Wired: Monopoly, Microsoft And The Anti-Google ‘Conspiracy’

Wired offers a fascinating, if sensational, account of the "plot" by Microsoft, its allies and its operatives to sew discontent over Google's proposed paid search deal with Yahoo: The Plot to Kill Google. The article presents Microsoft as the driving force, along with other allies, behind an effort to stop Google's further dominance in search (via the Yahoo deal) after its own failed bid for Yahoo. Here's an excerpt: [John Kelly, Microsoft's head of strategic relations,] sprang into action, activating his company's vast Washington infrastructure.Microsoft's protracted antitrust battles had [...]

Yahoo & Microsoft Execs Meet Again

Valleywag is reporting that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer met with Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock Thursday in New York City. As you can imagine, news of the meeting has restarted speculation about the on-again, off-again merger/deal talks. The New York Times says that spokespersons for both companies refused to comment about the Ballmer-Bostock meeting. Earlier this week, new Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz mentioned that she's already had an informal conversation with Ballmer. [...]

Carol Bartz’s ‘Gut’ May Stop Yahoo Search Sale To Microsoft

Clearly "the market" loves the MicroHoo dance and would like to see a transaction. And Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said he would talk anew to the new Yahoo CEO. Now that it's Bartz, apparently there has already been a call in which search was not discussed, according to the the Wall Street Journal: She added that she had spoken casually with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer since accepting her new job, these people said. They added that she didn't go into details of the conversation, which she said was informal. Bartz also reportedly told employees that her instinct or "gut" was not necessari [...]

Wacky Idea: A Yahoo-Nokia Combination

As the MicroHoo dance continues, here's a wacky idea that just occurred to me: why doesn't Nokia invest in or acquire Yahoo? It's partly suggested by this Fortune article that discusses the challenges that the world's leading handset maker faces in penetrating North America. Nokia has added a bunch of online services that try and bridge the internet and mobile. Indeed, Nokia is trying to position itself as an internet company of sorts. And mobile search will be a big ad-revenue driver in the medium term. It's already a critical element of an overall mobile offering. Yahoo, obviously, is [...]

Ballmer: Do Yahoo Deal Sooner, Not Later

Sick of hearing about Microsoft being interested in buying Yahoo's search business? So am I. Just buy it already. The saga -- now nearly a year old -- is back in the news. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is now saying that a deal should happen within the next few months, due to Microsoft and Yahoo having new "leaders" in place. For Yahoo, that means a new CEO providing leadership. As we covered yesterday, various reports indicate that a new CEO might be named as early as next week. Meanwhile, Microsoft's "Online Services Group," of which search is part of, was just taken over by former Y [...]

Yahoo Board Mulls CEO Pick, Layoffs Loom

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal Yahoo's board is considering offering the CEO job to Arun Sarin, the newly retired CEO of EU mobile carrier Vodafone. It's merely speculation at this point but Sarin is attractive for several reasons: Mr. Sarin, 54 years old, has largely stayed out of speculation over whom Yahoo might tap for the job, which has included a wide range of executives from other Internet giants and technology companies. But the Yahoo board had been seeking a seasoned technology executive with experience running a public company from the start, and Mr. Sarin, who mee [...]

Search Biz: Yahoo Soap Opera Update; Google’s Mobile Plans; Ask.com’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 [...]

Microsoft Says It’s Open To Search-Only Deal With Yahoo

Coming just 24 hours after the resignation of Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is saying publicly that Redmond is "open" to a "search collaboration" with Yahoo but not a total acquisition of the Sunnyvale company. The Wall Street Journal and Seattle PI report on the remarks, made during a Microsoft shareholder meeting. Meanwhile, Valleywag says that Yahoo has lost Sean Suchter, a key search executive, to Microsoft. The search collaboration that Ballmer referred to would presumably be similar to the search (as opposed to acquisition) deal previously offered to Yahoo -- esse [...]

The New Yahoo CEO: Let The Speculation Games Begin

Wait, they already have. PaidContent posted a fairly comprehensive roundup yesterday of possible successors to outgoing Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang. (Yahoo is up in early trading on the news of Yang's resignation, which was received favorably by most financial analysts.) PaidContent also poses the question: will the board go with a tech executive or a media executive? The answer is that Yahoo needs someone comfortable in both worlds. The incoming CEO, whoever he or she is, is in a similar position as US President-elect Barack Obama -- inheriting something of a mess. Yahoo has a great brand and as [...]

MSFT CEO Ballmer to Yahoo: No New Bid

Speaking at the "Web 2.0" conference in San Francisco earlier this week Yahoo CEO seemed to invite Microsoft to make another acquisition bid for the portal. "To this day the best thing for Microsoft to do is buy Yahoo," the BBC quotes Yang telling interviewer John Battelle. This morning, from Australia, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer decided not to take Yang's advice. "We are not interested in going back and re-looking at an acquisition," Ballmer said. Reaffirmation of Microsoft's position that it wouldn't try again to buy Yahoo sent the latter's shares down in early trading. However, given t [...]

Yahoo Invites Another Bid From Microsoft

Everyone at Yahoo must be totally exhausted -- perhaps most of all CEO Jerry Yang. It's probably apprpriate to now use modifiers such as "beleaguered" or "embattled" to describe Yang. Mike Arrington has called for Yang to be replaced, as have others before him. After the termination of the Google paid search deal yesterday, more people will likely be doing the same. Yahoo has many initiatives in various stages of execution and still has tremendous value to the consumer public (consumers don't care who the CEO of Yahoo is). But if Yahoo were a parliamentary regime, there would be a vote of " [...]

Citing Risk, Google Ends Yahoo Paid Search Deal

Only days after the two companies submitted a modified proposal to try and win the favor of anti-trust regulators, Google has unilaterally decided to discontinue its paid-search agreement with Yahoo, citing "a protracted legal battle but also damage to relationships with valued partners." Yahoo issued a public statement expressing disappointment with Google's decision: Yahoo! continues to believe in the benefits of the agreement and is disappointed that Google has elected to withdraw from the agreement rather than defend it in court. Google notified Yahoo! of its refusal to move forward w [...]

Now A Yahoo Board Member, Icahn Continues to Pitch MSFT Search Deal

Billionaire inventor/corporate gadfly Carl Icahn, who owns 5 percent of Yahoo and is now a board member, continues to publicly advocate a MIcrosoft deal for the portal site. Icahn has at least two board members aligned with his positions (former Viacom CEO Frank J. Biondi Jr. and former Nextel CEO John H. Chapple) based on an earlier settlement that saw him and the two handpicked others added to the Yahoo board. Since Icahn joined the Yahoo board, and since the rejection of the multiple Microsoft offers, the company has lost roughly 40 percent of its value. Yahoo and Google just resubmi [...]

Republican Congressman Calls For More “In-Depth” Review Of Proposed Google-Yahoo Search Deal & Another Microsoft-Yahoo Deal On Deck?

Texas Republican Congressman and Google critic Joe Barton wants more information about the proposed paid-search deal between Google and Yahoo. Dissatisfied with Yahoo's responses to his questions to date, Barton has asked the US Department of Justice to "thoroughly investigate issues of competition and privacy that Yahoo failed to address fully."  He is concerned about Google developing "an effective monopoly" in paid search. If you're having a sense of deja vu, it's probably because all this sounds very much like a rerun of Barton's public pronouncements in scrutinizing the Google-Double [...]

Google Negotiates With DOJ To Avoid Suit, Yahoo Continues M&A Dance With AOL

Silicon Alley Insider was reporting that a Yahoo-AOL deal was imminent. Now the site says that a source within Time Warner contradicted the imminent claim but says the parties are still talking. Meanwhile just a hop, skip and a jump from AOL's Virgina headquarters, Google and Yahoo are seeking to head off a US Justice Department anti-trust action to block the paid search partnership between the two. The Wall Street Journal conveys the impression that anti-trust ligitation is being activity prepared by the government and that it is all but certain unless Google and Yahoo can head it off at t [...]

Yahoo Investor Seeks New Microsoft Takeover Bid

Mithras Capital, a small Yahoo institutional shareholder, is suggesting that Microsoft take another look at Yahoo and buy the company for $22 per share. That's $9 less than Microsoft's original bid for Yahoo during the takeover saga earlier this year. Yahoo shares are now trading near their 52 week low. As of the stock market's close yesterday Yahoo shares were trading at $12.65. Microsoft's final bid for Yahoo was $33 per share before Redmond formally pulled its offer in May. Yahoo's 52 week high was just over $34 per share. At the time of the original Microsoft offer in February, Yahoo s [...]

Vote Count Controversy: Yahoo Shareholder Wants Recount

At last Friday's annual Yahoo shareholder meeting, the Yahoo slate of directors was re-elected, with CEO Jerry Yang and Chariman Roy Bostock receiving 15 percent and 20 percent "no" votes. AllThingsD points out these numbers are actually better than last year in the absence of the MicroHoo controversy and proxy contest. Yahoo Director Robert A. Kotick, who was re-elected, is resigning to make way for Carl Icahn. Capital Research Global Investors, which owns 6.5 percent of Yahoo, is asking for a recount, chiefly as an expression of its frustration and anger with Yang and Bostock. Any recount, [...]

Microsoft To Take Another Run At Yahoo In 2009?

If absurdist playwright Samuel Beckett were still alive, he might be tempted to write a drama about the Microsoft and Yahoo non-merger that seems to keep generating news and speculation. Better yet, maybe living playwright David Mamet will take a crack at some point. The latest justification for writing yet another post about whether or not Microsoft will take another run at Yahoo is an eWeek piece in which Eric Jackson, who runs Ironfire Capital, a Yahoo investor, argues that Microsoft still needs Yahoo and predicts another acquisition attempt. The larger article is actually more about how [...]

Report: AOL Units Being Readied For Sale

For months there's been anticipation that some or all of AOL would be sold. Talks between AOL and Yahoo have been ongoing, as they have with Microsoft to a lesser degree. But months ago AOL decided to separate its ISP business (8.7 million subscribers) from its advertising and consumer portal businesses. According to the Wall Street Journal today, the accounting exercise of dividing assets and liabilities between the two sides of the business has now largely been concluded. That means the way is now cleared for a sale or merger of one or both businesses. The WSJ article suggests both will be [...]

Yahoo Survives Annual Meeting, Re-Elects Board, Microsoft Cries Foul

Perhaps we're coming to the point where we'll no longer be writing about Microsoft and Yahoo and their failed courtship. We'll see. Today Yahoo survived its long-anticipated shareholder meeting. It's detailed in this CNET blog post. At the conclusion of the meeting, Yahoo issued a statement that its slate of directors was elected, following the settlement of the Carl Icahn proxy challenge. According to CNET, Yahoo board chairman Roy Bostock said, "At no point did the board or management in any way, despite rumors and speculation, ever resist Microsoft's proposal . . . There was never any dou [...]

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