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Talk of Weibo listing as China's Sina posts profit jump
by Staff Writers
Shanghai (AFP) Feb 25, 2014

Facebook throws in towel on email
San Francisco (AFP) Feb 24, 2014 - Facebook, after unsuccessfully trying to get its users on its own email system, has thrown in the towel.

The social networking giant told AFP by email that it was giving up on email "because most people haven't been using their Facebook email address, and we can focus on improving our mobile messaging experience for everyone."

The company launched its email service in 2010, and in 2012 prompted an outcry by changing the default address for messages to users' Facebook addresses.

The project was seen as an attempt to be a "Gmail Killer," by getting members of the biggest social network to switch email accounts, but Facebook now admits it did not work.

"We're notifying people who use their email that the feature is changing," the company spokesman said.

"When someone sends you an email to your address, it will no longer go to your Messages on Facebook. Instead, the email will be forwarded to the primary email address on your account. (People have the option to turn forwarding off.)"

The news comes just days after Facebook announced a huge deal worth up to $19 billion in cash and stock for mobile messaging service WhatsApp.

The deal bolsters the world's biggest social network -- which has more than 1.2 billion members -- with the 450-million-strong WhatsApp, which will be operated independently with its own board.

Chinese Internet giant Sina said its fourth-quarter net profit surged from a year ago, amid media reports it plans an overseas listing of its popular microblog service, Weibo.

Sina is planning to spin off its Weibo platform -- China's equivalent to Twitter -- in a US listing to raise $500 million as early as the second quarter of this year, Dow Jones Newswires reported Tuesday, quoting people familiar with the matter.

Nasdaq-listed Sina's net income reached $44.5 million for the three months ended in December, up from just $2.4 million a year earlier, on the back of strong advertising sales from the microblogging service, according to a company statement.

"The strong performance of Weibo's advertising and value-added services in the fourth quarter allowed us to end 2013 with strong top line and bottom line growth," Sina chief executive and chairman Charles Chao said in the statement.

Sina's net income for all of 2013 hit $45.1 million, up from $31.7 million in 2012.

Weibo alone achieved its first ever operating profit in the fourth quarter of more than $3.0 million, Chao told a conference call on Monday.

Advertising revenue from Weibo surged 163 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier to $56 million, the company statement said.

Launched in August 2009, Weibo is a social media tool featuring microblogging and networking features with tens of millions of users.

The company said it would dedicate more efforts to the development of Weibo to capitalise on the platform in the long term.

"As we enter 2014, we will continue to focus on growing Weibo's user-base and user engagement through product innovation, as well as seizing opportunities to enable us for long-term growth," Chao said in the statement.


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Raider Icahn takes aim at eBay
New York (AFP) Feb 24, 2014
Corporate raider Carl Icahn took aim at eBay Monday, calling it to hive off payments unit PayPal while blasting its directors for conflicts of interest and its CEO as "asleep". In a harsh attack on the online marketplace and auction site, Icahn said eBay needs to unleash PayPal to allow it to grow more aggressively to compete better in the online payments sector. "We believe creating tw ... read more

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