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FOURSQUARE CHECKS BACK IN: Foursquare's new approach is working. In 2013, revenues soared 600% for the year to $14 million, CEO Dennis Crowley said when speaking on CNBC. Crowley also says the company's revenue for 2014's first quarter is on pace to hit 500% growth compared to the same quarter last year. Foursquare made a strategic move this past Fall when it added targeted geofencing, moving it beyond just a check in app to becoming a broader location-aware marketing tool. This revenue growth also comes before Foursquare has received any return on the licensing deal it struck with Microsoft a few months ago, in which Foursquare will power Microsoft's location-based services across desktop and mobile.
Ben Horowitz, a Foursquare investor, rebuffed rumors that the company was looking to be acquired. "There are exits involved but it starts with, what is the size of the market and are you going to win? From an economics standpoint it doesn’t make sense to sell," said Horowitz.
But Foursquare's potential long-term disadvantage is that its user base is still much smaller than many other top tech companies. Right now, Foursquare has just over 45 million registered users and has not disclosed how many of those are active.
For now, more licensing deals and a proper monetization strategy of its location-based API may be what Crowley leans on for Foursquare's future growth. (TechCrunch)
HUGO BARRA INTERVIEW: Mobile World Live TV sat down with Hugo Barra, former VP of Android at Google who is now the VP of product at upstart Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi. Barra discussed the current state of Xiaomi and its future expansion plans, which include the whole of Southeast Asia and eventually India. (Mobile World Live)
iBEACON'S RETAIL FUTURE: At the Dx3 digital business conference happening this week in Toronto, Montreal-based mobile retail company Thirdshelf is stealing the show with its full-blown, fully-interactive, iBeacon-powered retail store demonstration. TechCrunch has a flurry of photos that showcase Thirdself's mobile retail app, the Estimote beacons hardware being used, and the retail store's set up. (TechCrunch)
BYE, BYE BLACKBERRY: T-Mobile's BlackBerry trade-in program was a success. An amazing 94% of the carrier's remaining BlackBerry users traded in their phones for a device that runs on a different platform, according to a an internal field sales update memo received by TmoNews. A source close to the BlackBerry situation confirmed the memo's accuracy to Business Insider. (TmoNews, Business Insider)
GIVE ME A BREAK, ANDROID: Four months after its mass market debut, Android's most up-to-date software version, Kit Kat, has only mustered a paltry 2.5% share of all active Android devices that have access to the Google Play app market. Gingerbread, the three-year-old Android software, is still running on 19% of devices. Comparatively, an overwhelming 82% of Apple iPads and iPhones are running iOS 7, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system. One silver lining — Jelly Bean, released in mid-2012, saw its majority share of Android distribution continue to grow. It is now at 62%. Meaning Android's fragmentation problem is improving. Still, Jelly Bean is one iteration behind Kit Kat in the Android software chain, so Android's new problem may be slow adoption. (Android Developers Blog)
CHINA MOBILE MALWARE: The BBC has a feature on the growing network of cyber criminals in China, and how a significant portion of them are targeting mobile devices. Mobile malware kits are being sold throughout the country for just 100 Yuan, or about $16 U.S. dollars. App stores are also being targeted, with developers buying app-ranking booster kits to gain more visibility. For third-party Android app markets (which are most prominent in China), developers can pay as little as 40 Yuan, or about $7 USD, for 10,000 downloads. (BBC)
APPLE TO SELL FULL-SCREEN MOBILE VIDEO ADS: Apple would like to boost its overlooked iAds exchange by opening up inventory for full-screen mobile video ads. Prices for this new mobile video ad format on the exchange have not been released. Apple once asked publishers to pay about $1 million for rich media ads, but that price has dropped to about $100,000. (AdAge)
AN APP LOVE AFFAIR: A new study from comScore compiled by Marketing Charts shows that in January, the amount of time the average U.S. consumer spends within apps on their smartphone exceeded the amount of time one spends browsing the Internet on a desktop computer. comScore's data corroborates a previous study from Nielsen showing the same pattern. We covered Nielsen's new data in February. (Marketing Charts)
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