Yahoo

Joseph Menn

After giving millions of users a good 24 hours to express their anger and frustration at wide reports of a plan to kill off web bookmarking service Delicious, Yahoo got around to explaining that there was no need to panic.

A leaked internal presentation had showed on Thursday that Yahoo was planning to “sunset” some services, including Delicious, and Yahoo statements to the press that it was “cutting our investment in underperforming or off-strategy products” encouraged the idea that this meant Delicious was doomed. Read more

Joseph Menn

Yahoo is planning to kill off a handful of enduring and quirky services, including the pioneering bookmarking service Delicious, as it continues to streamline operations.

Shortly after the company confirmed that it would be firing more than 500 staffers, mainly in its products group, a disgruntled employee leaked a slide from a meeting this week that listed Delicious and story-spotting function Buzz as among the offerings facing “sunset”. Read more

Joseph Menn

Japan’s antitrust authorities have cleared Yahoo Japan’s plan to rely on Google for algorithmic search results, rejecting complaints from Microsoft and others that the combined service would field as much as 90 per cent of the nation’s search queries.

Japan Fair Trade Commission officials told wire services that they would not block the deal announced in July but would continue to monitor it for any harm to the market. Read more

Joseph Menn

For more than a year, Yahoo has been talking about two things that will help it stop losing users’ time to rivals including Google and Microsoft: making Yahoo core services work better and partnering with clear winners in adjacent web offerings such as Facebook and Twitter.

The biggest overhaul of Yahoo Mail in five years does both of those things. Out tonight in a beta version that will only be seen by users who request it, the new Yahoo mail is, as previously reported, twice as fast as the old one and integrates with social networking, photos and videos in an intuitive and unobtrusive way. Read more

Joseph Menn

Yahoo executives on Thursday outlined plans to improve its mail, news and other main services in the next few months, pledging faster load times, better integration with Facebook and Twitter, and deeper personalisation.

Chief product officer Blake Irving, who has been on the job since April, didn’t signal any bold new direction during the presentation at the company’s Sunnyvale headquarters. Instead, he argued that the company has been on the right track all along and just needs to move faster. Read more

Joseph Menn

A year after Yahoo and Microsoft finally agreed to combine their search efforts, the result is showing up.
Starting this week, natural searches on Yahoo from the US and Canada will begin being “powered” by Bing, the Microsoft search engine. Paid search results are still on track to be delivered by Microsoft this autumn, Yahoo executives said Tuesday, unless quality issues force a delay past the winter holidays.
Most users won’t be able to tell the difference, but the relevance should be better, said Yahoo vice president Shashi Seth. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Facebook, the biggest gaming platform in the world with nearly 500m members, will inevitably “screw up” its position, according to the president of rival social network Hi5.

Alex St John, formerly founder of the WildTangent casual gaming company, said Zynga, the biggest and most successful game publisher on Facebook’s social network, is also facing major challenges. Read more

Joseph Menn

Yahoo will put social gaming leader Zynga’s Farmville and other distractions on its pages as it tries to revive flagging user engagement and generate more ad revenue, chief executive Carol Bartz said Wednesday.

At a conference for investors and analysts at the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters, Ms Bartz and other executive said they were concerned about the drop in minutes spent on Yahoo pages per user, but promised an array of fixes. Read more

Joseph Menn

Yahoo chief executive Carol Bartz will announce a partnership Monday with Nokia that will put Yahoo search, email and other functions in the hands of at least some customers of the world’s biggest–for now–smartphone maker.

That was the bare-bones report filed today by All Things Digital, and FT colleague Andrew Ward and I have confirmed it, without getting much more in the way of details. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Microsoft has revamped its Hotmail browser-based email service in time for Office 2010 and the official introduction of online versions of Office applications.

The company may be trailing Google with its integration of Google Docs and Gmail, but consumers should be familiar enough with Office programs to want to give the new integrated service a try. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

You couldn’t quite call Carol Bartz’s first European press conference a charm offensive.

“Why do you think I’m here?” Yahoo’s chief executive asked, half-joking, when pressed about whether anyone could have done a better job of leading Yahoo in the 16 months since she joined. “I’ve got plenty of money and was very happy. I don’t need everybody to think I’m an asshole. You think it’s so much fun answering your questions? If I didn’t think there was a good bottle of white wine at the end of it, I probably wouldn’t do it.” Read more

Joseph Menn

Some very nice Yahoo executives came by the FT bureau in San Francisco this afternoon to remind us that they have a search strategy and that they are still planning to integrate Facebook and Twitter activity so that Yahoo users can see what their friends and relations are doing without leaving the land of purple.

In the next couple of weeks, they said, Yahoo will start showing you when people in your Yahoo address book comment on Yahoo News stories (some 60,000 did that on a single Mississippi prom-related piece a while back), rate a song or movie, or otherwise interact with bits of Yahoo content. Read more

Access to Google search results from within mainland China was blocked recently for many hours, then restored, even as the US company switched explanations for what was happening.

In the meantime, Yahoo email users in China specialising in politically sensitive material complained that their accounts had been compromised, while malicious software tried to install itself on computers in Vietnam used by critics of a Chinese mining investment in that country. Read more

Maija Palmer

Amobee mediaConsolidation in the mobile advertising market continues at breakneck pace. After Google’s proposed $750m acquisition of AdMob and Apple’s $275m bid for Quattro, Amobee is now buying RingRing Media of the UK for an unspecified – but probably much smaller –  amount.

California-based Amobee said the deal would result in a combined company bigger than Quattro in terms of revenues and number of ads served each month. Analysts at IDC estimate Quattro has around $21m in mobile ad revenues, giving it around 7 per cent of the market. Both would still be dwarfed by the combined Google/Admob, which would have nearly a quarter of the market with revenues of $68m. Read more

Chris Nuttall

With streaming Netflix movies now available on TV screens through the Xbox, PlayStation 3, Tivo, several Blu-ray players and LG HDTVs, the little Roku set-top box, which became one of the first Netflix streamers 18 months ago, is in need of some differentiation.

That came today with the launch of 10 free channels on the box, which sells for as little as $80.
Pandora radio, Facebook and Flickr photos, FrameChannel feeds, MobileTribe social networking and video from Blip.TV, Mediafly, Motionbox, Revision 3 and TWiT make up the lineup.

(This review was first published on November 23 2009) Read more

Chris Nuttall

Seven days in tech, seven days (counting today) till Windows 7 launches. In this edition of FT techtalk, the San Francisco bureau looked back on a week of recession-busting earnings from the likes of Google and Intel and forward to the next booster for the tech industry.

Find out what Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer thinks is the best thing about Windows 7 and why his chum over at Yahoo, Carol Bartz, is in the hot seat next week, in our transcript of the conversation after the jump.

And don’t forget to join us live for FT techtalk, a multimedia chat with the FT’s tech correspondents, at the same time – 0800 Pacific (1500GMT, 1600BST) next Friday.

 Read more

Joseph Menn

The love-hate relationship between Microsoft and Yahoo will be tuned to “hate” for the remainder of the month.
In private, the companies are working on separate versions of integration plans that will send some Yahoo engineers to work for Microsoft as it prepares to take over delivering automated free and paid search results to Yahoo. Read more

David Gelles

If Silicon Valley technology companies go through something like the stages of life, then Facebook is in its adolescence — growing quickly, and struggling to find its identity.

That it is rapidly bulking up is no longer in question. The latest figures from comScore show Facebook to be the fourth-largest site in the world, with a 340m unique visitors, trailing only the sites of Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. Facebook has added 208m visitors in the past year, a 157 per cent growth rate that has allowed it to surpass MySpace, Amazon and Wikipedia. Read more

Richard Waters

With advertisers like Martin Sorrell lining up to welcome Wednesday’s Microsoft/ Yahoo search pact, it might seem churlish for regulators to take a long hard look at the alliance. But that is exactly what they’re going to do – and there’s certainly no assurance that the deal will get the green light.

The babyfood business in the US provides the biggest warning sign. Back in 2000, Gerber controlled around two thirds of the US market for jarred babyfood – not that different from Google’s 77 per cent share of US search advertising, according to Microsoft’s figures. Read more

Richard Waters

Microsoft and Yahoo agreed on Wednesday to an online alliance that could create a more formidable rival to Google in the search business. The deal will give Microsoft a 10-year licence to integrate Yahoo’s search technology into its existing search platforms, while Yahoo will become the “relationship sales force” for advertisers for both companies.

This post is a live blog of a conference call with Carol Bartz and Steve Ballmer, the chief executives of Yahoo and Microsoft. Read more