from Shop Talk:

European ruling makes it tougher on Google advertisers

March 24, 2010

All eyes are on China this week as Google watchers assess its potential risk in that fast-growing market. But across the globe in Europe, the world's most-used search engine is grappling also with the possible  fallout  from a spat over its advertising model.
 
The company scored a victory in Europe's top court on Tuesday over the legitimacy of its Adwords system, with a ruling that found Google does not infringe trademark law by selling to advertisers keywords that trigger paid ads.
 
The case, in which one plaintiff was luxury brand LVMH, was seen as a major challenge to Google's business model. LVMH -- the purveyors of all things Louis Vuitton --  argued it sought to protect brand holders' trademarks in the digital age. 
 
Yet despite the victory, as Reuters pointed out last week, the world's largest search engine is still not out of the woods. Some warn that Google could see its ad revenue slide if advertisers pull out of Adwords, concerned they could be found liable in future for trademark violations. 
 
That's because brand owners can now take up claims against advertisers who use their trademarks to confuse consumers, according to the court, which said Google  too may be liable if the company actively manipulates keywords or fails to act on legitimate complaints.

from DealZone:

Comcast: the antitrust sequel and the M&A trilogy

December 4, 2009

If you were all twitchy with anticipation about Comcast's NBC Universal deal, just wait for parts two and three! The gathering storm over the merger in Washington and other political power points not only promises to be more riveting, but the rights to part three are already being sold to a wave of media mergers hanging on the outcome.

Amazon sparks digital ownership debate

July 20, 2009

“Orwell fans, lock your doors,” was the reaction from Amazon user Caffeine Queen after she and others had received notice from Amazon last Friday that their e-book versions of “1984″ and “Animal Farm” had been removed from their Kindle device.

Comcast AGM: Everybody hates Brian

May 14, 2008

brianrobertslooks-back.jpg

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable TV operator, might have had a strong first quarter, started paying a dividend, and even be able to claim to be one of the best performing stocks in 2008 in its sector – but CEO Brian Roberts still couldn’t catch a break from shareholders at Wednesday’s annual general meeting.

Malone, Diller and the story that ended the affair

March 12, 2008

maffei-sun-valley.jpgMedia titans John Malone and Barry Diller knew they had their fair share of disagreements over the years, but like many couples heading to divorce, they apparently needed someone else to tell them that.

Did Greg get between John and Barry?

March 11, 2008

malone-arrives.jpgJohn Malone is famous in the media industry for his complex deal-making skills that have confounded some of the best minds in business. But he seemed almost forlorn in Delaware court today when talking about the unraveling of his relationship with Barry Diller, the former television and film honcho who built up IAC/InterActiveCorp with his backing.About halfway through a rigorous cross examination by Marc Wolinsky, who was representing IAC, Malone’s responses gave us the impression that his lieutenant and CEO Greg Maffei had a hand in precipitating a difficult business dispute into all-out war. Here are some chapter headings from his direct testimony and cross-examination:The tension dates years back to Maffei’s role in Expedia’s sale to IAC. When Maffei was appointed CEO of Liberty Media in 2005, Malone said Diller branded it a “poor choice.”“I knew there was a history. I knew that Barry was complaining that there was no cooperation between Expedia and Hotels.com … he thought that was wrong. I’m not sure I was aware of any personality difference until much later.”By 2006, Maffei was making comments that questioned the solidity of Diller’s control over IAC, under a proxy agreement to vote Liberty shares. Barry had some feelings about that.“Mr Diller was very unhappy or upset that Mr Maffei would make these … claims or references, anything that would undermine his confidence that he had the voting power.”When Maffei and Liberty counsel suggested a way to weaken Diller’s proxy, Malone said he objected.“I told them that I regarded it as brain damage. (So what did you do when Maffei persisted in his argument?) I would assume that he has something in mind in terms of it being a viable legal argument, or because our lawyers are telling him they believe it’s a valuable and appropriate legal position.”By late 2007, Maffei took a more aggressive stance when it came to pushing Diller to compensate Liberty for the declining value of its IAC stake, Malone said.“I would say Mr Maffei believed it was in the interest of Liberty to try and separate our interests from IAC and Expedia. I think Mr Maffei can be pugilistic where these issues are concerned.”Because at the end of the day, Malone would be happy to make up with good ol’ Barry. Asked if he preferred to litigate their dispute in Colorado rather than Delaware, he said:“I didn’t want to have to sue Mr. Diller anywhere. I still hold him no ill-will and I still seek a win-win solution for our disputes. I don’t think any of us likes that we are having an open dispute after 13, 14 years of building value together.”Cue one Denver sunset please.(Photo: Reuters/John Randolph/ Liberty Media Corporation Chairman John Malone returns to Chancery court in Wilmington Delaware)