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Skyfire Browser Brings Full Web To Windows Mobile

Skyfire is a new web browser program just announced for Windows Mobile. The browser promises to bring full page desktop versions of websites to your Mobile 5 or 6 device (both touchscreen and non-touch), using zooming and panning like the iPhone, while supporting common web content like Flash video. Skyfire also downloads websites to a server, then optimizes them for the phone, then sends them to the phone, resulting in much faster downloads.

Watch this video of Skyfire in action:

Skyfire is a private beta, so sign up on their website and wait patiently for an invite.
(via Engadget)

February 4th, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Windows Mobile | no comments

Some Microsoft/Yahoo Overlap You May Not Have Considered

Do you really have any idea how big Yahoo is, or hell, how big MSN is? There’s a lot of overlap between the two, and Long Zheng & Josh Philips have been kind enough to generate a nice chart to show the two. The chart is reproduced below, with some notes added by me regarding what I think about which service will be rolled into the other.

Service Yahoo Equivalent Microsoft Equivalent Nathan’s notes
Content Portals
Yahoo Auto
Yahoo Finances
MSN Auto
MSN Finances
Both sides have some great, well-developed portal sites. There’s no need for both, so the only way sites like Yahoo Autos and MSN Autos survive is if the companies waffle and keep both Yahoo and MSN alive, competing with each other.
Country-specific Content Portals ex. ex. Here’s part of the beauty of the acquisition. Yahoo and MSN have many international portals. In some countries, Yahoo is king, in others, MSN. Together, they combine to have #1 market share in almost every single market.
Account Management Yahoo ID Live ID Yahoo’s ID system, while good, is nowhere near as powerful or versatile as Microsoft’s. Microsoft’s multi-account switching and Windows Live Sign-In assistant would win anyday. Either way, Microsoft sticks with its own technology, so Yahoo IDs are dead.
Personal Homepage My Yahoo! MyYahoo is bigger and has more users, and a big history. The technology developed for will likely be rolled into MyYahoo, or exist as a more advanced option for MyYahoo users, but MyYahoo is king here.
Search Yahoo Search Live Search Both are big dogs, and both are struggling to catch Google. Both will survive, at least for a while, with Microsoft trying to find a way to combine the market share of the two eventually. Most likely, the search engine will fall under the Yahoo brand, but itcould go either way.
Casual gaming Yahoo Games MSN Games Both sites are strong, could be better, and will certainly be combined into one, possibly under the Yahoo brand.
Mapping Yahoo Maps Live Maps Not even a question. Microsoft loves Live Maps, and has invested heavily in it. Yahoo Maps is dead, but its engineers and some of its code may work for Live in the future.
Instant Messenger Yahoo Messenger Live Messenger Yahoo Messenger and Live Messenger already work together, making the path for the future easier. Live Messenger is more popular, and will almost definitely be the only client in the future, with added support for the Yahoo services and features it can take over from the Yahoo client.
Mail Yahoo Mail Live Hotmail Live Hotmail is one of Microsoft’s most important, strongest projects. Microsoft will avoid killing Yahoo at first, but development on Yahoo Mail will cease. Microsoft will offer Yahoo users the option to migrate their accounts to the ever-improving Hotmail, and eventually Yahoo Mail will phase out and die.
Community Help Service Yahoo Answers Live QnA Yahoo Answers is the amazing success story of 2007, while Live QnA never got enough traction. Live QnA is dead, and there’s even a chance Microsoft will not bother to integrate.
Photo Sharing Flickr Live Spaces Flickr will become tied to Live Spaces, with the millions of Live Spaces photos becoming part of Flickr. The two will thrive on each other and grow exponentially more successful. This will be the immediate crown jewel of the acquisition.
Blogging 360° Live Spaces Yahoo 360 is a failure. If Microsoft is nice, it may offer to transition accounts over, but 360 is dead.
Widgets Yahoo Widgets Windows Sidebar Yahoo Widgets is strong and has a nice library of Gadgets. The first post-acquisition release of Sidebar will add support for Yahoo Widgets, which will live side-by-side in Windows Vista.
Search Advertising Yahoo Search Marketing Microsoft adCenter The hardest part of the acquisition. It took Yahoo years to integrate Overture into its own ad systems, and if that happens to Microsoft, this entire acquisition will have been a waste. Luckily, Microsoft is very talented at integrating, at least when compared to Yahoo. Expect hundreds of employees to work on combining the two products, with a deadline of under 12 months, maybe even six months.
Mobile Yahoo Mobile Live Mobile Live Mobile isn’t fully developed, but an important part of Microsoft’s mobile strategy. Yahoo Go for Mobile is a great piece of software. There will be a fight inside Microsoft, but if the company is smart, it will continue to develop Yahoo Go as the iPhone-killer content browser.
Web Development Yahoo Developer Network Both will continue, as long as they continue to help developers with their platforms. No reason to worry here.
Web Mashup Tools Yahoo Pipes Popfly Yahoo Pipes is dead, but the engineers and code will try to live on at Microsoft. Popfly is too important to Microsoft to not win this one.
Website Services Yahoo Small Business Office Live Yahoo’s offering is dead. Office Live is much better, and important to Microsoft’s Office division. Yahoo’s customers will hopefully like Microsoft’s technology, which has been well invested in and is cheaper (or free).
Social Events Upcoming Live Events Tough call. Live Events is really knew, and we don’t know how important it is to Microsoft. If they aren’t desperately attached to it, Upcoming could win.
Social Bookmarking (Advertising deal with Digg) Everybody wins. Microsoft keeps dealing with Digg, and puts development resources into
eCommerce alibaba    
Music Service Y! Music/MusicMatch Zune Marketplace, MSN Music Microsoft killed MSN Music for Zune, and it will kill Yahoo Music, too. Microsoft will integrate or transition, and kill it off. Hopefully, Launchcast will survive, but don’t count on it.
Music Software Music Jukebox Windows Media Player Ditto.

What do you think? What is missing from the table?

February 4th, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Windows Mobile, Office Live, Live, Windows Media, Mail, Zune, Yahoo Acquisition, Sidebar, Maps, Vista, Hotmail, MSN, Media Player, Applications, Search, Windows, Messenger, Yahoo, Spaces, General | 8 comments

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Microsoft Looking To Take On Debt Over Yahoo

Microsoft’s offer to buy Yahoo isn’t cheap. In fact, the $44 billion offer is more money than Microsoft actually has, so the company is figuring out how to pay for it. The offer, as it stands, is for half cash, half stock, so Microsoft needs $22.3 billion in stock, and $22.3 billion in cash.

The stock is based on Microsoft’s closing price on January 31 of $32.60, so we are talking 684,049,080 shares, or just over 2/3 of a billion shares of Microsoft stock. If I understand how to read a stock summary (and I don’t, so correct me if necessary), Microsoft holds 1.3 billion of its own shares, so giving Yahoo almost half of those would still leave the company with plenty for its own purposes.

As for the cash, Microsoft has $21.076 billion on hand, but CFO Chris Liddel says it “could” use all of its money to cover most of the $22.3, which pretty much means it won’t. I’d expect Microsoft to spend half its cash, or 10.538 billion, leaving another $11.762 billion to cover the rest. Liddell says the company will borrow money, the first time it has done that.

Luckily, Microsoft’s a pretty healthy company. The company pulled in $5.8 billion in cash in just its last quarter, so give it a year, Microsoft could pay off that debt and still have plenty of spending money. Yahoo is profitable too, and hopefully, under Microsoft, even more profitable, so Yahoo is definitely something Microsoft can afford.

That question out of the way, we just have to wonder if Microsoft can make this work, turn Yahoo+Windows Live into the Google killer it keeps hoping for.

February 4th, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Yahoo Acquisition, Corporate, Yahoo | one comment

Manila Available for Download


Manila apparently the codename for the updated version of HTC’s TouchFlo. There have been some alleged screencaps floating around that show that updated version of TouchFlo is seriously improved. While not quite Windows Mobile 7, the new software looks good. Unfortunately the current incarnation doesn’t work with QVGA screens (HTC Touch or the HTC Mogul). It looks like some forum members over at XDA-Developers are working on fixing that issue. Unfortunatly it looks like the frame rate and memory usage make the program more of a look at the future then something that will be functional for the average user.

Hopefully carriers will let HTC get it out to users asap.

Download here.

February 4th, 2008 Posted by stefan | Windows Mobile, General | no comments

A Look At Windows Live Flickr

Thomas Hawk, photographer extraordinaire and CEO of Zooomr, has a post on how Microsoft’s proposed buyout of Yahoo will affect photographers. Yahoo doesn’t have much in the way of photo-related services, except, of course, for Flickr, a hugely popular photo sharing website. Microsoft has:

  • Great Windows Live Photo Gallery software, for navigating, editing, and uploading your photos to the internet, including to Flickr
  • Ten million photo uploaders on Live Spaces
  • The next killer photo format, JPEG XR, in the process of being finalized and added to cameras
  • Photosynth, the software that combines thousands of photographs into a 3D space

… and lots of other programs and research initiatives that are paying off in the digital imaging space. The one thing Microsoft doesn’t have is a social website where users can share, rate, tag, and otherwise build an amazing photography community. With Flickr, Microsoft ties it altogether, and gains the best photo search engine on the internet. Flickr alone is worth, I’d guess, between $500 and $700 million to Microsoft, more than it is currently worht to Yahoo, and twenty times what Yahoo paid for it.

Thomas lists at least five other ways the buyout affects photographers. Read his article.

photo of LEGO Photographers by turkguy0319 under CC license

February 4th, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Yahoo Acquisition, Yahoo, Spaces, Search, Windows, General | 2 comments

8-Gig Zune Gets Price Break

The official manufacturer’s suggested retail price of Microsoft’s 8-gigabyte Zune portable media player has been reduced. The flash memory-based player (which means no moving parts, so it’s more durable) is twenty bucks cheaper, now selling for $180. That puts it $20 cheaper than an iPod Nano of the same price, and it doesn’t even look like a fat square.

Amazon has the black version of the 8-gigger for even cheaper, just $170. The red one is $175, the pink $174, the green $176, all amazing prices when lined up against an iPod. The 4-gigabyte Zune sells on Amazon for about $15 cheaper than retail, or $135 for green or pink or red or black.

The 80-gigabyte hard drive Zune still sells at Amazon for retail price, $250. The previous generation 30-gig Zune sells for $185 in black or watermelon red, $182 in brown, and merely $178 in white.

February 4th, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Zune, Windows Media, General | no comments

Does Microsoft-Yahoo Spell The End of MSN?

yahoo-buys-msn.jpgMicrosoft, in its conference call Friday regarding the Yahoo offer, said that “We love the Yahoo brand”, when asked about what would happen to MSN and Windows Live. They also said, “There will be a Windows Live”, but avoiding an answer about MSN, which has led to speculation that MSN will be the odd-man out in a Yahoo acquisition.

It makes perfect sense. MSN is pretty much a failed shot at creating a Yahoo-type division, with the only successful parts of MSN either being rolled into Windows Live (Hotmail, Messenger) or existing as popular but rudderless content websites. Microsoft has never been good at content, so rolling the content side of MSN into Yahoo will give those sites a future and a more coherent strategy going forward.

Making MSN a division of Yahoo, while making Yahoo a division of Microsoft, will help combine the companies more smoothly. The “acquisition” of MSN by Yahoo can be seen as a source of pride for Yahoo employees, an acknowledgement to them that they defeated Microsoft in the internet portal game, and that Microsoft is buying Yahoo because it needs them. MSN’s properties will presumably flourish inside Yahoo’s portal, while adding their popularity to Yahoo’s to further cement the pageviews that make Yahoo so valuable.

In time, the MSN brand could either become a sub-brand of Microsoft’s Yahoo internet portal, or be phased out as its sites integrate into Yahoo. While Yahoo’s internet services (search, email, IM, photos) are the centerpiece of the acquisition, Yahoo’s content/news/information sites are huge strengths for the company, and Microsoft will need to keep them strong to make money of this acquisition. Combining or folding MSN into Yahoo will help with that.

February 4th, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Yahoo Acquisition, Yahoo, MSN | 6 comments

Which Yahoos Will Become Microsofties?

While the big deal in the Microsoft acquisition of Yahoo is the money and market share changing hands, there are plenty of Microsofties who are wondering which Yahoo employees will become their co-workers, their bosses, and their replacements. While most of the Yahoo rank-and-file will be held onto until redundancies can be worked out, Valleywag is already speculating on the fate of Yahoo’s board of directors, who will all become important execs at Microsoft, or unemployed.

Valleywag reasons that Yahoo founders Jerry Yang and David Filo have so much Yahoo stock, and will subsequently have so much Microsoft stock, that there’s no way to get rid of them. Barring a hostile takeover, and Yang and Filo cashing out and leaving, both will be two big fishes in need of a place at Microsoft. Yang could wind up on Microsoft’s board, and the speculation goes that Filo could wind up a Microsoft Fellow.

Some other Yahoos, like President Sue Decker (who Valleywag partially blames Yahoo’s collapse on*) have no place at Microsoft, bringing no specific skills to the table, just another replaceable executive with too many ties to the old Yahoo. Expected to be retained are “geek” executives, those with obvious skills that bring something extra to Microsoft, like Usama Fayyad, Chief Data Officer; Qi Lu, Executive VP, Engineering Search; and possibly Jill Nash, Chief Communications Officer, the better to handle Microsoft’s PR in Silicon Valley and with the difficulties post-acquisition.

* - Is any of this really Decker’s fault? The analysis goes that Decker continued to amass power and promotions as Yahoo’s ship was sinking, focusing so much on career advancement that Decker’s only success at Yahoo was to push out other executives on her way to the top. Decker forced out some good people, forced out Semel without anyone to replace him, and forced out Yahoo’s U.S. sales chief in an embarrassing way, all of which hurt the company.

I’d hardly lay the blame for Yahoo’s fall on one person, and certainly not blame any one person not named Terry Semel. On the list of failures at Yahoo, Semel has to be first on that list, a list also including slow and delayed product development, Lloyd Braun and Yahoo’s disastrous courtship of Hollywood, missed acquisition opportunities (Google, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace), poor integration of acquisitions, and the failure to use the last six months to turn around the company.

photo of Sue Decker, Terry Semel and Dan Rosenweig by Iantzilla under CC license

February 4th, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Yahoo Acquisition, Corporate, Yahoo | no comments