Digital Mapping Firm Here Wants New Investor by Year-End

Digital maps company Here, controlled by German carmakers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen, aims to find a new investor by the end of the year, Here chief Edzard Overbeek told a German newspaper.

“The carmakers want to open the circle of shareholders. We are talking to dozens of parties interested in taking a stake,” daily Handelsblatt quoted Overbeek as saying in an interview published on Tuesday.

Digital Mapping Firm Here Wants New Investor by Year-End: Report

Germany’s luxury automotive groups including Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen’s Audi division and BMW bought Here for 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion or roughly Rs. 18,795 crores) from Nokia last year to create an alternative digital mapping business to Google.

Daimler confirmed in April it was in talks with and Microsoft about taking a minority stake in Here. Auto supplier Bosch has also said it was in talks with Here.

“It is important to find the right mixture of owners… Partners from the IT sector, from logistics or retail are possible,” Overbeek said, according to the newspaper, without naming any possible investors.

Intelligent mapping systems supply information to control self-driving cars, which are equipped with street-scanning sensors to measure traffic and road conditions. This location data can in turn be shared with other map users.

Microsoft Makes It Easier for Mac Users to Switch From Evernote to OneNote

After unveiling the OneNote Importer tool for Windows in March, Microsoft has now announced that it is also releasing the same tool for OS X users in an attempt to make the transition smooth and hassle-free.

Microsoft announced its battle with Evernote, perhaps the biggest name in the note-taking services market, by launching the OneNote Importer Tool five months ago. Back then, it was announced just for Windows users, but Microsoft had promised a release for Mac in a few months.

Microsoft Makes It Easier for Mac Users to Switch From Evernote to OneNote

Now that Evernote increased the price of its Premium service to $69.99 per year, similar to Office 365 Personal’s yearly plan, Microsoft likely thinks this is the best time to give more users the option to shift if they so preferred. Microsoft notes that Office 365 subscription offers OneNote, Word, Excel, and all the other Office apps, with an additional 1TB of cloud storage.

The OneNote app offers most of the services of Evernote, including the famous Web clipper for all major browsers. The company is also trying to attract Evernote users with a range of premium note-taking features. OneNote, for instance, offers unlimited monthly uploads. In comparison, Evernote only offers 60MB per month to free users. OneNote users can also save emails in their notes and digitise business cards without spending a dime.

Microsoft reveals that about 71 million Evernote pages have been moved to OneNote since the launch of the OneNote Importer Tool in March. Prior to this importing tool, if you wanted to move from Evernote to OneNote, there weren’t many ways to move your content seamlessly. The OneNote Importer tool also takes care of preserving the tags and right format when moving your notes from Evernote.

Microsoft notes that the tool is supported on Mac computers running on OS X 10.11 and above only. The imported files will sync across devices, software platforms (PC, iOS, and Android), and Web browsers for free. Microsoft warns that before importing, users should ensure that the Evernote app is installed on the Mac and all the files are synced for smooth transition. Users can download the OneNote Importer tool from the company site, and follow the step-by-step instructions listed there for the transition.

NOW Music+ Streaming Service Launched by Sony, Universal

NOW Music+ Streaming Service Launched by Sony, Universal

Two major record labels are rolling out a low-priced music streaming service in the United Kingdom, a rare foray by record companies directly into the field and another sign the industry is finally moving towards more flexible pricing.

Now That’s What I Call Music, a joint venture between Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment that releases a popular series of compilation albums, is finalising a streaming app called NOW Music+ that will offer playlists of hit songs for 4.99 pounds ($6.62 or roughly Rs. 440) a month, or 5.99 pounds if purchased in Apple’s App Store, people familiar with the matter said.

“NOW Music+” was quietly activated this summer amid preparations for a broader rollout, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Although the app is limited to the UK for now, “this may change in the near future,” the company writes on its website.

The move comes at a pivotal moment for the music industry: streaming is rapidly emerging as the labels’ leading source of revenue, but they continue to engage in tough negotiations with tech companies over licensing terms, which heavily influence final pricing for consumers.

With streaming companies struggling to turn a profit and overall music revenues remaining well below the CD era, labels are under pressure to bridge the divide between the free, ad-sponsored tiers popularized by Spotify and YouTube and $9.99 all-you-can-listen-to subscriptions without ads.

Amazon is working on a service that will let users stream music on their voice-powered Echo speakers for less than a normal subscription, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Meanwhile Pandora is putting the finishing touches on a premium radio tier that will cost users about $5 a month, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

“We are moving away from one-size-fits-all subscriptions,” said Ted Cohen, Managing Partner of TAG Strategic, a digital entertainment consultancy. “There is a certain spoken and unspoken imperative by all the rights holders to make the pie a little bit bigger.”

Sony and Universal declined to comment. Amazon, Spotify and Pandora also declined to comment.

Although the NOW app features a limited catalogue and does not allow users to listen to songs on demand, it will put the labels in a somewhat competitive position with the streaming companies, which are increasingly important partners, said analyst Mark Mulligan of MIDiA Research.

As they launch the NOW app, the labels must “tread carefully because you can only go so far competing with your retail partners,” Mulligan said.

Still, Mulligan said, the industry is taking an overdue step in creating more options than a $9.99 monthly subscription or a free, ad-supported stream.

“They’re making people choose between a Lexus and getting the bus with nothing in between,” Mulligan said. “There’s no other market that behaves like that.”

Introductory discounts and special plans for families and students have already begun to lower the price that many consumers pay.

“The services are exhausting the number of people who will pay $10 a month, and the way to continue to grow the industry is to offer discounts in some way,” said David Pakman, a partner at Venrock who headed early Apple Music efforts.

Nevertheless, it can be challenging to persuade consumers to pay for a limited subscription service with so much free content at their fingertips.

Rdio, the streaming service whose assets were acquired by Pandora last year, rolled out a plan that let consumers download 25 songs per day for $3.99 per month, but the company had to accept worse financial terms to get the labels on board, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Cur Media, a high-profile music startup touting budget subscriptions, disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission last month that it had laid off all its employees.

Still, many in the tech camp say they are eager to experiment with price.

“I happen to believe in my heart of hearts that there is an entire host of transactions between $0 and $10,” said Ethan Rudin, chief financial officer of online music store Napster.

Intel to Spin Out McAfee Unit, Sell Stake in Business to TPG

Intel Corp said it would spin out its cyber security division, formerly known as McAfee, and sell a majority stake in it to investment firm TPG for $3.1 billion in cash.

TPG will own 51 percent of the new entity, valuing the entire company at $4.2 billion including debt.

Intel, which bought McAfee for $7.7 billion in 2011, will retain a 49 percent stake in the business.

The deal ends a failed effort by Intel to stake out a major position in the computer security business. At the time of the acquisition, Intel spoke of integrating McAfee security technology into its chips, but little came of those plans.

Intel to Spin Out McAfee Unit, Sell Stake in Business to TPG

Intel executives at the time also said they hoped the acquisition would give it a piece of the emerging business of protecting corporations from sophisticated espionage, but newer players such as Mandiant, now a unit of FireEye, came to dominate that business.

At the same time, PC growth slowed, eroding the traditional McAfee customer base’s potential.

The unit, rebranded as Intel Security Group in 2014, will revert to the McAfee brand name following the closing of the deal, expected in the second quarter of 2017.

McAfee’s founder, John McAfee, was for a time on the run from a murder investigation in Belize and is a pariah in the industry. He recently sued Intel to get back the right to use his name.

Chris Young, Intel Security’s general manager, will be named chief executive of the new company.

Intel Security’s revenue rose 11 percent to $1.1 billion through the first half of this year, the company said in a statement.

TPG, which is making a $1.1 billion equity investment in the company, first approached Intel’s board about a potential transaction for McAfee around a year ago, sources familiar with the matter said.

TPG also led a $120 million investment round for security startup Tanium last year and was the lead investor in a $100 million funding round in internet security firm Zscaler.