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Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Microsoft Not Pursuing NYT, Thank You Very Much!

newspaper-stack.jpgMicrosoft does NOT want to buy the New York Times. Got that? Not that the Times is for sale, per se — at least to our knowledge. So perhaps the larger point Steve Ballmer was trying to make outside the McGraw-Hill building yesterday is that Microsoft has no interest in investing in what newspapers have to offer (even as newspapers are trying to figure out for themselves what exactly it is they have to offer).

It’s no secret Microsoft is trying to overhaul its approach to the Internet — not to mention sort out its on-again, off-again relationship with Yahoo. So, what does that overhaul include if not the NYT? ZDNet reports that they company is “working on a ‘set change’ in how it approaches search on the Internet, code-named Kumo.com. Exclusive high-quality news, behind a registration or pay wall, could distinguish either a refashioned search business or its Web portal.” Whether this includes Yahoo is unclear, what it won’t include, apparently is newspapers no matter how cheap their share price is.

EXCLUSIVE: Yahoo! To Lay Off 1,500 In California on Wednesday; 200 In L.A.

jerryyang.jpgYahoo!, via an email from departing CEO Jerry Yang, told its California employees that on Wednesday, as many as 1,500 employees will be tossed, inside sources confided to FBLA.

yahoosign.jpgNo details were available regarding the email, but one employee who read it said Yang talked about the need to make cutbacks. This was in keeping with his statement in mid-November that Yahoo! would have to layoff as much as 10% of its global workforce. He targeted Dec. 10 as D-Day for these employees.

In her technology blog All Things Digital, Kara Swisher said Yang had told her in October that layoffs were a distinct possibility and described them as “consolidation and organizational corrections.”

“We’re asking ourselves — should we sell it or should we shut it down?” Yang said. “That is the kind of comprehensive look we are doing across the company.”

The layoffs, which could ultimately number as high as 2,000, are generally across the board, but human resources will likely take the biggest hit because their expenses are cost-based and most of their costs are staff.

Swisher said employees will be told Wednesday, but FBLA sources saw the email on Monday afternoon. Staff is supposedly allowing for a “normal seperation period,” but that could mean that employees will have to exit within a few hours of being told.

Swisher’s sources said Yahoo executives are not expecting any serious problems like extremely upset employees because the layoffs have been long in coming. Security will be present, however, at its Sunnyvale headquarters and presumably in Los Angeles.

Most employees do not know if they will be let go yet, Swisher maintained, because the cuts have not yet been made public.

Yahoo! is playing it close to the vest because entire projects might be eliminated and the secrecy allows time to restructure further if necessary.

Swisher conjectures that rumors have surfaced of whole divisions being juggled among the bigger managers presumably to stake out territory before a new CEO is installed.

Meanwhile, Yang has not officially left his slot, though he said last month that he was planning on leaving.

Yahoo’s Jerry Yang Steps Down as CEO

JerryYang.jpgLooks like at least one chapter of the long Yahoo soap opera has drawn to a close. Jerry Yang, who co-founded Yahoo back in 1995 announced yesterday that he was stepping down from his position as CEO. The move comes after many, many months of wrangling, proxy battling, and failed takeover and merger attempts — most notably Yang turned down a unsolicited offer of $31 a share in cash and stock from Microsoft — and more recently a failed move to strike a search-advertising partnership with Google.

Yang took over as CEO in June of 2007 amidst “high hopes” but quickly became the object of shareholder frustration and criticism after turning down the Microsoft offer amidst plummeting stock shares. Proxy battler Carl Icahn had promised to replace Yang if he was successful in his bid this past spring, but in the end the two managed to strike a truce, which kept Yang in is position. That said, apparently Yang has been considering stepping down for months. Wired says Yang is “out of the company he cofounded looking anything but a visionary, but instead as yet another high tech entrepreneur…who didn’t realized that time had passed him by.” On the upside Yang’s return to a figurehead position (Chief Yahoo) may pave the way for another deal with Microsoft. As for who might fill Yang’s shoes?

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Icahn Forsakes Yahoo Shareholder’s High Noon Throwdown

highnoon.gifThis is no fun at all. After months of stirring up trouble and headlines (and blog posts) proxy battler Carl Icahn will not be attending the Yahoo‘s long anticipated annual shareholders meeting today. Per Icahn’s blog:

I will not be attending. The proxy fight is over and it will not do shareholders or Yahoo any good to have the annual meeting turn into a media event for no purpose.
Ha! As if media events need a purpose, this is an election year after all. Ichan goes on to say that the reason he’s been on the DL these past two weeks is because he saw the writing on the wall and decided there was “no point in spending the final two weeks in a debilitating fight.”

Anyway, the end result is that Yahoo head Jerry Yang will be flying solo today when he faces shareholders, though with Icahn’s absence and a zero deal with Microsoft the mood feels a tiny bit more conciliatory than it did a few months ago, and certainly (sadly for us, we admit) will result in less fireworks. That’s not to say Yahoo doesn’t face a uphill battle, stock prices plunged after Yang turned down the Microsoft deal back in May, and have yet to recover.

Is That All There Is? Microsoft Calls it a Day on Yahoo Bid

White-Flag-Small.jpgAlas. It looks like maybe, finally, Microsoft has thrown in the Yahoo towel. The last straw in the months long we-love-you, we-love-you-not dealings may have been this week’s announcement that proxy-battler Carl Icahn had apparently jumped ship and made amends with Yahoo head Jerry Yang, accepting three board seats in the process. This following a Icahn, Microsoft offer that Yahoo termed “stupid.” Yesterday, chief financial officer Chris Liddell told a group of Microsoft investors that the chance of deal was “so small as to be essentially negligible,” and Microsoft head followed up saying that he hoped Liddell’s comments “had removed any ‘specter’ of uncertainty.”

So what’s the next step for Microsoft? Well they have just announced a deal to bring “its Web search and search ads to social-networking site Facebook Inc.” After all this, we imagine they will need as many friends as they can get.

Jerry Yang Speaks, er, Writes!

150biopic.gifIn recent weeks most of the talk about the operatic ins and outs of the Yahoo and Microsoft relationship have centered around what proxy battler Carl Icahn and Microsoft head Steve Ballmer have been up to, and the different ways Yahoo is finding to escape their evil clutches. But the August 1 shareholder deadline is fast approaching and that led us to wonder: wherefore Jerry Yang?

Well (via Radar) we found our answer. He’s writing a book! Kidding, he’s merely penning long memos detailing why Icahn is a carpet-bagging, n’er do well “corporate agitator!” who has involved himself in a marriage of convenience with Microsoft.

The recently-formed Carl Icahn-Microsoft alliance continues to make misleading statements about their plans for Yahoo. Your Board of Directors believes strongly that the Icahn-Microsoft agenda…will destroy stockholder value at Yahoo, serving only their very narrow special interests, clearly not your interests.
That said, Yang is willing to deal, at $33 a share as long as it provides “real value to our stockholders.” Also, and we imagine he’s going to be stressing this point in the coming weeks since it was the basis for Icahn’s involvement in the first place, he want shareholders to know “your Board takes seriously its obligation to examine all value-creating steps it could take and continues to actively examine many of these now.” Read the whole shebang here.

Yahoo, Microsoft and Google Take it to the Judge

nightcourt.jpgIf only we could all take our bad relationship complaints directly to a congressional hearing. At an anti-trust hearing yesterday an exec for Microsoft — whose recent proposal to Yahoo was thrown back in their face — “painted an alarmist portrait” of Yahoo’s outsourcing deal with Google saying if the deal went through Google would essentially control 90% of online ad marketing, making any sort of competition impossible. What this exec neglected to mention is that if the Yahoo/Google deal somehow falls apart, due to Congressional interference or other stuff, Yahoo would be weakened and further susceptible to a bid from, you guessed it, Microsoft! (as if we all haven’t tried similar post-break-up tactics).

One of the judges wanted to know how a Microsoft/Yahoo deal would be less threatening to the American consumer than a Google one and another wondered whether a Google deal would just result in Yahoo being the “newest satellite in the Google orbit.” However, in the end lawmakers “refrained from passing judgement” yesterday. Yahoo’s shareholder meeting is set for August 1.

Icahn and Microsoft Fail to Charm Yahoo, Again

watergun2.jpgIt’s back off-again. Over the week-end Yahoo rejected Carl Icahn and Microsoft‘s “take it or leave it” proposal, which required Yahoo to sell its search business to Microsoft, throw out its board and management, and hand control of the rest of the company to Carl Icahn. Not surprisingly even the analysts and shareholders who had previously criticized Yahoo for letting takeover talks with Microsoft collapse earlier this year referred to the “stupid” offer as a stunt. But don’t despair, all is not lost! Yahoo chairman/CEO Roy Bostock says the company is more than happy to consider a sale and has “emphatically” told Ballmer that Yahoo would be “willing to sell to Microsoft at $33 a share or to negotiate a search deal after the proxy fight.”

Meanwhile over at AdAge Simon Dumenco says the whole “on-again, off-again, full-frontal, roundabout, all-or-nothing, piecemeal” relationship is bad for Microsoft’s image and that this entire deal (or non-deal) is evidence that Microsoft head Steve Ballmer is running “amok” now that Bill Gates has effectively left the building. But that doesn’t mean we want all this “pouncing and striking” and “ducking and weaving” to end! Oh no, we have to agree with Dumenco that as far as media “dramedies” go it’s too much fun. The only thing missing now is some Rupe.

Icahn Sweet Talks Microsoft Back to the Yahoo Table

Picture 15.pngWe’re running out of relationship metaphors to describe the on-again, off-again business dealings between Yahoo, Microsoft and more recently, Carl Icahn. As it stands the trio appears to be somewhere between Three’s Company and Melrose Place.

Over the week-end reports surfaced that Icahn, who is currently waging a proxy battle against Yahoo’s board, had convinced Microsoft to publicly renew its interest in Yahoo’s search business as long as Yahoo replaces its board. The question now, according to the New York Post, is whether Icahn can convince the Yahoo board to trust him to make the deal happen and sell the company at a premium, something Yahoo head Jerry Yang was unable or unwilling to do. This renewed interest on the party of Microsoft is apparently the result of a number of conversations Icahn had last week with Microsoft head Steven Ballmer and may signal Microsoft’s “acknowledgment that it badly needs Yahoo to compete with Google in Web advertising.” For their part Yahoo seemed less confident in Microsoft’s committment saying

If Microsoft and Mr. Ballmer really want to purchase Yahoo, we again invite them to make a proposal immediately…And if Mr. Icahn has an actual plan for Yahoo beyond hoping that Microsoft might actually consummate a deal which they have repeatedly walked away from, we would be very interested in hearing it.
Yep! As with all great love stories, it ain’t over until the consumation is confirmed. Stay tuned.

Forget the Shows–Let’s Watch Ads! Firebrand Launches

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Firebrand.com is “an online destination to view the best TV commercials”, should anyone feel sad and lonely enough to do so.

It’s the MTV of ads! Firebrand even has

CJ’s (commercial jockeys), the same way MTV had VJ’s, who will contextualize the commercials as art and entertainment.

Where are they finding viewers so challenged as to need TV ads explained to them?

From NBC Universal and Microsoft where art and commerce meet, and commerce stomps art to a bloody pulp. Check out the Facebook group.

(And how much did they pay Marvel for the name? We’re betting $0.00. and not a penny less.)

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