Microsoft and Yahoo…again

Post ImageAs the saying goes: where there’s smoke there’s fire. Perhaps that axiom should have a time limit though. I mean, there can only be so much smoke before you have to wonder…is there one fire? Multiple fires? Any fire at all? Is that even smoke?!

The reason I bring this up: Microsoft buying Yahoo was in the news again. Still a rumor. How many times are we going to hear this?

"It’s just speculation at this point. But there were rumors this past weekend that Microsoft offered $80 billion for Yahoo. Yahoo was said to have rejected the bid as too low."
Microsoft Watch, 1/3/2006

"Microsoft has been in talks with Yahoo! about potentially acquiring a major portion of the company, according to a report published Wednesday.", 5/3/2006

"Microsoft should buy Yahoo! to give its struggling MSN Web unit a much-needed boost, according to a report issued by Merrill Lynch analyst Justin Post.", 6/23/2006

"Microsoft can afford Yahoo! and a combined MSN/Yahoo! would certainly be a stronger competitive player against Google, something that is clearly on Ballmer’s mind right now. That seems the most likely deal to me."
Fred Wilson, 10/15/2006

"Should Microsoft buy Yahoo? UBS analysts Heather Bellini and Benjamin Schachter raise the question in a report issued this afternoon about the troubles in Microsoft’s online business."
Barron’s, 3/1/2007

"While Microsoft and Yahoo! have held informal deal talks over the years, sources say the latest approach signals an urgency on Microsoft’s part that has up until now been lacking."
New York Post, 5/4/2007

"Microsoft Corp.’s plan to buy AQuantive Inc. for $6 billion increases the likelihood that the software maker will also buy Yahoo! Inc."
Bloomberg, 5/18/2007

"In a TV interview, Microsoft’s Chairman and CEO Steve Ballmer wouldn’t answer whether the company continues to mull buying Yahoo."
PC World, 8/20/2007

"A Microsoft acquisition of Yahoo would be disastrous for Yahoo…But what such an acquisition would do to Yahoo is irrelevant. If Microsoft comes in with a Murdoch-like offer, Yahoo won’t be able to refuse."
Henry Blodget, 11/16/2007

There’s certainly been other times that I haven’t listed above (a quick search reveals millions of results). The point is that we’ve heard this rumor many times, and nothing has come of it. Will the next time be any different? I’m thinking no, but who knows.

Acquisitions of this size take time. Maybe the strategy is to have it mentioned multiple times for a few years so that it is less shocking (and thus easier for everyone to swallow and for the Feds to approve) when it actually happens?

Or maybe it’s just such a fascinating combination that it’s hard not to speculate.

Read: Techmeme

Fifth generation Archos to support H.264

Post ImageI’ve learned a lot about portable media players in the last year or so, mostly as a result of Podcast Spot. We convert audio and video files to a variety of different formats, so it’s useful to know which devices support which formats. I admit I was shocked to learn that current Archos devices only support H.264 video and AAC audio with an optional $20 USD plug-in. The website is kind of misleading about it too.

Looks like that might get fixed. Engadget has been exploring rumors about the next generation devices from Archos:

Nevertheless, GenerationMP3 was able to snag a screenshot of more details surrounding the PMPs, so here’s what we know now. The 405 will supposedly accept both miniSD and micro SD cards, support MPEG2/3/4, WMV, H.264, and AAC formats, play nice with JPEG, BPM, and PNG photos, and weigh 146 grams.

I hope that “support” as used above really means “support without additional software required.” The devices that Archos makes are fairly impressive, but the whole plug-in thing just grinds my gears.

Read: Engadget

The Age of Digital Rumors

Post ImageI have to admit I feel kind of bad for Christie Chorley. She’s a sports anchor for CityTV here in Edmonton, and was subject to rumors recently that she was carrying Chris Pronger’s baby (he’s married with kids in case you didn’t know), and hence, was the reason he requested a trade. Turns out that was completely false:

JUNE 29, 2006


I would appreciate your help in putting an end to my name being linked to this situation, as it is completely WITHOUT ANY MERIT OR FACTUAL BASIS.

Any further slander or defamation can and will result in swift legal action.

Thank you.

What’s interesting about this to me, is how fast and far the rumor spread, thanks in large part to the Internet. I received an email about it, as did Megan (she posted about it here). In addition to the email, a quick search on Technorati reveals a number of posts about the rumor. Christie’s site was down most of the week, no doubt because of huge amounts of traffic.

The Oilers have also felt the power of the Internet with regards to this rumor, posting a message that threatens to ban anyone who continues the discussion on the Oiler forums:

There will be no more speculation or rumours on this board regarding Chris Pronger’s situation.

Any attempt to do so will result in an immediate ban.

If it continues, we will be forced to remove the message board due to the threat of legal action against the Oilers. The legal action is NOT by Pronger himself but by outside parties implicated by rumours on the message board.

You can discuss trade rumours, etc. but leave his (or any other player’s for that matter) personal life out of it.

I agree with Megan, Chris Pronger himself needs to make a statement to put an end to all of this madness.

Things just aren’t like they used to be. Remember in high school, if someone started a rumor, a few dozen people might here about it, and then they’d get bored and move on to something else. There was rarely a record of the rumor. That’s different now. Even for high school students, I imagine MySpace has become a haven for rumors and slander. Welcome to the age of digital rumors I guess!

And Christie, if you’re reading this, you can take one positive from the whole situation. Most of the comments I heard related to the rumor said something to the effect that “I can’t blame him if he did.” Not the way in which you want to receive a compliment, but if you’re going to look for the positives here (aside from your name becoming much more widely known), that’s one.

[As an aside, I was kind of surprised that I still got an email about this. One of those “forward it on to everyone you know” kind of emails. I guess blogging hasn’t quite taken hold as firmly as I had thought, despite the number of worldwide bloggers inching towards 100 million (or maybe even beyond that already).]

Read: Christie Chorley

No GBuy Yet

Post ImageLike a lot of other bloggers (at least I’m assuming I’m not alone here) I have been waiting patiently today, for any sign of Google’s long-rumored “GBuy” service. A report was published a couple weeks ago by Forbes, that said today would likely be the day Google would launch the service.

According to bloggingstocks, eBay, who would feel the largest effects of a GBuy service, was doing better today:

So after eBay hit a 52-week low yesterday, mainly on fears of up and coming competition from Google, investors had time to cool off and rethink the ramifications of this play. EBay stock gained back 50 cents (1.77%) to close at $28.75.

And according to the Search Engine Roundtable blog, quite a few people would switch to GBuy if it was ever launched:

Currently we have over 38% saying they will switch, only 19% saying they will not and 42% saying they just don’t know. Why would someone switch without seeing it first? Well, it is Google.

I just want to see if it’s anything like PayPal, which I quite like.

Maybe it will come late tonight. Or maybe it won’t come at all?

UPDATE: I knew I wasn’t the only one waiting!

UPDATE 2: Looks like we’ll see Google Checkout on Thursday. The service doesn’t seem to be available yet, so I’ll reserve further comment until later.

Disney in talks to buy Pixar

Post ImageI was a little surprised to run across this article at Reuters this afternoon. Apparently Disney is in “serious talks” to buy Pixar Animation Studios, according to a report in the Wall Stree Journal:

The newspaper report said terms under discussion would have Disney pay a small premium to Pixar’s current stock market value of $6.7 billion. The deal would be a stock transaction and make Pixar Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs the biggest individual shareholder in Disney, the newspaper reported.

The talks are at a sensitive stage and other options are possible, including an agreement for Disney to distribute Pixar movies, the report said, citing people familiar with the situation.

Given that Jobs has been quite vocal about his dislike for Disney’s deal making in the past (though I am sure he wouldn’t mind being the largest shareholder), and considering the fact that Disney has already invested a lot of money in their own digital animation studio, the rumor is a bit surprising to me. I would be less surprised if the two worked out a new distribution deal for Pixar movies, all of which have been tremendously successful.

Of course, depsite all of that, the move would be great for Disney – a way to keep them relevant. Definitely another rumor to watch!

Read: Reuters

YouTube to be acquired?

Post ImageAccording to Michael Arrington, the popular video sharing site YouTube has signed an agreement to be acquired. An update on the post mentions that the rumor is highly speculative, but interesting nonetheless:

Whoever the buyer may be, it’s not News Corp. They have confirmed directly to me it has not acquired YouTube.

YouTube raised $3.5 million in venture capital just three months ago from Sequoia. It was founded in February 2005.

I remember early last year when I first discovered YouTube – there was almost nothing on the site! My how things have changed. YouTube has been quite popular in the blogosphere lately, as news has spread that their traffic is pretty amazing and by some measures has overtaken Flickr. Speaking of Flickr, my guess for the potential suitor is Yahoo – they’ve been on a Web 2.0 buying spree lately, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they picked up YouTube as well.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this rumor for sure!

Read: Techcrunch