Eric Johnson

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AllThingsD Week in Review: Snapchat’s Many Suitors, and Finding the Fastest 4G LTE Signal

SnapchatPic-featureIn case you missed anything, here’s a quick roundup of some of the news that powered AllThingsD this week:

  1. Why is Snapchat’s valuation so high? It might be because viewing the service’s ephemeral messages means pressing and holding one’s finger on the screen — an action that would very strongly indicate to advertisers that users are paying attention. In any case, the messaging startup is having its “belle of the ball” moment. Mike Isaac rounded up the potential suitors for an acquisition, and the likelihood of them biting.
  2. A technical issue caused LivingSocial’s website and mobile app to go down for 40 hours this week, leaving the company “ashamed and embarrassed.” To apologize, it ran a 25 percent discount on Friday, and is offering a 15 percent discount in the U.S. and Canada this weekend.
  3. If you’re watching streaming video online, chances are it’s coming from either Netflix or YouTube. Those two sites now account for more than half of Americans’ video viewing during peak hours, according to Sandvine.
  4. American wireless carriers are competing to offer 4G LTE mobile coverage in as many cities as possible, as quickly as possible. But whose is the fastest? Walt Mossberg put Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon to the test.
  5. BlackBerry has secured $1 billion in financing to keep the company running as it struggles to rebuild itself, but layoffs continue, with nearly 200 employees in Texas sacked earlier this month. In an open letter on Wednesday, interim CEO John Chen laid out the challenges ahead and asserted, “we are not dwelling on the past.”
  6. After reporting that quarterly sales missed expectations, Cisco’s stock dropped more than 10 percent when the company gave analysts some even more discouraging news: 2014 isn’t going to be much better.
  7. Over several months last year, Groupon launched a coordinated and focused price-cutting attack, lowering margins temporarily in a bid to take away some of LivingSocial’s best customers. And it just might have worked.
  8. Industry sources say that, contrary to a report in the Albany Times Union, Apple’s chip manufacturing isn’t coming to upstate New York … at least, not yet. Rather, Samsung will continue to be Apple’s primary manufacturer, but the Korean tech giant will fall back on New York-based GlobalFoundries for multiple devices’ chips — not just Apple’s — if it can’t keep up with demand.
  9. Despite all the hype around mobile payments, consumers still like paying with cards — which is why a startup out of Y Combinator called Coin might have legs. The idea: Scan all your credit, debit and loyalty cards into one scannable card, and use that to pay for everything.
  10. “Enough time has passed,” writes FCC chair Tom Wheeler; once consumers fulfill their contractual obligations with carriers, they should be able to unlock their phones.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus