Saturday, February 23, 2008

Microsoft Email To Employees: The Yahoo Deal is Perfect For Us

There is still a lot of discussion around the behind the scenes jossling for the Microsoft Yahoo merger or acquisition. A recent post discussed the implications for Australian Media Landscape. TechCrunch have posted about the an internal Microsoft email, the topic - Why the Yahoo/Microsoft merger is a good thing.

Helping Microsoft is some of the world’s major advertisers. At the time that Microsoft’s move became public, Sir Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of WPP, the number two marketing and advertising group worldwide, said that he believed a combined group would give Google some healthy competition.

Something of particular focus for us in Australia is what will happen to the Yahoo7 and NineMSN? A question and answer within the leaked email adds some light...

Q: How would we address the multiple brands and technologies within Live, MSN, and Yahoo!? Which brand would we keep?

A: Both Microsoft and Yahoo! have great brands and technologies. Yahoo! has a very strong consumer brand and we are committed to build on the Yahoo! brand as a major part of the combined products and services we deliver to customers. The Yahoo! brand is one of the reasons the combination of the two companies would create so much value. It is premature to say which aspects of the brands and technologies we would use in our combined offerings. As part of the integration planning effort, it is important that we enable a joint team of leaders from Microsoft and Yahoo! to make thoughtful decisions about brands and technologies. How we integrate Microsoft and Yahoo!’s brands, products, and services are the types of decisions that would be made during this integration planning process—by leaders from both companies—and implemented over time after the transaction closes.

An extract from the email ...

From: Kevin Johnson
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2008 12:48 PM
To: Platforms & Services Division
Subject: Update on Yahoo! Proposal

I want to provide all employees in the Platforms & Services Division with an update on our February 1 proposal to combine with Yahoo!, and answer a few common questions that have been asked.

As we’ve discussed, the online advertising industry is growing rapidly and is expected to be an $80B industry by 2010. We believe our proposal is a compelling one and that the combination of Yahoo! and Microsoft creates a more credible alternative to an increasingly dominant player in the advertising industry. We are committed to building great services for consumers while delivering great value to advertisers and publishers. We have been very thoughtful about this combination, and are excited about what our two companies can do together to collectively target growth opportunities in online services, search, and advertising.

It is important to remember that, while we have made what we believe to be a very compelling proposal for Yahoo! shareholders and employees, we do not have an agreement in place with Yahoo! at this time. While Yahoo!’s Board and management consider our proposal, let me share a perspective on the process going forward:

While Yahoo! has issued a press release rejecting our proposal, we continue to believe we have a full and fair proposal on the table. We look forward to a constructive dialogue with Yahoo!’s Board, management, shareholders, and employees on the value of this combination and its strategic and financial merits.

TechCrunch went on to comment that this email was written to be leaked to the public. Messages like "The industry needs a more compelling alternative in search and online advertising," and "we will dedicate significant rewards and compensation to Yahoo! and Microsoft employees" to retain key staff.

News Corp challenge for Yahoo

Back last year there were rumours that News Corp execs wanted to swap MySpace for Yahoo. The Time Online reports ...

News Corporation has discussed swapping MySpace, its internet social networking unit, with Yahoo! in return for a 30 per cent stake in the enlarged group.

The discussions remain tentative and could collapse after the departure of Terry Semel as Yahoo!’s chief executive and his replacement by Jerry Yang this week. Mr Yang, co-founder of Yahoo! and incoming chief executive, yesterday pledged to “dig in” to his new role, and acknowledged the difficult task he faces to arrest the decline in the internet portal’s shares.

News Corp, the parent company of The Times, is interested in a deal even if it means losing some control of MySpace because it would give the media group exposure to a far larger internet-based business.

Other News Corp digital assets, including the games network IGN, bought in 2005 for $650 million (£326 million), are also thought to have been offered to Yahoo!.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Silverlight, Astoria & Volta - Microsoft WEB Technologies

Microsoft is working on 3 new technologies that will take your web experience (both usability and development) to a new level. These technologies are:


Microsoft Silverlight
Several months ago, Microsoft inserted themselves into the RIA framework business - years after Adobe had considerable marketshare with Flash and against pretty scary odds - with the initial release of the Silverlight framework. Microsoft Silverlight is the online counterpart to the Microsoft .NET 3.0 Framework and a direct Adobe Flash/Flex competitor. Silverlight isn’t just animations in applets, far from it - it is a very serious development environment that takes desktop performance and flexibility and puts it on the web.
When Silverlight was first announced and PopFly, Microsoft's social network built to demonstrate and launch Silverlight, it became apparent the technical aspects of .NET and WPF.
But things are changing - large portions of Microsoft's website are undergoing a redesign featuring a Silverlight-powered interface - doing away with HTML.

For more information about Silverlight - click here.


delivers a set of patterns as well as a concrete infrastructure for creating and consuming data services using Web technologies. This article explores how modern data-centric Web applications and services are changing and the role Astoria can play in their new architectures.
Data is becoming increasingly available as a first-class element in the Web. The proliferation of new data-driven application types such as mashups clearly indicates that the broad availability of standalone data independent of any user interface is changing the way systems are built and the way data can be leveraged. Furthermore, technologies such as Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) and Microsoft Silverlight are introducing the need for mechanisms to exchange data independently from presentation information in order to support highly interactive user experiences.
Project Astoria provides architects and developers with a set of patterns for interacting with data services over HTTP using simple formats such as POX (Plain Old XML) and JavaScript Object Notation. Closely following the HTTP protocol results in excellent integration with the existing Web infrastructure, from authentication to proxies to caching. In addition to the patterns and formats, we provide a concrete implementation that can automatically surface an Entity Data Model schema or other data sources through the HTTP interface.
While the software infrastructure provided by Astoria can be a useful piece of the puzzle when building new Web applications and services, it is just one piece. Other elements in these applications need to be organized in a way that enables interaction with data across the Web.
In this article, I will discuss the architectural aspects that are impacted by modern approaches for Web-enabled application development, focusing on how data services integrate into the picture.

Microsoft Astoria

For more information about Astoria - click here.


technology is a developer toolset that enables you to build multi-tier web applications by applying familiar techniques and patterns.
The goal of Volta is to simplify the designing, building, deploying, testing, and debugging of distributed, multi-tier applications, while minimizing the amount of "new stuff" developers must learn. Volta leverages familiar, existing .NET compilers, tools, and libraries and extends them into the distributed realm.

After you have designed and built your application as a .NET client application, you then assign the portions of the application to run on the server and the client tiers late in the development process. The compiler creates cross-browser JavaScript for the client tier, web services for the server tier, and communication, serialization, synchronization, security, and other boilerplate code to tie the tiers together.
Developers can target either web browsers or the CLR as clients and Volta handles the complexities of tier-splitting for you. Volta comprises tools such as end-to-end profiling to make architectural refactoring and optimization simple and quick. In effect, Volta offers a best-effort experience in multiple environments without any changes to the application.

Most of the time, developers will create one of two models: Volta applications or Volta controls. An application is a self-contained program that executes on its own; a control is a group of UI elements that can be reused in other programs.

Microsoft Volta

For more information about Volta - click here.

Update: I have played with Silverlight and Volta, and will be trialling Astoria next week.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Microsoft / Yahoo Merger and implications for australian media

Yahoo Logo
The Microsoft $44.6Billion bid for Yahoo! may turn out to be one of the best acuisitions the industry will see for many years. The deal is by far the biggest in the media and technology sector since the $112 billion price for group America Online (AOL) in its unfortunate merger with media giant Time Warner.

MSN International vs Yahoo International

TechCrunch commented on the Australian implications ...
Outside of the United States gets more interesting as both Yahoo and Microsoft have co-ownership agreements in many international markets, for example Yahoo7 vs Ninemsn in Australia. Many of the existing partners are also commercial rivals in respective markets, causing issues for a combined Microsoft-Yahoo maintaining all existing partnerships. There may also be competition concerns in some markets as well.

It is widely anticipated that existing partnerships will be divested with a greater chance of maintaining Yahoo’s deals. This means that the Nine Networks dominance of the internet through their very clever deal with Microsoft forming Ninemsn may come to an end. Ninemsn was formed in 1996 after Microsoft failed in its first portal attempt - the short-lived, pre-internet "bulletin board" venture On Australia, in partnership with Telstra.

Back in October 2007, Australian IT reported on the shakeup at Yahoo in Australia. Australia is a surprisingly strong market for Microsoft, with its local joint venture NineMSN holding a 26% share of main ad buying marketplace (corporate buys), followed closely by News Corp and local media group Fairfax Digital, who operate well known sites including and a variety of ecommerce ventures.

The implication has large ramifications for Ninemsn - of interest would be how quickly Microsoft Yahoo would change the default browser settings to Yahoo7. Below is a chart showing the visitors for both Msn and Yahoo.

Yahoo vs Microsoft Visitors

Furthermore, the booming $1 billion online advertising market in Australia will be considerably reshaped if Microsoft's $49.6 billion bid for online media group Yahoo succeeds.

Update:Herald Sun has reported that the Seven and Nine networks could be working together on a combined WEB portal.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Australian Media Landscape

There is always something in the news about the Australian media landscape. This is a collection of Press, Magazine, Television, Internet, Radio and Outdoor companies. The Australian Government established the Australian Communications and Media Authority whose main roles are to regulate broadcasting, radiocommunications and telecommunications, and to represent Australian interests in international communications matters.

I have attended a few meetings with the Australian Media Federation. The Media Federation of Australia (MFA) was formed in 1997, their charter is to support advertising agencies that specialise in providing services including media research, strategic planning, media negotiation and placement.

Television (Terrestrial & Satellite)





These are the top sites based on Alexa, excluding sites already listed above.