Photobucket buys social video platform


Online photo service Photobucket acquired the Milyoni social video platform.

The start-up is known for its interactive “Madcards” which work on mobile devices.

Techcrunch reports it’s the photo-sharing site’s second acquisition this year: In March Photobucket purcashsed photo chat app Lasso.

Here is the full article.


Surveillance: Canon to buy Axis

axis 4k camera

Reuters reports Canon offered $2.83 billion for video surveillance leader Axis AB — “the biggest purchase ever for the Japanese firm trying to expand beyond a shrinking camera market.”
Axis’ board supports the offer.

Canon sells surveillance cameras “and sees the sector as a growing market,” Reuters adds.
“The deal will make Canon a top player in the video surveillance market, which was worth an estimated $15 billion at the end of last year, according to researcher IHS.”

The full story is here.


Adobe acquiring stock photo supplier Fotolia


Adobe  reports it will acquire privately-held Fotolia, “a leading marketplace for royalty-free photos, images, graphics and HD video, for approximately $800 million in cash.”

Fotolia will be integrated into Adobe’s Creative Cloud, providing members with access to more than 34 million images and videos. Also, Adobe plans to continue to operate Fotolia as a standalone stock service, “accessible to anyone.”

Fotolia was founded in 2004, operates in 23 countries, and has websites in 14 languages.

There’s more information here.


Yahoo acquires photo startup Cooliris

CoolirisPhoto service Cooliris announced it was acquired by Yahoo.

The company was founded in 2006, with a simulated 3D wall for displaying and browsing photos online. It recently launched an app to look at photos across multiple online sites, and the BeamIt messaging tool.

The buy is more of an acqui-hire according to the Yahoo announcement TechCrunch reports: “In order to build inspiring products, grow engagement, and ultimately revenue, everything starts with having the best people to help us accelerate our transformation in our growth areas.. We are excited to welcome 17 employees from Cooliris to Sunnyvale, where our core communications team is located.”

The full story is here.




Cooliris yahoo

Shutterfly acquires photo-printing subscription service


In the late 90s/early 2000s, it seemed that at least once a year Kodak acquired another online imaging service that appeared to provide many of the same functions as previous acquisitions.

Of late Shutterfly also looks to be acquiring overlapping if not redundant start-ups. This week the photofinishing service paid $14.5 million for Groovebook.
The app distinguishes itself somewhat from the crowd with a subscription service that — like Ecce Terram and timeshel — combines 100 photos into a personalized 4.5×6.5-inch book, for $3 every month.
The new company is best known for receiving a $150,000 investment on the TV show Shark Tank.

In a press release, one of the start-up’s founders says joining Shutterfly will help get costs down for the sub service, and the Shark Tank investors are quoted as saying the original entrepreneurs are now “financially independent and free”  — but what prevented Shutterfly from launching its own subscription service (perhaps one even tied into any of the other apps it’s acquired) instead of spending $14.5 million? Apart from a reported 500,000 paid subscribers, “adding GrooveBook to our family of brands,” Shutterfly says, “will introduce a new photo book form factor while leveraging the viral, social, and word of mouth nature of the GrooveBook mobile apps.” Those many sub-brands now include Tiny Prints, Penguin Digital, Wedding Paper Divas, R and R Images, Treat, MyPublisher, and ThisLife.

Adobe acquires imaging developer Aviary

aviary screen

The leading imaging software company has taken in one of the most successful startups of recent years: Adobe acquired Aviary, and “together we will build and connect the next generation of creative applications, “Aviary says.

Adobe says Aviary has “an exceptional team and technology platform, as well as expertise serving a robust developer ecosystem.”

Privately held Aviary notes its more than 100 million downloads of its photo-editing apps, as well as its free SDK offered to third-party developers. “This allows us to extend our technology and creative tools not only to Aviary app users, but to users of thousands of other creative mobile apps that today are used by millions of people to edit billions of images each month.”

Also of interest: Aviary says its headquarters in New York City “is very close to the offices of Behance, the creative community that joined Adobe 18 months ago – and that is now a cornerstone of Adobe’s Creative Cloud offering.”

Up next: the companies “will continue to support and enhance Aviary’s SDK as part of Adobe’s broader Creative SDK offering. While ensuring no interruption to Aviary’s developer community, or their apps’ users, we plan to add additional components and services for developers to incorporate – such as the ability to save creations to Creative Cloud in Adobe file formats, access Photoshop technology, and connect creativity across devices using the Creative SDK.”

Google acquires image-analyzing startup Jetpac


San Francisco-based startup Jetpac is the latest Google acquisition, bringing new imaging techniques to the search leader.
The purchase amount was not disclosed.

For its Jetpac City Guides, the company algorithmically scanned images to determine how much people liked a location — by recognizing, say, how many photos with smiling faces were taken there. The result could provide unique contextual information.

It addition to the photo analyzing application, Jetpac has tools for real-time local object recognition, and its technology is reportedly based on the work of a Google researcher.

There’s more information here, here, and here.


Calumet Photographic acquired at bankruptcy auction


A 75-year-old retail photography chain has a new owner: Chicago-based Calumet Photo’s US assets were acquired in bankruptcy proceedings by C&A Marketing.

The Calumet chain closed its 14 stores and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in March 2014. C&A says it is “currently evaluating which, if any, stores to re-open” but will be reactivating all of Calumet’s on-line properties.

C&A Marketing has already snapped up Ritz Camera, Inkley’s, Wolf Camera, and Camera World under similar circumstances. C&A says it is a global manufacturer, distributor and online reseller of cameras and photographic equipment, with  more than 20 years of experience in sourcing and retail operations in the photographic industry. It’s also the licensee for the Polaroid brand in instant digital imaging products, action cameras, IP home security cameras, and photo accessories.

C&A says it plans to incorporate the Calumet assets into its Ritz portfolio, and “views this acquisition as a key component to now providing the highest level of photography professionals the best in products and services. Calumet has a strong, loyal customer base which is the best foundation to build and rebuild on.”

More information is here.


Google sells Motorola to Lenovo

android iconEasy come, easy go: Google bought Motorola in 2012 for $12.4 billion — and has now sold it for about $3B to Chinese PC maker Lenovo.

It’s not a complete loss for Google: it’s free of the complication of competing with other hardware manufacturers that use its Android operating system. Also, Motorola Mobility had $2.9 billion in cash when it was first acquired; Google in the meantime sold off a side business in set-top boxes for $2.24 billion — and most importantly, Google is keeping the mobile patents which were the primary reason it bought Motorola in the first place, and which it values at $5B.

Lenovo is the world’s largest personal-computer maker, and, if this sale goes through, would be the third-largest smartphone vendor, according to Bloomberg’s report here.


Large-format photography: Leica buys Sinar

sinar camera

Seven years ago Leica first tried to take control of Sinar. This week it succeeded.

The German maker of pricey cameras acquired the Swiss manufacturer of professional view cameras for an undisclosed amount, it was reported Tuesday. Leica says the Sinar product portfolio “offers everything from cameras and lenses to digital backs, shutter systems and workflow software.”

The takeover completes Leica’s portfolio “in the high-end digital camera segment and further expands its position in the market for professional photographic equipment,” Leica added, as reported by the British Journal of Photography. “Leica now possesses a complete product portfolio from a medium format digital camera system to digital view cameras and, as a result of the takeover, is now the only full range provider of digital camera systems in formats larger than the 35mm Leica full-frame format.”

Product management and production will remain in Switzerland.
Financial details were not disclosed.