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Industry News - December 9th 2011



Expedia Updates Expedia Hotels app for iPhone and Android OS

Expedia, the world's leading online travel agency, announced the availability of a major update to its popular Expedia Hotels app for the iPhone and Android OS, which adds full support for iPad and Android tablets. Since launching in spring 2011 on iPhone and Android, Expedia Hotels has become one of the world's most popular hotel booking apps. The Expedia Hotels mobile app has been downloaded almost two million times and has been the #1 free travel app in more than 40 countries on the iTunes App Store.

The tablet-optimized launch comes at a time when travelers are choosing more and more to bring their tablet on trips, rather than a laptop. For those on the road or in their living room, Expedia Hotels helps customers quickly pinpoint, research and book more than 130,000 hotels, via intuitive design, lush graphics, gorgeous high-resolution photos and a beautifully tactile booking experience.

The entire booking process, from start to finish, requires only four taps, though consumers may be tempted to linger, given Expedia Hotels' mix of elegant design and crisp efficiency.

In more than half of the booking scenarios on the iPhone, customers book hotels for the same night. With Expedia Hotels, they can instantly find available hotels within walking distance, and can search and narrow via price, distance or review rating.

Expedia Hotels is available for free on the iTunes App Store and Android Market.

Amazon Promotes Price Check App with One-Day 5% Discount

Increased price transparency has become a fact of life for brick-and-mortar retailers, fueled in large part by price comparison apps for mobile devices. One of the most popular, Price Check by Amazon, will get an additional boost on December 10, when shoppers using the app will earn a 5% discount (up to $5) off Amazon's price on up to three qualifying products in categories including electronics, toys, music, sporting goods and DVDs.

"The ability to check prices on your mobile phone when you're in a physical retail store is changing the way people shop," said director of Amazon Mobile Sam Hall in a statement.

Shoppers can use the Price Check app in four ways: scanning a product's barcode, snapping a picture of the item, saying the product's name or typing it into the device's search field. In order to participate in the discount, shoppers will need to have the app's latest version on their iPhone or Android mobile device.

Walmart Launches First Shopping App

Walmart recently released Shopycat, the first social shopping application from its recently formed @WalmartLabs division. The new mobile app allows Facebook users to find gifts for friends and family based on the interests posted on their profiles.
Using the app, customers receive recommendations for items from Walmart's brick-and-mortar stores, Walmart.com and other sites including RedEnvelope, Barnes & Noble and ThinkGeek. Through the app, they can find and buy gifts, receive relevant recommendations based on their hobbies, shop for gifts based on general interests and invite friends to share ideas.
"Our vision is to delight consumers and Shopycat is a first step in that direction with social and shopping coming together on the scale of Walmart," says Venky Harinarayan, senior vice president of Walmart global e-commerce and co-founder of @WalmartLabs. "At Walmart, we see social commerce fueling the next generation of e-commerce where online and retail stores bring a continuous shopping experience to millions of users. We plan to continue experimenting with products as we build new social apps over the coming year."


SAP Purchases Cloud Software Firm for $3.4B

SAP has purchased cloud-based enterprise software company SuccessFactors for $3.4 billion. SAP, who plans to close the deal early in 2014, is paying eight times SuccessFactors' forecast revenue for next year.
"The cloud is a core of SAP's future growth, and the combination of SuccessFactors' leadership team and technology with SAP will create a cloud powerhouse," says Bill McDermott, co-chief executive of SAP.
SuccessFactors, which makes software used to manage employee performance, has more than 3,500 customers and 15 million subscribers in 168 countries. The company is predicted to have $502 million in revenue in 2014, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Industry leaders like SAP have been searching for smaller companies that provide services through the cloud. Recently, Oracle purchased RightNow Technologies, which makes cloud-based customer service software, for $1.43 billion.


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