Here's a look at Friday's top tech stories.
Google buys online video software provider Anvato to strengthen cloud offerings
A day after announcing the purchase of image-recognition algorithm developer Moodstocks, Alphabet's (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report Google announced on Thursday it's buying Anvato, a provider of a software platform used to encode, publish, and insert ads within online video streams. Anvato's software, already used by broadcasters such as CBS, NBCUniversal and Fox Sports, will help underpin video streaming services for the Google Cloud Platform.
The deal follows several April service announcements aimed at broadcasters and other media firms. It puts Google on better competitive footing with cloud gorilla Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report, which last year bought video processing/distribution software and services provider Elemental Technologies for $296 million. IBM (IBM) - Get International Business Machines (IBM) Reportis also active in this space: Big Blue has bought video streaming/delivery platform Ustream and encoding/streaming services firm Clearleap over the last 12 months, and put the companies and other assets into a new Cloud Video Services unit.
Other players in this space include Brightcove (BCOV) - Get Brightcove Inc. Report and MLB Advanced Media; the latter recently got an investment from Disney (DIS) - Get Walt Disney Company Report . Google's reputation for delivering superior cloud infrastructure performance and -- with the help of its fiber network -- low bandwidth costs could help its video offerings stand out.
Samsung forecasts strong second-quarter earnings; mobile chip suppliers also gain
Ahead of the release of full second-quarter results later this month, the Korean electronics and chip giant says it expects to report second-quarter operating profit of about 8.1 trillion won ($7 billion), above a consensus analyst estimate of 7.8 trillion won. Strong phone sales are widely considered responsible.
Samsung has benefited from both a healthy debut for the Galaxy S7 -- it has received good reviews, and was priced somewhat aggressively -- and the company's attempts to win back low-end phone share lost to Chinese rivals by providing more compelling low-cost Android models. Meanwhile, Samsung's memory chip unit has been gaining share and likely benefited from an improving NAND flash memory market, and its display business has been propped up by rising OLED panel shipments. OLED materials and licensing firm Universal Display (OLED) - Get Universal Display Corporation Report joined Samsung in rising on Thursday.
The outlook is likely a positive for mobile chip suppliers with strong Samsung exposure, such as Skyworks (SWKS) - Get Skyworks Solutions, Inc. Report, Qorvo (QRVO) - Get Qorvo, Inc. Report, Maxim Integrated (MXIM) - Get Maxim Integrated Products, Inc. (MXIM) Report, Knowles (KN) - Get Knowles Corp. Report, and InvenSense (INVN) . Shares of all five companies rose on Thursday, as did those of Samsung memory rival Micron (MU) - Get Micron Technology, Inc. (MU) Report. It probably didn't hurt that Silicon Motion (SIMO) - Get Silicon Motion Technology Corporation Sponsored ADR Report, a major supplier of controller chips for NAND flash memory used in phones and SSDs, significantly hiked its second-quarter guidance. Or that Western Digital (WDC) - Get Western Digital Corporation Report, now the parent of NAND provider SanDisk, upped its guidance.
Amazon's Audible unit launches a $4.95/month service called Channels
Looking to make inroads with spoken-word audio fans who find the $14.95/month price for Audible's standard audiobook subscription service too steep, Audible is launching Channels, a cheaper service featuring original podcasts, news articles and other content. Those signed up for Audible's standard service get Channels for free.
Consider this part of Amazon's efforts to leave almost no stone unturned as the company fleshes out its digital media empire. Channels follows last year's launch of an add-on video subscription platform that's separate from the video content bundled with Prime subscriptions. It also follow a Reuters report stating Amazon plans to launch a standalone music subscription service competing against the likes of Spotify and Apple Music.