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Microsoft acquires Greenfield Online for $486 million

Microsoft is buying Greenfield Online, an Internet surveying company, for $486 million.

The deal is expected to strenghten Microsoft’s presence in European search. It is also Microsoft’s largest acquisition since abandoning its bid for Yahoo.

“We are investing heavily in EMEA because we see this as an interesting market for us and an opportunity to provide better services to consumers,” John Mangelaars, Microsoft’s vice-president for consumer and online services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said.

StudioNow raises $2.38 million to accelerate growth

studionow logo StudioNow raises $2.38 million to accelerate growthStudioNow, the online source for creating professional-quality videos, today announced that it has secured $2.38 million in private equity funding from existing investors and Clayton Associates.

Clayton Associates’ additional capital infusion in StudioNow brings the total Series A investment in the company to $4.1 million. Clayton Associates has more than 13 years of private equity experience and more than $175 million in committed capital in four funds. Its investments are focused on early stage and expansion stage companies in media and communications, healthcare services and technology and diversified services, as well as selected real estate ventures.

“StudioNow is very pleased to welcome this investment from Clayton Associates, which will help carry the company to the next level in order to meet the increased demand for our online video services,” said David Mason, CEO, StudioNow.

Recent announcements from StudioNow have included agreements for providing StudioNow online video creation services to a variety of online advertising, software and music industry partners, including Clear Channel Radio, CBS Radio, CitySearch, Sony Creative Software and Athlon Sports, among others.

Burst Media launches wellness network

Burst Media has launched the Burst Wellness Network, targeting women 35 years and older who frequently look to the Internet for information related to health, beauty, natural living, and fitness.

The Burst Wellness Network is comprised of more than 120 web sites that target women 35 years and older – the decision-maker for many household purchases. The Network delivers 54 million ad impressions and allows health and beauty marketers to engage an active and growing consumer demographic to whom the Internet is an essential information resource.

Many of the websites in the Burst Wellness Network have been pre-qualified to run custom advertising creative and rich media ad units like expandables, in-banner video, as well as customer sponsorships and placements.

This move is obviously to hit the ever-growing market of women.

Steve Jobs obituary mistakenly sent out by Bloomberg

CNET is reporting that an electronic gaffe at news outlet Bloomberg mistakenly sent an incomplete obituary for Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

The wire also listed suggested contacts for extensive story on the Apple chief, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Guy Kawasaki, among others.

The obituary said that Jobs “helped make personal computers as easy to use as telephones, changed the way animated films are made, persuaded consumers to tune into digital music, and refashioned the mobile phone.”

New Friendfeed Widgets Available

Social activity aggregator FriendFeed has launched a new set of embeddable widgets, enabling blog owners to keep their readers informed of their every move.

Among the widgets: A FriendFeed Badge to show off the services you use and your recent FriendFeed activity; A FriendFeed Feed Widget that let’s you embed your feed or a room’s feed on your blog or Web site; And the FriendFeed Chicklet, the most compact way to link your site’s visitors to your FriendFeed.

Aside from getting your readers more involved with your activities, you can also share stores and conduct more customizations than ever before.

Access the new goodies here.

QuickBooks Online integrated with iPhone and Blackberry

Intuit announced the integration of iPhone and BlackBerry to QuickBooks Online, the web-based small business accounting software.

Now the more than 130,000 small businesses that subscribe to QuickBooks Online have even more freedom to manage their business anywhere, anytime– even without a computer. These early version web-based mobile applications are part of Intuit’s Connected Services strategy to help entrepreneurs connect to their data when and where they need it.
Available on IntuitLabs.com, these iPhone and BlackBerry applications help QuickBooks Online users get an up-to-date view of their finances by:

• Checking current bank and credit card balances.
• Tracking who owes them money and who they owe.
• Finding vendor and customer contact info with addresses via Google Maps.
• Running balance sheet and profit and loss reports.

comScore Ad Metrix releases top US online display advertisers

comScore has released its June ranking of the top online display ad publishers and advertisers, based on data from the comScore Ad Metrix service. Fox Interactive Media, which owns MySpace.com, ranked as the top display ad publisher with 15.9 percent of all display ads viewed, while Microsoft was the top display advertiser with 1.7 percent of total views.

Fox Interactive Media ranked as the top display ad publishing property in June, serving 52.3 billion ad views (15.9 percent market share), with MySpace.com accounting for 51 billion of these views. Yahoo! Sites, which ranked second in total ad views with 34.7 billion (10.5 percent share), reached 130 million unique individuals with its ads — reaching more people than any other publisher. AOL LLC ranked third with 19 billion display ads (5.8 percent share), followed by Microsoft Sites with 15.4 billion (4.7 percent share), and Google Sites with 5.1 billion (1.5 percent share).

Microsoft was the top display advertiser in June with 5.5 billion display ad views, due in large part to its promotional campaign for Windows Live Search, including ads for Windows Live Search Club games and the new Windows Live Search cashback program. The University of Phoenix, an online university, ranked second with 4.7 billion, followed by Experian (4 billion), which advertises for a variety of sites including LowerMyBills.com and FreeCreditReport.com, and United Online (3.9 billion), which owns the heavily advertised Classmates.com. Several communications providers ranked among the top ten, including Verizon with 3.8 billion, AT&T with 3.8 billion, Deutsche Telekom (which owns T-Mobile) with 3.6 billion and Vonage with 3.4 billion.

iRacing launches motorsport simulation and Internet racing service

iracing iRacing launches motorsport simulation and Internet racing serviceiRacing.com Motorsport Simulations announced the general launch of its much-anticipated subscription-based auto racing simulation and Internet racing service.

After four years of development and testing, virtually anyone anywhere in the world with a PC, high-speed internet access and a set of automotive-style wheel-and-pedal controls can develop his or her race-driving skills and also compete in the newest form of global motorsport– real-time, online competition, known as Internet racing.

The announcement was made by iRacing’s co-founders and owners, John Henry, who is also principal owner of the Boston Red Sox, and Dave Kaemmer, a pioneer of motorsport simulation technology with more than 20 years experience in the field.

iRacing has signed agreements with most of the major North American motorsport facilities, including all of the tracks owned by International Speedway Corp (ISC) and Speedway Motorsports (SMI), which between them represent almost all the venues for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series. Most of the major North American road-racing circuits, from Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park to Wisconsin’s Road America to California’s Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca are also represented in iRacing’s inventory of laser-scanned, extremely accurate digital versions of real-world raceways.

This is a much safer way to race. Anyone care for some competition?

Lifetime Networks acquires ParentsClick Network

parentsclick Lifetime Networks acquires ParentsClick NetworkLifetime Networks has acquired ParentsClick Network, a San Francisco-based company that offers tools for parents to create their own social networks and blogs.

ParentClick Network sites include MothersClick.com, FathersClick.com, and MomBlogNetwork.com.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed though reports were pointing at $10 million.

Sify, Google in partnership to grow Indian Internet users

Sify Technologies Limited has forged an agreement with Google Inc. to bring the Google Apps suite of communication and collaboration tools, including email, chat and online documents, to Indian Internet users. Google Apps will now power Sifymail and chat, as well as other applications using the Google Apps platform, which would be leveraged across Sify’s fast expanding Network Infrastructure, reaching out to over a million users across India and abroad.

Sify provides Internet access in India through the ePort cyber café chain and home broadband access, as well as interactive rich media content with sites such as Sify.com for news, sports, finance, games, shopping and video content, Sifymax.com for broadband entertainment content, Samachar.com for global Indians to stay in touch with everything Indian. The agreement with Google will complement Sify’s strengths in connectivity and content to catalyze the use of the Internet by Indians with world-class applications, tools and content tailored to Indian requirements.

Sify will start launching these services for users in the coming months.