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Pandora Lives; Inc. 500|5000 Conference wrap-up

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Apple: 2 billion iPhone apps downloaded. This spring, Apple announced that 1 billion apps have been downloaded through the iPhone App store. Today, just four months later, it beat that announcement with the news that the number of downloads had crossed the two-billion mark, reports GigaOm. This is obviously good news for Apple, which has a developer network of more than 125,000 building apps with its open software developer kit for the 50 million iPhone and iPod touch owners worldwide. But with more than 85,000 apps to compete with, the problem for entrepreneurs trying to build a business is getting their work discovered. Check out our coverage of some early contenders in the App store roulette, the best of the iPhone video apps, and a pair of 9 and 11-year-old brothers whose app hit no. 13 in its section.

Gap founder dies. Donald Fisher, the man to thank for your 1969 jeans, has died at the age of 81, The Wall Street Journal reports. Fisher served as CEO of Gap for 26 years and remained chairman through 2004, when his company (which had grown to include Banana Republic and Old Navy) registered $16.3 billion in sales.

Pandora back from the brink. Two years ago, we wrote about how a little online radio startup, Pandora, had flirted with death since its founding in 1999 but had somehow developed a knack for sticking around. It looks like founder Tim Westergren may have pulled it off again, writes TechCrunch's Sarah Lacy. Pandora doubled its user base over the past year--up to 35 million, with revenues of $40 million--thanks in large part to the popularity of it's iPhone application. Meanwhile, thanks to its users, who inundated lawmakers with complaints, the company settled a dispute with the recording industry over royalties that threatened to shut down the service. Westergren says that the company will be profitable this year.

"Got Milk?" and other memorable ad questions. Most slogans and taglines tout a product's superiority. But some of the best ask a question instead. Mental_floss tracked down 18 of the most memorable questions, dating all the way back to 1953 ("Aren't you glad you use Dial? Don't you wish everyone did?") and up to 2003 (Sony PlayStation's "Fun Anyone?"). But our favorites are classic 80s gems like: "What would you do for a Klondike bar?" "Pardon me. Do you have any Grey Poupon?" and "This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?"

A new kind of technology platform. As we've learned from many athletes and movie stars, running for public office seldom requires career experience in governing. But is Web and technology clout replacing celebrity in politics? CNN has a story about former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who is running for governor of California in 2010 and touting her experience with small businesses and technology as one of her major credentials. Whitman, a Republican, oversaw eBay's purchase of Skype before resigning in 2008. The piece also highlights the importance of politicians being tech-savvy and well-versed in social media in today's political arena, and uses President Obama's memorable affection for his Blackberry as an example. "Technology and innovation have improved every business and saved millions and millions of dollars," Whitman told a crowd of supporters. Her opponent in the race? Another entrepreneur: Silicon Valley mogul and Strategic Mapping founder Steve Poizner.

CBS News forms partnership with foreign news start-up. As The New York Times reports, the collaboration between CBS and GlobalPost was sparked by CBS's hopes of delivering better foreign news coverage, at a time in which many print and broadcast news outlets are struggling to do so. Initially, GlobalPost reporters will provide the information, and CBS News correspondents will deliver the on-air coverage. "The alliance may suggest a blueprint," David Carr of The Times writes.

Inc. 500|5000 Conference wrap-up. After some great presentations from JetBlue founder David Neeleman and business-relationship guru Keith Ferrazzi, attendees donned their tuxedos and evening gowns for the night's black-tie gala and awards dinner. The evening started out with a look at the different faces of entrepreneurship, including a profile of 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year Alison Schuback that didn't leave a dry eye in the room. Inc. columnist Norm Brodsky handled emcee duties for the night and, as usual, managed to get the crowd revved up. He even pulled a Jack Palance impersonation by doing push-ups on stage with Alden Mills, founder of Perfect Fitness. After the awards were presented, attendees got to cut loose with drinks and some fancy footwork on the dance floor. It was a great conference all around. Thanks to everyone who attended.

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Last updated: Sep 28, 2009




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