February 9, 2016
Years ago I had to review a Google pitch to Yahoo about games. The basic idea was that the Alphabet Google thing wanted to team up with Yahoo in the mobile and online game sector. Yahoo, as I recall, blew off their neighbor. Not surprising. The Alphabet Google thing and Yahoo had a legal do si do about the GoTo/Overture advertising notion. There was a settlement, and I think that the Yahooligans were not completely comfortable having their lunch eaten by those sports down the road.
Flash forward to 2016. The old Yahoo is still the old Yahoo. I think the company is for sale, but the Xoogler running the show won’t spill the beans. There are more opportunities than ever for the purple gang to find their future elsewhere.
I read “Yahoo Games Has Passed Away at Just 13” and learned that those games that once caught the fancy of Googzilla are no more. The write up informed me:
Yahoo Games, THE once-hopping online game hub best known for its simulacrum of classic board and card games, is shutting down. The news was buried amidst major changes for the company: As we reported Tuesday, Yahoo will lay off roughly 15 percent of the company, downsize across the board, and shutter many offerings, including its TV efforts.
One wonders what might have been if Yahoo and the Google got their act together and did a game deal. My hunch is that the answer is not much. Both companies believe that if they enter a niche, success is inevitable.
Yahoo and its stakeholders have learned how that has worked out. The Googlers are just now beginning to ponder the limits of there zero gravity approach to online revenue.
Net net: A good idea a decade ago won’t carry the water from the river to the well today. Yahoo may be moving down a path that Google will reluctantly follow.
Stephen E Arnold, February 9, 2016
January 30, 2016
Years ago Yahoo pulled out of Denmark. Yahoo has trimmed its international operations over time. I read “In Latest Shakeup, Yahoo Quits Mexico, Argentina.” Several points in the write up caught my attention.
First, Yahoo is described as “troubled” by its local newspaper. The “real” journalists are wondering what the Yahooligans will do to reform themselves.
Second, I liked the characterization of the Argentina and Mexico operations as “not worth future investment.” There you go. Yahoo sees the land of gauchos and guacamole as lacking financial magnetism.
Third, the write up points out that Yahoo sees Brazil as a growth opportunity. Yahoo must know something about the Brazilian economy. I used to live in the country, and from what I hear some of cities are not likely to be friendly to folks dressed in purple. Brazil possesses more than 18 of the most dangerous cities in the world. And the Brazilian economy? Zipping right along. And the Zika.
Yahoo has great instincts. The revenues will surely follow.
Stephen E Arnold, January 30, 2016
January 29, 2016
The article on Microsoft News titled Microsoft Releasing New Bing Logo Today briefly overviews the recent growth and profitability of the often mocked and overlooked search engine. Microsoft also updated Cortana lately, which is deeply connected to Bing search. So what will the new Bing logo look like? The article explains,
“In the new logo, Microsoft is switching its color scheme to green as it “is easier to see over yellow” and “b” in now in upper case. This new version of the logo will be used across various Microsoft apps and services. Speaking to AdAge, Rik van der Kooi, Microsoft’s corporate VP of advertiser and publisher solutions said that Bing is the only search engine that is experiencing steady, consistent growth and have increased our share for 26 consecutive quarters.”
The article also points out that it is Bing powering Yahoo, AOL, Apple Siri and several other services, from behind the scenes. The green logo looks less like an imitation of Google, especially with the capitalization. Perhaps the new logo is meant to be easier on the eyes, but it is also certainly trying to keep up the positive attention Bing has been receiving lately as 1/3 of the search market.
Chelsea Kerwin, January 29, 2016
January 28, 2016
I read “Yahoo! Rises on Pivotal Upgrade as Verizon Eyes Core Assets.” Much investment “news” relates to churn. You know when your financial advisor calls and suggests story A means buy or sell stock B. Churn. It keeps the commissions train running.
I found the news that Pivotal Research has put a happy face on the Yahooligans’ ticker symbol. The write up said:
Yahoo! Inc. shares rallied as much as 2% during pre-market hours today, after Pivotal Research analyst Brian Weiser bumped its rating from Hold to Buy. The upward revision was made ahead of the company’s fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 (4QFY15) earnings, scheduled for next week.
Ah, ha, the Xoogler has the ship sailing in calm waters.
Here’s the tasty morsel:
According to recent rumors, Verizon Communications have launched an acquisition bid worth $8 billion for Yahoo’s core business. Pivotal Research analysts believe that the deal could have a positive impact on the company, as well as on Verizon, which intends to cement its presence in the digital advertising space.
I love rumors. Wait. I hear the whistle of the commission train now. Gotta run.
Stephen E Arnold, January 28, 2016
January 25, 2016
Yahoo hired former Googler Marissa Mayer as its new CEO to turn the company around. The company is headed towards stormy waters again, which could leave only the ship’s hull. Yahoo could sell its main operating business and all that would be left is Yahoo Japan, Alibaba shares, and $5 billion in cash. Mayer would then get the boot, says South China Morning Post in the article, “Yahoo Destined For Tech Graveyard Due To Poor Choice In Chief Executive Officer.”
Yahoo has gone through five CEOs in the past decade and its current shares are trading well below value, making the company only worth at an estimated $2 billion.
Yahoo’s current problems began when the company was formed. Founders Jerry Yang and David Filo were great inventors, but they were inexperienced running a company. Yahoo failed to accept Microsoft’s offer and while it floundered, Google stole the search market.
“Determining the right kind of chief executive for a tech company at a particular stage of development represents the most frustrating and critical issue. The weakness of chief executives with a tech start-up or product background like Mayer is that they try to invent and innovate a large corporation out of a problem and into a breakthrough strategy.”
The article explains that Yahoo needed to be knocked down and then rebuilt from the ground up. A huge movement like that requires more from a tech manager who is only used to positive growth, praise, and giving huge benefits to staff.
This points out that people with different talents are needed to manage a company as well as the importance of a diverse team with varied experience. Some people are meant to invent and work in the tech field, others are meant to be business leaders.
January 24, 2016
I love this approach to motivation. I remember hearing Charles Colson, the pre-reformation version, gentle reader, explain to me and others in the meeting the value of fear and intimidation. By golly, I perked up. We may have been contractors to the president’s science advisor, but I got the message. Let’s see. I think that was in the early 1970s. I was useful to my employer because my father and his brother had been fund raisers for Senator Dirksen and Congressman Michel. As a result, I found myself in some darned interesting opportunity spaces when I was in Washington, DC. I saw the “hearts and mind” wall art.
If you are not familiar with the pre reformation Mr. Colson, you might find this obituary helpful. I highlighted this passage:
Charles W. Colson, the Republican political operative who boasted that he would “walk over my own grandmother” to ensure the reelection of President Richard M. Nixon and went on to found a worldwide prison fellowship ministry after his conversion to evangelical Christianity.
The write up about the fascinating Yahoo and its Xoogler leader reported:
The backlash is mounting against Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer for a horrible joke she attempted to make recently at a companywide meeting, and now many in her presumably deflated workforce fear for their jobs. Mayer reportedly told the company that there will be “no layoffs… this week,” and although her comments were intended to be humorous, many who call the tech giant home are left wondering about their employment status within the company. “This is the reason employee morale is so low,” said one employee to the New York Post, who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution.
Yep, humor works really well as a management mechanism. Nothing relaxes an individual like a reminder that the mortgage may go unpaid, one’s home life is disrupted, and one’s professional standing is decimated.
Good stuff. Mr. Colson would have approved. My recollection is that he liked to be a bit more colorful. You know. The grandmother thing was a nice rhetorical touch. Xoogler management 101, gentle reader. Think what one does in management 102.
Stephen E Arnold, January 23, 2016
January 7, 2016
The article titled What You Missed in Big Data: Real-time Intelligence on SiliconAngle speaks to the difficulties of handling the ever-increasing volumes of real-time data for corporations. Recently, IBM created supplementary stream process services including a machine learning engine that comes equipped with algorithm building capabilities. The algorithms aid in choosing relevant information from the numerous connected devices of a single business. The article explains,
“An electronics manufacturer, for instance, could use the service to immediately detect when a sensor embedded in an expensive piece of equipment signals a malfunction and automatically alert the nearest technician. IBM is touting the functionality as a way to cut through the massive volume of machine-generated signals produced every second in such environments, which can overburden not only analysts but also the technology infrastructure that supports their work.”
Yahoo has been working on just that issue, and lately open-sourced its engineers’ answer. In a demonstration to the press, the technology proved able to power through 100 million vales in under three seconds. Typically, such a high number would require two and a half minutes. The target of this sort of technology is measuring extreme numbers like visitor statistics. Accuracy takes a back seat to speed through estimation, but at such a speed it’s worth the sacrifice.
Chelsea Kerwin, January 7, 2016
December 30, 2015
Do you not love it when the little guy is able to compete with corporate giants? When it comes to search engines DuckDuckGo is the little guy, because unlike big search engines like Google and Yahoo it refuses to track its users browsing history and have targeted ads. According to Quartz, “DuckDuckGo, The Search Engine That Doesn’t Track Its Users, Grew More Than 70% This Year.” Through December 15, 2015, DuckDuckGo received 3.25 billion queries up from twelve million queries received during the same time period in 2014. DuckDuckGo, however, still has trouble cracking the mainstream..
Google is still the biggest search engine in the United States with more than one hundred million monthly searches, but DuckDuckGo only reached 325 million monthly searches in November 2015. The private search engine also has three million direct queries via desktop computers, but it did not share how many people used DuckDuckGo via a mobile device to protect its users’ privacy. Google, on the other hand, is happy to share its statistics as more than half of its searches come from mobile devices.
“What’s driving growth? DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg, reached via email, credits partnerships launched in 2014 with Apple and Mozilla, and word of mouth. He also passes along a Pew study from earlier this year, where 40% of American respondents said they thought search engines ‘shouldn’t retain information about their activity.’… ‘Our biggest challenge is that most people have not heard of us,’ Weinberg says. ‘We very much want to break out into the mainstream.’”
DuckDuckGo offers an unparalleled service for searching. Weinberg stated the problem correctly that DuckDuckGo needs to break into the mainstream. Its current user base consists of technology geeks and those in “the know,” some might call them hipsters. If DuckDuckGo can afford it, how about an advertising campaign launched on Google Ads?
Whitney Grace, December 30, 2015
December 29, 2015
I read a number of articles about Yahoo each day. Most of these are rehashes. Xoogler flops. Yahoo tanks. A fresh angle rare.
“Why Yahoo Needs a Monopoly to Survive” is different. The approach takes a tough stance:
Yahoo is in trouble. Despite nearly $5 billion in annual revenue, investors value Yahoo’s business at next to nothing. Most of its value comes from its investment in Alibaba–to the point where Yahoo has largely become a tracking stock for Alibaba shares.
Direct and to the point.
The write up continues:
Google has the content platform in search. Facebook has the social networking platform. Amazon has the product marketplace (in the U.S.). Similarly, in China, Alibaba has the top product marketplace, Tencent has the top messaging platform and Baidu has the leading search platform. All leading platforms have a core monopoly that is the lifeblood of their business. Why? Once a platform has a monopoly, it can use its core network to expand into other markets Every subsequent platform can leverage the platform monopoly’s network to its advantage.
There you go. A monopoly is just darned good. Quite a generalization, but I like the frankness of the insight.
How does this relate to Yahoo?
Yahoo is not a monopoly. Yahoo must be a monopoly. The logic of the article is that Yahoo is a goner unless, like a pilot fish, it attaches itself to the shark Alibaba.
What will the Xoogler do? Do the parasite move or stick with a symbiotic relationship? Yahoooo!
Stephen E Arnold, December 29, 2015
December 21, 2015
A few years ago, I read an article about someone who was fed up with streaming content because he wanted new shows and access to all the channels so they resubscribed to cable. I have to admit the easiest thing to do would be to pay a monthly cable bill and shell out additional fees for the premiere channels. The only problem is that cable and extra channels are quite expensive. It has since become easier to cut the cord.
One of the biggest problems viewers face is finding specific and new content. Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, and Amazon Prime are limited with licenses and their individual content and having to search each one is time consuming. Even worse is trying to type out a series name using a remote control instead of a keyboard. Technology to the rescue!
“Whenever users find what they want to watch, they can click a button to “Stream Now,” and the app will automatically launch a subscription service that hosts the film. If the program isn’t available online, users can buy it, instead.”
The coolest feature is that if viewers want to channel surf all they do so with GIFs. The viewer picks a GIF that fits their mood and the app will sort out content from there.
Finally, all those moving images have a different function than entertaining reddit users.