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    Wednesday, March 25, 2009

    Reuters - Nokia invests in mobile money firm Obopay

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    Nokia invests in mobile money firm Obopay

    Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 11:48AM UTC

    HELSINKI (Reuters) - The world's top cell phone maker Nokia has bought a minority stake in Obopay, enabling the U.S. mobile money firm to extend its product offering and geographical presence.

    "This investment reflects our belief in the global potential for mobile payments," Teppo Paavola, head of Corporate Business Development at Nokia, said in a statement. The size of the investment was not disclosed.

    Research firm Berg Insight expects the number of people using mobile financial services to grow on average 89 percent a year to 913 million in 2014 from just 20 million last year.

    Mobile banking services are expected to match those of online retail banking and eventually go beyond that with technologies like near-field communications (NFC), which enables payments by just waving a phone. (Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Hans Peters)

    Reuters - "Cloud-based" console takes aim at Wii, PS3, Xbox 360

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    "Cloud-based" console takes aim at Wii, PS3, Xbox 360

    Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 1:37PM UTC

    By Gabriel Madway

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A new videogame company is aiming to challenge the big three console makers by providing a "cloud-based" gaming system promising on-demand access to games and no lag time.

    The fledging company, called OnLive, said its service will allow users to play games on any TV and nearly any personal computer -- even stripped-down netbooks and PCs without graphics processors.

    A console slightly larger than an iPhone connects TVs and broadband connections to the OnLive service, and is operated via a wireless controller. OnLive delivers games run on servers in the "cloud," rather than locally on a PC or a console.

    OnLive, which has been in development for seven years, has deals in place with 10 publishers to provide new game titles when they hit the shelves. Heavyweights such as Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Take Two, and THQ have signed on.

    "When you want to play a game, you just click a button and it plays instantly," said Steve Perlman, OnLive's founder and chief executive. "It's that simple."

    Perlman is a well-known Silicon Valley entrepreneur who helped launch WebTV, which Microsoft bought in 1997.

    He said OnLive allows complex and graphically rich games to play with outstanding performance on even low-end PCs or Macs.

    The company expects to launch its service in the winter of 2009. Although OnLive did not release details on pricing, it will follow a subscription model and Perlman said it will be "significantly" cheaper than consoles.

    Nintendo's Wii, Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3 consoles can cost anywhere from $200 to $400.

    OnLive was formally launched Tuesday at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Its innovation rests in its video compression technology, which instantly streams video down through the Internet so that it appears "effectively instantaneously," Perlman said.

    "Perceptually, it appears the game is playing locally."

    OnLive, which was spun out of technology incubator Rearden, is headquartered in Palo Alto, California. Its investors include Time Warner's Warner Bros., Autodesk and Maverick Capital.

    (Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing by Edwin Chan, Gary Hill)

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