Yahoo: No surprises there

jerry-1.jpgWe weren’t expecting huge surprises during Yahoo’s earnings conference call, but CEO Jerry Yang was spectacularly vague about the Internet company’s plans vis-a-vis Microsoft or any other potential tie-ups — with Google, Time Warner’s AOL or News Corp — that Yahoo has been working on.

At the very start of the call, Yang essentially said “Don’t go there” to analysts and investors, reminding them about the purpose of the call.

“I’d like to remind you that today’s call is about our Q1 results, so please direct your questions to the quarter if possible,” Yang said.

When he touched on Microsoft — referring to it as three months of “uncertainty” — it was to reiterate the same line: “Our board and management are committed to choosing a path to maximize shareholder value.”

At the same time, Yang was bent on convincing analysts and investors that, despite an unchanged revenue forecast for the year, Yahoo deserves a higher price than the $43 billion cash-and-stock deal that Microsoft has offered. Is that because Yahoo piggybacked on gains from a stake in China’s to a higher quarterly profit? Or because Yang said Yahoo’s “strategies and investments are beginning to pay off”?

Google, Microsoft may be eyeing founder Kevin RoseIs for sale?Even though founder Kevin Rose told CNET last month that the answer is “no”, today the answer appears to be “yes”.According to TechCrunch, Google and Microsoft may be prepared to fight over the popular Web site, which lets readers recommend articles to others.Digg has been working with investment bank Allen & Co, and is pitching big tech and media companies on a sale. It is even prepared to take less than the $300 million suggested late last year, TechCrunch said.Four companies, including Internet giants Google and Microsoft, are in heavy due diligence with Digg. The other two are media or news companies, TechCrunch said, adding that Google will likely bid $200-$225 million, which Digg would likely accept. Is Barry Diller’s IAC interested?TechCrunch expects a bidding war between Microsoft and Google.It wouldn’t be the first time they have butt heads over Digg. Last summer, Microsoft became the exclusive provider of display and contextual advertising on, replacing Google.Then again, Silicon Alley Insider suggests that any offer over $100 million might be too much.Update: Digg CEO Jay Adelson speaks out on the company’s blog:

Normally our policy is to not comment about things like this, but this morning’s rumors about a bidding war involving Google and Microsoft have created such a stir we feel compelled to tell you all directly that they are completely inaccurate.Sorry to burst any drama theories, but they aren’t true. We remain focused on improving Digg and rolling out great features.

Alleyinsider’s Peter Kafka remains a bit skeptical over Adelson’s comments.(TechCrunch )Keep an eye on:

    Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer pledged the company would gain share against Google in online advertising and Web searching, even if it’s his “last breath” at the company. (Reuters) The board of National Public Radio its said chief executive, Ken Stern, was leaving after less than 18 months “by mutual agreement.” (NYT)

(Photo: founder Kevin Rose,