jump to navigation

Yahoo – Put a Fork in You Because You’re Done – Wall Street Greed is Good May 15, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
Tags: ,
add a comment

Yahoo is getting a taste of the real world. Greed is Good! They thought Steve Ballmer was hostile – hell he practically walked up with flowers with his lips puckered compared to what Icahn is up to. Someone get a fork cause Yahoo is done!

Kara Swisher pens one of the finest blog posts decoding the letter.. Kara has been on fire lately and on top of the Yahoo story from day one.

My fav line from Kara’s post is this:

Icahn wrote: It is clear to me that the board of directors of Yahoo has acted irrationally and lost the faith of shareholders and Microsoft. It is quite obvious that Microsoft’s bid of $33 per share is a superior alternative to Yahoo’s prospects on a standalone basis. I am perplexed by the board’s actions. It is irresponsible to hide behind management’s more than overly optimistic financial forecasts. It is unconscionable that you have not allowed your shareholders to choose to accept an offer that represented a 72% premium over Yahoo’s closing price of $19.18 on the day before the initial Microsoft offer. I and many of your shareholders strongly believe that a combination between Yahoo and Microsoft would form a dynamic company and more importantly would be a force strong enough to compete with Google on the Internet.

wheelsonthebus

Translation: Here I am stating the glaringly obvious. But don’t you like my use of self-righteous and indignant words like “unconscionable”?

Nonetheless, I must ask: What are you smoking over there on the Left Coast?

When someone dangles more than $40 billion to anyone on Wall Street, we’d throw our mother under the wheels of the bus if we needed to to get it. Frankly, we would do it for $12.43.

In any case, your break with reality is my golden opportunity.

Victory for Silicon Valley; The Silicon Valley Poison Pill Worked – As Predicted May 4, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
Tags: , , ,
2 comments

Today’s Microsoft retreat is a victory for Silicon Valley and all the startups.  Now that the troops are pulling out of Silicon Valley everyone is jumping up and down eager to get down to business – except the bloggers who are all trying to figure out what happened (not including Kara Swisher she was on top of this story from day one).

This outcome was clear to me from day 1 – Yahoo would fight to the death rather than roll over and take it up the butt from Microsoft.  As this chapter of history comes to a close the story is bigger than what the stock number was or one particular issue.  It was bigger than all of that.  As I wrote in February it was the Silicon Valley Poison Pill in action.  The culture in Silicon Valley is deep in tradition and this trophy in Yahoo was not going to Redmond.  Hey I’m a big fan of Microsoft and Dan’l Lewin here in Silicon Valley (except that blogger idiot Mark Ashton), but the culture of Silicon Valley just won out.  This is going to make one great John Markoff story for the NY Times. – go ahead John run with it.

Another story line here is the big win for all those starving Web 2.0 companies looking for a partner – Yes Yahoo will remain free to be a real force in the Web 2.0 community again.  Now with open social (yes reported here first) and with upcoming announcements of Yahoo opening up.  Yahoo is born again.  As we the kids cheer in baseball Yahoo employees are cheering – “2 out rally….2 out rally….2 out rally…2 out rally”.  If this doesn’t wake up the dead at Yahoo nothing will.

This is a win for Web 2.0 and startups around the world but mostly a big win for Silicon Valley.   Yahoooo

Don’t forget how Google is loving this.

Tech Entrepreneurship Recession – Microsoft Yahoo – Tea Leaves; April 10, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
Tags: , , , , ,
12 comments

War! What is it good for! Absolutely nothing! – Say it again!

Are wars really good for business? Is tech entrepreneurship in recession heading toward depression? The battle between Microsoft and Yahoo is reaching it’s climax (if not already). However, there are some very interesting and unique perspectives come from two blog posts that jumped out at me – Kara Swisher and Fred Wilson. Kara has the funniest headline saying “Jesus is coming” with the storyline about the inside scoop on the ‘dance’ between the two. What strikes me with Kara’s post is that Yahoo might already be defeated in the ‘braindrain’ that they have been experiencing. Even if Yahoo survives is it already dead on the vine?

Fred Wilson only draws a reference to the battle in his post about liquidity – saying that with no IPO market we are in trouble and worse the tech giants are playing with assets like toys. I think that Fred is on to something with no liquidity (other than M&A by big firms). Is this really a robust market for innovation where the big guys are doing all the acquiring? Is this the ecosystem that produces good entrepreneurship?

What ties both these posts together is the trend that acquisitions might not be the best for innovation – Kara bluntly states that AOL’s acquisitions aren’t doing well. While Fred says it’s great to get the cash but Yahoo hasn’t done well with their acquisitions. Meanwhile the capital markets are a mess.

As an entrepreneur with four kids I’m concerned about the prospects for all entrepreneurs in this current environment. Maybe I’m just not feeling good today. Startups should have some friction, but not outright frustration. I’ve been doing early stage startups for 10+ years and never seen this much frustration since 2002-03. We are in a tech recession or at least a grinding halt.

I’m one of the most optimistic guys (all entrepreneurs are), but my mood on this startup market: Bear

Yahoo Joines OpenSocial Per My Blog Post to Jerry Yang :-) March 25, 2008

Posted by John in social media, Technology.
Tags: , ,
1 comment so far

In January I blogged that Jerry Yang will have to join opensocial.

Now it’s time for Yahoo to step up. I find the non-profit angle very interesting. It reminds me of the old IETF days… nothing really gets done but it certainly looks good on paper.

Facebook will be under a ton of pressure especially on the innovation side. I’d like to see what their R&D plan is like?

Yahoo joining OpenSocial is a major win for Google and a blow to Facebook.

From a Source: Yahoo Joining OpenSocial March 12, 2008

Posted by John in social media.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

I saw this coming a mile away in January but the Microsoft bid must have slowed it down.  After my initial blog posts I got a tip from a source close to Yahoo confirming my earlier posts that Yahoo will be joining Opensocial.  NY Times is breaking this story – finally.

Word on the street is that the Microsoft hostile takeover has put the Opensocial deal on ice until now.   The timing of Yahoo joining Opensocial puts the pressure on Microsoft and might give Yahoo a fighting chance to go alone.  If the Opensocial deal was in the works prior to Microsoft then that is a great sign for Yahoo – it shows that they are going open.

I’m sure this will be hot on techmeme tomorrow.

BusinessWeek Covers the RealTime Layoff February 14, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Businessweek’s Moira Herbst and Catherine Holahan captured the story on the Yahoo layoffs.  I think that Twittering and Blogging this massive layoff will go down as one of those inflection points in our new global digital real time always on social bla bla bla ..<add buzzword here>.

Here is what BW mentions about me at the end..“But the exchanges of laid-off Yahoo workers isn’t all about commiseration; it’s also about finding leads. John Furrier writes in response to a story on TechCrunch that he’s hiring: “Bummer about Yahoo. I hope they can pull together and survive. Open call for Yahoo entrepreneurs who know social networks and social graph technology: I’m looking for product managers and engineers for my new social advertising startup. For info go to furrier.org—information on the startup is buried in the blog.”

To clarify:  “Information is buried in my blog”-  means that information about what I’m working on is weaved in and out of series of posts.  Many have figured out what I’m working on and  have contacted me.  I guess it’s a social media form of lead generation for finding like minds to collaborate with.

Dodgeball Journalism Awards – TechWar 2008 Best Coverage in the Blogosphere February 9, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
Tags: , , , ,
2 comments

If your in the Internet Tech business you can’t help watch the Yahoo disaster unfold – the invasion by Microsoft. Living in Silicon Valley, you can’t swing a dead cat here without hitting an exYahoo employee or someone related to Yahoo. Pretty much everyone in Silicon Valley knows whats going on at Yahoo. It’s a kinda ‘public secret’. But who has the best coverage?

I’ve been getting asked: “who has the best blogosphere coverage?” – Hmmm – That’s hard because what is a blogger? The NYTimes blogs? Techmeme has mainstream outlets on their site leading stories all the time. This brings me to ‘Dodgeball Coverage” analogy.

Dodgeball Journalism: is the difference between speed, accuracy, and strategy. Watching the blogosphere and mainstream media work on these stories reminds me of playing dodgeball.

It’s the blogosphere guys/gals who run up to the line and grab the ball while the big mainstream media guys/gals who sit back and watch everything unfold. Sure the bloggers hit a few stories right away then they die off. Mainstream media guys/gals sit back watch, assimilate, and hit the big stories for the big audiences. It’s a strategy and skill difference between speed, accuracy, and strategy.

Dodgeball Journalism Awards go to the top Bloggers who have been covering the story from the beginning with original and valuable content.

Here is my list of who is providing the best coverage of the Yahoo Microsoft buyout.

CNN Award goes to: Henry Blodgett; Silicon Alley site has been the best in terms of staying on top of the action with the best analysis. Here is the link to the Yahoo Microsoft coverage. Alley Insider is ‘killing it’ with the coverage. It’s the first stop for me.

Best Reporter: Kara Swisher; Here is the link to her blog. This was a hard one because some bloggers from the beginning had been doing great in covering the story but they lost their ‘staying power’ on the story and didn’t add to their original positions.

Online News: CNet coverage. CNet has an array of reporters that are contributing tothe coverage. It has been the most consistent site for online news coverage. They cover all the bases diverse and accurate.

Best Editorial: Mike Arrington. Mike’s Decision Time Post. This isn’t for Techcrunch site, but for Mike’s one post. It was the best editorial written on the entire situation. Techcrunch as a whole has been covering Yahoo, but Techcrunch came in late and has been lagging in the coverage.

Utility Players: ???? – the rest of the blogosphere

Dodgeball Strategy Comedy on YouTube

Now you can be entertained by the upcoming personality on YouTube – DaxFlame… he’s a big hit with the middleschool kids. Here he talks about his Dodgeball strategy.

Epic War: Tough Spot for Yahoo; Microsoft Occupation of Silicon Valley?? February 6, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
Tags: , , , , , ,
7 comments

Mike Arrington had a great post this morning on Yahoo’s decision time.   Love the war reference. Mike agrees that Silicon Valley will be a war zone with collateral damage. The rats are already leaving the ship as predicted by Josh Kopelmans post today.   I’ve always loved Yahoo, but no matter what happens their fate is sealed.

The Microsoft invasion is happening and Google isn’t Netscape. Google is executing. This war will certainly be epic.

I’ve said that you can’t compare this Microsoft to Microsoft of the mid 90′s, and you can’t compare Google today to Netscape of yesterday.  Google is excuting and Yahoo isn’t.  It won’t be an easy fight for Microsoft.

As an aside I received an interesting comment from a Microsoft insider the other day.  He says “Since you’re thinking about MSFT/YHOO, my 2c: First, it’s a $44 billion admission that MS couldn’t get search and advertising right. Second, the culture clash will be dramatic. The only good part about it is that MSN could never decide if it wanted to be Google (alpha engineers) or Yahoo (content gods); now they’ve implicitly chosen the latter. We’ll see if that works. The trailblazers are actually aQuantive. They were assured that the MS engineers would do what the aQuantive biz people decided. Too early to tell if that’ll actually work, but it’ll be a leading indicator for the success of the YHOO acquisition. I’m not sanguine…”

The next logical question in this epic battle is “who is leading the troops for Microsoft”?  Looking at Microsoft leadership (the generals) will speak volumes about their plans to occupy Silicon Valley.  

Techonomics During War Time = Expansion – Impact on Entrepreneurs February 5, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

Marc Andreessen wrote a post on the impact to Silicon Valley if Microsoft and Yahoo buyout happens.    I believe that this massive war is changing the landscape but in a positive way.   This tech war becomes a catalyst the urgency is now.   Marc has experience living the last war when he was a Netscape.  Some might have forgot but the Microsoft assault on Netscape actually validated the market and created the wave and bubble of Web 1.0. 

What Marc is trying to say is that this war might actually propel Web 2.0 up in a big way.   Nice post Marc – it’s a must read – inside baseball – post. 

I agree with his post that it will be a net positive in that other companies will have to ‘shore up’ their positions.  I like how he put it..Marc says “if the Microsoft/Yahoo deal does go through, those same companies in many cases will be looking down a very scary double-barreled shotgun of an ascendant Google and an armored-up Microsoft”.   

As I mentioned in my previous posts, entrepreneurs and big companies have to understand the mentality in a war time venture.   If a business big or small gets caught in the battle during wartime, they need to be a supplier or arms dealer.  

Here are a few strategies for business during tech war time:  1) be a supplier or arm dealer, 2) build value and cash flow positive and stay out of the way – bunker away, 3) pick a side and join their mission.  

WAR: Microsoft Invades Sunnyvale & Google Anwsers with “Lets Go”; The Business Models of WAR February 3, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
Tags: , , , , , ,
6 comments

Google answers Microsoft two days after Microsoft invades Sunnyvale.   Google is not backing down.  This is going to be good.   John Markoff writes a piece that this will actually be good for Silicon Valley.  I am not sure but it will be fun to watch.  Google is not Netscape.  

People: we are in a full-on WAR between Microsoft and Google.  Now Google fires back in a blog post saying Microsoft’s unsolicited $44.6 billion offer for Yahoo Inc. “raises troubling questions.”

Google’s blog post, by Google Senior Vice President David Drummond, asks whether Microsoft could “now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC.” It accuses Microsoft, which has been targeted by antitrust regulators in the U.S. and Europe for years, of “frequently seeking to establish proprietary monopolies — and then leveraging its dominance into new, adjacent markets.”

This blog post by Google is a complete smoke screen.  It is clearly a knee jerk reaction to Microsoft’s sneak attack into Silicon Valley last week.  I’m sure right now Google executives are jamming on  a counter attack.  They have to – Microsoft just invaded Sunnyvale.    Word inside Google right now – ‘calling all arms’.

As an entrepreneur you have to understand your environment, an no better time than now.  As big businesses try to figure out their place in this war so do startups.  That brings me to business models of WAR.

What do startups need to do – be a supplier of something.  Something of value and need in wartime.  Picks, shovels, food, shelter, arms, hostages,,.etc – figure it out because the WAR is on.

As John Markoff wrote today on Silicon Valley’s venture view…“There is a sense here among investors that Microsoft, as a more effective counterweight to Google, might actually serve to spur innovation in the Valley.  “When Microsoft was in the ascendancy, there were whole areas of investment that were of less interest to investors,” said William R. Hearst III, an affiliated partner with the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. “Now you could enter a new area and people will think that maybe one of the two colossuses will be interested in acquiring your start-up.”

Translation:  the opportunity for startups:   be a ‘WAR time” venture.

Entrepreneurs Beware. Yahoo Buyout Could Kill Technology Startups? Advice: Be an Arms Dealer. February 2, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
2 comments

Entrepreneurs beware Microsoft buying Yahoo could shut down the tech startup scene.  It could send the startup climate back to 2001 levels – nuclear winter shut down.  I lived through 2001-2004.  It was ugly.  

Brad Burnham has hit on a narrow topic about the downside of the Yahoo buyout for Silicon Valley.  Brad’s story is very relevant with ‘macro’ implications to the tech world not just Silicon Valley.   This deal could cripple startup activity.

Efficiency for Microsoft means leverage with suppliers.  Translation:  Startups are suppliers and Microsoft just became Walmart.  This could have a chilling effect on the VC and tech investment community.  This new industry structure puts even more of an emphasis on ‘hits’ or category specific deals.   If the Venture Capitalists are confused today can you imaging what they will do going forward.   This could get ugly. 

Advice for Technology Startups and VCs:  Understand where your company is in the pecking order in this war.  If you’re not an arms dealer then you might want to rethink your strategy. 

Update:   others are thinking the same….  A VC -Fred Wilson; Opportunity for another big player to bid:   News Corp. 

Microsoft’s War: Google is NOT Netscape. People: Please Stop the Comparison. February 2, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
2 comments

Joe Nocera of the New York Times writes that Microsoft is really a tired competitor.  Not sure I agree that Microsoft doesn’t have the weaponry – under the right battle plan I think that they can compete and surpass Google.  What I am sure of is that Microsoft will not “kill” Google.    Nevertheless, Google isn’t Netscape. 

Although there are many differences between Google and Netscape, the big difference is that Google is a multifaceted cash producing machine and Netscape was a one trick poney – the browser.  Netscape was an easy target for Microsoft at that time.  Today, Microsoft is fighting a different competitor.  Google has great cash flow and control of the most coveted market –  online advertising.  This fight for Microsoft is to the death.  Microsoft is the underdog not Google.  A case can be made that Microsoft is the Netscape and Google the old Microsoft – the tables are turned.    It’s going to get bloody.

 As I mentioned yesterday Microsoft is officially waging “War” against Google, Microsoft needs Yahoo.  Why?  Two reasons:  it’s search position and it’s user base of registered users.  The rest of Yahoo will fall into a product group or get ‘whacked’.   If this buyout goes down in Microsoft’s favor , then there will be a ‘ton’ of collateral damage at Yahoo.

WAR! Microsoft Officially Declares WAR on Google! Microsoft Makes $44.6 Billion Dollar Bid For Yahoo! February 1, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
Tags: , , , ,
6 comments

As the president ial elec tions (can use those political keywords because of a Techmeme flaw) is down to two person races, the Internet battle has been waged.  WAR!  It’s official.  It’s now a two company race:  Google and Microsoft.

I’ve been seeing the battle of the titans coming for sometime, but this is the open gambit of a World War between Microsoft and Google. – the rest of the Internet world is whitespace. 

I was writing up a review on the Google earnings while on a plane coming back from Flordia to Houston.   Two words sum this up: holy shit.

More to come… I have to get on a plane to SJC from Houston.  Unbelievable with impact to all.  This is an A-bomb.  It will affect big companies and startups.  Wow.

Yahoo Stalled: No Wind in Their Sails? Google isn’t stalled. What’s the Problem? New CTO? January 30, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Last year Jerry Yang took over as ‘Captain’ Yahoo but their ship is stalled.  Where are those new ‘sails’ to capture the new winds that are clearly blowing Google and Facebook’s way?  Yahoo needs to change the game.  Where’s the competive strategy?  Where the “Eye of the Tiger” attitude? 

Businessweek had the best analysis on Yahoo’s situation around the recent layoff and future prospects for success.  Display advertising is feeling the pre-recession jitters but not search (or ecommerc) advertising.  Yahoo keeps losing ground in search to Google.  According to Nielsen Online‘s numbers, usually the most conservative measure of the market, Google’s share of searches in December was 56.3% to Yahoo’s 17.7%, and Google got 70% more searches per searcher than Yahoo.

Yahoo needs new products and fast.  Jerry Yang says they are focused on investments on new initiatives.  As Yang’s vow to keep spending on some initiatives indicates, Yahoo’s hope remains coming up with new services that catch people’s imagination as Google, MySpace (NWS), Facebook, and other sites have.

I’ve been predicting a Yahoo comeback and openness for sometime.  Look for Yahoo to join opensocial and compete in the web 2.0 infrastructure. 

New CTO?  What does it Mean:

Silver Lining in new CTO hire:  One promising sign from their new hire, Ari Balogh, is that he’s an infrastructure guy.   He knows how to deal with scale and product rollouts that are managed service based.  What does this mean?  Yahoo could develop (fast) a significant position against both Google and Microsoft Live if Ari Balogh and team can integrate services and leverage user data for new products – a kind of “Mega Mashup” product strategy.  The portal model is dying and advertisers are voting.   

Also look for possible Data as a Service product set.    Yahoo has so many possibilities but they need to pick a few and go with it.   Yahoo has all the ‘raw materials’ and the audience to roll out ‘instant’ killer products. 

For Yahoo to succeed it’s all about competitive strategy.  Can’t wait to see how they execute their plan. 

Yahoo Please Join OpenSocial: Hey Jerry Yang – Go Social and Get Open Now; It’s all Jelly January 14, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
Tags: , , , , , ,
9 comments

Jerry:  It’s time to join Open Social.  Now is the time to change the game.  

I’ve been posting a lot on Yahoo recently first on Yahoo at CES and then on their stock performance.  I believe that Yahoo can be a big player in web 2.0 and social networks.  Yahoo can be competitive and might just have the answer in being the next Google-like performing company.  Specifically, Yahoo has already helped pioneer RSS and widgets (with Konfabulator).  Now it’s time for Yahoo to join open social.  Yahoo has the assets to make a difference in web 2.0.

The three things that I would do right now if I were Yahoo:

1) Join OpenSocial immediately – like tomorrow

2) Do a major stock repurchase – joining OpenSocial and going open will cause some stock performance in the short term so it’s no better a time to do a stock buyback. Show everyone you’re in it for the long haul.  Don’t sell.

3) Port all your products to be web 2.0 enabled including social networking environments and data portability.

These three things can propell Yahoo to the front of the line in term of being competitive while delivering user value.   

My prediction:  Yahoo will join OpenSocial.  By joining OpenSocial Yahoo can take advantage of their huge subscribe base, lead the open data movement, and leverage the user behavior trend in social networking and widgets.

It’s the bread and jelly that Yahoo needs. It already has the peanut butter. 

Jerry Yang took over as CEO this past June and announced it here on his blog.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.