17 Year Old Sells Company to Yahoo for $30M

Nick D'Aloisio just sold his company Summly to Yahoo for an alleged $30M. Nick is 17 years old. He previously had made the Trimit app when he was only 15. That grew into the Summly app. The app shortens long stories for smartphone users. The app will be shut down and integrated into the Yahoo platform.

Now Nick is no ordinary 17 year old. He started programming when he was 12. His dad works for Morgan Stanley, and his mom is a lawyer. His company Summly has a number of high profile investors such as Ashton Kutcher. Nick is the majority owner of the company. As such, he will be keeping most of the $30M proceeds.

Many are wondering why Yahoo paid such a high price for an app they are shutting down. Summly only had 5 employees. It seems that only 2 of them are making the move to Yahoo. One thing is certain. Yahoo will be getting a lot of press out of this acquisition.

The End of Google Reader

Google has announced that it is shutting down Google Reader. People are coming out complaining that they still use this tool. I find that I only occasionally use the product myself. I just manually visit the most important blogs I follow.

From a business perspective, this might make sense. Google Reader is probably not making Google much if any money. However Google must loose some good will when they shut the thing down. I bet there are many people who use it for their RSS viewing needs.

The only bright part of this shutdown is that people are rising up to create a Google Reader replacement. Just today I saw a post stating that Digg is on the mission of building a replacement. This might help Digg in other ways if they build some extra features in the product that highlight Digg.

Office On Demand

I saw an advertisement from Microsoft for Office 365. Apparently students could get the software by paying $80 for four years. What? That must be a mistake. The old Office education edition used to cost eith $99 or $150. What is up? I went to a Microsoft site. After first I was pissed off because the site kept redirecting me to some spiel from Microsoft on signing schols up for Office 365.

I almost gave up. But I wanted to know about this $80 for four years deal. Sure enough, after clicking around, I found the page for Office 365 University. You do indeed pay $80 for a four year subscription. This allows you to get the latest version of MS Office. Currently that would be MS OFfice 2013 for PCs.

This is not a stripped down vesion of Office either, You get Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access. This is the whole kitchen of Office products. Normally this would cost you $100 per year for a subscription. Instead students get it for $80 over four years. That's not $80 per year. That is $80 total for the whole four years.

I guess Microsoft is really pushing hard for this software subscription service. Feels like a great deal compared to the shrink wrapped versions of Office. I am going to have to give this a try.

Users Must Pay

I am taking a course in XML Development. We are getting to the point where we need to validate our documents. To do that, you run your code through an XML processor. It turns out that this is an external piece of software you have to acquire. Our instructor told us to use the industry standard software. He told us to download the free version.

It turns out there is no free version. There used to be a home use version that was free. However all traces of it seem to have disappeared. Now the company only allows you to download a free 30 day trial. After that, you have to pay big bucks to use their software.

This is great when you work for a big company. You just purchase a license. However that does not work for a starving college student. What is a hacker to do? Well you could go with a free or low cost alternative. In this case, the competition has weaker products. When only the best will do, you got to pay up to steal.

From an end user perspective, this sucks. My trial ends well before I can do my work for class. Should the company offer a student edition for a reduced price? Well I guess that depends. If I do get a low cost copy, will I be happy and talk my future employer into buying the expensive software? The other angle is whether I will somehow pony up the big bucks even though I am a student. That one is easy. Hell no.

The company has already done the hard job of producing the best software for this particular niche. Everyone wants to use their software. Now they have locked a high price tag on it. Let's see if the company makes out like a bandit, or suffers the consequences of the lock down.