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Yahoo-Google deal faces scrutiny, antitrust experts say

Yahoo Inc. headquarters in Sunnyvale, California

(quote)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Google and Yahoo face intense U.S. Justice Department scrutiny of their deal to share some advertising revenue, and the heat will likely increase under a new administration, antitrust experts said. Google, with more than 60 percent of the Web search market, and Yahoo, with 16.6 percent, announced a deal last week that would allow Yahoo to place Google ads on its site and collect the revenue. The firms said Yahoo's cash flow could grow by $250 million to $450 million (127 million to 229 million pounds) in the first year under the deal, which Yahoo sought as an alternative to software giant Microsoft's $47.5 billion buyout offer.

Yahoo and Google describe the deal as very limited. "These are still independent companies who will continue to compete aggressively," said Yahoo lawyer Hewitt Pate of law firm Hunton and Williams. But the deal has raised eyebrows among antitrust lawyers. Bruce McDonald, a Jones Day antitrust attorney and former deputy assistant attorney general, pointed out that the arrangement could lessen Yahoo's incentive to compete vigorously against Google because Yahoo would collect revenue no matter which company placed an advertisement.

Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California  read more »

Nonprofit Mozilla keeps innovating: free open source web browser Firefox 3 sets world record - 8.3 million downloads in 24 hours

Firefox 3 passes 8 million downloads on first day, grabs market share

(quote)

They were going for the gold and they got it - Firefox has set a world download record with the release of Firefox 3 with 8.3 million downloads. beating its own goal by three million. Mozilla reported that there were around 8,000 downloads a minute, with a one-day estimate of between five and seven million downloads. Almost 2,7 million users have downloaded Firefox 3 only in the United States. Germany has ranked second in the Top 10 of Firefox fans with 700,000 downloads, while in Spain and France the browser has surpassed 300,000 downloads.

Mozilla Firefox, the little Web browser with the quirky name, has grown up fast. Four years ago, Firefox was an obscure project Microsoft felt free to ignore. Now it has grabbed about a fifth of the market worldwide. And while Microsoft has shipped only one upgrade to its Internet Explorer in that time, Firefox just hit its fourth major release. Like the earlier 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 versions, Firefox 3 -- a free download for Windows 2000, XP and Vista; Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5; and recent Linux releases at http://mozilla.com - makes the Web easier and safer to use in a few distinct ways.

Guinness is now reviewing the data, according to Mozilla, and should have a final answer within a few days  read more »

Beyond Blogs - How Blogs, Wikis, and Social Media Have Changed the Way Businesses Work

Original Source: BusinessWeek

(quote)

...blogs, it turns out, are just one of the do-it-yourself tools to emerge on the Internet. Vast social networks such as Facebook and MySpace offer people new ways to meet and exchange information. Sites like LinkedIn help millions forge important work relationships and alliances. These social connectors are changing the dynamics of companies around the world. Millions of us are now hanging out on the Internet with customers, befriending rivals, clicking through pictures of our boss at a barbecue, or seeing what she read at the beach. It's as if the walls around our companies are vanishing and old org charts are lying on their sides.

This can be disturbing for top management, who are losing control, at least in the traditional sense. Workers can fritter away hours on YouTube. They can use social networks to pillory a colleague or leak secrets. That's the downside, and companies that don't adapt are sure to get lots of it. But there's an upside to the loss of control. Ambitious workers use these tools to land new deals and to assemble global teams for collaborative projects. The potential for both better and worse is huge, and it's growing—and since 2005 the technologies involved extend far beyond blogs.  read more »

EU: Google Maps Street View vs. privacy laws - people walking in street captured by photos

Original Source: BusinessWeek

(quote)

Global search engine colossus Google has been warned by the EU data protection chief that the "Street View" feature on its Google Maps service could run up against European privacy laws if it launches in EU countries. Peter Hustinx, the EU data protection supervisor, told reporters while presenting his annual data protection report on Thursday (15 May) that if Google launched such a feature in Europe, the company would first have to comply with European privacy legislation, which in many member states is stricter than in the United States.

Street View allows users of Google's online map service to have a full-colour, 360-degree look around city streets. Users can digitally walk up and down the virtual street, which is built from composites of photographs taken by roaming Google cars with roof-mounted cameras. The service, already launched for many US and Canadian cities, has wowed users, who report that Street View allows them to digitally make a trip to cities they have always wanted to visit. At the same time, privacy concerns have arisen, as people walking down a street are also captured by the photographs.

"Complying with European data protection law is going to be part of their business success or failure," Mr Hustinx added. "If they would ignore it, it is likely to lead to [court] cases, and I think they would be hit hard." The company has not launched the service in Europe yet, although it has announced plans to do so next year, and Google cars snapping away photos of the vias and rues of Rome and Paris have already been spotted.  read more »

2008 'Webby Person of the Year' Announced: Stephen Colbert

(quote)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stephen Colbert, whose U.S. presidential campaign was cut short, came out a winner on Tuesday when he walked away with a Webby award as the Internet's "Person of the Year."

The Webby awards, which honor excellence on the Internet, are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a 550-person judging academy. Winners will be honored at ceremonies on June 9th and 10th in New York, and, as always, will be limited to just a five-word acceptance speech.

Colbert won the highest honor for "the innovative way he has used the Internet to interact with fans of The Colbert Report."

(unquote)

Photo courtesy of Reuters

Stephen Colbert wins top honor at 2008 Webby Awards

Original Source

No "Microhoo", for Now - Microsoft Drops Yahoo Bid

Microsoft has decided to withdraw its three-month-old offer to buy Yahoo, as expressed in a formal letter from Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer to Yahoo chief executive Jerry Yang.

"The companies had finally engaged in merger talks this week and appeared closer than ever to a deal Friday, but they still remained billions of dollars apart in their assessment of Yahoo's worth. Ballmer said today that the company had raised its buyout price to $33 a share from the initial $31 offered, which added $5 billion to the deal that was initially worth $44.6 billion.

That would have represented a 70% premium over Yahoo's closing stock price on Jan. 31, the night that Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft made its unsolicited offer.

But in recent talks Yahoo had insisted on receiving at least $5 billion more than that, or at least $37 a share, which Microsoft was unwilling to pay, Ballmer wrote in a letter to Yang.

Ballmer said he had decided against launching a hostile bid for Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo, including trying to take control of the company's board and offering the deal directly to shareholders. He said Yahoo had signaled that it would take action that could prolong such a proxy fight and make the company less valuable to Microsoft, including striking a partnership with Google Inc. in which the search giant would deliver ads alongside many of Yahoo's search results."

Image courtesy of The Los Angeles Times

Microsoft withdraws offer for Yahoo

Original Source

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