Well color me stunned…from the NYT:
As Time Warner nears a decision on a big alliance with Google or Microsoft for its America Online unit, Stephen M. Case, the co-founder of AOL, has spoken out against the plan, aligning himself with the thinking of the financier Carl C. Icahn, who has pushed for a breakup of Time Warner.
Mr. Case, who recently resigned as a Time Warner director, wrote in an essay in The Washington Post on Sunday that “although I played a key role in bringing AOL and Time Warner together six years ago, it’s now my view that it would be best to ‘undo’ the merger by splitting Time Warner into several independent companies and allowing AOL to set off on its own path.”
BTW, the Times linked the words “Washington Post” in the snippet above to this (the Times’ summary of financial info on the Post company). Bad form, folks. Link to this, of course (the actual Case article).
This is fun stuff. Bruno used to be our man in Europe (at the Standard) and he’s taken my scenario and gone much further. Now *this* is the kind of stuff that just might get Hollywood fibrillating. (Fun, folks, fun…)
The list of companies that look interesting but that I simply do not have the time to grok is growing very, very long. Here are some highlights:
Looklater. Also a bookmarking site with some neat features.
Relona. A new search engine with some interesting interface hacks.
Opinmind. Blog search.
I’ve not reviewed these, but they look interesting….
Many things went down this past week whilst I traveled. Here’s a roundup of what I missed:
Windows Live Local launched (good coverage from Gary and Mike). So did Squidoo, which is either brilliant, or an AdSense honeypot scheme, or both. In any case, I know and have spoken with founder Seth Godin, and he’s not one to take lightly. Speaking of launches and potent founders, Grouper has launched version 2, and it’s quite well received. Congrats to Josh Felser….
UPDATE: I was too flip in describing Squidoo as a “scheme” and the word “honeypot” does have negative connotations – what I meant to say was, it’s built to attract search crawlers and to rank well in search, increasing the value of Adsense and other monetization schemes (there’s that word again) such as affiliate networks. That’s not a bad thing, of course. I did not mean to give the wrong impression….
Sun unvieled its Niagara servers. (Sun release) Why do you care? Because Sun claims these new, 32-hardware-thread servers are the future of web bare metal. Is the company right? Hard to say – I’m certainly not a hardware geek. But I spoke with Scott McNealy for my Business 2 column, and he confirmed that these new servers are pretty much purpose built for the datacenter demands of massively scaled services like search. Watch this space.
Yahoo announced POTS integration with its VOIP service. From the Merc: With the new service, the estimated 82 million people worldwide who use Yahoo instant messenger will be able to call any traditional fixed or wireless phone number in 180 countries. They will also be able to purchase a phone number with which to receive calls. The service comes with a free voicemail box.
Xeni at BB had an interesting post on her interview with director Steven Soderbergh. What I found compelling was his vision of “video mashups”, an idea I really believe will take off next year (yes, my “predictions” post is coming…).
Clearly hiring is on the minds of the execs at Google. Eric pens an article about his “Ten Golden Rules” for Newsweek.
More Google: The company released a transit planner.
Ingenio and Infospace hook up on pay per call.
The Times reports on the ongoing scrum for the AOL business. Headline: AOL is probably not for sale, now that Gates and Google are willing to pad Time Warner’s bottom line to secure AOL’s search business. No kidding!
You know, Google buys companies, Yahoo buys companies (a lot lately), but…Microsoft ain’t playing, really. Have I missed their acquisitions? I remember back when they ruled the OS roost, they bought a lot of companies, and/or they did due diligence and then built the idea into their OS. What gives? Have they forgotten how to buy teams?
Of course I’m the last to link to it, but here’s my interview with Eric Schmidt, up on B 2.0 (and not pay walled).
Update: Sources peg the acquisition price at around $30-35 million….similar to the size of the Flickr deal. If this is the case, it’s pretty rich. I don’t recall the size of del.icio.us’s user base, but I doubt it’s 250,000, which was the reported user base of flickr when it was acquired. If it *is* that size, then wow, it’s grown much faster than I realized!
Second Update: OK, now I have *more* sources that say yes, the deal is similar to Flickr, but *that* deal was not really at 30-35 million, it was more like $17-19 million.
And – this is simply amazing to me – del.icio.us has 300,000 users. Holy sh*t.
And quotes our dialog here to boot. From the piece:
Opponents long ago painted Wal-Mart, Microsoft and a handful of other behemoths into a rogue’s gallery of too-powerful corporations needing government restraint.
Now, a brash upstart with a “don’t be evil” mantra may soon join them: online search giant Google.
In just seven years, Google has emerged as one of the most influential companies of the 21st century, a multinational whose recent forays into classified ads, book publishing, video, Wi-Fi and telecom make its data empire ever more powerful. That’s pushing it into a growing buzz saw of competitors, such as Microsoft, and lawmakers worried about data privacy and protection.
“Google could easily become the poster child for a national public movement to regulate data collection,” says Jeff Chester, head of the Center for Digital Democracy, a privacy advocate…..
….Other observers wonder, too. Search engine expert John Battelle’s tech blog lit up with comments last week after New YorkMagazine reported a “seismic shift” in public sentiment, “from unalloyed Googlemania to gathering Googlephobia.”