Facebook buys Friendfeed. Cue the puns. Facebook has friended FriendFeed. (Har har.) The deal wasn't huge--worth a reported $50 million in cash and stock--but it's making news anyway. That's because Facebook seemed to be quietly borrowing features from FriendFeed and because FriendFeed boasted some serious technical talent, including Paul Buchheit, who we can thank for Gmail. Though it never reached the size of rival Twitter, FriendFeed has long been a darling of Silicon Valley techies, and TechCrunch is allovertheacquisition. The deal gives the FriendFeed founders--and their investor, Benchmark Capital--a nice exit since the company had only raised $5 million and a chance to cash in on Facebook, which TechCrunch thinks is primed for an IPO. Bonus: Thanks to Buchheit's FriendFeed page, we now know what Mark Zuckerberg looks like when he's wheeling and dealing.
The seedy underbelly of the printer cartridge business. Deceit! Intrigue! Espionage! Of course, we're talking about the latest dust-up in the crazy world of refillable printer cartridges. The Wall Street Journal reports that a small company that makes money by refilling ink cartridges is suing printer giant Seiko Epson over alleged spying. According to Green Project, a Los Angeles company that was founded last year, a Seiko Epson operative who identified himself as "K.C. Wells from K&R Supplies" showed up at Green Project's offices in May and started snooping around. Turns out that K.C. was not K.C. but, according to the lawsuit, Herbert Seitz, a private investigator for Epson, which had previously sued Green Project for violating importing rules and patent infringement. Epson won't confirm the allegations but says that the investigations it conducts are proper.
Building your brand on the cheap. It's always a dangerous thing when the press sets high expectations for a new company. And TechCrunch has done that for Buidabrand, proclaiming that the London-based start-up could "disrupt and change the entrepreneurial landscape for good." Buildabrand's offering does indeed seem promising (or, if you're a cynic, too good to be true). The company says it can provide "strategically correct" branding for start-ups for about the price of a domain registration. Simply answer a few questions about your company and its brand values, and Buildabrand's algorithm will churn out suggested brand logos. You then pick a logo, tweak it to your liking, and apply it to everything from your website to your stationery.
How to (try to) launch a food truck. We here at Inc. are all fans of food trucks. And as we told you recently, it's one of the best industries to be in right now. But this recent piece from New York magazine should give pause to even the most passionate would-be truckateurs. Problem No. 1: in New York City, permits for food trucks are distributed via lottery, meaning "your only real option for getting a permit is the black market...or [to] partner with an existing license holder." Problem No. 2: "the threat of violence from existing vendors." So if tire slashing isn't your thing, may we suggest our How To Start a Restaurant: Brick-and-Mortar Edition.
In defense of Apple. As we mentioned yesterday, tech entrepreneur Jason Calacanis has been making waves with his exhaustive, five-part screed against Apple and what he deemed to be the company's anticompetitive practices. Today, we bring you a rebuttal. Entrepreneur and stock blogger Howard Lindzon pulls no punches in his response to Calacanis and his assessment of Apple. As Lindzon writes, "Jason has taken a few weeks away from running Mahalo into the ground to write 'The Case Against Apple - in Five Parts.' I don't mind linking to it because you will never go back." Ouch. Lindzon then goes on to defend Apple and Steve Jobs, point by point. As he puts it, "Apple is not a monopoly and if it is, I like it."
Small-business owners' spirits sinking. Entrepreneurs tend to be a fairly optimistic bunch, but the ongoing recession seems be making their outlook a little less rosy. As Reuters reports, July marked the second straight month that small-business owners' optimism dropped in a survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business. In addition, only five percent of small business owners think now is a good time to expand their business. As the NFIB's chief economist explains, "The recession is wearing Main Street folks down." For the full report, click here.
Another recession IPO. Good news from the public markets. Fortinet, an IT security provider based in Sunnyvale, has filed for an IPO. The company plans to raise $100 million. The San Jose Mercury News has the story, and notes that Fortinet's filing follows a successful offering this spring by the restaurant reservation service OpenTable.