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.
Intel unveiled the Intel Media Processor CE 3100, a System on Chip (SoC) for consumer electronics based on Intel Architecture (IA), at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. This particular SoC has been designed keeping in mind internet-enabled consumer electronics products like optical media players, connected CE devices, advanced cable set top boxes and digital TVs. Intel hopes that the CE 3100 will make it easier for people to stay connected to the internet on their favorite CE devices without feeling any vexing technical constraints.
Another social news voting system gets added to the web today as Yahoo opens up its Buzz to the public. Prior to the public release, only about 400 publishers could contribute new links to the service, though anyone could see them and vote buzz up or down what they consider to be the most/least interesting news stories.
The release comes with little fanfare or hype, an interesting move for a service that hopes to contend with similar sites like Digg and Reddit. Separating itself from the pack, Buzz's algorithms also analyze search engine popularity rather than remain purely community driven, and Yahoo's editors still program the Yahoo.com front page.
While it's far too early to predict how Buzz will fare, the social service could gain some traction both by leveraging other Yahoo communities, and by luring participation by having some of the most popular news items posted on its main page.
What would you do with a multi billion dollar war chest? Well if your Microsoft, you try and buy up the largest search engine you can afford. But ever since Microsoft failed to convince the stubborn Jerry Yang to sell Yahoo, investors have been scratching their heads wondering, what will Microsoft do with all that money? A potential answer emerged last week in the San Francisco Chronicle with the news that Microsoft may spend as much as $20 billion to buy back its own shares within the next three months. Analysts believe this to be in response to its lagging share price which went from a 52 week high of $37.50 to as low as $24.87 by shareholders who worried Microsoft was overpaying for Yahoo. Investors may also be concerned that if buying Yahoo was plan a, plan b is something they should genuinely be worried about. Buying back shares should help push Microsoft’s stock price back up, and buy a bit of good will with shareholders. Tim Allen, analyst and portfolio manager at Wentworth, Hauser and Violich expressed relief that Microsoft was “not going to do something crazy”. The hope is that by reducing the number of shares in the market, earnings per share will increase and stock value will climb as a result. This doesn’t always happen, but is a pretty safe bet with a company like Microsoft that has a steady income stream. Microsoft shares closed down on Friday at $27.81.
Yahoo’s search ads deal with Google might have come as a shock to most but it elicited a different emotion among legislators, that of suspicion. Yahoo has made its 50 page agreement with Google public amid all the talk of it being anti-competitive. It filed the document with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a supplement along with its quarterly report card. But certain parts of the agreement are not available to the public and have been made available to SEC separately.
The prospects of an antitrust lawsuit still loom over the search ads deal, which capped Yahoo’s brazen defiance towards Microsoft. However, don’t mistakenly assume that the SEC is probing the matter. The probe into the legality of the agreement is being carried by U.S. Department of Justice and various states.
Tired of all the drama surrounding the future of Yahoo? You're not the only one. Not a week goes by without a new twist emerging in what's to become of the would-be search giant, and billionaire investor T. Boone Pickens has had enough. Aside from having one of the coolest names ever, Pickens also owned 10 million Yahoo shares, all of which he sold at a loss.
Pickens picked up the stock back in May in anticipation that activist Carl Icahn would wage a proxy contest to force Yahoo's board into signing on the dotted line with Microsoft. Tired of waiting, Pickens unloaded all his shares, but not without taking a parting short at Yahoo management.
"I think that Yahoo management was pathetic," Pickens told the San Francisco Chronicle.
It's unclear exactly how much money Pickens lost in the ordeal, but Yahoo stock was selling around $27 per share in late May and has since dropped to around $20 per share. Talk about a costly way to make a point.
A few weeks ago, Gigaom’s Stacey Higginbotham speculated that cloud computing would not be trusted by large corporations, but now Intel, Yahoo, and HP are looking to change that perspective. These powerhouse companies will have six data centers available for pre-selected researchers to test new applications with the possibility for more data centers to come.
There are many problems and concerns currently with cloud computing but John Manley, director of HP’s strategic research lab, wants to “create an environment that can begin to answer some of these challenges.” Aside from exploring new applications for cloud computing, the companies will allow researchers to look into how such huge scale computing can be reliable, manageable and secure. Manley believes that, "Anytime you get three companies of that stature looking to advance it, is significant. We consider cloud computing to be the next really big thing and the sky's the limit to the services it will enable over the next ten years."
Intel, Yahoo, and HP will each host one data center while the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, the University of Illinois, and the Steinbuch Centre for Computing in Germany will host the other three.
TechCrunch reports that the Delicious team says to get ready for the new version, it’s “almost ready” Of course we have heard that line before. Back in September ‘07 Delicious 2.0 was “feature complete and in private beta”. Hints where also dropped back in February that a launch was imminent. The TechCrunch guys are pretty confident that Team Delicious isn’t going to psych us out again and we can expect to see it launch soon.
Some folks were beginning to think the guys at Yahoo were pulling a Trillian Astra sort of tease and would end up in perpetual beta. Anyone want to setup a pool on who opens first, Delicious or Astra? Which gets your vote?
As if the tech community needed any more proof that DRM schemes only serve to hurt paying customers, Yahoo has decided to remind everyone why the whole concept sucks in the first place. Come September 30, Yahoo will shut off support for Yahoo Music, locking customers who purchased their tracks through the service from being able to transfer their tunes to a new hard drive or PC.
Here we go again. Microsoft pulled the same stunt when it pulled the plug on its MSN Music service. Amid community outcries, the software giant eventually caved to pressure and reversed its decision, offering customers a reprieve "until at least the end of 2011."
Who knows if Yahoo will end up doing the same thing, but as it stands now, customers who want to keep playing their purchased music after the end of September are being prevented from transferring their songs to another machine or even performing a clean OS install on their existing PC. Or they can choose to transfer their music library to RealNetwork's Rhapsody music service. And while customers decide between losing their music or jumping through hoops, pirates will continue to snag the songs they want through Limewire, Piratebay, and everywhere else where pirated music runs rampant.