Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer touched upon virtually all the major issues concerning MS – from Windows 7 to Yahoo - at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo in Orlando. Unsurprisingly, he was confronted by many questions regarding Vista and Windows 7.He ardently defended Windows Vista. “The adoption rate of Vista is two times faster than XP at two years in,” Ballmer said in Vista’s defense.
However, he tacitly gave the thumbs up to enterprises that have abandoned all plans of upgrading to Vista and are already waiting for Windows 7. Regarding the possibility of a deal with Yahoo, he said that a deal would make sense for the shareholders of both the companies. The price of Yahoo’s shares shot up by 17% after Ballmer’s comment.
Ballmer believes that Google Apps has “very primitive” capabilities. He further derided Google Apps by not even acknowledging it as serious competition.
Yahoo just can’t seem to catch a break. The search site’s prospects are looking dimmer and dimmer as Yahoo and Google negotiate with the Justice department to try and head off a potential antitrust lawsuit stemming from their proposed advertising partnership. Several compromises are being discussed which would lessen the strategic value of the partnership for Yahoo.
The currently proposed concessions, according to the Wall Street Journal, “include capping the volume of Google ads Yahoo would use, assurances that Yahoo would continue to compete in search ads, and a reporting mechanism to ensure compliance… U.S. officials hope to impose measures that will ensure the prices advertisers must pay don’t rise significantly after the deal.”
According to Silicon Valley Insider, these compromises would leave the already down-in-the-mouth Yahoo in an even weaker position, cutting out much of the benefit they had hoped to gain from the ad partnership. They also suggest that Microsoft’s lobbyists are responsible for the Justice Department’s scrutiny of the deal, writing that “even if [Microsoft] doesn’t buy Yahoo, it gets the quiet pleasure of poking another stick at the carcass of a company that spurned it’s now extraordinarily generous buyout offer.”
We can already hear the moans and groans, but nevertheless, a Yahoo investor has proposed a new deal today to sell the search company to Microsoft for $22 a share. That figure represents a 74 percent premium on the company's current stock price.
The proposal calls for Microsoft to "unload Yahoo's Asian assets and non-search businesses, extract $3 billion worth of cost savings, and receive $2.8 billion of tax benefits," Reuters reports. All tallied up, the deal would have Microsoft paying $10.3 billion for Yahoo's search business.
Mithras Capital, the investment fund who came up with the proposal, owns a 14 percent stake in Yahoo (1.9 million shares) and said in a press release that if approved, Microsoft would be buying Yahoo's search business for $2 billion less than what it offered in July.
Whether or not anything comes out of this remains to be seen, but it's worth noting that Yahoo today fell into the $12 per share range for the first time.
Yahoo has single-handedly disproved Moore’s law, by finally updating their online calendar after 10 long, tech rich years. Tonight they will be rolling out a new drag-and-drop Ajax based calendar in a closed beta to Yahoo Mail users in the U.S., UK, India, Taiwan and Brazil (sign ups can be found here).
The upgraded calendar doesn’t do much that Google’s isn’t already capable of, but it does play nice with iCal and CalDAV and has a slew of new features, including; layering (viewing multiple calendars in different colors or subscribing to someone else’s calendar), zooming in when adding an appointment, integration with Flickr, setting email or SMS reminders, and a to-do list.
With this addition to their juggernaut of offerings, Yahoo should increase their market share in online calendars, despite already being the leader. Of their 285 million Yahoo Mail users, 8.1 million use the calendar compared to the 5 million that use Google’s.
This past Tuesday Yahoo released the latest version of their instant messaging program, Messenger 9.0. With the release, they’ve introduced a slew of new features including a brand new interface, chat window, improved spam control, and the Yahoo Messenger Pingbox.
The new interface is more spread out than previous versions, allowing for larger avatars and the ability to post status messages. Also included in the new interface is the ability to import your contacts in bulk from your e-mail, IM, or Facebook contact lists using third party operator TrueSwitch. TrueSwitch will search through your address books and find users already on Yahoo and shoot them a friend invite on your behalf.
The new chat window ups the ease-of-use factor, allowing users to drop maps, images, videos or links directly into the chat box when you want to share them with your friends. Being able to check out videos and images without even leaving your IM client is mighty convenient. Yahoo also made a reversal from their dime-sized emoticons, scaling them down to give them a much cleaner look.
The final big feature is the Yahoo Messenger Pingbox, which is brand new with this release. It allows for web site owners (such as bloggers, eBay sellers, and social networking power users) to chat in real time with anyone visiting their site. This is a step up over lurking your inbox, waiting for a reply e-mail from the site owner that you’re trying to get in contact with. For the owner of the site these Pingboxes are simple to use, and highly customizable. Everything from the aesthetics of the window, to sending out a broadcast message to your site’s users, you’ll be given lots of control.
Both her campaign manager and the FBI confirmed the news of her account being hacked, which began circulating after the appearance of the leaked screenshots on WikiLeaks. You will not be able to have a look at the screenshots yourself, in case your peeping faculties have been roused by the news, as they have been taken down.
The hackers are said to have only counted on their social engineering skills – by collecting or guessing personal information required for password recovery – and Yahoo’s flimsy, lax password-recovery process for breaking into her account. All said, the hack has exposed Palin’s inexpedient habit of conducting state business using a personal e-mail account.
Barney the purple dinosaur became a 90s phenomenon that still airs on television more than a decade later, so naturally the only logical conclusion is to attribute the runaway success to him being purple. Why else would Yahoo put so much effort into a new campaign imploring users to "Start Wearing Purple"?
To be fair, purple has been Yahoo's official color for some time now, though you wouldn't know it by the red colored logo prominently displayed on Yahoo's homepage. The new campaign kicks off with a kooky video that serves as an intro to several purple designated features, including Purple Picks, a daily series of links picked out by Yahoo's editors which "highlight the people, trend, fashion, and companies that exemplify life in the purple lane," and even Purple Merchandise, with everything from Yahoo Pony shoes to a purple Mimobot Code Ninja 1GB USB flash drive.
Is Yahoo on to something here, or is this another example of Web 2.0 having gone wrong? Check it out, hit the jump, and give us your thoughts.
With social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook featuring in the list of top online display ad publishers, Yahoo must be unhappy for having missed out. Not only has Yahoo seen both its social networking ventures – Mixd being the other one – fail miserably, but it also failed in its bid to acquire Facebook. Don’t forget to pay homage to Mash.
Microsoft might have failed in its hammy attempt to acquire Yahoo, but it hasn’t relinquished its goal of improving its standing amongst search engines. To this end, it has acquired Greenfield Online for $486 million. Greenfield Online owns popular European price-comparison portal ciao.com.
The company hopes to improve the usefulness of its search results – especially for shoppers - by integrating results from ciao.com. MS is going to do away with Greenfield’s online survey business, and is known to have reached an agreement with an anonymous financial buyer over the sale of the survey business.
Microsoft’s quest for online dominance it would seem, will take more than just cash to realize. The aborted Yahoo deal was but a small part of a multifaceted approach towards capturing long term search engine market share, the most lucrative of which involves e-commerce. For those who can’t remember back that far,
on May 31st 2008
Microsoft announced plans to offer consumers cash back for transactions with select e-retailers which were found using the Live search engine. The comScore US market share results show a slight increase after the first month which represents a boost of about 0.7%. But July’s results saw the search engine give back 0.3% to its competitors. Even though the promotion has only been running for about two months, tech critics seem to think the idea is already running out of steam and express doubt that it will have any meaningful long term gains. It remains to be seen if Microsoft will continue the program as it may see any gain in market share to be a success. This seems even more likely when you consider how slowly search engine market share moves these days. To put it in perspective, during the same two month period Google’s market share rose only 0.1% to 61.8% and Yahoo dropped, but only by 0.1% to 20.5%. According to eMarketer Inc., U.S. online retail sales are projected to grow to about $335 billion by the year 2012. Even today, 68 percent of all online transactions began through a search engine.
Do you think Microsoft can make a comeback with cash back? Click the jump and let us know.