Search Biz: Google Vs. Viacom, Pakistan Vs. Facebook, Google Vs. US, Apple Vs. Google & The Russians Are Coming!

It's been a little while since we've done a Search Biz column. So it's time to dust off the old snark machine and get right into it. First up there's a very entertaining post on some new, unsealed records from the YouTube-Viacom litigation featuring a range of colorful expletives as both sides insult one another relentlessly. Here's a select excerpt: Viacom complains that YouTube employees "sneered at rights holders as 'copyright bastards' and 'a-holes.'" Google retorts that Viacom can't complain about this language, and it quotes numerous Viacom execs to make its point. Sample outbur [...]

Search Biz: AOL Spin Off, Yahoo Layoffs, Google Losses, IAC Spoons And Pines For AOL

The biggest Search Biz news of the week is about AOL's forthcoming spin off and related personnel moves. Time Warner yesterday announced quarterly revenues and a whopping $16 billion loss (not the largest in the company's history). For its part, AOL's ad revenues fell roughly 20 percent to $867 million from $1.13 billion the previous year. The primary cause was weakness in online display advertising. The ISP business also declined. Source: Time Warner earnings release In addition, Time Warner yesterday confirmed the long-expected intention to sell or spin off the AOL unit. The precis [...]

Who’s Coming & Going In The Search Industry?

Over the weekend, there seemed to be a lot of activity on people coming and going at search companies. I figured I sum up some of those moves in a short post here. Former Googler Douglas Bowman, who resigned from Google due to Google being too data centric has taken a job at Twitter, according to TechCrunch. Priti Choksi, a director of strategic partner development at Google has moved to Facebook, according to VentureBeat. Well-known Greg Linden is Leaving Microsoft after Microsoft has "dismantled" Live Labs. Brad Williams, Yahoo Inc.'s head of communications has left the company. Rumo [...]

Search Biz: Google News Courting Legal Trouble?, Bold Predictions About Behavioral Ad Targeting & More

Will the recent introduction of paid ads on Google News lead to legal issues for Google? That question is discussed today on ClickZ, where Sandra Baron of the Media Law Resource Center says publishers will be looking at what Google is doing: "A significant issue for content providers is whether or not what Google provides becomes a substitute for going to the actual content providers site. When that tension becomes too great, people seek legal solutions to it." Google News itself only offers snippets of news articles, a photo, and then links to the content provider: The ads on the [...]

SearchBiz Legal Edition: Varney Uses The “M Word,” More AdWords Litigation, Yahoo Lawyer Files Complaint — Against Yahoo

If Christine A. Varney is confirmed as the head of anti-trust for the US Justice Department it may signal tough times ahead for Big G. Bloomberg discusses public remarks that Obama nominee Varney made before the American Antitrust Institute about Google in a June, 2008 speech: The U.S. economy will "continually see a problem -- potentially with Google" because it already "has acquired a monopoly in Internet online advertising," she said. Reportedly she believes that Google "lawfully" obtained its monopoly. While one might make a plausible argument that Google's search dominance rises to [...]

SearchBiz: MicroHoo Redux, MySpace ‘Dissed’ By Yahoo, Microsoft Hiring In Search

I was reminded by CNET that it was exactly a year ago when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made his bold, unsolicited bid for Yahoo. It seems like a lifetime ago, certainly for the economy it is. CNET's Stephen Shankland speculates about what might have been if the offer had been accepted by Yahoo rather than resisted. It's a "on the one hand, on the other hand" sort of analysis, but interesting to consider how deeply the ranks of Yahoo would have been cut and how many of its initiatives subsumed had the deal happened. It's also interesting to contemplate how much the Yahoo brand and search ass [...]

Search Biz: Yahoo Earnings, Google Lobbying, Tech Stimulus, Best Places To Work & Making PCs ‘History’

Just like the US economy, things at Yahoo may get worse before they get better; the company reports earnings today at 5 p.m. Eastern. The general expectation is they'll be down. Yahoo may have been hit hard by the weakness in online display advertising. And new CEO Carol Bartz will be on the hot seat as financial analysts probe about a potential deal with Microsoft and whether the company will layoff more employees. Bartz is trying to impose some discipline and get tough on press leakers, which have feed Kara Swisher at AllThingsD so faithfully and regularly. Swisher reports on Bartz's a [...]

Search Biz: Yahoo CEO Duel, MSFT Reconsiders Search Brand, MSN ‘Lewd’ In China & Google Won’t Buy Newspapers

SearchBiz today rounds up some items from the last 24 hours. Most of them concern personnel moves or speculation about who might get the top spot at Yahoo. Then there's the ongoing MicroHoo saga and whether a new CEO will restart talks with Redmond. There's also the matter of MSN being branded a "lewd" site in China for user-generated content. Yahoo CEO contenders: Decker vs. Bartz? CNET and AllThingsD are discussing potential Yahoo CEO appointments. AllThingsD reports that Autodesk Executive Chairperson and former CEO Carol Bartz is a strong candidate for the position, according to the usu [...]

Search Biz: Yahoo-MSFT Update; Google’s 20% Time Changing & Google Router Coming Soon?

The latest twist in the Yahoo-Microsoft saga comes from TechCrunch, which reports that a new group is trying to takeover Yahoo ... with Microsoft's money. The group is made up of investment bankers and Silicon Valley big-wigs, and Microsoft would loan the group the money to make it happen. If it sounds a bit complicated, it probably is; TechCrunch says the current economic situation demands creative financing on big merger deals like this. If the report is accurate, and if it happens, the new group would sell Yahoo's search and search marketing business to Microsoft. TechCrunch says the propos [...]

Search Biz: MSFT Layoff Rumors, Google Chrome Complicates Mozilla Relationship & More

There are several gloom-and-doom reports in circulation today about Google, Microsoft, Web 2.0, and the entire Internet sector, for that matter -- not exactly how you'd like to start out a holiday week, but so be it. Let's get started, shall we? First up, we'll hit the rumor mill. The Mini-Microsoft blog is getting and posting a lot of comments purportedly left by Microsoft employees who are being warned/told that job cuts are coming on January 15, 2009. Some of the comments are just things heard on the grapevine, while others are from people specifically told in meetings that they have "fo [...]

Search Biz: YouTube Growing Up, Google Owns Ad Serving Market & More

It wasn't too long ago that YouTube was mostly a haven for the video expressions of teens and young adults; popular clips often showed skateboard crashes, air guitar contests, and bedroom renditions of Numa Numa. But now, as the site continues to grow in popularity, it seems YouTube is finally turning into a serious business and money-making platform. First, let's talk about growth. TechCrunch reports on new ComScore numbers that show YouTube is the second biggest search engine behind Google; it gets more searches than Yahoo and accounts for more than 25% of Google's search queries. Just la [...]

SearchBiz: Microsoft Search General Manager Brad Goldberg Leaving, Twitter Gets Serious About Revenue & Google Gives Good License

Microsoft's GM of search product management (on the marketing side), Brad Goldberg, is leaving the company to become CEO of online business at investment firm Peak6. This doesn't impact the technical side of search at Microsoft, which just hired former Yahoo search exec Qi Lu to head up its overall online business unit. There's also much speculation today about what Microsoft may do with its "Kumo" domain/brand. When the name initially surfaced last week the conjecture was that this would become the brand for search at Microsoft, replacing Live. Today, however, the idea has surfaced that Ku [...]

SearchBiz: Google “Less Trusted,” Eric Schmidt On Meet The Press, Yahooligans “Vote” For New CEO, Microsoft Releases First iPhone App, Mobile To Be Primary Internet By 2020

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Google is negotiating with ISPs for "a fast lane for its own content" and is backing away from net neutrality. However, Google vigorously disputes this characterization and explains that instead it is seeking to "'colocate" caching servers within broadband providers' own facilities," which has the practical effect of speeding up content delivery. Google argues that these relationships are non-exclusive and that the company "remains strongly committed to the principle of net neutrality." However Om Malik argues that, as a practical matter, G [...]

Search Biz: Ex-Yahoos Doing Well; Yahoo Shutters Brickhouse; Google Chrome Out Of Beta Soon & More

With Yahoo layoffs underway, Forbes shares a reminder that there is life after a layoff, and it's sometimes better. Forbes tells the story of ex-Yahoo bizdev guy Rob Bailey, who left the company in 2006, and is now an award-winning winemaker. While Big Business is laying people off left and right, Bailey's wine operation has grown from two to eight employees. Also mentioned: ex-Yahoos Jennifer Dulski and Neil Budde, who now run Center'd and DailyMe, respectively. Sometimes the grass is greener....we sure hope so. Also looming over the Yahoo layoffs is the never-ending situation with AOL and [...]

Search Biz: Ballmer Talks Yahoo Deal; Google Slows Down In NC & Fires Back At Net Neutrality Critics

In a fairly lengthy interview this morning, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer tells the Wall Street Journal that he's still interested in a deal with Yahoo, but says there are no talks happening right now. Perhaps to get that ball rolling again, though, Ballmer says a deal "would probably be better for both us, and certainly for Yahoo, if we were to do it sooner than later." He also reiterated that Microsoft can compete with Google without it, but outlined what he sees as the benefits of a deal with Yahoo: "...the fundamental basis for doing the search deal with Yahoo has to do with critical m [...]

Search Biz: Yahoo Wants A New CEO, And Fast; Qi Lu To MSFT; DOJ Was This Close To Suing Google

Will Yahoo have a new CEO by the end of the month? That's the word from sources talking to AllThingsD today. The report says Yahoo has put together an informal search committee to help executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles find a new CEO. There's reportedly a list of six criteria the new Yahoo CEO should meet. And throwing more confusion into the mix is the ongoing talks about a merger/sale with AOL, and the internal uncertainty whether that's the right way forward for Yahoo. As AllThingsD points out, this might be too much to sort out within the next four weeks. Speaking of Yahoo and [...]

SearchBiz: The Economy Takes Its Toll On Google & Why Twitter Rejected Facebook’s Acquisition Overtures

The buzz today comes from the Wall Street Journal article, which you've probably already seen, called "Google Gears Down for Tougher Times." In a related post, Silicon Alley Insider summarizes the piece with more than a hint of schadenfreude. The thrust of the WSJ story is that Google is trying to cut costs and reduce spending, which means getting rid of contractors, curtailing 20 percent time projects, shuttering services without traction (e.g., Lively, Google Page Creator) and reducing perks. We've heard versions of this Google cost-cutting story over the past several weeks. All this come [...]

Search Biz: Yahoo Soap Opera Update; Google’s Mobile Plans;’s Creepy Commercials & More

The Yahoo-Microsoft-AOL soap opera continues. (You expected otherwise?) At AllThingsD, Kara Swisher was pretty adamant Monday that Yahoo and Microsoft are not in secret talks right now about a new search partnership, and she called the weekend report from The Times (UK) "inaccurate." Part of that UK story had Ross Levinson and Jon Miller taking over the new company, but Levinson told AllThingsD the story was "total fiction." Then, of course, a big soap-operatic (is that a word?) twist today, as Barry Schwartz recapped a Wall Street Journal report saying Jon Miller is trying to raise money t [...]

SearchBiz: Google’s Balancing Act, Mr. Schmidt Goes To Washington (?), Yahoo’s Next CEO, Autonomy Jumps The Highway, Black Friday Mixed & The Gift Of Smut-Free Free Internet Access

There's lots of news today and from over the US holiday weekend. Much of it concerns Yahoo and Google, as it often does in this column. The big buzz generated over the weekend was from the UK's Times Online report that there was a tentative deal reached between Yahoo and Microsoft to buy the former's search business for $20 billion. According to the item: Software giant Microsoft is in talks to acquire Yahoo’s online search business for $20 billion (£13 billion). The proposal forms the centrepiece of a complex transaction that would see Microsoft support a new management team to take c [...]

SearchBiz: MSFT’s Online Struggles; More on Yahoo-AOL; Cuts At Technorati

Fortune magazine asks why Microsoft can't make money online, and shares some striking numbers: The company's Online Services unit, which includes Live Search, aQuantive, and the MSN portal, lost $480 million in the quarter that ended September 30th -- 80% more than the same quarter a year ago. Ouch! Why the struggles? The article suggests that Microsoft is trying to do too much online, and that, by being so late to the search game, it's playing an impossible game of catch-up to Google: "Microsoft may have been noodling on the web since the 1990s, but it was only four years ago that the [...]

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