The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' panel of judges has ruled that a civil suit's wiretap claims, alleging illicit transfer of personal information against Facebook and Zynga, weren't valid. The unanimous panel ruling said that information passed to advertisers by the social network and game maker didn't qualify as the "contents of a communication" under the US wiretap law.
Group working toward $10 million goal
Apple has joined a list of companies that have agreed to donate $500,000 apiece to a San Francisco anti-poverty charity, SF Gives, two sources tell Fortune. In all about 15 companies have signed up for the initiative so far, including Google, Zynga, and LinkedIn. SF Gives was started by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Tipping Point CEO Daneil Lurie; the goal is to have 20 business sign up by Wednesday, leading to a total contribution of $10 million. That money in turn will be donated to local charitable programs.
Embattled studio shift to mobile so far failing to gain traction
In conjunction with Zynga's quarterly results, new CEO Don Mattrick revealed that founder Mark Pincus is stepping down as chief product officer at the embattled game producer. Mattrick also announced that Alex Garden, ex-general manager of Xbox Live, has been hired as president of Zynga Studios.
Judge didn't see any compelling evidence supporting shareholders
US District Judge Jeffrey White in San Francisco has dismissed a shareholders' lawsuit against game developing house Zynga. The suit alleged that Zynga misled prospective purchasers of its stock, in both the leadup to the inital public offering and through a series of difficult quarters financially.
PopCap CEO, lead designer departing; remaining co-founder new GM
Game developer PopCap, known for titles such as Peggle and the Plants Versus Zombies series, is seeing two of its co-founders depart the company. CEO Dave Roberts and chief designer Jason Kapalka are leaving the studio they helped found, effective the week of January 6. PopCap's sole remaining co-founder, John Vechey, is slated to become the new general manager of the development house.
Move is new CEO Mattrick's first of likely multiple corporate shuffles
In a letter to staff, new Zynga CEO Don Mattrick explained some recent executive changes. Amidst an executive shuffle, Cadir Lee, Colleen McCreary, and David Ko will be departing the company. Lee was a technical lead, McCreary headed personnel acquisition, and Ko was recently promoted to chief operations officer, following the departure of John Schappert.
Microsoft, Zynga issue statements confirming shift
In an unexpected corporate move, Microsoft Xbox chief Don Mattrick is moving to embattled game producer Zynga, displacing CEO Mark Pincus in the role. Pincus is willingly vacating the position, but remaining on the board as chairman and the company's chief product officer. Mattrick assumes his new role next week, but will be participating in a discussion with the remaining company employees.
Move to save troubled developer up to $80 million annually
Game developer Zynga today announced that it has commenced laying off 520 employees, and closing offices in Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York, with an estimated completion date of the moves by the end of August. The moves are described as "substantial cost reductions" and "a hard day for Zynga" but "necessary to move forward" according to Zynga CEO Mark Pincus.
Zynga, Intuit, Rackspace, Redhat, Dell join in signing filing
In an amicus curae ("friend of the court") brief filed on Friday by Google, Facebook, and six other tech companies, the unlikely allies have asked the courts to reject all lawsuits based on patents with unclear concepts instead of specific information and applications. Cosigned by, Dell, Homeaway, Intuit, Rackspace, Redhat, and Zynga, the brief implies that there is a great risk to the technology industry if such lawsuits are allowed to continue.
Game developer free to sell games, refuse Facebook advertisements
Facebook and social game developer Zynga have revised terms of a partnership that gave Zynga preferential treatment on the social network. The modification of the deal was noted on regulatory filings from the two companies earlier today. Zynga has been given more flexibility to sell its own games by the agreement, but makes the game developer subject to the same rules as other game makers, if it wishes to publish on Facebook.
Latest move consolidates executive duties, saves payroll costs
Beleaguered social game developer Zynga announced a wide range of executive changes today. Headlining the shakeup, Chief Financial Officer David Wehner has departed, and has been replaced by the company's top accounting executive Mark Vranesh. Wehner will fill a role at Facebook following his departure. Other changes include David Ko as chief operations officer, vacant since John Schappert vacated the position in August. Barry Cottle has been named as chief revenue officer, and Steven Chiang was promoted and is now responsible for oversight of all game development. All executive changes were approved by the board of directors on November 7.
Hacktivists to remember fifth of November with Facebook attack
Hactivist group Anonymous is rumored to be planning an attack on social networking giant Facebook tomorrow, marking Guy Fawkes Day by taking down the site unless Zynga backpedals on what Anonymous contends is a plan to cut 1,000 jobs. Tomorrow's action would also include the release of Zynga's games for free download. Anonymous claims that Zynga's job-cutting maneuver is inexcusable in light of the company's significant financial reserves.
Words With Friends to join the platform in the future
Draw Something, the popular game created by OMGPOP and owned by Zynga, is now out for Windows Phones [Store]. Though it has only just been released on the Microsoft platform, long after appearing on iOS and Android, it will be exclusive to the Lumia range of Nokia handsets for a two month period.
Costcutting measures attempt to bring company back to the black
Zynga's senior vice president of games Todd Arnold arrived at the game manufacturer's Boston office, and closed it down today, leaving 50 people looking for work. Additionally, in parallel at the Zynga studio in Austin, TX approximately 50 more employees were asked to leave. The layoffs occurred during the Apple press event, with speculation that it was done to try and hide the news from the press. Austin-managed Zynga title "The Ville" is being handed off to maintenance employees in the India Zynga office. Titles under development at the Boston studio will not be worked on any further or see release.
Second 2012 reduction causes analysts to reduce price guidance
Brokerages and market analysts have dropped price targets on Zynga stock by up to 40 percent after the social game maker slashed its 2012 guidance further due to revenue damage from departing gamers. Zynga said on Thursday it was losing paid customers from Facebook games CityVille and FarmVille, and reduced its annual guidance for the second time this year. Since the IPO in December 2011, the company has lost three quarters of its market value.
New company backed, published by Zynga
Chief Creative Officer Mike Verdu is departing casual Facebook game manufacturer Zynga. Verdu's reports that he is "concerned about how this might be viewed with what else is going on, but itís not a function of anything else going on at the company," likely referring to the plummeting of the stock price and allegations of improper stock sale by company insiders.
Move aimed at preventing talent mass exodus?
Beleaguered Facebook game developer Zynga, facing lawsuits from bitter investors and Electronic Arts for different reasons, parceled out equity grants to every full-time employee of the company earlier this month. The move, which aims to compensate shareholder employees for recent losses, was made shortly after a dismal and widely-criticized earnings report published on July 25. While awards of options and cash bonuses are common at Zynga, this was the first time that equity grants were given to all full-time staff.
Resignation comes following removal of game development duties
Just weeks after being stripped of his responsibilities as chief of game development, John Schappert has resigned as chief operating officer of Zynga. As part of a July reorganization following poor quarterly financial results, Electronic Arts and Microsoft veteran Schappert's duties were divided amongst Chief Mobile Officer David Ko, and Executive Vice President Steve Chiang.
Zynga 'blatant mimic', make games 'nearly indistinguishable'
Electronic Arts (EA) has filed a lawsuit against Zynga, claiming the social games developer has violated copyright law. The complaint focuses on Facebook game The Ville, where Zynga is accused of infringing on The Sims Social, EAs own casual gaming endeavor. EA believes The Ville "blatantly mimic[s] the entire framework and style of gameplay," making the two games "nearly indistinguishable."
Investors claim FaceBook game maker lacked fiduciary transparency
Dismal revenues in the second quarter which drove stock prices down sharply have sparked an investigation and class-action lawsuits of casual game developer Zynga. Nearly-identical lawsuits are being filed by two California law firms seeking class-action status on behalf of stockholders who allege Zynga never warned them about financial problems. The company's shares dropped 42 percent last week on reports of poor player retention and unexpected competition.
$516 million in shares sold over the last quarter
Several Zynga senior executives reportedly sold stock in the company ahead of its unexpected $22.8 million net loss. Executives that sold stock include CEO Marc Pingus, CFO David Wehner, COO John Schappert, and general counsel Reginald Davis. In one quarter, Zynga stock fell from a high of $12 to a low of $2.97 per share.
Profits down as gamers go mobile
In its quarterly financial announcement today, online game company Zynga released results that disappointed analysts and sent shares in the company spiraling down. Zynga's continued troubles with transitioning to the mobile web took a toll last quarter, with the company reporting $332.5 million in sales. As Bloomberg details, that figure was far below analysts' expectations, and Wall Street subsequently voted no confidence in Zynga in after hours trading.
Zynga aims to solidify standing outside of Facebook
Social gaming company Zynga has announced a new offering aimed at connecting gamers regardless of their means of access. Dubbed "Zynga With Friends," the new service is aimed at demonstrating yet again Zynga's standing independent of Facebook. The Wall Street Journal, reporting from a Zynga event today, said Zynga views the new service as a way of building a social network with gaming at its core while surmounting the platform and device boundaries that keep many players from interacting with each other.
Monthly fees being tested by Zynga before July rollout
Facebook is giving up on its Credits system and moving to local currencies, the social network has announced. The change is an effort to make payments simpler for end users. The company is moreover adding the ability for Facebook apps to start charging for subscriptions, beginning later in the summer. The move is seen as a way for Facebook increase its revenues outside of ads.
Company's stocks plummet as Facebook games may have peaked
Social gaming company Zynga has hit a rough patch of late, encountering a steady drop in share prices amid concerns that Facebook may have passed its prime as a gaming platform. Reuters reports that Zynga's shares declined by more than 10 percent on Tuesday, triggering a "circuit breaker" that automatically halted further trades. The company's troubles are said to stem from a decline in social gaming as the novelty of the sector begins to wear off.
Wild Needle team joins Zynga following talent-sized purchase
Social gaming giant Zynga has bought casual games company Wild Needle. The female-oriented startup was bought for an undisclosed amount following the release of its first title Shoptown Hero in March, which was pulled from the App Store two weeks ago.
Will pay $210 million for creator of "Draw It"
Zynga has confirmed that it's buying online gaming creator
OMGPOP. The deal will give it access to Draw Something just weeks after the game became popular. Official terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
Zynga details own beta platform due this month
Zynga, the social gaming service provider, announced on Thursday it will launch its own Zynga Platform, moving away from its dependence on Facebook and mobile apps. A beta version of Zynga.com will launch first, allowing players to initiate in Zynga social games as well as those from third-party developers. Zynga.com will remain tied into Facebook, as many of the games require assistance from other gamers to complete tasks or obtain virtual objects.
Would share fees from games & music
Facebook may be willing to share some of its revenues with mobile carriers. Bret Taylor, the company's CTO, said in commentary on Monday that the social networking giant might be interested in giving a portion of the payments it received from selling games and music to the mobile service providers over whose network the purchase was made. Taylor made the revelation to an audience at Mobile World Congress.
Best Buy kicks off tech-driven Super Bowl ads
Best Buy as part of a promo has started the run of tech-focused Super Bowl ads with a segment pitching its mobile stores. The ad unites both the inventors of phone technology, such as Philippe Kahn (the camera phone) and Ray Kurzweil (text to voice synthesis) with those making newer hardware and software. Key inventors behind Instagram, Shazam, Square, Words With Friends, and others find their way into the 30-second clip.
Facebook shows Apple influence in IPO filing
The SEC filing behind Facebook's long-expected IPO has seen company founder Mark Zuckerberg take an Apple cue in his pay. The CEO earlier this month requested that, as of the start of 2013, his base pay be cut from as much as $500,000 in 2011 to just $1, much like Apple co-creator Steve Jobs. Zuckerberg is known to have taken advice from Jobs and considered his success an aspirational goal.
Kindle Fire will get access to thousands of apps
Amazon on Wednesday confirmed that it will bring a plethora of existing Android apps to the Kindle Fire when it begins shipping next week. They will number in the thousands and include such popular ones like Netflix, Facebook, Pandora, Twitter and more. Games from Rovio, Electronics Arts, Zynga and other established developers will also be instantly available.
Facebook hire may point to Project Spartan
Facebook's plan to make an iOS-oriented platform for HTML5 web apps, Project Spartan, may have been given a lift after new word that it has hired to boost its efforts. Teck Chia, the founder of HTML5 mobile app store OpenAppMkt, has reportedly been hired. Purposes of the hire were unknown, although TechCrunch noted that Chia had previously worked on Facebook apps and would be an ideal fit to help manage Facebook apps converted to HTML5.
Google Plus makes game support official
Google ended a string of leaks Thursday afternoon with official game support on Google+. The primarily Flash-based games come from majors in web games and some from Facebook, including Zynga titles like Zynga Poker as well as Rovio's Angry Birds and PopCap's Bejeweled Blitz. In a direct jab at Facebook's tendency to put all updates on the main news feed, Google added that games, their status updates, and their achievements would only show in a Games tab.
Facebook says awesome new launch next week
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg dropped clues to the company's imminent native iPad app or possibly Project Spartan. The social network is due to "launch something awesome" next week developed entirely by its newer Seattle office. He wouldn't mention the iPad app by name but hinted it was for mobile and tablet plans.
Zynga gets first wireless partner with AT&T
Wireless provider AT&T and social games developer Zynga on Wednesday announced a partnership that will see the latter's latest games available to the former's subscribers. AT&T's shelf in the Android Market will get popular titles such as FarmVille, Words with Friends, and Zynga Poker, among others, as part of the deal. Users will also find customized content and free credits in some games.
Project Spartan ports Facebook apps to iOS
Facebook is hoping to bring its app platform to mobile through a massive effort targeting iOS users, details of which escaped Wednesday night. Project Spartan would bring the social network's apps to mobile Safari through an HTML5 wrapper that would replicate some of Facebook itself, such as Credits. About 80 developers were said by TechCrunch to be involved, including FarmVille's Zynga and the Huffington Post.
Facebook and Warner test credit-based movie rental
Facebook tested a direct media service of its own today through a team-up with Warner. US visitors to the fan page for The Dark Knight can rent the movie using 30 Facebook Credits, or about $3, to watch it directly from the social network. Viewers have the same rights as they do through iTunes or other rentals, including unlimited views for the 48 hours afterwards, full-screen playback and the option of resuming from where they left off.
Startup known for Games With Friends series
Zynga has announced that it has acquired Newtoy, a Texas-based developer best known for the Games With Friends series of mobile apps. The Newtoy headquarters in McKinney, Texas will now become The Zynga With Friends Studio. The startup's multiplayer platform is said to have attracted a community of over 500,000 players.
Free, available now, highly addictive
Zynga, the game powerhouse behind many successful Facebook and now iOS games, has launched its mega-popular Farmville strategy game as its first app for the iPad. The company has updated its existing free Farmville iPhone/iPod Touch app to be truly universal, creating new layouts, custom graphics and new gesture controls for the iPad "HD" edition. Users can tend to farms on any of Apple's mobile iOS devices, as well as through the web.
Google now dipping into web game efforts
Multiple sources late Saturday slipped word that Google has been investing in Zynga to create its own web game platform. Google is believed to have invested at least $100 million and as much as $200 million into the FarmVille creator in June and is now developing a "larger strategic partnership," according to TechCrunch. The move would create Google Games, a hub for web gaming where Zynga would be the cornerstone of a larger network.
Editorial tackles web gaming
With E3 just finished, it's time for the market to start evaluating game companies. But as EA, Ubisoft, Activision, and others continue to get all the headlines, social-gaming companies don't get the kind of respect their bigger competitors do. This may have to change with larger platform supporters, including non-traditional Apple, as they may be ignoring an untapped market.
DST buys ICQ from AOL for $187.5 million
The largest Internet company in the Eastern European markets, Digital Sky Technologies has purchased instant messaging program ICQ from AOL, the two companies announced on Wednesday. ICQ is the leading IM service in Russia and other international markets, and Digital Sky purchased it for $187.5 million.