Articles of the Day


Microsoft’s Role In GOOG-YHOO Delay: Outlobbying — So how did Google move from promising to start its deal with Yahoo with or without the regulators to postponing it all within a matter of weeks? Chief among other factors, Microsoft played the DC chess match more deftly, applying its expensive tutoring to starting—and staying—a few moves ahead of Google and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO). One excellent illustration from the NYT’s look at the lobbying that has Google on the defensive: Microsoft launched its protest site July 15, while Google waited more than three months after announcing the deal to put up its own explanation. Another example underscores Google’s traditional public self-confidence and how that can chafe the folks with power in Washington. Schmidt promised reporters on Sept. 17 that the partnership would kick in this month with or without Justice approval, while admitting they hadn’t explained it well enough. But a tech lobbyist tells the Times: “I watched that with some amusement because policy makers don’t like to be told that they’re irrelevant, and what that announcement amounted to was they were told they are irrelevant. … Well, they just found out how relevant policy makers are.”

Yahoo Planning Major Job Cuts; Could Be Above Thousand — Various reports are pointing to an inevitable move by Yahoo to cut a good number of jobs, as many as above thousand. This comes as the company is set to announce its Q3 earnings on Tuesday and the picture may not be pretty. Besides these layoffs, many other cost cutting measures will be announced, reports WSJ. Yahoo managers have been asked to cut operating budgets by 15 percent, and the company has recently let go of two to three dozen external recruiters, WSJ says, citing sources. The company fired about 1,000 workers in January this year. The company had about 14,300 employees worldwide at the end of June. With the economy being in the shape it is, some of this is the usual belt tightening, but for Yahoo, the issues are more dire. With the fallen MSFT deal, the Google (NSDQ: GOOG) search deal stuck in regulatory issues, competitive pressure increasing from all sides, and major slowdown in display advertising online, Yahoo’s time is running out on multiple fronts.

Doomsayers Turn To Online Ads; Space Is Still Resilient, But Affiliate Deals Could Help — When the economy really started heading downhill last year, the thinking was that the migration of ad budgets from traditional to digital would accelerate. Now, with pessimism settling in after another turbulent week in the financial markets, the doomsayers are turning to online. AdAge looks at the prospects of online publishers to sustain themselves on advertising alone and concludes that most will not. It also revisits the outlook for the 400-plus remnant ad networks and finds that consolidation is likely to begin happening sooner rather than later.

NBC Universal Calling For $500 Million Budget Cuts Next Year; Layoffs At Telemundo — Now onto the big media side of retrenchments and belt tightening, NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) CEO Jeff Zucker is asking for $500 million of budget cuts next year, which is about 3 percent of the company’s total budget. He outlined this to staffers in a memo late today, reports B&C. From the memo: “While each business leader has flexibility in how to meet this goal, we have asked them to focus on three areas: reductions in promotion expenses; in discretionary spending, such as travel and entertainment and outside consultants; and in staffing costs.”

Facebook Wants Music, But Doesn’t Want To Tangle With Labels — Buoyed perhaps by the frenzy surrounding the launch of MySpace Music last month, Facebook is revealing more details about its musical ambitions, the New York Post reports. We have heard about this a few times before, but the project is not as much a “me too” play as was previously thought. Differences: Facebook doesn’t want to give away equity: MySpace Music traded equity in exchange for securing licenses to various tracks from its four partners: Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, Warner Music Group and EMI. Facebook doesn’t even want to deal with the hassle of acquiring those licenses, let alone offering up equity in exchange. Still Zuckerberg and other execs have continued to meet with label execs to broker some kind of deal. Facebook doesn’t want to build a whole new site: The network doesn’t want to “bog itself down” with the development of an additional property, seeking instead to integrate more deeply with existing music partners like Rhapsody.com, iMeem.com, iLike.com, and Lala.com.

Nielsen To Shutter “Hey Nielsen” Social Network/Market Research Hybrid — Nielsen is shutting down its social network-market research hybrid “Hey! Nielsen,” Mediapost reports. Seems like it was only a matter of time. The community, which officially launched in conjunction with Superbowl XLI in January, was sort of an odd play for the media ratings and research giant. Designed to be both a tool to gauge feedback about various Nielsen products and services, as well as a way for the company to understand the evolution of social media as a whole, it attracted mostly rabid entertainment junkies and media industry insiders—not exactly a representative sample.

News Corp Annual Meeting: Questions About Bailouts; A Deal With Redstone? Murdoch: No, And No — Rupert Murdoch began the News Corp (NYSE: NWS). shareholder meeting going through details of the terms of the company’s board of director elections (all were re-elected). The meeting is in progress now at the Hudson Theater just off of Times Square. Over the course of the meeting, Murdoch showed traces of annoyance and amusement with some of the shareholders’ wide-ranging questions, as did much of the audience. During his presentation, he sought to boast of News Corp.’s success in cable, broadcast and even newspapers—mostly outside the U.S. except for WSJ— as a bulwark against an economic storm that looks to be increasingly grim and protracted.

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