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Posts Tagged ‘Steve Ballmer’

Internet Takes Some of the Show Out of CES Show-and-Tell

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), set to temporarily swell the Las Vegas downtown populace by 25% January 8 through 11, is no longer your grandfather’s CES. Heck, it’s not even your father’s CES.

Take Microsoft. In 2001, they used CES to unveil Xbox; this week, they have no booth on the convention show floor and are not participating in any keynote addresses.* Although a staggering 20,000 new products are still expected to be unveiled, including an 85-inch ultra-high-definition TV from Samsung, the reason for the new M.O. is pretty much universally acknowledged. Per a preview piece by LA Times writers Andrea Chang and Chris O’Brien:

Groundbreaking products are rarely launched at the show anymore because of the 24-hour news cycle of the Internet, which makes it easy for companies to promote whatever they want, whenever they want.

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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.

Icahn Boomerangs Back to Yang, Gets Three Board Seats for His Troubles

hansavestheday.jpgWe can’t decide whether this is like the time gun-for-hire Han Solo reconsidered his selfish ways at the last minute and zoomed in to save Luke from Darth Vader. Regardless, with ten days to go until the Yahoo stock holder meeting we will bet this isn’t the last plot twist to come. The New York Post is reporting that proxy battler Carl Icahn has made good with Yahoo head Jerry Yang and in the process acquired three of the eleven seats on Yahoo’s board. You may recall how last week Icahn’s “stupid” joint bid with Microsoft to take over Yahoo completely failed. The Post calls the weekend reunion a “face-saving settlement” that came about after Icahn realized Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer was talking a bigger game than he was willing to play.

Ballmer basically played Icahn like a fiddle here,” said one Yahoo shareholder. “He told Icahn that he was still interested in Yahoo but refused to put a price out there that would have convinced shareholders to take a chance with his slate.
The end result is that Yang wins (for the moment, and who saw that coming?) and Icahn is left in the red for all that Yahoo stock he bought last spring: Yahoo stock dropped 3.5% yesterday.

Is Carl Icahn Just a Pawn in Microsoft’s Pursuit of Yahoo?

billiebohope.jpgAt the rate this is going we may have to move on to soap opera metaphors. As you may recall all the buzz this week-end was about the “stupid” takeover deal Carl Icahn and Microsoft presented Yahoo with (go here for a refresher), which they immediately, and loudly, turned down. However, some people are now wondering whether Microsoft head Steve Ballmer is actually intentionally playing stupid and using Icahn as a (unknowing?) pawn in his larger takeover game. Says the NYPost:

Sources close to the Microsoft-Yahoo deal talks, as well as some Yahoo shareholders, believe Ballmer is intentionally making offers that he knows Yahoo will reject — and using Carl Icahn to do it — as part of his longer-term plan to either buy Yahoo on the cheap or permanently hobble it as a competitor.
Crafty! Meanwhile, Icahn is crying foul on Yahoo’s version of the deal saying they mischaracterized it to the press and that it “did not include changes to Yahoo’s governance.” Yahoo says that’s just cause they turned it down before they got that far on the list of requirements. Like sands through the hourglass…

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.