Google is currently exploring all possible methods of milking the Youtube cow despite having deemed revenues from the website to be immaterial during it Q1 filing.
It has now dawned upon Google that professionally made content is more lucrative to advertisers than amateur videos, and can help it recover the $1.65 billion Youtube acquisition costs. The search engine major’s enlightenment will greatly benefit Hollywood companies, who have been clamoring about the ease with which their interests are compromised on piracy hotbeds like Youtube.
Google knows that to monetize copyrighted movie and TV videos with advertisements it will have to legitimize their use first, which it plans to do with revenue sharing deals with major Hollywood studios. It recently struck a revenue sharing deal with Lionsgate and is in talks with other media companies, although very little is known at this stage.
Does it mean that Google will completely prevent users from uploading copyrighted content - something it has failed to do hitherto? Most probably that won’t be the case as it is currently working on a new technology that will help identify copyrighted content and allow its rightful owners to display ads next to it without the video being taken down.
Yahoo and Carl Icahn have called off the proxy battle for control of the company. They reach a deal in which Yahoo’s board is expanded to 11 members. The current 8 members stay in place and Ichan and two other nominees from Ichan’s list join the board. Ichan has agreed to withdraw his slate of alternative directors.
It isn’t clear how they reached such a deal, considering that both side’s exchanges were close to becoming personal. Things seem to be all warm and fuzzy right now.
"While I continue to believe that the sale of the whole company or the sale of its search business in the right transaction must be given full consideration, I share the view that Yahoo!'s valuable collection of assets positions it well to continue expanding its online leadership and enhancing returns to stockholders.", Ichan said.
What this means for any possible deal between Microsoft and Yahoo remains to be seen, but further discussion on the matter is certain to be behind closed boardroom doors.
Yahoo’s CEO Jerry Yang has scored a major victory against corporate raider Carl Icahn ahead of the crucial board election on August 1. Legg Mason’s Bill Miller, who owns a 4.4% stake in the internet company, has vowed his allegiance to Jerry Yang and the current board. Bill Miller’s support is being inferred as a fatal blow for Icahn’s Microsoft-backed proxy war as analysts don’t expect any institutional investors – that hold a stake in Yahoo – to back the boardroom coup.
The only glimmer of hope for Icahn is Gordon Crawford, who controls a substantial 6.5% stake. Gordon has hinted that he can align with Icahn but remains undecided. Yang wants to leave nothing to chance and wants to finalize a deal with AOL before the upcoming board elections, however, the chances of the deal going through ere Aug 1 remain slim.
It seems that either Viacom came to their senses about making Google turn over user data on YouTube, or they didn’t like the bad press that their suit was generating. They have reached a deal to protect the privacy YouTube watchers everywhere and will allow Google to anonymize YouTube user data.
Previously Viacom succeeded in getting Judge Louis Stanton of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to order Google to turn over as evidence a database what videos users watch, the users' computer addresses, and their usernames. Many groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation argued that the order "threatens to expose deeply private information" and violated the Video Privacy Protection Act. Whether the Act, created when VCRs were high tech, could be applied to YouTube was debatable. Viacom and Google’s deal avoids the legal snarl all together.
If you are into deciphering legalese (and we can assume you are into self flagellation too) you can read the details here.
eBay is continuing to provoke it’s user base with big changes to it’s business model it seems. If the recent fee hikes were not enough to get sellers on eBay mad, they are furious over the deal eBay struck with Buy.com that allows the company to sell millions of books, DVDs, electronics and other items on eBay without paying the full eBay fees. This is making it hard for small sellers to compete. Since the beginning of the year over five million fixed-price listings from Buy.com have been added.
The reason behind this shift seems to be that eBay’s growth has slowed recently and new CEO John Donahoe, has decided that the future lies with a model more along Amazon’s design and larger sellers as opposed to the small mom and pop sellers that have made eBay such a success. You can read the tale in full over at nytimes.com
Like Obi-Wan said about Mos Eisley, “you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be
cautious”. eBay has certainly had it’s shares of trouble makers on the site. Scam artists, Phishers, and con men have run roughshod over good sellers and customers alike. It’s been a good year since I bought anything on eBay because of the hassle of having to look at a seller from every angle to figure out if they are legit. Even worse than that is buyers that would run up the price on an item to retail. You can still get a good deal, but you have to be patient and ready to spend lots of time shopping.
I’m just not into that. Given the number of sites complaining about eBay it looks like a number of others are not happy with them either.
Are you still a big user of eBay? Tell me what you like and dislike about the eBay of today.
Yahoo rejected the proposal in a press statement citing several grounds for the decision. It believes that the terms of the proposed search-operation buyout are unfavorable for the company’s stockholders. However, it has softened its earlier stance a bit and now appears to favor a full sellout at $33/share, as originally proposed by Microsoft but rejected by it. The fate of the reigning Yahoo Board of Directors, and consequently, the deal will now be decided on August 1 – board election Day.
Of course, the respective owners of the images will have a right to refuse a request from Getty. Getty is going through a rough financial patch and this move is clearly a gambit to get out of it. Getty had very recently introduced a cheap web images package for only $49, a move that drew flak from photographers.
It appears as though that most of the images that Getty will buy from Flickr users would be used for its cheap web images package. All Flickr users will have to sign a contract with Getty images before they can be recompensed for their work. The payment will be based on size and use of the image. Getty will launch a new Flickr-branded image collection for selling images acquired from Flickr members.
Carl Icahn should feel at home in boardroom coups, after having fashioned a few of them. Along with experience, he has tenacity and a never-say-die attitude, which is rearing its head in the aftermath of Microsoft’s deal with Yahoo. While some people attribute the breakdown of (doomed-from-the-start?) talks between the two tech giants to company culture clash, Icahn is trying his best to agitate Yahoo stockholders into a revolt against the company’s board. Icahn’s fresh missive to Yahoo stockholders claims Microsoft is still interested in buying Yahoo’s search engine business or the entire company.
He reports to stockholders that Microsoft's CEO has personally conveyed his distaste for the current Yahoo board, and so, wouldn’t enter any negotiations with the incumbent board. Ballmer wasted no time in confirming Microsoft’s interest in “a major transaction with Yahoo, such as either a transaction to purchase the "Search" function with large financial guarantees or, in the alternative, purchasing the whole company." But he made it amply clear that negotiations would be resumed only after a new board of directors is elected.
Yahoo wants Microsoft to prove its seriousness and make an offer immediately, if it’s interested in a deal. The company warned in its response that it doesn’t believe a deal – with a new board in place - would be in the best interest of Yahoo stockholders.
Bill Gates, who gave up his executive responsibilities at the helm of Microsoft today, forthrightly told NBC that he doesn’t think a deal with Yahoo is likely. Coming from Bill Gates – retired or not, this comment sums up the mood at Microsoft.
Yahoo’s brazen snub has sunk in and there seem to be no delusions of even the slightest possibility of a deal now, although Icahn is still interested in the deal. Someone will soon have to don Bill Gates’ mantle and devise strategies to stymie Google’s upsurge.
Ace corporate raider Carl Icahn - who has been vigorously pressing upon Yahoo’s board for a deal with Microsoft - has launched his blog The Icahn Report. He might use his blog to announce his course of action in the Microsoft-Yahoo takeover saga.
Although his blog doesn't currently feature anything regarding his on-going proxy battle with Yahoo, it does have fervid posts like "Corporate Democracy is a Myth" with Carl Icahn stamped all over them. Only time - and perhaps his blog - will tell whether he still favors a deal with Microsoft or is statisfied with the recent deal between Yahoo and Google.