Tech wrap: Yahoo battle with Alibaba heats up

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.

from Tales from the Trail:

Ex-White House spokeswoman Perino lands at PR firm

BUSHAfter taking a long, well-deserved vacation after being chief spokeswoman at the White House for President George W. Bush, Dana Perino has rejoined the working world by joining the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller.She will be the firm's "Chief Issues Counselor" advising clients on a range of issues and will find herself alongside some old Republican friends as well as quite a few Democrats.Burson-Marsteller's chief executive is pollster and strategist Mark Penn who worked for Hillary Clinton's failed presidential bid in 2008. The firm's roster also includes Don Baer who was Bill Clinton's director of strategic planning and communications as well as Karen Hughes, a key member of Bush's inner circle during his presidency and Republican strategist Charlie Black.Perino will report to Josh Gottheimer who was a speechwriter for Bill Clinton as well as John Kerry who lost the 2004 presidential campaign to Perino's former boss, according to a statement by the firm."Dana is the latest addition to an already deep bipartisan bench of former presidential advisers,” Penn said. “She has performed one of the most demanding jobs in Washington. We know the skills and judgment she honed in her time at the White House will serve our clients well."After leaving the White House, Perino traveled to South Africa and volunteered in an AIDS/HIV clinic. And as many administration officials do after they leave office, she has popped up occasionally on cable television to talk about her old boss and the new White House occupant.For more Reuters political news, click here.- Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Perino at a White House press briefing in 2008)