Articles of the Day


Windows Live Is a Social Network — Microsoft has launched a new version of

its Windows Live service, or whatever it was before (search plus its myriad
communication services tacked on it), and now it is a full blown social
network, with the idea to integrate all the disparate MSFT online services,
as well as allow other third-party services to be embedded within it.
Pretty much everything except MySpace and Facebook is integrated into the
new service, including Flickr, LinkedIn, Pandora, Photobucket, Twitter,
WordPress and Yelp. Nevermind that MSFT has a big inv*stm*nt in
Facebook…apparently it is only being used to “borrow” ideas: it has the
now-de-rigueur news feed, a la Facebook, which lets you track your friends
and their activities. Apparently, people who have reviewed it like it.

Analysts Cut Estimates On Google, As Stock Dives Below $300 — CEO Eric
Schmidt’s has repeatedly said that the economic downturn won’t dent Google
(NSDQ: GOOG)—but that doesn’t seem to have satisfied analysts’ doubts. With
the stock now trading below $300 for the first time since October 2005,
MarketWatch reports that analysts have cut their estimates on Google’s Q4
profits and revenue. Google’s stock was down 6.57 percent, to $291.00, at
the 4 p.m. close today. On average, analysts expect Google to post earnings
of $5.12 a share by the end of this quarter, according to a consensus
estimate by FactSet Research. That same analyst compilation calls for $4.3
billion in net revenue.

Microsoft Closing In On Search Deal With Verizon Wireless; Guarantees May
Exceed $500M
— Microsoft is finally close to edging out Google on a search
deal, and this one is on the mobile side: Under the deal, it would become
the default search provider on the Verizon (NYSE: VZ) Wireless’s phones,
and is even offering guaranteed payments to the carrier of approximately
$550 million to $650 million over five years, or roughly twice what Google
(NSDQ: GOOG) offered, reports the WSJ, citing sources. These revenues would
be against the ads that MSFT would be able to serve up in mobile searches.
Verizon’s talks with Google are still on, but it is leaning towards MSFT
because of better financial incentives. This is similar to the Facebook
deal MSFT did last year. Separately, in an effort to combat the potential
rise of Google-backed Android, MSFT is also trying to get Windows Mobile
software in more Verizon devices, and could even end up paying VZW to
encourage them to use the mobile OS. The combined value of the two deals
could top $1 billion, the story says. VZW has been working with Windows
Mobile for some time now, along with Palm and Brew, though it has also been
cozying up to open source Linux, after recently becoming a member of the
LiMo Foundation, the technology’s trade association.

Media Vets Launch Digital Entertainment-Focused Agility Studios; Gets
Funding
— A new digital studio called Agility Studios, started by three
online vets, has launched today. The company, based in Los Angeles, has
been founded by Scott Ehrlich, former VP of media at RealNetworks, who will
serve as the company’s CEO; Larry Tanz, till recently the President and CEO
of LivePlanet, will now be the President and COO; and Keith Quinn, recently
SVP of Production & Development for LivePlanet, who will oversee
programming and production as the company’s Chief Creative Officer. The
company has also received funding from Colorado-based Mantucket Capital,
which usually invests as a PE firm or provides distressed capital. The
amount was not disclosed, but it “several millions”, Ehrlich told me. The
reason he went outside the traditional VC route was because he believes
creative development requires a different kind of capital from VC money,
with a longer term horizon.

Dentsu Could Make More US Buys — Dentsu, the Japanese advertising giant
that acquired New York-based McGarry Bowen, could make more buys, reported
the Wall Street Journal. The report, part of a story looking at the deal,
cited people familiar with the matter as saying Dentsu is aiming to get 30%
of its revenue from North America by 2010, in part by making acquisitions.
Dentsu posted a net profit for the first six months of the year of USD 82.9
m, according to the report. Source: mergermarket.

Thomson Reuters Sales Up In First Full Quarter, But Will That Continue Next
Year?
— Thomson Reuters is beginning to reap the benefits of one of the
biggest company mergers of recent years, today reporting eight percent
better Q3 revenues of $3.3 billion (£2.2 billion), with operating profit up
17 percent to $676 million (£414 million). In the first full quarter since
the pair’s merger, those leaps come directly from the pair’s £8.7 billion
marriage this June and are helped by $550 million of savings from
integration-related activities – like laying off hundreds of staff
globally… no final figure on casualties has been given, but CEO Tom Glocer
said the process is “ahead of schedule”. Glocer said, while it’s “certainly
mathematically possible” that the company will begin 2009 negatively if it
has a disastrous November and December, in reality all the various
components of the business were holding up well. The dreaded credit crunch
is biting, but “there has already been a silver lining in the disruption…
the demand for financial news, for pricing data, for data feeds, for
infrastructure is strong,” said Glocer.

Social Search Engine OneRiot — The OneRiot search engine official
launched Wednesday after Me.dium, a browser add-on that provided insight to
what others search on, built the technology into a “social search”
application and rebranded the company name. The search engine relies on
feedback from other searchers to return queries. It combines relevant news
articles, blogs, videos and photos from across the Web.

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