1. Walmart just handed over around $300 million for Kosmix, a topic-curated social media platform that's just six years old. The new firm will join the @WalmartLabs division, trying to build out the retail giant's online shopping experience--which is now set to get a big injection of social media thinking, and will probably leverage Kosmix's smart semantic interpretation code to come up with purchase suggestions
2. Theories that Apple is about to radically revamp MobileMe to make it a free service with a social friending angle and cloud music-locker skills just got a big boost: Apple's just instructed its sales partners to end MobileMe $30 rebate programs (along with iWork programs, suggesting it too is getting a makeover). It's a big hint Apple will relaunch MobileMe sooner rather than later, to give it more skills to combat Google and Android.
3. Almost exactly as rumored, Samsung has just partially disposed of its hard drive business in a deal worth close to $1.4 billion. Existing HDD giant Seagate is the other partner, and as part of the deal it's getting access to some of Samsung's NAND flash memory expertise--handy for its plans to leverage the burgeoning solid-state-drive enterprise market. The deal also slashes losses for Samsung, while preserving HDD supply for its notebooks.
4. Still smarting from Apple's multi-pronged lawsuit alleging Samsung basically copied the design of the iPhone and iPad with its products (just as we commented a few weeks back), the Korean firm is fighting back: It's vowed to fight the Apple suit, and is suggesting Apple in turn has violated a suite of Samsung-owned patents in wireless tech. Samsung is pressing ahead despite the fact that Apple is one of its "key buyers" of display panels and chips.
5. 1-800 numbers are being eaten up at a consistent rate by small Philadelphia-based outfit PrimeTel Communications--the firm usually acts to buy up a number when the incumbent owner ends its use. As of March, 2011, records show it controls more 1-800 numbers than any other firm, including big names like AT&T. It would seem most of the 1.7 million numbers are being used to redirect callers (via a saucy advert) to a paid phone sex service.