Tech wrap: Yahoo battle with Alibaba heats up

May 13, 2011

Yahoo’s battle with Alibaba intensified as they issued contradictory statements over the Chinese company’s transfer of a major Internet asset to its CEO. Analysts said the handover of Alipay, an online e-commerce payment system, to Alibaba CEO Jack Ma has reduced the value of Yahoo’s 43 percent Alibaba stake.  Yahoo said it had been blindsided by the deal, while Alibaba countered that Yahoo was aware of the transaction by virtue of having a board seat, now held by former Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang, who is also a Yahoo director.

PR agency Burson-Marsteller, in the spotlight after it was revealed that Facebook had hired the firm to run a smear campaign against Google, said it will give the employees in charge of the operation extra training instead of firing them, The Daily Beast’s Dan Lyons writes.

Cisco Systems is expected to cut thousands of jobs in possibly its worst-ever round of layoffs to meet Chief Executive John Chambers’ goal of slashing costs by $1 billion. Four analysts contacted by Reuters estimated the world’s largest maker of network equipment will eliminate up to 4,000 jobs in coming months, with the average forecast at 3,000. That would represent 4 percent of Cisco’s 73,000 permanent workers. It also has an undisclosed number of temporary contractors.

A British judge banned Twitter users from identifying a brain-damaged woman in one of the first attempts to prevent the messaging website from revealing sensitive information. Lawyers say leaks of information protected by a British injunction on U.S.-based Twitter show that court orders to gag the press are unsustainable.

Celebrities who bombard fans with Twitter updates are likely to have shorter careers than those who maintain an aura of mystique, according to a survey. Easy access to stars through social networking websites has made them less appealing and increases the likelihood of followers getting bored, music consumer research by publishers Bauer Media said.

Travelers in the western U.S. should not rely solely on technology such as GPS for navigation, authorities said, after a Canadian couple were lost in the Nevada wilderness for 48 days. Sheriff’s offices in remote, high-elevation parts of Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming report the past two years have brought a rise in the number of GPS-guided travelers driving off marked and paved highways and into trouble.

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