Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Misson Accomplished: Carol Bartz's future at Yahoo

Carol's key deliverable included consummating a search deal with Microsoft.

While working to getting the deal done, she has worked towards getting Yahoo to be more efficient as an operational unit.

Her performance on her key deliverable at best can be called average if not distinctly below average. There was no boatload of money.

It would be interesting to get to know her agenda for the rest of her contracted tenure which ends on 31-Dec-2012. While she has publicly maintained that she would continue with Yahoo at least till her tenure ends.

Given that she came to Yahoo, because it "frankly could use a little management" and that a person like Carol Bartz need not wait till 31-Dec-2012 to give Yahoo a little management, it would be interesting to observe the next steps. Am not sure if Yahoo desires more of her at best average management of Yahoo search.

The next steps will not take long.....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Have money will acquire

In the current environment cash is dear and companies are cheap. Companies with serious cash sitting on their balance sheets are going to extract their pound of flesh.

All companies like IBM, Oracle, SAP etc with significant cash on their balance have made a few acquisitions. Microsoft is working on a deal with Yahoo.

We can expect an acquisition by Dell and Google before the end of this year or early next year

Update: Apple flexing its muscle

  1. Update: Apple Is Growing Rotten To The Core: Official Google Voice App Blocked From App Store
  2. Microsoft Changes 'Laptop Hunters' Ad After Apple Complains
  3. Chinese engineer kills self over lost '4G' iPhone
  4. Why Is Google Latitude A Web App And Not A Native App? Because Apple Said So.
  5. Apple has 91% of market for $1,000+ PCs, says NPD

Monday, July 27, 2009

The power of Twitter

Twitter is banned/ controlled/ restricted by
  1. Iran
  2. China
  3. White House (USA)
Irrespective of the nature of governments, all need to figure out ways to handle the tweets from Twitter.

Microsoft Yahoo deal

The deal is expected this week! It appears that the poor quarterly earning pushed both sides to get it done.

At the time of the launch of Bing, Steve Ballmer had indicated that he was willing to invest 5-10% of Microsoft's operating income on search within the next five years.

The 5-10% of operating income translating into $5.5 -$11 billion would give us the size of the transaction deal. Additionally the investment to be made over a five year period would corroborate the indications that Yahoo may not get a huge upfront payment and it would be a revenue sharing deal.

As for the transaction value, Microsoft would not only consider the revenue impact to Yahoo, it would also consider the savings to operational costs for Yahoo.

Carol Bartz on the other hand would be looking for boat loads of cash.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Trying out the new Yahoo homepage

I know it’s a bit late, but then I tried out the new Yahoo homepage this weekend
To say the least I was really surprised because I had read, Carol Bartz referring to a wow experience. I had also read Yahoo Finally Rolls Out New Homepage to the Masses–and, Drum Roll, It’s Good

I was left wondering how anyone could use descriptions like wow, its good. I am not sure if they had the time to even go through the homepage.

Some of the things which I noticed or I should say things I could not help noticing.
  1. The homepage looks new. That’s the best I can describe it as
  2. Once you try to sign in. It takes you to a page which looks as if it was designed decades ago.
  3. In My Favorites - I configured Gmail and clicked on the preview, it gave a message to the effect that it could not connect to Gmail
  4. When I tried for the second time, I could seem emails on the preview pane and when I clicked on it, it took me to a page which said something of the effect of link not found.
  5. I didn’t give up, I hit the back button and I tried once more, it took me to the home page of Google.
  6. Another back button and tired once more. I go to the login page of Gmail. I was left wondering. I should have been taken to the inbox of Gmail as I had already provided my login details
Whatever! I gave it up.

If I had heard more realistic views on the new homepage, I would not have tried the new page.

I hope Yahoo! does better for itself by not coming out with half-baked products.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Apple flexing its muscle

While the Apple cult has been built on a legacy of successful products like Mac, iPod et al, however it is the success of it iPhone which has given it a muscle which it never had. These headlines surely makes on feel that Apple is now really flexing its newly acquired muscles
  1. Microsoft Changes 'Laptop Hunters' Ad After Apple Complains
  2. Chinese engineer kills self over lost '4G' iPhone
  3. Why Is Google Latitude A Web App And Not A Native App? Because Apple Said So.
  4. Apple has 91% of market for $1,000+ PCs, says NPD

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Yahoo Board Meeting

I was expecting an announcement around the earnings of Microsoft and Yahoo. While there was no announcement, there was news that a Yahoo board meeting to consider the deal would take place.

The timing of the board meeting is significant, hours after the Microsoft earnings call. Seems that the bad numbers pushed both back to the negotiating table.

Even though some members of the Yahoo board are not in favor of the deal, the deal for all practical purposes is a done deal unless something really blows up at the last steps.

While we have Carl Icahn pushing Carol for a deal, this time around both the boards will be a bit more pragmatic when it comes to valuations.

While the deal is being discussed it would be interesting to see if Microsoft and Yahoo face in regulatory hurdles on the way.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Microsoft & Yahoo Deal: For the Yahoo search trenches

For the Yahoo search trenches
  1. It’s confusing & distracting
  2. Its seems as if a PAUSE button has been hit in Yahoo search
  3. The rank and file losing patience
  4. Lets get on with it once for all

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


We are now hearing a bout GDrive....

Apps a typical computing user
  1. Operating system - Chrome OS
  2. File storage - GDrive (speculation)
  3. Docs - Google Docs
  4. Browsing - Chrome
  5. Email & IM - Gmail, Gtalk and now the Wave
  6. Photos - Flickr
  7. Socials - Blogging - Blogger
  8. Google Apps
  9. Music - ???? - Waiting for Google to unveil the GTunes
I wonder when we hear of a GTunes from Google?

Microsoft & Yahoo earnings (cont'd)

I was expecting something on the deal during Yahoo's earning call. While Carol avoided any direct mention but then she wanted to give kudos to Microsoft for Bing. Well it couldn’t have been more direct.
Now coming to Microsoft's earning call, Microsoft's result will decide what they say about Yahoo. Results from Microsoft meet or beat expectation, little or no comment on Yahoo. Results disappoint, be ready to hear something positive about Yahoo and most analysts believe Microsoft may disappoint.
Ballmer saying something nice about the Yahoo home page would be a nice way to acknowledge Carol's complements on Bing

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Microsoft & Yahoo earnings

While not a lot is expected on the earnings front.

We will hear something on the deal between the two.....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Microsoft's code to Linux

Microsoft's submission of source code to the Linux kernel is part of a growing realization of that it can not longer dominate on either the server or the desktop.

Credit for this success does not prove anything about the strength of Linux. It just shows the strength of trends which are drivings developments around the cloud and virtualization.

While Microsoft may not be able to dominate, it sure is trying to make the best of the trends of virtualization and the cloud and use this source code as differentiators in its competition against WMware.

Twitter, forget Facebook, unlimited opportunities in Africa, India and other markets

Twitter is very worried about Facebook as among other things it can make SMS status updates more available. Reading about SMS updates made me wonder about the differences in the mobile web experience across geographies.

While users in the USA and Europe get the mobile web experience via high end phones which run apps with various features and functionality it is not so in Africa, India and other developing economies of the world. Africa and India which are typically low end handsets markets where SMS’s are used to create the mobile web experience.

While the worries of Twitter about Facebook may or may not come true in the US, it needs to look outside the US for opportunities to ensure that it stays relevant and its not copied and then beaten by companies like Facebook which have a bigger muscle.

However for Twitter to leverage this opportunity before an African Twitter comes up it needs to do the following
  1. Organizational ramp up – a company with 70 odd can forget about Africa and India
  2. Product design – support for languages, English and related scripts would not work in India
  3. Partner – partner with handset manufacturers and operators.
Google already has announced plans for Africa.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Google the silver lining in the clouds surrounding Yahoo!

In the recent months it had become quite clear that a deal with Microsoft was very important for the long term sustainability for Yahoo! However Microsoft with its bravado around Bing positioned itself to be cool towards the deal.

It seems that the attack from Google on Microsoft is having its desired effect. It appears that Ballmer is ducking for cover and rushing to the negotiation table with Yahoo!.

In my post on 11-June i had predicted that the Yahoo, Microsoft deal would be done in 2009, it appears that the pressure from Google could make Microsoft do the deal a bit sooner.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Priorities for Yahoo

  1. Its about execution and not vision
  2. Integrate different parts of things folks do online
  3. Mobile web is important, period.
  4. Mobile web - Hi end phones - Killer apps which provide features and functionality
  5. Mobile phone - Low end phones - Integrate sms+mobile experience to provide an online experience on the PC
  6. While we wait to see what happens with Microsoft, Search to help navigate better in Yahoo
  7. Front page is huge

Friday, July 3, 2009

Competition to Twitter

Success leads to competition. Twitter is successful. OK if not successful it is buzzing. No one can deny that.

Then why is there no clear competitor to Twitter. Facebook changes privacy control, still its not a Twitter.

I am surprised, its uncommon to see success without any real competition ....

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Binging the Tweets, a pleasant surprise

While I admittedly have not been a great fan of Bing, I do concede that including Tweets in search results can be a potential game changer. It could spell a greater challenge to the concept of searching information via a huge cache of indexed pages

While Google could easily pull a switch and include real time content in it search results, but then this is the first time when Google will be seen catching up on innovation. 

Historically Microsoft's definition of innovation has been copying competitors and coming out with something better. I guess this time Google may have to follow Microsoft model of innovation