Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Facebook targeted Web 2.0 start-up Twitter

Social networking company Facebook recently held acquisition talks with Twitter, the micro-blogging company, the Financial Times said.

The negotiations, put a valuation of as much as $500 million on Twitter, which has become one of Silicon Valley's most closely watched start-ups, the paper said.

The talks, which were first reported by the AllThingsD blog, were confirmed to the paper by two people familiar with the situation.

Facebook offered to pay for the acquisition in stock, the paper said, citing a person close to the situation.

Putting a value on Twitter's shares proved controversial, according to the paper.

If it used the $15 billion valuation at which Microsoft Corp bought a stake in Facebook last year, it would have valued the Twitter purchase at $500 million, though that investment was seen as a high-water mark for Web 2.0, the paper said.

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One person close to the situation suggested to the paper that the $15 billion valuation for Facebook was the top end of a range of values the two companies talked about, implying that a deal might have valued both Facebook and Twitter at a much lower level.

Biz Stone, Twitter's co-founder, would not comment on the talks, but suggested that the company wanted to remain independent to build on its messaging service, the paper said.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yahoo to replace Yang as CEO, ending rocky reign

Yahoo Inc. co-founder Jerry Yang is stepping down as chief executive, ending a rocky reign marked by his refusal to sell the Internet company to Microsoft Corp. for $47.5 billion — more than triple Yahoo's current market value.

The change in command announced Monday won't be completed until Yahoo finds his replacement. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company said it is interviewing candidates inside and outside Yahoo in a search led by its chairman, Roy Bostock, and the executive recruitment firm Heidrick & Struggles.

"Jerry and the board have had an ongoing dialogue about succession timing, and we all agree that now is the right time to make the transition to a new CEO who can take the company to the next level," Bostock said.

Yang, who started working on Yahoo with Stanford University classmate David Filo in 1994, will revert to "Chief Yahoo," a titular role he filled before replacing former movie studio boss Terry Semel as CEO in June 2007. He will also remain on Yahoo's board of directors.

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"I will continue to focus on global strategy and to do everything I can to help Yahoo realize its full potential and enhance its leading culture of technology and product excellence and innovation," Yang said in a statement.

Sue Decker, Yahoo's president, is expected to be among the candidates to succeed Yang, although she has been an integral part of the management team that has exasperated the company's shareholders.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Google Adds On-Demand Indexing to Site Search

In another move to gain traction in the enterprise, Google on Thursday launched a new feature to help businesses that use its Site Search service instantly add and update Web pages.

Google Site Search serves all Web site content as search results with the aim of offering relevant and comprehensive coverage of a Web site. Google does this by creating special indexes that supplement pages already searched by Google.com.

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"Customers today demand speed. Waiting around is so, well, yesterday -- as so many of the things we used to have to wait for are now at our fingertips online," said a blog posting by Google's Nitin Mangtani and Tom Duerig. "For a business running their own Web site, this means that visitors who turn to search expect to have access to the newest products, pages and announcements a site has to offer."