Wireless Subscribers Used 10 Trillion Megabytes of Data Last Year

By Aaron Pressman

Wireless subscribers used almost 10 trillion megabytes of data last year, more than double what they consumed in 2014, as the insatiable appetite for checking Facebook updates, watching YouTube videos, and uploading Snapchat stories continued to fuel growth.
There were also 228 million smartphones in use by the end of 2015, up 10% from a year earlier, CTIA, the wireless industry trade group, said in its annual survey report released on Monday. Counting all kinds of phones and other devices like tablets, the industry counted 378 million active devices at year-end, up 6% from 2014.
Data traffic growth dramatically outpaced increases in other wireless services, the group reported. Minutes of talking increased 17% to 2.8 trillion minutes and the number of text and MMS messages grew less than 2% to 2.1 trillion. Data traffic increased 138% to 9.6 trillion megabytes, or the equivalent of streaming 59,219 videos every minute.
Even with the massive growth in usage, Americans don’t always end up using all the data they pay for, according to some studies. One review of wireless bills estimated that 85% of consumers spent more than necessary for data plans and left unused 1.6 GB per month on average.
The CTIA survey data comes as the industry is fighting federal net neutrality rules that require wireless carriers to treat data traffic equally, limiting their ability to charge major Internet sites and services for reaching customers. A decision on the legality of the rules is expected any day from the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. At the same time, the industry is expected to spend $30 billion or more on new spectrum licenses at an upcoming auction to help relieve network congestion in the most populated areas.
Industrywide wireless revenue increased only 2% to $192 billion in 2015, the group said.
Almost half of all U.S. households rely solely on mobile phones and have cancelled their landlines, the group said. Wireless-only households exceeded 48% at the end of the year, up from just 8% ten years ago.
The industry continued to blanket the countryside with cell towers, with the number of cell sites reaching almost 308,000 at the end of the year, up 3% from the year before.
CTIA members represent 97% of the industry, including all four of the largest mobile companies, AT&T, Verizon Communications, T-Mobile, and Sprint.


Microsoft to acquire LinkedIn


REDMOND, Wash., and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — June 13, 2016 — Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and LinkedIn Corporation (NYSE: LNKD) on Monday announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $26.2 billion, inclusive of LinkedIn’s net cash. LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence. Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. Reid Hoffman, chairman of the board, co-founder and controlling shareholder of LinkedIn, and Weiner both fully support this transaction. The transaction is expected to close this calendar year.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest and most valuable professional network and continues to build a strong and growing business. Over the past year, the company has launched a new version of its mobile app that has led to increased member engagement; enhanced the LinkedIn newsfeed to deliver better business insights; acquired a leading online learning platform called Lynda.com to enter a new market; and rolled out a new version of its Recruiter product to its enterprise customers. These innovations have resulted in increased membership, engagement and financial results, specifically:
•19 percent growth year over year (YOY) to more than 433 million members worldwide
•9 percent growth YOY to more than 105 million unique visiting members per month
•49 percent growth YOY to 60 percent mobile usage
•34 percent growth YOY to more than 45 billion quarterly member page views
•101 percent growth YOY to more than 7 million active job listings
“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Nadella said. “Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet.”

“Just as we have changed the way the world connects to opportunity, this relationship with Microsoft, and the combination of their cloud and LinkedIn’s network, now gives us a chance to also change the way the world works,” Weiner said. “For the last 13 years, we’ve been uniquely positioned to connect professionals to make them more productive and successful, and I’m looking forward to leading our team through the next chapter of our story.”
The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both LinkedIn and Microsoft. The deal is expected to close this calendar year and is subject to approval by LinkedIn’s shareholders, the satisfaction of certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
“Today is a re-founding moment for LinkedIn. I see incredible opportunity for our members and customers and look forward to supporting this new and combined business,” said Hoffman. “I fully support this transaction and the Board’s decision to pursue it, and will vote my shares in accordance with their recommendation on it.”
Microsoft will finance the transaction primarily through the issuance of new indebtedness. Upon closing, Microsoft expects LinkedIn’s financials to be reported as part of Microsoft’s Productivity and Business Processes segment. Microsoft expects the acquisition to have minimal dilution of ~1 percent to non-GAAP earnings per share for the remainder of fiscal year 2017 post-closing and for fiscal year 2018 based on the expected close date, and become accretive to Microsoft’s non-GAAP earnings per share in Microsoft’s fiscal year 2019 or less than two years post-closing. Non-GAAP includes stock-based compensation expense consistent with Microsoft’s reporting practice, and excludes expected impact of purchase accounting adjustments as well as integration and transaction-related expenses. In addition, Microsoft also reiterated its intention to complete its existing $40 billion share repurchase authorization by Dec. 31, 2016, the same timeframe as previously committed.
Microsoft and LinkedIn will host a joint conference call with investors on June 13, 2016, at 8:45 a.m. Pacific Time/11:45 a.m. Eastern Time to discuss this transaction. The call will be available via webcast at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Investor and will be hosted by Nadella and Weiner, as well as Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood and Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith. The presentation for the call is available on the Microsoft News Center.
Morgan Stanley is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Microsoft, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is acting as legal advisor to Microsoft. Qatalyst Partners and Allen & Company LLC are acting as financial advisors to LinkedIn, while Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Professional Corporation, is acting as legal advisor.
About LinkedIn
LinkedIn connects the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful and transforms the way companies hire, market, and sell. Our vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce through the ongoing development of the world’s first Economic Graph. LinkedIn has more than 400 million members and has offices around the globe.
About Microsoft
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Leaked Pinterest Documents Show Revenue, Growth Forecasts

Leaked Pinterest Documents Show Revenue, Growth Forecasts

As written on by Katie Roof (@Katie_Roof), Matthew Lynley (@mattlynley) on Techcrunch.com
TechCrunch has obtained documents that show Pinterest has been forecasting $169 million in revenue this year and $2.8 billion in annual revenue by 2018. Pinterest was also expecting to grow its monthly active users to 151 million by the end of 2015 and 329 million by 2018.
Andreessen Horowitz used this information to solicit limited partners to invest in its special investment fund for Pinterest earlier this year, valuing the social media company at $11 billion.
The venture firm said that Pinterest is “striving to build a platform with the scale and engagement of Facebook and the purchasing intent of Google.”
The documents say that based on the fourth quarter of last year, Pinterest’s “revenue run rate” stood at $90 million. As the WSJ noted in June, this means that Pinterest brought in less than $25 million in revenue last year because the company first introduced its “promoted pins” in late 2014.
The papers show that Pinterest is generating $1.44 per active user, based on its 2015 projections. It expects this number to grow by $9.34 by 2018.
While Target is already a confirmed partner for some of Pinterest’s e-commerce initiatives, the company was “in discussions” with Burberry, Walmart, and Nordstrom as of February 2015.
The documents also reveal that over half of U.S. women between the ages of 18-54 have signed up for Pinterest. The social media service showed strong growth amongst male users, growing 133% last year.
Pinterest is seeing its strongest growth outside of the U.S., accounting for 60% of new users. The fastest growing markets last year were the UK, Japan, France, Germany and Brazil.
The data also shows that roughly half of Pinterest users log in. As of January 2015, the company had 176 million registered users, but only 88 million active users. (In September, Pinterest confirmed that it had surpassed 100 million active users).
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Pinterest’s primary advertising product is Promoted Pins, which gives marketers a way to get their pins in front of more users. It uses traditional advertising models like cost-per-click advertising, but can also charge marketers based on “engagement” — such as a re-pin, a close-up or a click on that pin.
The primary reason Pinterest is so valued by advertisers is it hits almost all points in which people can be targeted on the web. Pinterest users casually browse for ideas or inspiration, which can help drive brand awareness and justify purchasing promoted pins. But they also search on Pinterest for specific things, giving marketers a way to capture that intent and drive traffic — and potentially sales — using Promoted Pins. Promoted Pins give marketers a way to capture that intent or get visibility, while other platforms are generally good at capturing specific moments — such as Google with search.
Pinterest is also still releasing new products for marketers. For example, the company released Cinematic Pins — its take on a video-based advertisement that essentially plays only when the user scrolls — in May this year. It also released a new pricing model at that time that allowed marketers to pay based on engagement with their Promoted Pins. And it also earlier this year released Buyable Pins, a way for users to purchase things directly through Pinterest — and while merchants keep 100% of the sales, it gives them an incentive to promote pins on Pinterest in order to further drive sales.
All of this taken together gives advertisers a gold mine of sorts that might not necessarily be available in other outlets. Given the high engagement its users have, part of the sales pitch is that they have a much higher conversion rate than other platforms. Pinterest is super sticky and people wander around on it at basically all points of the funnel.
The social media site has raised over $1.3 billion in capital from notable investors including SV Angel, Rakuten and Bessemer Venture Partners.
Pinterest declined to comment. Andreessen Horowitz did not respond to a request for comment.

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