MediaFile

Viacom digs up more YouTube documents for court case

EricSchmidt1Viacom’s ongoing legal fisticuffs with Google over alleged piracy on YouTube rages on. The MTV and Nickelodeon owner on Thursday put out nine additional exhibits in addition to the hundreds of pages that were  put out last month including transcripted deposition from Google CEO Eric Schmidt.  Viacom, which extended CEO Philippe Dauman’s contract today, said the exhibits “make clear one of our core claims in the case: that Google made a deliberate, calculated business decision not only to profit from copyright infringement, but also to use the threat of copyright infringement to try to coerce rights owners like Viacom into licensing their content on Google’s terms.”

Viacom is making that claim based on various statements from Google senior employees while management was considering buying YouTube. 

As for Schmidt’s deposition from May 2009 it’s not particularly controversial, with perhaps the most interesting statement being that he owns 30 computers and claims it has been his practice for 30 years to not retain his emails unless asked specifically.

(Photo: Reuters)

Apple’s Jobs and Google’s Schmidt: Let’s do coffee

An unusual — and unverified – photograph posted on the Internet by Gizmodo is triggering a minor sensation in tech circles.  Google and Apple may be at war, but — if this snapshot of CEOs Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt casually chatting over a coffee is to be believed — the generals of the two tech superpowers may have discussed matters of state via an intimate, streetside tete-a-tete on Friday.

According to Gizmodo, a perspicacious passer-by spotted Jobs and Schmidt at a restaurant in Palo Alto, California on Friday and duly relayed the resulting photos to the tech blog. Courtesy: Gizmodo

Courtesy: Gizmodo

For those who haven’t been following Silicon’s Valley favorite new drama: Jobs and Schmidt once sat on Apple’s board together and were allied in the battle against software giant Microsoft. But in recent years, the two chieftains have positioned their companies against each other, in markets like smartphones, mobile advertising and PC operating systems. And, according to some accounts, the relationship between the two has taken a turn for the worse.

Google “advocate” goes on anti-Apple warpath

Apple and Google have been duking it out in the smartphone market, on the acquisition front and in proxy legal battles. Now, Google has escalated its information warfare efforts by unleashing a cowboy-hat wearing software developer and tech blogger.

Tim Bray, who recently left his gig at Sun Microsystems (now Oracle), announced his new role as a developer advocate at Google with a fiery blog post assailing Apple for its restrictive iPhone policies:

The iPhone vision of the mobile Internet’s future omits controversy, sex, and freedom, but includes strict limits on who can know what and who can say what. It’s a sterile Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers. The people who create the apps serve at the landlord’s pleasure and fear his anger.

from Commentaries:

Gut feeling: How Google CEO valued YouTube deal

Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google, sits for an interview at the Newseum in Washington on Oct. 2, 2009Let the second-guessing, the mock horror, the disbelief, the crowing begin.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has acknowledged he realized upfront that he was overpaying to acquire YouTube, to the tune of $1 billion, judged by any conventional measures.

The many critics of Google's $1.65 billion deal to acquire the video-sharing site three years ago will claim this confirms everything they have always said about the deal. Not quite.

In fact, not really at all.

Schmidt came clean in a deposition by lawyers in the Viacom copyright lawsuit that there was very little revenue coming into YouTube to justify the price his company paid.

Schmidt quits Apple board, no surprise there

Few observers expressed much surprise over Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s decision Monday to step down from Apple’s board. Analysts said the writing was on the wall, as Google’s Android smartphone software competes in the same market at Apple’s iPhone, and Google’s forthcoming Chrome operating system prepares to enter a market against Apple’s Mac OS.

Schmidt said earlier this month he expected to chat with Apple about his role on its board, and what with increased regulatory scrutiny about the company’s ties, many say it was only a matter of time.

“It’s the collision course that they’ve been on for a while, I think they’ve managed it well up to until now,” said Todd Dagres, a venture capitalist whose firm Spark Capital funded Twitter. “I think Eric getting off the board may be an indication of sort of the last straw here.”

Sun Valley: Execs join reporters in bar exile

Allen & Co might have thought they were being helpful to executives by shutting out the working press from the usual mingling with the executives at the Sun Valley Lodge bar. Its annual media and technology conference includes the reminder to its attendees that they’re not supposed to talk to the reporters who fly out, uninvited but not unwelcome, to try to get the big guys to talkMaybe it wasn’t so helpful. At least four CEOs told MediaFile and other reporters privately here that they were less than impressed with the decision. Executives who wanted to speak with individual reporters or hold court with several at a time had to do it outside the bar. And that’s just what many of them did, opting to hang with each other and various journalists in the lobby outside the bar, leaving the wonderful staff of the lodge’s bar to ferry drinks out to the crowd.Google CEO Eric Schmidt held his annual sit down with reporters on Thursday by the fireplace in the lobby of the Sun Valley Inn, and a bunch of other top movers in the media world from Hearst Magazines chief Cathleen Black to News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch and Time Warner Inc CEO Jeff Bewkes seemed to think little ill of jawing with the press during cocktail hour.The hired security at the event said Allen & Co made the decision on Tuesday after someone complained. The decision reversed years of tradition here where the press and executives mingle in the evenings to have off-the-record chats and trade gossip.On Saturday, the last day with just one (MediaFile) reporter left, the security seemed to relax a little. The head of security told this reporter, “I’m letting you get away with murder because you’re the last guy here.”Let’s see if we can apply that policy to the bar next year. Everyone can use a little social lubricant, especially executives and the reporters who make their living off covering what they do.

Sun Valley: Cost cutting at Google?

Has Google stopped offering staff bottled water as it cuts back on costs during the recession? It’s not clear even after journalists spent time with CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founder Larry Page at the Sun Valley conference this week.

Page and Schmidt couldn’t seem to agree on whether bottled water is still available for free at Google’s Mountain View, California campus, which is renown for its generous buffet-style lunches free for all employees.

Schmidt was telling reporters how the company has worked to get itself “right-sized” to perform well financially regardless of the ongoing economic downturn. One of those cuts was water he claimed.

Sun Valley: More Who’s Who in Pictures

Nearly every powerful media and technology executive you can imagine has swung through the idyllic and affluent ski resort town of Sun Valley this week. Here are a few more snapshots from Reuters photographer Rick Wilking…

Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Inc, arrives at the Sun Valley Inn

Harvey Weinstein, of the Weinstein Co arrives at the Sun Valley Inn

Les Moonves, CEO of CBS Corp arrives

Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star LeBron James talks on a phone outside the Sun Valley Inn

Eric Schmidt CEO of Google, Bill Gates former CEO of Microsoft and Nathan Myhrvold of Intellectual Ventures in Sun Valley

Sun Valley: When will YouTube make a profit?

That question has got louder and louder from investors and Wall Street analysts concerned that YouTube owner Google is racking huge profit-hindering costs to be the free online video platform for the world. It seems Google’s top guys don’t know the answer either — or if they do, they’re choosing not to share it with reporters on Thursday.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt told a media briefing at Sun Valley that he believes YouTube, which his company spent $1.65 billion to acquire three years ago, will come good thanks to its recent launch of new advertising formats such as pay-to-promote and pre-roll ads. “We’re optimisic that YouTube will be a strong revenue business for us because of these products,” he told reporters.

But the problem is investors are more concerned with the huge costs involved in streaming millions of videos globally everyday with a very small percentage of them covered by advertising. In other words when will YouTube make money from its dominance?

Sun Valley: Google’s Schmidt likes to talk social

Social media is a big topic of discussion at Sun Valley. And Google, the king of Internet search, has been talking to the various players.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said on Thursday that he’s “chatted” with the MySpace folks while at the conference, and noted that Google has had many conversations with Twitter in the past.

Google’s $900 million advertising deal with MySpace will expire next year. Some analysts believe any new deal will involve Google paying considerably less money to run ads on MySpace, whose popularity been eclipsed by Facebook.