Fight on the blogs! Fight on the blogs!

There’s the story, and there’s always the side-story. The snarky, juicy, lip-smacking stuff. 

Case in point is last night’s news that Jerry Yang is stepping down as chief executive of Yahoo — which itself is an interesting tale. But we’d like to draw your attention to, where you’ll find a wonderfully catty distraction.  

In his blog, Dan Lyons rips into Kara Swisher, the AllThingsD honcho and prominent tech writer, who apparently took issue with him for not crediting her with getting the scoop on Yang’s departure. 

“Kara, honey, I love you dearly, but girl-child, having a company send you a press release ten minutes before they put it on the wire isn’t a scoop. That’s called taking dictation,” he writes. ”One thing you have to admire about Kara is that in a blogosphere that all too often resembles an echo chamber, she’s managed to cut out the middleman; she just echoes herself. And while others engage in logrolling, Kara keeps it real and rolls her own log. Kara, listen. You’re not the story. Bokay? You’re the reporter. This isn’t about you. It really isn’t. Now stop it or I will fly out there and sit you down for a talk. You’re getting Mossberg Syndrome, honey, and that’s not a good thing.”

Is Swisher going to take that? No way, no chance.

“How would a snarktastic wonder like you know what a reporter was?” she responds in the comment section. ”I was teasing you, you twit, as you well know (I would dearly love to mangle emails you sent to me recently about your work, but I am too much of a gentleman!). When you come here, we’ll have a “talk” all right–my people like to call it a “sit-down” though. Love and kisses, Kara.”

from DealZone:

Chief Yahoo

Back in July, when Microsoft walked away from Yahoo, conspiracy theorists surmised that the software giant would eventually come back to bid again at half the price. The Chief Yahoo - that's the title Jerry Yang is reclaiming after saying last night he would step down as CEO - is no longer in a position to block a deal, so it's fair to assume Microsoft and its bulging mound of cash could return for another bite. 
Yang has been talking with the board, which includes activist investor Carl Icahn, about stepping down since before Google pulled out of a search advertising deal with his company earlier this month, according to a person familiar with the talks. 
Yahoo's share price jumped after the news on Yang. That could just be relief that he is going, or it could be renewed hope of a deal. So a dealmaker could take the reins of the Internet company, which has already seen great swaths of its brain trust flee in the months since the initial Microsoft bid failed. 
A source said the process of finding a successor to Yang could take anywhere from four to 12 weeks, and analysts have suggested a star-studded cast of candidates, including former AOL chief Jon Miller, News Corp President and Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin, former eBay Chief Executive Meg Whitman, former Yahoo COO Dan Rosensweig, and Yahoo President Sue Decker.
  Will Microsoft formally announce an offer for Yahoo?

Deals of the day:
* French warplane maker Dassault Aviation is in exclusive talks with Alcatel-Lucent to buy the telecoms equipment maker's 20.8 percent stake in radar maker Thales for about 1.52 billion euros ($1.92 billion).
* Britain's Carphone Warehouse may split off its telecoms arm to focus on its retail venture with U.S. group Best Buy, it said as it warned of tough trading. 
* British publishing and exhibitions group United Business Media, which abandoned a planned merger with UK peer Informa earlier this year, said it was buying Xinhua PR Newswire, China's largest corporate announcement service, for $6 million in cash.

The Obama effect: even Yahoo gets a boost

As America celebrated a historic presidential election on Nov. 4, US newspapers also celebrated their (one-day) revival as all major city newspapers were cleared off the shelves the next day. Media industry watchers hailed President-elect Barack Obama’s media Midas touch, as if he could even save the long suffering newspaper business.

It would seem the Obama effect helped Yahoo News snatch the number one online spot on Election Day, with 7.6 million unique users. It was the largest single-day audience in online news history, Yahoo said, citing the latest comScore Media Metrix figures.

This is nice news for Yahoo, away from the world of volatile stock prices and non-seller remorse. Yahoo’s stock briefly dropped to single-digit territory today before rallying to end up 8 percent at $11.15. It’s still some $30 billion cheaper than Microsoft’s bid.

How bad is local advertising? Ask Fox

We’re guessing Rupert Murdoch isn’t smiling quite so much right now. Not after News Corp reported a larger-than-expected drop in quarterly profit and cut its full year outlook.

The problem? In case you haven’t heard, advertising, particularly at the local level, is in terrible shape. Any company with local TV stations — and News Corp is one of them — is hurting right now.

Indeed,  Fox Television Stations’ first-quarter operating income fell 48 percent from the same period last year. Overall, News Corp profit fell 30 percent.

Yahoo rejected again (and again)

Yahoo: Shun me once, shame on you. Shun me three times in one day, shame on… uh, shame on all of you.

First, Google walked away from their search advertising partnership, saying that it had enough with interference from U.S. antitrust regulators. That’s no surprise — remember the deal was originally conceived as a way for Yahoo to fend off Microsoft’s takeover ambitions? On that score, Google can certainly say: mission accomplished.

Then, investors and bloggers started speculating that Google’s withdrawal could make room for Microsoft to return to the negotiating table. Shares of Yahoo jumped as much as 11 percent on rumors that the companies were in advanced talks … before several people familiar with the situation roundly denied that Microsoft was close to making an offer.

Redstone + Viacom = True Love Always

A couple of things we know about Viacom in the aftermath of its earnings report: Sumner Redstone is madly in love with the media company, and he is still not selling any more shares.

It’s interesting that Redstone has repeatedly insisted that he won’t sell any more shares in Viacom or CBS to take care of the debt problems at his privately-held National Amusements (Recall, he sold about $230 million of stock in Viacom and CBS last month).

Sure, he’s assuaging the immediate concerns of investors, who obviously don’t want to see more shares on the open market. But he’s also backing himself into a corner (of course, he can always do what he wants, even sell shares after he said he wouldn’t, but he does have a reputation to think about).

Google-Yahoo vs. Department of Justice

The odds of a Google-Yahoo Web advertising deal are looking increasingly bad. The Wall Street Journal says that both sides may just drop the deal as early as next week. The reason: The Justice Department wants too many darn compromises.


The option to scrap the deal has been on the table before, but Google in particular has begun considering it more seriously as Justice Department talks haven’t progressed. One sticking point has been the department’s discussion of having the companies sign a consent decree stating the terms of the partnership. That would subject their compliance to continuing oversight by a judge.

But dropping it next week? That seems so soon. Well, paidContent speculates that the timing could be linked to Tuesday’s presidential election. 

Apple, Yahoo, Broadcom – all up in relief rally?

Jittery technology investors breathed easier on Tuesday after Apple, Yahoo, VMware and Broadcom all gave quarterly reports that were not as bad as some had feared — and in some cases, even were pretty good.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Yahoo CEO Jerry YangApple said it sold 6.9 million iPhones , 11 million iPods and 2.6 million Macs (Aren’t we supposed to be on the brink of recession?) Apple shares jumped 11 percent, and here’s what fund manager Ted Parrish at Henssler Asset Management LLC had to say:

The company has one of the best product pipelines, I think, and I don’t see any changes in that in the near-term. The laptops complement the group of the iPhones and iPods, and any improvements in the operating system will help take some Windows business from Microsoft. Looking further out, I think Apple is in the catbird seat.

It’s budget cutting time


In the media world, it looks like it’s time for a trim. Whether that’s jobs, travel expenses, or anything else, budgets are coming down… With the economy in the sick ward, what did we expect?

Yahoo is among those expected to outline ways to cut expenses, including further job cuts, a source tells Reuters. The announcement will likely come when it reports quarterly results on Tuesday:

The Internet company will discuss the scale and timing of the future layoffs, but specific details on the exact jobs to be eliminated will not be disclosed, the source said.

Ballmer still dreaming of a Yahoo acquisition?

ballmergartner.jpgHere’s Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer during a keynote interview at a Gartner’s ITXpo, where — in case you somehow missed the news, the chatter, and the stock market reaction — he reportedly said a deal with Yahoo may still make economic sense.

His comments sent Yahoo’s stock up as much as 12 percent before a Microsoft spokesman clarified to say that there were no current discussions between the companies. Furthermore, “Microsoft has no interest in acquiring Yahoo.”

So what’s the story? It seems the notion of a deal is still simmering in Ballmer’s mind, but there is, of course, the overwhelming question of price.