July 10, 2008
No "iPod" Tax for Japan
Legislation in Japan that would attach a tax on portable media players to benefit artists is dead. Seems they have a pretty good electronics manufacturer lobby over there. Will this development make Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi sad? CNNMoney has the story.
Bush Signs FISA Bill, ACLU Files Suit
The Senate passed the controversial FISA Amendments Act of 2008 yesterday. It's controversial in that it includes the telecom immunity provision that the President said was crucial to the law. He signed it today. For the record, Obama voted for the bill, Hillary voted against, and McCain snoozed through the whole thing without casting a vote. Had he been anywhere near the Capitol he would have voted for it. So, which one of these three is looking Presidential? The final tally was 69 for and 28 against. The ACLU is filing suit against the act on the grounds that it violates the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. The complaint is here.
July 9, 2008
A little note on the CNET site goes into some detail of predicting what Google services may be in the offing. The analysis come from looking at the traffic generated from Google searches and broken into 20 industrial categories. The analysis predicted Lively, Google's new virtual world service. It suggests that there may be a Google Autos or a Google Music coming. One category not cross-referenced to a Google service is government. The comment in the note said we'd probably not see a Google Government just yet. That's not quite true. There is a Google Government site. It's just not publicized. Or linked from the "More" page.
July 8, 2008
Viacom Discovery Request Troubling
The announcement that Viacom got a court to bless its discovery request for YouTube user data was a little troubling for some. Viacom gets a database of what videos were watched, the IP addresses that access them, and the user names of the viewers, and a copy of every video removed from YouTube. What Viacom doesn't get is the source code to Google's search function, th source code to YouTube's copyright filter, and a copy of every private video hosted on YouTube. The data should come to about 12 Terabytes.
The privacy issue flagged concerns that Viacom would start to file infringement suits against individual users as does the RIAA. The judge apparently limited the use of the evidence to proving liability against Google for copyright infringement and nothing more. Viacom, perhaps stung by the bad publicity surrounding the request, made a statement that it would protect user privacy by not getting personally identifiable user information from Google. Rather, Viacom would take annonymized information that would differentiate users. This may bring some relief to the privacy questions, but it still doesn't sit well given what Viacom wanted to get compared to what they did get as discovery.
July 7, 2008
Microsoft Buyout of Yahoo! Heating Up
This Yahoo! proxy fight is going to be a real mess now that Carl Icahn and Microsoft have both issued letters suggesting that Microsoft is ready to do a deal if a new board is elected. No one knows whether that deal would be for Yahoo!'s search business or for the whole company. It's no secret that the only component Microsoft really needs is search. The rest of Yahoo! is fluff to Microsoft, even if it is the one of the most heavily trafficked sites on the web. Yahoo! is definitely a company in decline in spite of its moves to open its platform. The profit is in search, and even with a 21% market share Yahoo! doesn't make enough in comparison to Google.
The Yahoo! stockholders better hope that Microsoft buys the entire company if a new slate of directors is elected at the next board meeting. There may not be enough business left in the other Yahoo! services to justify investing once search is gone. Icahn may get his money out of the deal. Microsoft may buy the market share it can't seem to grow no matter how hard it tries. Yahoo!, though, will be gone gone gone as a viable web business. Say hello to AOL-land, Yahoo!.
Icahn's letter to Yahoo! stockholders is here and the subsequent Microsoft statement is here, both via the Wall Street Journal. Fortune has a great article on why Microsoft will win Yahoo!'s search business.