixed and matched, gives users unparalled flexibility when working with data, but there’s always a trade-off. In the case of Hadoop, “the flexibility comes from all these different components, and when you combine them all, your custom solution has a lot more operational complexity,” Gilbert said.

Another issue that needs to be overcome is that many users still don’t really know what they’re trying to do with Hadoop, Gilbert said. They’ve built up a lot of data over the years and jumped on the Hadoop bandwagon without a clear plan of action.

“If a customer says they want to use Hadoop to access a data lake, they’re almost implicitly acknowledging that they don’t have a specific usage scenario where it’s solving a pressing business problem,” Gilbert said. “The result is it looks more like a data swamp than a data lake. “

“Part of the original beauty of having a data lake is that you can put a lot of data in there that’s not refined or curated,” Gilbert added. “But your users must understand that they’re responsible for adding the structure and organization, and a lot of people don’t realize that.”

“So much will change in 18 months”


Hadoop evolutionThe Gartner report cited the “skills shortage” as one of the main factors preventing widespread Hadoop adoption. Gilbert acknowledged that Hadoop’s complexity limits the size of the talent pool, but said the problem can be overcome as the platform evolves and becomes easier to implement.

“It’ll probably be a whole lot easier to fix that complexity by running Hadoop in the cloud instead of running it on-premise,” Gilbert said.

A case in point – just three weeks ago, Microsoft announced the upcoming release of SQL Server 2016, the latest version of its flagship relational database management system (RDBMS). The new release incorporates a new version of PolyBase, which serves as a bridge between SQL Server and Hadoop. By making it easier to map data stored in the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) as external tables in SQL Server, Microsoft can open access by that huge ecosystem to Hadoop data using their existing skill sets.

But what about the lack of interest in even trying Hadoop that the Gartner research indicated? Gilbert said that interest will develop as people see the technology deliver on its promises.

“Mainstream customers in any new market are skeptical until they see others doing something useful,” Gilbert said. “In the absence of Hadoop’s widespread usage, they’re saying this is immature technology that isn’t ready yet.”

Gilbert also said adoption plans are nearly impossible to measure at the moment because Hadoop is still evolving. For example, cloud-based Hadoop services will address the skills shortage and lower that barrier to adoption. he predicted.

In the meantime, there’s likely to be a lull in adoption while the community works on simplification issues. “We might see a downturn in the growth rate for a while,” Gilbert admitted. “But we might also see increased usage among Hadoop’s most sophisticated users, the big Internet companies, big banks, telcos and retailers who have been getting good results with their experiments.”

Image credits: Coffy via; jaci XIII via Compfight cc
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Microsoft tried and failed to buy Salesforce Mon, 25 May 2015 11:36:44 +0000 It’s been ‘revealed’ that Microsoft was the mystery suitor interested in acquiring Inc., but the deal reportedly collapsed after the latter company’s CEO Marc Benioff rejected the offer.

Talks between the two companies reached a “serious level”, CNBC reported, citing anonymous sources.   Microsoft reportedly offered an eye-watering $55 billion to acquire the San Francisco-based cloud-computing firm. However, Benioff held out for a reported $70 billion, which Microsoft wasn’t prepared to offer, leading to a stalemate.

Salesforce is currently valued at some $49 billion, CNBC reports. Microsoft could theoretically afford to buy Salesforce because it’s said to have more than $95 billion in cash and cash-equivalents it could have used to fund the move. Nevertheless, it seems Microsoft wasn’t prepared to pay over the odds for what would have been one of the tech industry’s largest ever acquisitions.

Rumors of Salesforce being acquired first surfaced last month. Not surprisingly, neither it nor Microsoft was prepared to comment on the speculation.

Salesforce commands a high price tag because its one of the biggest cloud computing companies around. It’s a pioneer of customer relationship management, or CRM, which companies use to manage their sales efforts. Just last week, Salesforce reported $1.51 billion in revenues for the first quarter, and at the same time forecast sales for the entire year of $6.55 billion.

As for Microsoft, it’s still playing a cloud catch-up game, even as more and more of its business shifts to its Azure cloud-computing platform and its cloud-based Office 365 suite. The company, with its mobile-first, cloud-first strategy, is betting its future on services delivered over the Internet, as evidenced by its decision to give Windows away for free, on the assumption it can gain more from selling services related to its OS, rather than asking for money to use the software itself.

Had Microsoft successfully acquired Salesforce, the deal would have all but cemented its cloud business future.

Microsoft’s failed bid comes at a time when tech acquisitions are becoming ever-more expensive. For example, Facebook grabbed headlines with its acquisition of Instagram for a ‘mere’ $1 billion, and since then it’s gone on to acquire the virtual-reality startup Oculus VR, LLC for $2.5 billion, plus WhatsApp Inc. for $19 billion.

Had Microsoft’s bid been accepted, it would have been the company’s largest ever acquisition, dwarfing its $8.5 billion purchase of Skype in 2011. Back in 2008, the company also reportedly tried to acquire Yahoo! Inc., for $45 billion under old CEO Steve Ballmer, but that bid was also turned down.

The record sum spent on a tech acquisition still belongs to AOL-Time Warner merger way back in 2000. The original purchase price was reported to be $162 billion, but AOL’s declining share price saw the deal capped at $106 billion by the time it was completed in 2001.

Image credit: wjgomes via

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