Metacert’ Cryptonite can catch phishing links in your email

Metacert, founded by Paul Walsh, originally began as a way to watch chat rooms for fake Ethereum scams. Walsh, who was an early experimenter in cryptocurrencies, grew frustrated when he saw hackers dumping fake links into chat rooms, resulting in users regularly losing cash to scammers.

Now Walsh has expanded his software to email. A new product built for email will show little green or red shields next to links, confirming that a link is what it appears to be. A fake link would appear red while a real PayPal link, say, would appear green. The plugin works with Apple’s Mail app on the iPhone and is called Cryptonite.

“The system utilizes the MetaCert Protocol infrastructure/registry,” said Walsh. “It contains 10 billion classified URLs. This is at the core of all of MetaCert’s products and services. It’s a single API that’s used to protect over 1 million crypto people on Telegram via a security bot and it’s the same API that powers the integration that turned off phishing for the crypto world in 2017. Even when links are shortened? MetaCert unfurls them until it finds the real destination site, and then checks the Protocol to see if it’s verified, unknown or classified as phishing. It does all this in less that 300ms.”

Walsh is also working on a system to scan for Fake News in the wild using a similar technology to his anti-phishing solution. The company is raising currently and is working on a utility token.

Walsh sees his first customers as enterprise and expects IT shops to implement the software to show employees which links are allowed, i.e. company or partner links, and which ones are bad.

“It’s likely we will approach this top down and bottom up, which is unusual for enterprise security solutions. But ours is an enterprise service that anyone can install on their phone in less than a minute,” he said. “SMEs isn’t typically a target market for email security companies but we believe we can address this massive market with a solution that’s not scary to setup and expensive to support. More research is required though, to see if our hypothesis is right.”

“With MetaCert’s security, training is reduced to a single sentence ‘if it doesn’t have a green shield, assume it’s not safe,” said Walsh.

Source: Tech Crunch

Senators urge FTC to look into shady ad practices in apps for kids

For us jaded adults, the long-running trend towards making apps and games free to download but stuffing them with paid options is just an annoyance or perhaps a logical progression of the business model. But kids haven’t developed our cynicism and wariness of manipulation — and they’re getting targeted nevertheless. Several Senators have asked the FTC to look into the ugly practice of monetizing kids’ apps.

“We write regarding the manipulative marketing practices by apps designed for children,” write Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in their letter (PDF). “Children should be able to entertain themselves and play without being bombarded by promotional messages, which young people may not be able to accurately assess and identify as marketing.”

The letter comes in the wake of a study released last month that found that some 9 out of 10 apps and games aimed at kids contained advertising. Educational, free, paid, didn’t matter — ads in some form or another were everywhere.

This should surprise exactly no one; It isn’t exactly a new problem. For one thing, we’ve been hearing about kids buying in-game currencies like crystals and Smurfberries for years — so often that app store providers have had to take serious action against it.

For another, kids today (like kids of yesterday) are already swimming in advertising and to some it may seem strange to single out a smartphone game when YouTube, traditional TV, and other forms of media are rife with marketing laser-focused on the valuable minor market.

But of course just because we’ve encountered it before doesn’t mean we’ve solved it. And what the Senators are saying is that especially in the case of kids’ apps, these practices we have in many ways gotten used to may qualify as “unfair and deceptive” under the FTC’s definitions, and as such warrant investigation:

The report includes evidence of children’s games disguising advertisements and making advertisements integral to games themselves; games using characters to coerce children into making in-app purchases; children’s apps being marketed as ‘free,’ when those apps actually require additional spending in order to play; and children’s apps marketing themselves as educational, when they are in fact saturated with advertising.

Any action by the FTC, should it opt to look into this, would take quite a while to come to fruition. However, a public letter such as this is no doubt intended as a warning in itself to those employing shady tactics. Perhaps they’ll heed it before the FTC forces them to.

Source: Tech Crunch

Lime is debuting its line of shareable vehicles in Seattle this week

Lime, the well-funded startup known for its fleet of brightly colored dockless bicycles and electric scooters, has a new way for its customers to get around: cars.

Beginning this week, Lime users in Seattle will be able to reserve a “LimePod,” a Lime-branded 2018 Fiat 500, within the Lime mobile app. There will be 50 cars available to start as part of the company’s initial rollout. Lime plans to increase that number at the end of the month.

“LimePods, Lime’s car-sharing product line, a convenient, affordable, weather-resistant mobility solution for communities,” a spokesperson for Lime said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “The ease of use of finding, unlocking, and paying for cars will be consistent with how riders use Lime scooters and e-bikes today.”

Lime will roll out 50 “LimePods” in Seattle this week.

Rides in the LimePod will cost $1 to unlock the car and 40 cents per minute of use. The company plans to unleash additional shareable cars in California early next year. Its scooters and e-bikes, for reference, are $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute and regular pedal bikes are $1 to unlock and 5 cents per minute.

Founded in 2017 by Berkeley graduates Toby Sun and Brad Bao, the startup has raised a total of $467 million to date from GV, Andreessen Horowitz, IVP, Section 32, GGV Capital and more. Reports indicate that Lime is on the fundraising circuit now, targeting a $3 billion valuation, or nearly 3x its latest valuation.

LimePods will be available to order in the Lime mobile app.

The company is expanding rapidly, most recently releasing a fleet of e-scooters and bikes in Australia, as well as making notable hires on what seems like a weekly basis. In the last month, Lime has tapped Joe Kraus, a general partner at Alphabet’s venture arm GV and an existing member of the startup’s board of directors, as its first chief operating officer. Before that, it brought on Uber’s former chief business officer David Richter as its first-ever chief business officer and interim chief financial officer.

In July, the company hired Peter Dempster from ReachNow to lead the LimePod initiative out of Seattle.

Source: Tech Crunch

Juul Labs reveals its plan to combat underage vape use

Juul will be removing non-tobacco flavored pods from all stores, including convenience stores and vape shops, according to a new plan the company released today.

This comes exactly 60 days after the FDA demanded a more comprehensive plan from big e-cig makers to deal with the growing problem of underage use of these products.

Juul’s plan is slightly more aggressive than the plan reportedly outlined by the FDA, which demands that all non-tobacco flavored products be removed from convenience stores but allows them to remain on sale at specialty stores like vape shops.

Juul currently sells eight different flavors of pods. Pods that don’t come in existing tobacco flavors — Virginia Tobacco, Classic Tobacco, Mint and Menthol — will be removed from all stores effective immediately. In other words, the only place to buy Creme, Fruit, Cucumber and Mango (Juul’s most popular flavor) is on the Juul website.

There, the company verifies that customers are 21+ by either cross-referencing information, such as DOB and the last four digits of a Social Security number, with publicly available data, or asking users to upload a scan of their driver’s license.

Once the FDA has evaluated the situation, Juul will reconsider putting flavors on sale at shops under the condition that those shops follow Juul’s new 21+ restricted distribution policy. That policy includes investing in technology that designates flavored Juul pods as restricted within their inventory system. Once restricted, clerks must scan IDs to both ensure the purchaser is over 21 and log that purchase into the system to track bulk purchases.

For now, however, non-tobacco flavored Juul pods will only be available on the Juul website.

The more than 90,000 retail stores carrying tobacco-flavored Juul pods and devices will soon be subject to heightened scrutiny, according to Juul’s plan. The company is increasing its secret shopper program from 500 visits/month to roughly 2,000/month, as well as imposing financial consequences on those retailers that are caught by the FDA selling to minors or allowing bulk sales.

But offline purchases are just one part of the underage use problem. Minors have also had the ability to purchase Juul devices and pods on third-party e-commerce sites like eBay, Alibaba and Amazon, with more than 23,000 listings of Juul products or counterfeits already taken down by Juul and regulators. Juul will continue to work with these retailers to take down the listings.

Finally, Juul Labs is rethinking its social media policy. The company plans to take down its Instagram and Facebook channels entirely, and limit its Twitter channel to non-promotional information like news and customer service updates. Juul’s YouTube channel will also remain up, but will only feature testimonial videos from real-life former smokers. Both YouTube and Twitter will require users to be 21+ before engaging with the channel.

Critics have pointed to a 2015 campaign from Juul that featured models between the ages of 24 and 37 as one of the contributing factors for the rise in underage use of Juul products. This criticism has caused Juul to rethink the way it handles social media in general.

Last year, the company switched its policy to only use models over the age of 35 on social media, and in June, Juul went a step further, allowing only former smokers over the age of 28 to be featured on its social media channels.

One of the most interesting pieces of this ongoing debate is the FDA’s moratorium on new products. Essentially, any device that wasn’t already on the market as of August 2016 must go through the entire regulatory process for FDA approval. But because Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems are a new product category, the fine print of the regulatory process for these devices is still being ironed out.

Despite the moratorium, Juul Labs has still continued working on a next-generation Juul that would include Bluetooth connectivity. The company has plans to release the new product in markets outside of the U.S., but also plans to work alongside the FDA to find a regulatory pathway to selling the device within the States.

Why does this matter? For one, a Bluetooth-enabled Juul could become a strong technical barrier to underage use of the product. Once the Juul is paired with a smartphone, it could geofence schools and other areas where kids congregate to be a no-vape zone. It could even force age verification through the phone so that the Juul only works when the right TouchID profile has activated the device via iPhone. Provided, of course, that Juul finds a way to make that connection and the protections tamper-proof.

Juul’s co-founder and chief product officer spoke a little bit about the next-gen device at Disrupt SF this year, outlining the ways it could help users ween themselves off nicotine. But clearly there is the potential for technology to also solve the problem of underage use. Unfortunately, it’s a problem that needs an immediate resolution, and regulatory approval of a new device is anything but immediate.

Source: Tech Crunch

DeepMind hands off role as health app provider to parent Google

DeepMind’s recent foray into providing software as a service to U.K. hospitals has reached the end of its run.

The Google -owned AI division has just announced it will be stepping back from providing a clinical alerts and task management healthcare app to focus on research — handing off the team doing the day to day delivery of the Streams to its parent, Google. 

Announcing the move in a blog post entitled “Scaling Streams with Google,” DeepMind’s co-founders write: “Our vision is for Streams to now become an AI-powered assistant for nurses and doctors everywhere — combining the best algorithms with intuitive design, all backed up by rigorous evidence. The team working within Google, alongside brilliant colleagues from across the organisation, will help make this vision a reality.”

DeepMind’s 2015 plunge into the health apps space always looked like a curious departure for an AI specialist because — despite the above quote — the Streams app does not use any AI.

Rather, it uses a National Health Service algorithm. The design of the app was also outsourced to a U.K.-based app studio.

Yet DeepMind began its foray into health with grand ambitions about applying AI to patient data, quietly inking an expansive data-sharing arrangement plus memorandum of understanding with an NHS Trust to get access to millions of patients’ full (and fully identifiable) medical records, as we reported at the time.

It also made a 2015 ethics application with the NHS’ Health Research Authority to apply AI to the patient data. Though it later said it quickly realized that clinicians’ “most urgent problems” were rather more fundamental than a pressing need to rush into experiments with AI. (And DeepMind has always maintained that the patient data it obtained under its arrangement with the Royal Free NHS Trust, with whom the Streams app was co-developed, was never used for AI.)

The Streams project ran into major controversy in May 2016 when fuller details emerged about the scope and terms of the data-sharing underpinning the app — and questions started being asked about data governance due process, legal bases for data-sharing and Google’s role and potential interest in people’s medical records.

After a year, the initial data-sharing arrangement between DeepMind and the Royal Free was scraped and replaced with a tighter contract.

Then last year the U.K.’s data protection watchdog ruled the first arrangement had breached U.K. law — with the information commissioner saying patients “would not have reasonably expected” their sensitive medical records to be used for developing an app.

Although by then the Streams app had already been deployed into Royal Free hospitals. And DeepMind had inked a few more deals with NHS Trusts to use the app.

It also emerged that DeepMind was providing Streams to Trusts essentially free of charge for the first five years. And a panel of external reviewers engaged by DeepMind with the aim of boosting trust warned in their annual review earlier this year of the risk of it “exert[ing] excessive monopoly power” as a result of a data access and streaming infrastructure that it bundles with the Streams app.

The whole episode opened a Pandora’s box of data governance, privacy and trust issues — which DeepMind now appears to be dumping directly onto Google, which will now be fully in the frame as the health app provider (and patient data handler) behind Streams.

“The Streams team will remain in London, under the leadership of former NHS surgeon and researcher Dr Dominic King,” write the DeepMind co-founders now. “We’re fully committed to all our NHS partners, and to delivering on our current projects and more. We’ll be working closely with them as we plan for the team’s transition, and information governance and safety remain our top priorities. Patient data remains under our partners’ strict control, and all decisions about its use will continue to lie with them.”

They add that DeepMind’s role from here on in will be focused on research, rather than software as a service, saying: “As a research organisation, DeepMind will continue to work on fundamental health research with partners in academia, the NHS and beyond. When we have promising results that could have impact at scale, we’ll work closely with the Streams and translational research teams at Google on how to implement research ideas into clinical settings.”

So provision of any health AIs that DeepMind develops in the future will be left to Google to deploy and scale. (And on the scale front Google might be feeling buoyed by the U.K.’s new minister for health being very pro-app.)

As will the task of winning patient trust — which may well prove the biggest challenge here.

The trust issue was also flagged by DeepMind’s independent reviewers last year, when they wrote in their annual report: “As far as we can ascertain, DMH [DeepMind Health] does not share its data with Google, yet the public perception that this might be the case, now or in the future, will be difficult to overcome and has the potential to delay or undermine work that could be of great potential benefit to patients.”

It’s not clear whether Google will engage a panel of independent reviewers to oversee its provision of Streams going forward, as DeepMind had. We’ve asked the company to confirm its intention vis-à-vis oversight.

Source: Tech Crunch

Twitter, those ‘verified’ bitcoin-pushing pillocks are pissing everyone off

Elon Musk’s tweets piss me off for two reasons.

When he’s not accusing actual heroes of sex crimes or trolling the federal government, it’s what comes after that drives me batshit. The top reply to most of his tweets is some asshat impersonating him to try to trick his followers into falling for a bitcoin scam.

These “get rich quick” scams are fairly simple. A hacker hijacks a verified Twitter account using stolen or leaked passwords. Then, the hacker swaps the account’s name, bio and photo — almost always to mirror Elon Musk — and drops a reply with “here’s where to send your bitcoin,” or something similar.

The end result appears as though Musk is responding to his own tweet, and nudging hapless bitcoin owners to drop their coins into the scammer’s coffers.

One of the latest “victims” was @FarahMenswear. The clothing retailer — with some 15,500 followers — was hacked this morning to promote a “bitcoin giveaway.” In the short time the scam began, the bitcoin address already had more than 100 transactions and over 5.84 bitcoins — that’s $37,000 in just a few hours’ work. Many Twitter users said that the scammers “promoted” the tweet — amplifying the scam to reach many more people.

On one hand, this scam is depressingly easy to pull off that even I could’ve done it. Depressing on the other, because that’s half a year’s wages for the average reporter.

Still, that $37,000 is a drop in the ocean to some of the other successful scam artists out there. One scammer last week, this time using @PantheonBooks, made $180,000 in a single day by tricking people into turning over their bitcoin and promising great returns.

Another day, another Elon Musk-themed bitcoin scam. (Image: screenshot)

Why is the scam so easy?

Granted, it’s clever. But it’s a widespread problem that can be largely attributed to Twitter’s nonchalant, “laissez-faire” approach to account security.

The common thread to all of these cryptocurrency scams involve hijacking accounts. Often, hackers use credential stuffing — that’s using the same passwords stolen from other breaches on other sites and services — to break into Twitter accounts. In nearly all successful cases, the hacked Twitter accounts aren’t protected with two-factor authentication. Brand accounts shared by multiple social media users almost never use two-factor, because it’s hard to share access tokens.

For its part, a Twitter spokesperson said it’s improved how it handles cryptocurrency scams and has seen a significant reduction in the amount of users who see scammy tweets. The company also said that scammers are constantly changing their methods and Twitter is trying to stay one step ahead. In many cases, these scams are nuked from the site before they’re even reported.

And, Twitter said it regularly reminds account owners to switch on stronger security settings, like two-factor authentication.

Well, enough’s enough, Twitter. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. So maybe it’s about time you bring the water a little closer.

Until something better comes along, Twitter should make two-factor authentication mandatory for verified accounts, especially high-profile accounts — like politicians. It’s no more of an inconvenience than switching on two-factor for your email inbox or other social networking account. The settings are already there — it even rolled out the more secure app-based authentication a year ago to give users the option of switching from the less-secure text message system.

If the only other option is to stop Elon Musk from tweeting…

Source: Tech Crunch

BlaBlaCar to acquire Ouibus and offer bus service

French startup BlaBlaCar is announcing plans to acquire Ouibus, the bus division of France’s national railway company SNCF. For the first time, BlaBlaCar is moving beyond carpooling and plans to offer both long-distance carpooling rides and bus rides.

BlaBlaCar already ran a test with Ouibus for the past six months on popular corridors. It looks like both companies are happy with this test, as SNCF is willing to let BlaBlaCar run Ouibus from now on.

As part of this deal, BlaBlaCar is announcing a new $114 million investment (€101 million) from SNCF and existing BlaBlaCar investors. I’d guess that this isn’t just cash but probably cash and shares as part of the move with SNCF. Yes, you read that correctly, SNCF is now an investor in BlaBlaCar.

Ouibus has transported more than 12 million passengers over the past few years in France and Europe. Many thought that buses would hurt BlaBlaCar over the long run. By offering buses on BlaBlaCar directly, the company can capitalize on its brand and huge community to counter that trend. BlaBlaCar is now a marketplace for road travel.

BlaBlaCar is taking a risk, as Ouibus has been relentlessly losing money. Just like other bus companies, Ouibus relies heavily on contractors, which means that BlaBlaCar could quickly adjust the offering. It’ll also depend on product integrations on BlaBlaCar, and other platforms.

BlaBlaCar currently has 65 million users in 22 countries and is about to reach profitability. And you can expect to find ridesharing offers on in the coming months.

Source: Tech Crunch

Chappy, the Bumble-backed dating app for gay men, inks partnership with GLAAD

Chappy, the dating app for gay men, has today announced a partnership with GLAAD. As part of the partnership, Chappy will make a donation to GLAAD for each conversation initiated on the dating app, from now throughout 2019.

The company won’t disclose the amount of the donation, but said that it hopes to raise “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Chappy launched in 2017 to give gay men an authentic, discrimination-free way to connect with one another. The app uses a sliding scale to let users indicate what they’re looking for in a relationship, ranging from “Cute” to “Sexy.” The app has more than 650,000 registered users, and has seen more than 1 billion swipes.

Chappy is backed by Bumble and controlled by Bumble shareholders, falling under the Badoo umbrella of dating apps. Last month, Bumble named Chappy its official dating app for gay men. As part of that relationship, Bumble and Chappy will be cross-promoting each other’s apps.

Adam Cohen-Aslatei, managing director at Chappy, says the donations to GLAAD will be unrestricted, and can be used by GLAAD however they see fit. Cohen-Aslatei also hopes to contribute to GLAAD’s research projects, and said that he sees the opportunity for the Chappy community to provide data-based insights to that research.

Cohen-Aslatei joins the Chappy team from Jun Group, where he was vice president of Marketing. He was appointed to the position last month.

“There are a lot of dating apps out there and a lot of gimmicks out there,” said Cohen-Aslatei. “We’re trying to improve the way the gay community meets each other and thinks about relationships, but also the way they think about their commitment to the community. We’re a relationship and advocacy app, and we want to partner with the right organizations to drive awareness to what we are.”

Source: Tech Crunch

With the Paris Call, Macron wants to limit cyberattacks

French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech at the Internet Governance Forum at UNESCO in Paris. While the IGF has been around for a while, it hasn’t been as active as some would have hoped.

That’s why the French government is issuing the Paris Call, a short three-page document on cybersecurity. President Macron hopes to foster the IGF and create a subgroup of countries (and companies) that can agree on cybersecurity issues.

“First, internet works and is here. And even though news bulletins are riddled with cyber incidents, we blindly trust tech tools,” Macron said.

And yet, according to him, if the global community can’t agree on appropriate regulation, there’s a risk for the integrity of democratic processes. He thinks that there are currently two sides. Authoritarian governments already filter internet requests to restrict the web to a subset of the internet, while democratic countries let anyone browse a (mostly) unfiltered web.

“Today’s cyberattacks can compromise health services. And if we don’t know for sure that the system is secure at all times, the system is going to fragment into multiple spaces.”

In other words, cyberattacks could lead democratic countries to imitate China and block many web services in order to protect the network.

“That’s why I came today to suggest a new collegiate method. This forum should produce more than debates and talks. It should become something new to support concrete decisions,” Macron said.

He’s suggesting that the IGF should report to the Secretary-General of the United Nations directly. And he’s also supporting the Paris Call, an agreement between countries, companies and NGOs.

Hundreds of organizations have already signed the Paris Call, such as most European countries, Microsoft, Cisco, Samsung, Siemens, Facebook, Google, the ICANN, the Internet Society, etc. But China and the U.S. have yet to sign the Paris Call.

You can read the full text of the Paris Call here. Members of the Paris Call mostly agree to prevent cyberattacks of all sorts — it’s a peace offer.

When it comes to content, Macron didn’t want to say that he was against the web. He mentioned that the web enabled the Democratic Spring, greater mobilization against climate change and women’s rights. But he also said that extremists are now leveraging the web for hate speech.

“Giant platforms could become not just gateways but also gatekeepers,” Macron said.

There have been efforts in the past when it comes to removing terrorist content and hate speech. But Macron now thinks that it should go further.

That’s why Facebook and the French government are going to cooperate to look at Facebook’s efforts when it comes to moderation:

Finally, Macron used this opportunity to talk once again about France’s digital efforts. The French government has been working hard on a new way to tax tech giants in Europe so that tech giants are taxed more fairly. Macron framed it as a way to protect smaller companies from unfair competition. But negotiations are stuck for now.

Macron also defended a third way when it comes to artificial intelligence investments and innovation.

Source: Tech Crunch

Enterprise shopping season starts early with almost $50B in recent deals

Black Friday may still be 10 days away, but shopping season started early in the enterprise this year. We have seen acquisitions totaling almost $50 billion in the last couple of months alone, topped by the mega $34 billion IBM-Red Hat deal two weeks ago. What exactly is going on here?

While not every deal has been for that kind of money, we are seeing an unusually large number of mega deals this year, something that some folks were predicting would happen when the big tech companies were allowed to repatriate their money as part of last year’s tax deal.

Let’s look at some of the multi-billion deals we have seen so far this year:

Supply and demand

Big companies are opening their checkbooks in a big way right now, buying everything from marketing to analytics to security. They are grabbing open source and proprietary. They are looking at ways to bridge the cloud and on-prem. There is a whole host of software and not much rhyme or reason across the deals.

What they have in common is that they are enormous offers that are simply too huge to refuse. These companies flush with cash see opportunities to fill holes, and they are going for one piece after another.

One of the reasons the prices are going so high is that there is a limited number of companies available to buy, and that is driving up the price, says Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research. As he sees it, there are only 3-5 decent players per category right now. He compares that with 10 years ago when we were seeing 10-15 players per category. With a limited number of viable startups, companies seem to be going after these companies harder. Combine that with fat wallets full of cash, and you suddenly have this wave of super-sized deals.

The companies being acquired by large organizations can justify selling in the usual ways. They can reward shareholders and investors. These larger organizations allow them to push their product roadmaps much more quickly than they could on their own. They give them access to international markets and mega sales teams.

Buy versus build

Still, companies have been spending unusually large sums for relatively small amounts of revenue. In deals over the last 3 weeks, we have seen IBM pay $34 billion for a company with around $3 billion in revenue. We saw SAP paying $8 billion for a mere $400 million in revenue.

This certainly seems on its face to be a massive overpay, but Constellation’s Wang says ultimately this often comes down to a classic build versus buy decision. SAP could build a similar product to Qualtrics, or they could simply buy it and put the massive SAP salesforce to bear on it. “SAP can sell into 100,000 customers. They only have a 10 percent overlap with Qualtrics. The numbers work, and it beats taking a new product to market,” Wang told TechCrunch.

Wang believes this could be the strategy behind many of these acquisitions, while admitting that the numbers sound a bit crazy. As he says, the formula used to be three times, three years trailing revenues. Now it’s 15-20 times. While those may be hard numbers to justify, he believes it’s a win-win for buyer and acquired — and investors win big too, of course.

Staying the course

In many instances like Red Hat, GitHub and Qualtrics, the companies will likely remain separate, independent units inside the larger organization, at least for the time being, while looking for meaningful crossover inside the larger company when it makes sense.

But Tony Byrne, founder and principal analyst at Real Story Group, says these large companies tend to listen to Wall Street and customers should be wary of what they hear when it comes to their favorite products and services. “You cannot trust the initial pleasantries about continuity that come out of the first press release. These are huge vendors that listen first and foremost to Wall Street. If there’s an offering that doesn’t totally align with their story to investors, it is not going to get much love and is at risk for getting eliminated or calved off,” Byrne explained.

It’s also hard to know how well two companies are going to fit together until the deal actually closes. Sometimes the acquiring company doesn’t know what they have or how to sell it. Sometimes the two companies don’t fit well together or the founders or key executives don’t fit smoothly into the new hierarchy. They try to figure this all out beforehand, but it’s not always easy to know how it will play out in reality.

Regardless, we are seeing an unusually high level of massive acquisitions, and chances are, there are more coming.

Source: Tech Crunch