News Update :: Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Contracts, Deals, Awards

Facebook is on the Block

Facebook is a Web site where students around the world socialize and swap information. The owners of this privately held social networking site have put the company on the block and are hoping to fetch as much as $2 billion. They turned down a $750 million offer and hope for a better deal, senior industry executives say.

The company was launched just two years ago by a group of sophomores at Harvard University. It has already become the seventh-most heavily visited site on the Internet. Still, it’s not clear who would be willing or able to pay so much.

Some industry analysts believe that Facebook would be a good fit for Viacom, which owns MTV, VH1, and Comedy Central. It would be a strong foray into the online world for them and help to keep them competitive with News Corp., Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate that has acquired social-networking site MySpace.com in the last year. While Facebook may not match MySpace, it is still seen as an excellent opportunity for marketers and is popular among college students. For more information, click here.

Pen-Centric Computing Alliance

Brown University and Microsoft Research have announced an alliance aimed at revolutionizing pen-centric computing for the academic environment. The Microsoft Center for Pen-Centric Computing at Brown will research new ways instructors and students can interact through pen-centric computing.

The research spans the pen-based operation of Tablet PCs, PDAs, electronic whiteboards, and conventional desktop computers. Microsoft will fund $1.2 million over three years. Over that period of time, Microsoft Research and Brown will develop new ways to use pen-like styluses to operate computing devices.

Researchers, faculty, and students at Brown will also create and test new software to recognize, interpret, and process handwritten input. For more than a decade, researchers at Brown have been involved in similar research, and the university is a recognized pioneer in pen-based computing. The new center will help to extend the record of innovation at Brown. For more information, click here.
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