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Date: Friday, 03 Feb 2012 00:48

We’ve been fortunate to host Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg twice on the stage of the D: All Things Digital conference, including one appearance with COO Sheryl Sandberg.

With the blockbuster IPO filing of the social networking giant yesterday — and the ensuing quiet period — both interviews are now most definitely an interesting look-see at the pair who are leading the company.

After Facebook goes public in late May, investors will presumably get more interaction with them both, as well as deeper insight into what makes the company tick.

Until then, here are the videos from the full interviews from 2010′s D8 and 2008′s D6 (unfortunately, for goofy reasons back then, we had to cut these up into four parts).

The interviews cover a wide range of topics, including the then-distant IPO.

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Author: "Kara Swisher" Tags: "Conferences, D, D6, D8, Media, News, Soc..."
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Date: Friday, 17 Sep 2010 14:55

Thanks to the overwhelming popularity of its local-discount offers, Groupon Inc. now generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, commands a valuation north of $1 billion, and has attracted some $170 million in venture capital–all in less than three years.

But that explosive growth–-Forbes called Groupon the “fastest growing company ever“–-has presented several challenges.

One of them is fending off the many “clones” that have sprung up to copy Groupon, some of which have nearly identical designs and layouts as Groupon’s site. Some legitimate venture-backed start-up contenders have also launched, such as Washington-based LivingSocial Inc., which raised $14 million in Series C funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners in April, and New York-based BuyWithMe Inc., which in July raised $16 million in Series B financing led by Bain Capital Ventures. And publicly traded companies such as Travelzoo Inc., OpenTable Inc., and The Knot Inc. are also jumping on the trend.

Read the rest of this post on the original site

Author: "Tomio Geron" Tags: "D6, News, Voices, Bain Capital Ventures,..."
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Date: Monday, 25 Jan 2010 09:03

Like BoomTown, Bill Gates was at the Sundance Film Festival this weekend–not just to sample some of the fare at the well-known independent film festival, held annually in Park City, Utah, but also to appear at the screening of a documentary about the crisis in public education in which he appears and that scored the first distribution deal at the event.

The worldwide rights for “Waiting for Superman,” directed by Davis Guggenheim and produced by Participant Media, were sold to Paramount Vantage, a unit of the Viacom (VIA) movie studio.

The film premiered Friday at Sundance, with Gates in attendance. The Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder took questions at the screening and made it to several Sundance events, surprising several film types.

“I couldn’t believe it was him,” said one participant at a filmmakers’ gathering.

Yes, it was him, especially since issues in public education have been a big focus of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he has been spending most of his time since leaving day-to-day work at the software giant in 2008.

Interestingly, Participant Media–along with Guggenheim–put out “An Inconvenient Truth,” the global-warming doc starring former VP Al Gore, which was a huge success.

And in yet another Silicon Valley connection, Los Angeles-based Participant was founded by former eBay (EBAY) exec Jeff Skoll.

Here are highlights from a terrific interview Walt Mossberg did with Melinda Gates at the sixth D: All Things Digital conference in 2008, where she talked eloquently about the problems faced by U.S. schoolchildren:

And here’s the press release from Participant on the “Superman” deal:

HOLLYWOOD, CA (January 21, 2010)–Worldwide rights for the new documentary from Oscar®-winning director Davis Guggenheim (AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH) and Participant Media have been acquired by Paramount Vantage, it was announced today by Adam Goodman, Paramount Film Group President and by Participant Media’s CEO Jim Berk.

The documentary will have its world premiere tomorrow, January 22, at the Sundance Film Festival. Paramount Vantage will release the movie in the fall of 2010 in the U.S. with international release dates not yet determined.

The studio’s specialty division Paramount Classics released Guggenheim’s acclaimed AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH in 2006. The influential documentary, financed and executive produced by Participant Media, received two Academy Awards®, and was a worldwide box office hit, grossing more than $24 million in the U.S. and nearly $50 million worldwide.

The new film, developed, financed and executive produced by Participant Media, examines the crisis of public education in the United States through multiple interlocking stories–from a handful of students and their families whose futures hang in the balance, to the educators and reformers trying to find real and lasting solutions within a dysfunctional system.

The documentary features several leaders in the field of education, including philanthropist Bill Gates of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; President and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone in Harlem, New York Geoffrey Canada; Chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools Michelle Rhee; Knowledge is Power Program Founders (KIPP) David Levin and Mike Feinberg; and President and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation Bill Strickland.

Six-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist, concert performer and philanthropist John Legend composed the end title song “Shine.” Legend’s own Show Me campaign uses education to break the cycle of poverty through sustainable development at the individual, family, and community levels.

Said Paramount’s Goodman: “Our commitment to this movie and the issue of education is urgently important to all of us at Paramount. In collaboration with our partners, we hope to bring about a real solution.”

Said Davis Guggenheim: “With these two great partners, Participant Media and Paramount Pictures, we have a chance to create public awareness around this issue, and this is the only way we can make real change in our children’s schools.”

Said Jim Berk, CEO, Participant Media: “The movie creates an emotional personal connection to an issue which underpins the very future of our country. By reuniting with our good friends at Paramount, we have the chance to build on our ground breaking partnership on AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH to launch a national conversation from movie theaters, to kitchen tables all across the country.”

“It’s wonderful to have Paramount as partners on this film,” says the film’s producer, Lesley Chilcott, who was also a producer on AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. “It’s crucial to have experts like Paramount and Participant that understand the power of a film to create urgency about an important issue. We need to get the message out there. Millions of kids are waiting.”

The film is directed and produced by Davis Guggenheim. Lesley Chilcott is the producer, with Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann serving as executive producers. Written by Davis Guggenheim and Billy Kimball. The cinematographers are Erich Roland and Bob Richman. Greg Finton, Jay Cassidy, and Kim Roberts served as the editors.

Author: "Kara Swisher" Tags: "D6, Media, News, Al Gore, An Inconvenien..."
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Date: Thursday, 24 Dec 2009 05:56

sheryl_sandberg

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg already has one of the shinier resumes in Silicon Valley as a Harvard grad with stints at the World Bank, the U.S. Treasury Department and Google (GOOG), as well as a seat on the board of coffee kingpin Starbucks (SBUX).

She was also named one of Fortune magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women this year, clocking in at No. 22.

Now Sandberg has been nominated to be a director on the Walt Disney Company (DIS) board, a position that will get rubberstamped at the entertainment giant’s annual meeting in March.

It’s an obvious pick for Disney, which needs to inject both Internet and social networking experience into the media giant, especially as it is one of the few such companies with such an iconic and personal relationship with its customers.

Mom and Dad must be so proud–not to mention the kids, since I am guessing that Disney board members get free passes to the front of the line at Space Mountain.

Thus, BoomTown has commissioned a survey from SurveyMonkey, where Sandberg’s husband, Dave Goldberg, is CEO, about exactly how I can get on the board of Facebook so I can query her on how to fatten up my resume.

To see her in action, here are two videos of interview highlights from Sandberg’s appearance at the sixth D: All Things Digital conference in 2008, with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckberberg.

Part One

Part Two

And here is the Disney press release:

Sheryl Sandberg Nominated to The Walt Disney Company Board of Directors

The Walt Disney Company (DIS) Board of Directors has nominated Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook Inc., to be a new independent director, effective upon her election at the Company’s next annual meeting.

“Sheryl is an outstanding executive who can add incredible value to what is already a diverse and highly experienced group of directors,” said John E. Pepper Jr., Disney’s chairman. “She brings great expertise in the online world, considerable international experience and a deep understanding of consumer behavior.”

Sandberg has served as COO of Facebook, an online social utility company, since March 2008. In that capacity, she has been responsible for building Facebook’s operations globally and managing its sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy, privacy and communications functions. Facebook is now considered the number one global social network with more than 350 million members.

Prior to joining Facebook, Sandberg was Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations for Google Inc., an Internet search engine company, a post she assumed in 2001. In that role, she built and managed Google’s online sales channels, which represents the majority of Google’s customers worldwide, for both AdWords and AdSense.

Sandberg, 40, is also a former Chief of Staff of the United States Treasury Department and previously served as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company and as an economist with The World Bank.

“Sheryl has been at the forefront of a technological revolution that’s opened up a world of new possibilities for consumers and which has greatly affected the way we do business,” said Robert A. Iger, Disney’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Her unique insight, born of great practical experience, will be of considerable value to Disney’s shareholders.”

“Disney has remained an entertainment icon around the world for over 80 years by enthusiastically embracing change and new technologies,” said Sandberg. “It’s a tremendous honor to be nominated to the Disney board.”

Sandberg is also a director of Starbucks Corp. and serves on a number of nonprofit boards including The Brookings Institution, The AdCouncil, Women for Women International and V-Day. She received a Master’s Degree in business administration from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor’s Degree in economics from Harvard University.

Disney shareholders will vote on Sandberg’s nomination and the re-election of the Company’s other 12 directors at the next Disney annual meeting, March 10, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas.

Author: "Kara Swisher" Tags: "D6, Media, News, Social, 50 Most Powerfu..."
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Date: Tuesday, 08 Sep 2009 13:30

musical_chair

Brad Garlinghouse’s appointment to a new job at AOL today as its new communications czar is yet another sign of an interesting trend for those keeping score of the comings and goings of top Internet execs.

Garlinghouse came to the Time Warner (TWX) online unit after a year-long break, preceded by six years at Yahoo (YHOO).

As anyone who watches the digital space knows by now, this kind of management musical chairs is common and never-ending.

In fact, borrowing a quote by IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI) CEO and chairman Barry Diller from an onstage interview I did with him at the sixth D: All Things Digital conference and switching out Hollywood for Silicon Valley: “[It] is a community that’s so inbred, it’s a wonder the children have any teeth.”

But, given all the movement of late, this insider seat-switching seems more frantic than ever, as allegiances shift, competitors become friends and colleagues become rivals faster than you can tweet.

When he left Yahoo last summer, in fact, the digital chatter was that Garlinghouse would take a job either as a venture capitalist (he had been one once) or helming a start-up (that too, at Dialpad.com).

In fact, sources said, Garlinghouse had been considering two mobile gigs, but opted for helping to try to overhaul a troubled Web giant.

Fixing messes was the impetus of Owen Van Natta, who left a top job at social networking giant Facebook in early 2008 and by the end of the year, headed over to run Project Playlist, a controversial online music-sharing service.

But then he had hightailed it by spring to try his hand at reviving MySpace, as its CEO.

His boss, News Corp. (NWS) digital head Jon Miller, did the same, getting the hook (unfairly to my mind) at AOL several years ago and then creating an investment firm with former MySpace head Ross Levinsohn.

The pair considered being part of a bid to oust Yahoo management in 2008.

Miller’s freedom lasted only until he got an offer that he presumably could not refuse from News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch recently. (Full disclosure: News Corp. owns Dow Jones, which owns this site.)

The list goes on, chock full of ex-Yahoos, in fact.

Its one-time COO, Dan Rosensweig, left the company in 2006, for example, and joined the well-known private-equity firm, Quadrangle Group.

But, soon enough, he was scooped up by Activision Blizzard (ATVI) to run its Guitar Hero division.

Yahoo Network head Jeff Weiner also departed from the Internet giant, in mid-2008, for a stint at two VC firms.

He landed at LinkedIn, the business-networking service where he was named CEO in late June.

Greg Coleman ran Yahoo ad sales until mid-2007 before taking a job at AOL earlier this year, which he lost after it got new management soon after.

At Yahoo, Coleman sparked with former advertising sales head Wenda Harris Millard, whom he ousted. She went onto Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO) and left there this spring for the Media Link consultancy.

Presto! She is now helping MySpace’s Van Natta fix the social networking site’s ad business.

Current Yahoo U.S. advertising head Joanne Bradford actually came from Microsoft last summer, via her own short visit to the troubled ad start-up SpotRunner.

Former Yahoo search techie Qi Lu now runs digital for Microsoft (MSFT), along with a big gang of ex-Yahoo techies he has recruited.

And Scott Moore is even better at the switcheroo. He was at Microsoft running MSN U.S. content, switched to Yahoo as its media poobah, left last year to consider a start-up and then headed back to Microsoft as head of U.S. content this year.

But former Google (GOOG) execs have also been busy shuttling hither and yon, mostly to innovative start-ups.

Of course, many find refuge at Facebook (COO Sheryl Sandberg, PR major domo Elliot Schrage and many more) and Twitter (GC Alexander Macgillivray and COO Dick Costolo).

Recent departures–such as Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, who landed at Accel Partners for now–are also likely to find new homes soon enough.

And, of course, there’s always Garlinghouse’s new boss, former Google ad head Tim Armstrong, who took over at AOL earlier this year.

We’ll skip former Joost CEO and former Cisco (CSCO) exec Mike Volpi (who is now a VC); former Netscape Communications/short-term VC/ex-banker/current-for-now CBS (CBS) digital head Quincy Smith; and Joanna Shields, who has worked at Real Networks (RNWK), Google and Bebo (which was bought by AOL)–for now.

Because, around and around and around it always goes, as you can see in this funny video below, which I posted previously:

[Musical Chair designed by Jacob Mathew.]

Author: "Kara Swisher" Tags: "D6, Media, Mobile, News, Social, Accel P..."
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Date: Friday, 04 Sep 2009 20:49

avey

BoomTown just got the following email from Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe, the personal genetics start-up, about the departure of her co-founder, Linda Avey (pictured here). She will be starting a foundation related to Alzheimer’s disease.

The pair founded the high-profile company–whose Series A investors include Genentech (DNA), Google (GOOG) and New Enterprise Associates, as well as Wojcicki’s husband, Google co-founder Sergey Brin–in 2006.

It has collected almost $23 million in funding.

Avey noted in an email to staff, which is posted in its entirety below: “I also recognize that the company has reached a critical point in its growth where new leadership can take it to the successful heights we all think it can achieve.”

Wojcicki’s email reads, in part:

I wanted to let you know that Linda Avey will be leaving 23andMe to focus her energy on transforming Alzheimer’s research and treatment, leveraging the 23andMe platform. Linda and I have talked about doing research in Alzheimer’s since the inception of the company. Linda, whose father-in-law recently died from the disorder, will be leveraging 23andMe’s platform as she works to revolutionize the research, treatments and prevention for Alzheimer’s.

Linda will be greatly missed by me and my colleagues but we’re glad she will continue to be in a related field, and we are committed to continuing the work that she and I started three years ago.

23andme_logo

And here is the email from Avey to the staff, as well as Wojcicki’s below it and then the official press release:

Dear all-

As I trust you all know, 23andMe is very special to me. I also recognize that the company has reached a critical point in its growth where new leadership can take it to the successful heights we all think it can achieve.

I’ve decided that I’d like to focus my efforts on an area that is personally significant and will continue to have a huge impact on our healthcare system–Alzheimer’s disease. Effective today, I’m leaving 23andMe and have begun making plans for the creation of a foundation dedicated to the study of this disorder. The foundation will leverage the research platform we’ve built at 23andMe–the goal is to drive the formation of the world’s largest community of individuals with a family history of Alzheimer’s, empower them with their genetic information and track their brain health using state-of-the-art tools. We’ve always planned to include Alzheimer’s in our 23andWe research mission…I’m just approaching it from a new angle.

Some of you might be aware that my father-in-law suffered from Alzheimer’s and passed away last year. For this reason, Randy and I are motivated to do what we can to improve the understanding of what leads to the debilitating symptoms and what might prevent them from starting in the first place. The ApoE4 association is barely understood but gives us a great starting point.

I’ll miss working with you but will be excited to hear about the progress I know you’ll be making!

All the best,
Linda

Team:

As Linda has told you, she will be leaving 23andMe to focus her energy on transforming Alzheimer’s research and treatment, leveraging the 23andMe platform. While I am quite sad to see her leave I am excited and hopeful as she takes on this mission. As Linda’s co-founder and partner over the last three years, it has been clear that revolutionizing research has been a primary passion. Our drive to change health care has always had roots in our personal lives and we have tried to structure 23andMe so that any individual or organization could actively participate in research. Linda and I have talked about doing research in Alzheimer’s since the inception of the company and the need for the Alzheimer’s community to have a strong leader. With Linda’s involvement, I believe that the APOE4 community could be the first asymptomatic community to successfully develop preventative treatments. I hope that going forward we’ll both be able to shake up and transform the health care space, making health care and treatments better for all.

Linda’s departure is also a sign of 23andMe’s maturation. When we started the company, the personal genetics industry did not exist; now it is a thriving and competitive landscape. Our company has grown and we continue to be an innovative industry leader. While our success has been exceptional, it is also clear we have a lot of work ahead. We have created a significant and empowering tool, but we must find new and better ways to promote the value of knowing your DNA. In the weeks ahead, we will outline a strategy for the company that we believe will make genetics a routine part of health care and will lead us to making significant research discoveries.

Linda has been instrumental in making 23andMe what it is today and we thank her for her passion and dedication to the company. We have many exciting opportunities before us, and I look forward to working with all of you to make 23andMe a spectacular success.

Anne

Linda Avey to Create Alzheimer’s Foundation

Mountain View, CA–September 4, 2009–Linda Avey, co-founder of 23andMe, an industry leader in personal genetics, announced today that she is leaving the company to start a new foundation focused on Alzheimer’s disease. Ms. Avey’s foundation will leverage the 23andMe research platform to search for causes and treatments for the disease, which afflicts more than 5.2 million people in the United States.

Ms. Avey and Anne Wojcicki founded 23andMe together in 2006. The company provides personalized genetic information through DNA analysis and allows individuals to interact with their private information through a variety of web-based tools.

“I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished in the three years since Anne and I created 23andMe, and I am excited to take the next step in applying my experiences to one of the great health challenges of our time,” said Ms. Avey, who has more than 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. “There is a clear need for revolutionary research and concentrated effort to confront Alzheimer’s, and we need to start now in order to make meaningful progress. The resources are out there–my goal is to marshal them to find answers for families, like mine, who have lost family members to such a debilitating disease.”

Concurrent with Ms. Avey’s announcement, Ms. Wojcicki said that 23andMe expects to make its genetic data platform available to Ms. Avey’s foundation in order to advance its research.

“Linda has been a true partner with me over these last three years, an innovative leader for our company and our industry, and instrumental in making 23andMe what it is today,” said Wojcicki. “It is only fitting that she will be making full use of our work together and leveraging the 23andMe platform for a tremendous cause. We look forward to joining her as a partner in her efforts.”

Ms. Avey’s departure announced today takes effect immediately.

Here is a video, in two parts, of Avey and Wojcicki demoing some new features of 23andMe at the sixth D: All Things Digital conference in 2008.

In the first one, they introduce 23andMe, explain the main service and ask News Corp. (NWS) head Rupert Murdoch, Walt and me about our tolerance for milk and about our racing abilities. (Full disclosure: News Corp. is the owner of Dow Jones and this Web site.)

In the second one, Avey and Wojcicki survey Murdoch on his genetic traits and show me what genes my kids have in common (and discover that I am not hyperactive).

Here are the D6 demos:

Author: "Kara Swisher" Tags: "D6, News, 23andMe, Alzheimer's disease, ..."
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Date: Wednesday, 05 Aug 2009 17:44

idol

BoomTown is wearing all-black today, in profound mourning for the prospect of no Paula Abdul judging on “American Idol” next season.

“With sadness in my heart, I’ve decided not to return,” tweeted Abdul yesterday, bidding goodbye, natch, on Twitter.

Of course, her departure was over money–the boy talent, co-judge Simon Cowell and MC Ryan Seacrest, got a ton of it and Abdul got much less (although $2 million a year is a lot, it paled in comparison).

She is worth the scratch, though–especially considering how much the television singing juggernaut makes on Coke advertising placement alone–whether she was falling asleep in Carrie Underwood’s first audition or sleeping with contestants (allegedly!) or just doing that goofy seal clap and blathering out incomprehensible compliments to contestants.

Memo to News Corp. (NWS) TV unit Fox, which produces the TV show in the U.S.: Hand over more dough and pronto!

Sigh, as it is probably not to be–even though her bio is still on the “Idol” Web site.

So, here is a very funny video mashup done about her odd relationship with the acerbic Cowell.

Plus, here is a video from when Adbul also actually appeared–stranger than fiction–at the sixth D: All Things Digital conference.

She was there to help Activision Blizzard (ATVI) CEO Bobby Kotick publicly demo “Guitar Hero IV” for the first time, with the help of skateboarding star Tony Hawk.

I’ll be honest–I was sure she’d do something crazy, like goose Bill Gates of Microsoft (MSFT) or maybe fall off the stage–but she turned out to be a pro and forever my girl (oh, I had to).

Check it out, since I am off draping crepe at the All Things Digital HQ:

Paula & Simon:

Paula at D6:

Author: "Kara Swisher" Tags: "D6, Media, News, Social, Activision Bliz..."
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Date: Monday, 29 Jun 2009 20:04

julius-genachowskijpg

Last week, after much delay, longtime Internet exec Julius Genachowski (pictured here) was confirmed by the Senate as the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

It is an important role for the future development of the Web, of course, although it took a dog’s age into the new Democratic administration to approve him.

Hopefully, he and the other commissioners can soon get to work on a wide range of major digital issues, such as a national broadband plan that does not cost Americans a fortune.

Genachowski, a close tech adviser to President Barack Obama, was seated along with Commissioner Robert McDowell, a Republican appointee who was confirmed for a second FCC term.

After the Senate approves two others–Democrat Mignon Clyburn and Meredith Attwell Baker for the GOP–in the next month, it will round out the five-member panel.

(The other FCC commissioner is a Dem, Michael Copps, who has been acting chairman while Genachowski got approval.)

Genachowski, a former FCC staffer, was most recently working as a VC at Rock Creek Ventures and LaunchBox Digital. But he is best known to many in Silicon Valley as a top exec at IAC/InterActiveCorp. (IACI).

He is likely to make his debut to chair his first meeting this coming Thursday, and it is a humdinger of dull:

According to the FCC’s Web site, the July open meeting, held in Washington, D.C., will consider three items:

1.) Amendment of the Commission’s Rules to Provide Spectrum for the Operation of Medical Body Area Networks: The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to allocate spectrum and establish service and technical rules for the operation of Medical Body Area Networks to monitor patients’ physiological data.

2.) Amendment of Service and Eligibility Rules for FM Broadcast Stations: The Commission will consider a Report and Order concerning changes in the FM translator rules to allow AM broadcast stations to rebroadcast their signals on eligible FM translator stations.

3.) Amendment of Part 101 of the Commission’s Rules to Accommodate 30 Megahertz Channels in the 6525-6875 MHz Band: The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing whether to provide licensees with authority to operate on channels with bandwidths up to 30 megahertz in the Upper 6 GHz band and whether to extend conditional authority to two additional channel pairs in the 23 GHz band, as well as an Order addressing a related waiver reques.

But the site also mentioned that “the Meeting also will include a presentation on the status of the Commission’s process for developing a National Broadband Plan.”

Now, that is something BoomTown would like to know about since this country is effectively still in the dirt-road period, in terms of high-speed broadband access for Americans.

But, of course, the cost of what we do get–which is very substandard compared to a lot of other countries–is also very pricey.

Let’s hope Genachowski–who has a lot of other issues on his plate, especially as the media industry undergoes drastic reconfiguration too–can do something about it.

In a related note, Lawrence Strickling was also OK’d to run the telecom division of the Commerce Department, which is the agency with the dough ($4.7 billion in government funds) to help the create this supposed Internet infrastructure boom with the FCC.

I remain dubious of any movement in the arena, but still hopeful.

And, until there is some action from Genachowski, here is a highlights video from an onstage interview Walt Mossberg and I did with former FCC chairman Kevin Martin–along with Verizon (VZ) Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam–at the sixth D: All Things Digital conference in 2008.

Here is the D6 video:

Author: "Kara Swisher" Tags: "D6, Media, News, administration, America..."
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Date: Wednesday, 10 Jun 2009 21:33

“The key thing was our CEO, Ed Colligan, had the insight that once the [BlackBerry] Pearl came out, the smart-phone business was going to be a consumer business, and Palm was not positioned for that and needed a major transformation, and that’s what we got involved in doing. The whole notion was you wanted to take that cultural legacy of innovation that created the Pilot and the Treo and then apply it to the next customer.”

–Roger McNamee lauds Palm CEO Ed Colligan at our recent D: All Things Digital conference

rubinstein-colligan
Now we know why it was Palm executive chairman Jon Rubinstein and investor Roger McNamee on stage at D last month talking up the Pre, and not CEO Ed Colligan: Colligan was on his way out.

On Wednesday, Palm (PALM) named Rubinstein as its new chairman and CEO. Come Friday he’ll succeed Colligan, who is leaving the company after 16 years to join McNamee at Elevation Partners. Apparently Palm, who recruited Rubinstein, a former Apple (AAPL) engineer, to turn the company around has decided it would much rather have him in its highest office than Colligan under whose leadership it was foundering.

In a statement, Rubinstein–who has spent the past two years quarterbacking the development of the Pre and its webOS–welcomed his new role. “I am very excited about taking on this expanded role at Palm,” he said. “Ed and I have worked very hard together the past two years, and I’m grateful to him for everything he’s done to help set the company up for success. With Palm webOS we have ten-plus years of innovation ahead of us, and the Palm Pre is already one of the year’s hottest new products. Due in no small part to Ed’s courageous leadership, we’re in great shape to get Palm back to continuous growth, and we plan to keep the trajectory going upward.”

Reached for comment late Wednesday afternoon, Roger McNamee offered up this rather canned statement on Palm’s leadership transition: “With Ed’s decision to step down, Jon Rubinstein is the natural choice to lead Palm into its next phase of growth. Jon has proven to have exactly the right mix of product vision, organizational leadership and operational capabilities to help Palm regain a leadership position. We are grateful for the leadership role Ed has played in initiating this transformation and getting through the successful launch of webOS and the Pre.”

Palm shares are up 3.75 percent at $12.44 on the news.

Author: "John Paczkowski" Tags: "D6, Mobile, News, All Things D, BlackBer..."
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Date: Wednesday, 10 Jun 2009 21:33

“The key thing was our CEO, Ed Colligan, had the insight that once the [BlackBerry] Pearl came out, the smart-phone business was going to be a consumer business, and Palm was not positioned for that and needed a major transformation, and that’s what we got involved in doing. The whole notion was you wanted to take that cultural legacy of innovation that created the Pilot and the Treo and then apply it to the next customer.”

–Roger McNamee lauds Palm CEO Ed Colligan at our recent D: All Things Digital conference

rubinstein-colligan
Now we know why it was Palm executive chairman Jon Rubinstein and investor Roger McNamee on stage at D last month talking up the Pre, and not CEO Ed Colligan: Colligan was on his way out.

On Wednesday, Palm (PALM) named Rubinstein as its new chairman and CEO. Come Friday he’ll succeed Colligan, who is leaving the company after 16 years to join McNamee at Elevation Partners. Apparently Palm, who recruited Rubinstein, a former Apple (AAPL) engineer, to turn the company around has decided it would much rather have him in its highest office than Colligan under whose leadership it was foundering.

In a statement, Rubinstein–who has spent the past two years quarterbacking the development of the Pre and its webOS–welcomed his new role. “I am very excited about taking on this expanded role at Palm,” he said. “Ed and I have worked very hard together the past two years, and I’m grateful to him for everything he’s done to help set the company up for success. With Palm webOS we have ten-plus years of innovation ahead of us, and the Palm Pre is already one of the year’s hottest new products. Due in no small part to Ed’s courageous leadership, we’re in great shape to get Palm back to continuous growth, and we plan to keep the trajectory going upward.”

Reached for comment late Wednesday afternoon, Roger McNamee offered up this rather canned statement on Palm’s leadership transition: “With Ed’s decision to step down, Jon Rubinstein is the natural choice to lead Palm into its next phase of growth. Jon has proven to have exactly the right mix of product vision, organizational leadership and operational capabilities to help Palm regain a leadership position. We are grateful for the leadership role Ed has played in initiating this transformation and getting through the successful launch of webOS and the Pre.”

Palm shares are up 3.75 percent at $12.44 on the news.

Author: "John Paczkowski" Tags: "D6, Mobile, News, All Things D, BlackBer..."
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Date: Wednesday, 03 Jun 2009 14:00

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San Jose Mercury News columnist Chris O’Brien made a lot of humorous hay at the expense of Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz yesterday, in a joke piece called: “Bartz Unveils New &*%! Strategy for Yahoo.”

O’Brien cleverly created a fictional transcript of a Yahoo (YHOO) staff meeting where Bartz–by now, well-known for her salty language–lets loose in an address about just how sick she was of competitors getting all the good press:

“We’re not going to take this (expletive) any more.

Starting today, we fight back. We’re going to announce a major new marketing campaign that won’t let anyone ignore Yahoo any more.
For those of you who don’t have your heads up your (expletive), you may have noticed that I’ve personally been beta testing this thing. First with those analysts, and then with that (expletive) Wall Street Journal reporter Kara Swisher–I dropped the f-bomb.

The results were clear. Those (expletives) in the press won’t write about all the great (expletives) we’re doing at Yahoo, but one foul-mouthed remark from me, and we’re back in the headlines.

So we’re re-branding the company around excessive use of profanity. Our new marketing slogan will be, ‘Yahoo, (expletive) yeah!’”

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Well, why not?

During her interview with BoomTown at the seventh D: All Things Digital conference last week (pictured here, giving me a finger-to-eye-pointing lesson, which you can click on to make larger), Bartz did, in fact, curse at me, although she did not toss that off when talking about what was needed for Yahoo to regain momentum.

As she noted after a question I asked about Yahoo’s bruised image:

“The best way to change the perception is to do a good job and then talk about it. For instance, I know everybody out there says Yahoo has lost the youth; only old people use Yahoo. Do you know in the 18 to 24 demographic we have 76 percent reach? Everybody doesn’t just go to Facebook. We just have to get our story out there; we have to continue to appeal to the people that come to us, and frankly, at some point people get sick of having us as the underdog and say, Thank God, Yahoo’s back. And we are back. We’re going to go step by step.

It was a good answer and certainly a lot more forceful defense of the company than former Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang had made the year before at D6–which was essentially Job No. 1 for Bartz to correct at the recent D7 event.

Except that a lot of folks last week–both inside and outside Yahoo and also in the media–later took Bartz to task to me privately and also publicly for just being a big talker.

“If you compare what she said and what Jerry said word for word, it was the same thing,” said one person to me, in what was a common refrain. “It’s just that Carol said it with more oomph.”

Well, yes. Exactly. Which is why I am not sure there’s anything wrong with that.

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Of course, it is entirely true that Bartz has a only a limited time to roll out the confident patter and colorful cursing, before it gets old and real results are required. We have all seen ribald CEOS who delight and then disappoint.

The current economic downturn is, of course, giving Bartz a bit of cover. But, as she well knows, when it turns for the better and she is in office for more than three full quarters, people will justifiably have to have their expectations for her performance met.

That could mean striking a deal with Microsoft (MSFT). Or it could mean gaining some search share from Google (GOOG). Or it could mean just cutting enough costs and improving display advertising sales to turn in a great quarter. Or reviving the pace of innovation at the Silicon Valley giant. Or, all of the above.

Until then, even on the receiving end of an f-bomb onstage (which, I can assure you, came as no surprise), it’s probably a very good thing to keep the tough talk going for a while longer.

Because it motivates staff, because it shows that there is some oomph, because it allows people to forget all that has past.

In no way will be no substitute for making significant changes that Yahoo so desperately needs–but, for this window of time, loose lips might even help keep the Yahoo ship from sinking further.

Speaking of lip, here is the clip of Bartz cursing at me, which is at 57 seconds in:

[The T-shirt image is from CafePress.com.]

Author: "Kara Swisher" Tags: "D6, Media, News, Social, advertising, Bo..."
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Date: Tuesday, 02 Jun 2009 19:37

scooby-doo

Oh, Scooby-Don’t…

You could not be more wrong in your post last week–titled, “Why Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg are wrong about naming Web 3.0 ‘Web 3.0′”–about Walt and I being wrong about naming Web 3.0 “Web 3.0″ in an essay we posted at the start of our D: All Things Digital conference, which took place last week.

I know writing “Kara Swisher,” “Walt Mossberg” and “Wrong” is well-nigh irresistible, but your solution of calling the digital era we are in the “2010 Web” is equally confusing and incorrect.

So, since you know I love to do translations, let me try to take apart your entire piece paragraph by paragraph:

What Scooby-Don’t wrote: Can we just head this trend off at the pass? It seems that Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, at their “All Things D” conference announced the beginning of the Web 3.0 era.

That’s ridiculous.

And I’m not the only one to think so.

BoomTown response: Walt and I simply wrote an essay in which we said we thought mobile and smart phones were super important as the next platform and represented what we thought Web 3.0 innovations, such as social networking (which we also think is important, by the way) would pivot around.

We didn’t “announce” anything, although that does sound awfully grand.

But so what if we did, because it happens quite a lot?

Dan Gillmor, for goodness sake, declared it Web 3.0 in 2005. His take was different:

“The emerging web is one in which the machines talk as much to each other as humans talk to machines or other humans. As the net is the rough equivalent of a computer operating system, we’re learning how to program the web itself.”

And in 2007, Tim O’Reilly weighed in on it, responding to Web 3.0 theses by Jason Calacanis and Nova Spivack, and also noting Stowe Boyd’s thoughts on the subject.

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You get my point, Bobby? Lots of folks have opinions about what is Web 3.0, much as they will when we start arguing over what Web 4.0 is.

At Web 5.0, of course, a self-aware Google (GOOG) will have begun its inevitable war with the human race, sending back a cyborg to terminate you before you wrote that post, thereby making this rebuttal moot.

But, I digress!

Scooby-Don’t wrote: Short aside: It’s interesting that neither Kara nor Walt show up very often on friendfeed, which is the best example of the 2010 Web right now. Kara Swisher has made a total of five comments there. Walt is even worse, doesn’t bring any items in there, and only has six comments. How can you know what the 2010 Web is, if you don’t use it and don’t participate in it?

BoomTown response: The fact of the matter is that neither Walt nor I like to use FriendFeed as much as you do. I daresay that no one likes to use FriendFeed as much as you do.

Thus, hinging a larger point to this, just because we don’t play in a particular sandbox you like to play in, feels a little too much in the digital weeds to me.

Just because you have chosen to be the unofficial spokesmodel for the very laudable service–about which I have done a very lovely reported post on complete with video–I am not clear why you need to accuse Walt Mossberg and I of not being social because we don’t use it as much.

We both just happen to prefer Twitter and blogging as our social outlets.

I have done 3,255 updates on Twitter since I started last year, for example, which is certainly not as much as your 21,224. But–and I think we can all agree–as blabby as I am, I am simply not as blabby as you.

So, let’s try to make this as clear as possible.

We. Don’t. Use. FriendFeed. Regularly.

As I said, we use Twitter, we use Facebook, we use SMS, we use blogging and we use a whole lot more. In fact, between us, we try out pretty much everything.

While I appreciate that FriendFeed seems to be your home planet of the moment, it is not the only place to realize your term, 2010 Web, and it feels very Web 1.0 to say so.

Scooby-Don’t wrote: The Web does NOT have version numbers. Naming what was going on in the last eight years “Web 2.0″ did us all a large disservice (Tim O’Reilly did that, mostly to get people to see that there was something different about the Web that was being built in 2000-2003 than what had come before).

But by naming it a number, I believe it caused a lot of people and businesses to avoid what was going on and “poo poo” it as the rantings of the new MySpace generation (which was just getting hot back then).

BoomTown response: Let me see if I can get this straight. You can call it 2010 Web, but we cannot use version numbers, such as Web 3.0?

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Hey, we’ll call it Britney Spears if we want!

Actually, I like naming the next era of the Web after the always volatile entertainer. She’s mobile, ever-changing, ubiquitous and always entertaining! Also, there are several eras of Britney: Sweet, Timberlake Lady, Federline Lady, Young Mom, Nuts, Nuttier, Nuttiest, Hospitalized, Medicated.

My main point remains: Who died and made you Boss of Pointless Internet Catchphrases?

Scooby-Don’t wrote: See, the Web changes EVERY DAY and a version number just doesn’t do it justice. Think about today, we saw Microsoft (MSFT) announce a major new update to its search engine, named “Bing,” that turns on next week and is already getting TONS of kudos. Seriously, in the rental car shuttle today a guy I met said the demo he saw at Kara and Walt’s conference was “awesome.”

Also today was Google’s Wave, which caught everyone by surprise and which sucked the oxygen out of Microsoft’s search announcements. Check out all the reports that I liked from around the world this morning.

BoomTown response: The Web changes EVERY DAY? You’re kidding! We had no idea! Thanks for that critical morsel of info!

Earth to Robert: Walt has spent a large part of his life writing about the panoply of new devices that have come out in an unceasing flow and I have written at least 10,000 news stories and two books about the Web since the early 1990s.

Pretty much all we write about is how the Web changes every day. Actually, every second.

Scooby-Don’t wrote: But, back to the theme of this post. There IS something going on here. I covered it a few weeks ago.

The things that are happening are NOT just Twitter and search. Here, let me recount again what is making up the 2010 Web:

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1. Real Time. Google caught the Wave of that trend today BIG TIME.

2. Mobile. Google, again, caught that wave big time Wednesday when it handed Android phones to everyone at its IO conference.

3. Decentralized. Does Microsoft or Twitter demonstrate that trend? Not really well.

4. Pre-made blocks. I call this “copy-and-paste” programming. Google nailed it with its Web Elements (I’ll add a few of those next week).

5. Social. Oh, have you noticed how much more social the web is? The next two days I’m hanging out on an aircraft carrier with a few people who do social media for the Navy.

6. Smart. Wolfram Alpha opened a lot of people’s eyes to what is possible in new smart displays of information.

7. Hybrid infrastructure. At the Twitter Conference this week lots of people were talking about how they were using both traditional servers along with cloud-based approaches from Amazon (AMZN) and Rackspace (RAX) to store, study, and process the sizeable datasets that are coming through Twitter, Facebook, and friendfeed.

BoomTown Response: We had folks on stage at our D7 conference discussing all this last week. In fact, we covered a whole lot more than that, which you can read about if you click on through.

While I think all yours are also interesting ideas, I am still not clear why you need to get your knickers in a knot, since we happened to think mobile platforms and smart phones are more important trends at this juncture.

Also, could please explain how Google “caught that wave big time Wednesday when it handed Android phones to everyone at its IO conference.” Google is innovative because they give free swag to folks?

We gave free swag to folks this week at D7, so I guess that makes Walt and I 2010-Web-worthy!

Scooby-Don’t wrote: So, why doesn’t a version number work for these changes? Because they don’t come at us all at once. A lot of these things have been cooking for years. The Internet makes iteration possible. Tomorrow will be better on the Internet than today. In the old world of software you’d have to wait for the compilers, then you’d need to distribute tons of CDs or disks. That no longer needs to be done.

The idea that we have a version for the Web is just plain ridiculous. It makes the innovations we’re implementing too easily dismissed. How many times have you heard that “Twitter is lame?” I lost count 897 days ago.

Now, is using a year number, like what I’m doing, better? Yes. It gets us out of the version lock. And it makes it clear to businesses that if you are still driving around a 1994 Web site that it’s starting to look as old and crusty as a 1994 car is about now. Executives understand this. It’s a rare executive who drives an old car around. Most like to have the latest expensive car to get to work in.

Same with the Web. Calling it the “2010 Web” puts an urgency into what’s happening. If your business isn’t considering the latest stuff it risks looking lame or, worse, leaving money on the table. Just like driving a 1994 car risks looking lame or, worse, breaking down a lot more often than a newer car.

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BoomTown response: Actually, I would have to say that your year numbering system is deeply confusing and I am not sure we can treat Internet development like some auto or, even, say, fine wine.

Ah, that 1995 Web was saucy with a smooth Netscape IPO finish, while 2001 had a disappointing popped-bubble tone, due to the excessive tannins of Pets.com. Now, the 2009 is still very young, but it has a frothy Twittery taste, which goes surprisingly well with brie.

Scooby-Don’t wrote: Is the year metaphor perfect? No, I’m sure there are a few things wrong with it. For one, if you want to host a conference based on the “trend” you’ll have to change your conference name every year. That costs money, which is why conference companies like to have more stable trends that they can exploit for a few years, at least.

BoomTown response: D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D7. So far, changing the number has worked out well for us that we’re going to go for D8!

Scooby-Don’t wrote: Also, there are some clear “eras” in the Web, so I could see wanting to suggest that we’re in the third era of the Web, but I’ve been studying this for the past eight years and calling the second era “Web 2′ actually held us back because mainstream users didn’t think anything was happening in the past few years and Web 2.0 became a useless phrase anyway.

BoomTown response: You must know that mainstream users don’t pay one bit of attention to any and all of the dumb terms Silicon Valley comes up with.

And, with all the obviously massive change that has happened in the past few years in tech and the Internet (iPhone, Kindle, Facebook, Twitter to name a few), it seems odd to say that anything has been held back.

Frankly, it would be nice if tech innovation took a breather once in a while.

Scooby Don’t wrote: Anyway, can we use year numbers to describe the Web now? It’ll make it easier to evangelize the modern world to businesses. We’re entering the 2010 Web, that’s what I’m exploring. Calling the Web a version number is for people who don’t really understand, or participate in, what’s going on here. Kara and Walt, you gotta do better here.

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BoomTown wrote: What’s in a name?

Well, it’s dang easy to attack, of course, instead of actually discussing the actual premise that we were outlining in our essay, titled “Welcome to Web 3.0.”

As we wrote:

“So what’s the seminal development that’s ushering in the era of Web 3.0? It’s the real arrival, after years of false predictions, of the thin client, running clean, simple software, against cloud-based data and services. The poster children for this new era have been the Apple (AAPL) iPhone and iPod Touch, which have sold 37 million units in less than two years and attracted 35,000 apps and one billion app downloads in just nine months.”

So, if you want to just focus on the name, then you gotta do better here.

Until then, you say 2010 Web, we say Web 3.0 and let’s call the whole thing off.

Author: "Kara Swisher" Tags: "D4, D5, D6, Mobile, News, Social, 2010 W..."
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Date: Tuesday, 26 May 2009 08:17

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If BoomTown were to hazard a guess, I would assume Yahoo would, if it could–in the end–sell itself off to Microsoft.

That’s just my opinion, of course, but–after all that has gone on and all the time that has passed–it would still be the best-case scenario for the company, over either a more limited commercial advertising and search partnership with the software giant it has been discussing.

Or, of course, going it alone.

That’s because partnerships of two strong companies are always fraught with struggle that hinders true achievement. I would imagine that would go double for Yahoo (YHOO) and Microsoft (MSFT).

And, in standing pat, Yahoo faces a future that is uncertain, especially given the need to keep up with the massive changes in the digital arena and the long struggle it has had over the last several years in trying to redefine itself in the Web 2.0 era.

After all, in 2009, it is still hard to answer the simple question: What is Yahoo?

That’s the one that stumped former Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang onstage at our sixth D: All Things Digital conference last year.

And, it will still be the key query that Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz will need to answer when she takes the stage Wednesday morning at D7.

I have been noodling all weekend about what to ask the forthright executive, who does not seem to mince words or suffer fools.

That’s good, since it will take that kind of gumption to clearly lay out for the influential crowds of attendees and assembled tech press exactly what she is going to do now that she has started to make the basic structural changes at Yahoo.

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Cost-cutting and focusing management, of course, are the low-hanging fruit at Yahoo and now it will be up to Bartz (pictured here) to begin to tell a story about the future of the company she helms and where it is going.

Is it a media/content company or a search company or a communications company, for example? And, if it is parts of all three, how does that stack up against competitors?

There are a lot of questions like this that one can ask about Yahoo, from how it innovates to how it holds onto talent to how it will recharge its growth.

Because, even though it is one of the most highly trafficked sites on the Web and one of Silicon Valley’s icons, it is still much too easy for many to count Yahoo out.

So, perhaps most of all, what I look forward to hearing from Bartz is how we can all begin to count Yahoo in again.

Until then, here are two parts of video highlights from Walt Mossberg’s interview with Yang and former President Sue Decker, last year at D6:

Highlights, Part 1

Highlights, Part 2

Author: "Kara Swisher" Tags: "D6, Media, News, advertising, BoomTown, ..."
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Date: Friday, 22 May 2009 11:49

In recent weeks, some big-name tech execs have said that they think the economy has hit a bottom. On Wednesday and Thursday, some smaller–although still pretty large–software companies reported earnings, and their CEOs were a little less rosy about the end of the recession.

Salesforce.com (CRM) on Thursday reported a 23 percent increase in revenue from the year-ago period. But the company lowered its full year revenue outlook from between $1.3 billion and $1.33 billion to between $1.25 billion and $1.27 billion.

Marc Benioff, CEO of the online-software maker, didn’t sound like a man who believes the worst is over. He said during a conference call that new customers are taking longer to make decisions and that existing ones aren’t expanding the way they historically have. And he balked when asked if the company’s month-by-month performance indicated any trends: “I feel most comfortable really just delivering these aggregate results right now,” he said.

Read the rest of this post on the original site

Author: "Ben Worthen" Tags: "D6, News, Voices, Ben Worthen, digital, ..."
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Date: Thursday, 21 May 2009 21:06

Yahoo (YHOO) isn’t just selling, it is looking to buy, too.

The Internet web search and ad company’s chief technology officer, Ari Balogh, told the Reuters Global Technology Summit that Yahoo is looking to buy companies that will enable it to become a bigger player in social networking and revamp its family of products.

Balogh’s statements shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. Social networking remains a growth business, albeit one that has been hard to monetize. Yahoo has had it shares of stumbles trying to enter the space. In the past few years, the company has shut down or essentially shut down two of its previous forays into the business–Yahoo Mash and Yahoo 360, according to paidContent.org. Yahoo also fell short in its attempt to buy Facebook for around $1 billion three years ago.

Read the rest of this post on the original site

Author: "Stephen Grocer" Tags: "D6, Media, News, Social, Voices, Ari Bal..."
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Date: Monday, 23 Mar 2009 01:54

danr

Former Yahoo COO and current Quadrangle Group partner Dan Rosensweig (pictured here) will take over as CEO and president of Activision Blizzard’s powerful Guitar Hero franchise, according to sources close to the situation.

Rosensweig will run the hot gaming company’s division, which is located in Silicon Valley, the result of its purchase of RedOctane in 2006, source said.

He is well known to Activision (ATVI) Chairman and CEO Bobby Kotick, who served on the Yahoo board for many years when Rosensweig was a key exec there. Both Rosensweig and Kotick have since left Yahoo.

It’s an interesting move for Rosensweig, who has been working in private equity since his departure from Yahoo (YHOO) in late 2006.

His name has been bandied about for several high-profile Web positions of late, and many thought he might take a political job, given that he was one of many digital execs involved in helping elect President Barack Obama.

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But the weak market for investments and Rosensweig’s longtime experience and interest in eventually returning to operations–along with his well-known passion for music–are the likeliest motivators for the move to Guitar Hero.

Sources said Rosensweig will start his new job at Guitar Hero–which Activision could announce as early as tomorrow–in several weeks.

Running a major consumer brand like Guitar Hero seems tailor-made for Rosensweig, who worked at CNET Networks and Ziff-Davis before Yahoo. In addition, the jovial exec is well-respected in Silicon Valley, giving Activision a much more prominent presence here.

And the energetic Kotick (pictured below with me and, yes, Paula Abdul of “American Idol”–don’t ask) has long talked about turbocharging the largely retail Guitar Hero business online, as a way to further grow the music phenom.

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User-generated music, as well as a plethora of online transactions and social networking, have been promising new revenue opportunities, Kotick has said.

(See video highlights of my interview with Kotick below on that topic and more at last year’s D: All Things Digital conference.)

Overall, despite the weak economy and a cautious forecast going forward, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Activision is growing, with revenues up in the last quarter, due in large part to the popularity of its Guitar Hero and Call of Duty videogames.

Its fast pace, in contrast to rival Electronic Arts (ERTS), has been helped by its merger with Vivendi SA’s Blizzard Entertainment last summer. Blizzard’s World of Warcraft online game is also one of the most popular multiplayer games in the world.

Here’s a highlights video from my interview with Kotick at D6:

Author: "Kara Swisher" Tags: "Commerce, D6, Media, News, Social, Activ..."
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Date: Wednesday, 29 Oct 2008 23:15

We’re posting all the interviews from the sixth D: All Things Digital conference that took place in late May.

Unfortunately, due to issues too complicated to go into, we have to post all the D6 interviews in several 15-minute parts (I know, I know).

But–as many readers have requested–they will all be available in their entirety in this column.

Here’s an interview Walt Mossberg and I did with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin and Verizon Wireless (VZ) CEO Lowell McAdam jointly. We paired the two together to talk about big issues facing the wireless industry, including low broadband speeds and high prices.

The video of the interview is in three parts, all of which I have posted this week.

In this third part, Martin talks about net neutrality and the big political issues for technology, while McAdam talks about competition with AT&T and other rivals, and then both answer questions from the audience about early termination fees, getting dropped call data, eliminating subsidies and platform convergence.

Author: "Kara Swisher" Tags: "D6, News, AT&T, BoomTown, broadband, con..."
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Date: Wednesday, 29 Oct 2008 00:25

Time Inc., the largest magazine company in the world, is laying off hundreds and reorganizing itself drastically, due to tough economic conditions, especially in advertising, as well as the more inexorable diminishing of its business as readers move to the Web.

Time Inc. is a unit of Time Warner (TWX), as is the AOL online unit.

Time Inc. CEO Ann Moore penned the email memo to employees tonight. She tried to tout gains in its digital business–part of the reason for the reorg is to move more of its content to Web platforms–noting 26 million people visit its Time Inc. sites monthly.

Which is, well, still not as big as it should be.

Moore, as well as Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, was interviewed by me onstage at two different D: All Things Digital conferences, where the challenges facing the magazine business were discussed by both.

Those challenges, obviously, continue.

Both videos are below.

Time Inc. CEO Ann Moore at D5, May 2007:

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes at D6, May 2008 (Part 4 of 4):

And here’s the entire Moore memo on the layoffs and reorg:

From: Moore, Ann – Executive Administration
Sent: Tue Oct 28 18:00:37 2008
Subject: Staff Announcement

October 28, 2008

To: Time Inc. Employees
From: Ann Moore
Re: Staff Announcement

As all of you are aware, industry conditions have been challenging due to the financial crisis, which has produced sharp decreases in advertising spending. This is expected to continue through most of 2009.

It’s important that we at Time Inc. react quickly to this new reality in order to maintain our financial strength, build our market position, and sharpen our ability to bounce back at the first signs of economic recovery. All the while we must continue to give our readers and audience the high quality editorial products they have come to expect from our publications and websites.

This is a challenge, unlike any we’ve seen before. And after much careful study and consultation with many of you who run our businesses, I have concluded that it is no longer possible to operate our company with the same decentralized management structure that served us so well during our many years of sustained growth.

So, effective tomorrow, we are going to implement a much more centralized management structure, organized into three business units that will group together titles that share similar audiences, advertisers, and the talents and skills of their staffs. The goal is to enable our company to move faster, go to market smarter, save significant costs, and employ our editorial resources more efficiently.

In broad strokes, here is how it will work:

Business Units. Time Inc.’s 24 U.S. magazines and companion web sites will be grouped into three business units, each reporting to a senior corporate executive. Each unit will have a similar structure that will include four key executives to direct the ad sales, digital business, financial and editorial efforts across that group. One of the most significant centralizing features of this new structure is that each of the three units will have one General Manager, responsible for all budgeting in the unit, who will report directly to Time Inc. EVP and CFO Howard Averill, with a dotted line to their respective senior operating executive.

The three Business Units will consist of:

* News: the existing print and digital properties in the TIME group, the Fortune|Money group, and the Sports Illustrated group, as well as Life.com and GEE. John Squires, EVP Time Inc. will manage the News Business Unit.
* Style and Entertainment: the existing print and digital properties in the PEOPLE group, InStyle, Entertainment Weekly, and Essence. I will act as the EVP for this group so the Style and Entertainment Business Unit will report to me.
* Lifestyle: the existing print and digital properties of Real Simple, This Old House, All You, Southern Living, Cooking Light, Sunset, Health, Cottage Living, Coastal Living, and Southern Accents, along with MyRecipes.com and MyHomeIdeas.com. Sylvia Auton, EVP Time Inc. will manage the Lifestyle Business Unit, while also retaining responsibility for IPC Media.

Editorial. John Huey continues as Time Inc.’s Editor-in-Chief, overseeing the News Business Unit Managing Editors and Martha Nelson, the Managing Editor of the Style and Entertainment Business Unit. In editorial alone we have seen three recent examples of how this sharing across titles can work to our benefit. During the summer Olympics, Sports Illustrated set up a system to supply Time.com with a fantastic array of photos from the games; in Europe and Asia, FORTUNE and TIME already are sharing correspondents; and, of course, the most visible example was the recent TIME cover story on the economy written by FORTUNE managing editor Andy Serwer and Allan Sloan. In the new structure we will see much more of this kind of cooperation.

Time Inc. Advertising Sales and Marketing. Given the difficult ad sales environment, it is critical that all of our brands work together to efficiently and effectively offer advertisers the solutions they need. For this reason, we are creating Time Inc. Advertising Sales and Marketing, a group that will be charged with setting and executing corporate ad sales strategy along with the ad sales head for each business unit. Stephanie George will become President of Time Inc. Advertising Sales and Marketing and will remain a Time Inc. EVP. She will also remain on the Board of American Express Publishing.

Time Inc. Consumer Marketing and Sales. Consumer Marketing and Sales will be run by Brian Wolfe, who has been promoted to EVP and will report directly to me. All Consumer Marketing and Sales activities will be centralized under Brian. This department will be responsible for circulation net income across all U.S. Magazines, as well as Synapse, QSP, Time Warner Retail, Time Customer Service, and TW4, Time Inc.’s international fulfillment operation.

Everyone in the Consumer Marketing organization should be proud of their accomplishments in this difficult environment–some of our largest newsstand titles are having record years and we are seeing strong circulation net income results across the company. These organizational changes, along with the recent acquisition of QSP and the incorporation of Synapse into Time Inc. Consumer Marketing and Sales, will give Brian and his team the ability to continue this momentum by making the best decisions for the company as a whole, and making them quickly and definitively.

Finally, I’m pleased to announce the promotions of Kerry Bessey and Maurice Edelson to EVP, Time Inc.

Time Inc. Senior Management along with the Business Unit leaders are working on restructuring within each group, and will announce further changes in the coming weeks. While the broader economy and the advertising industry both continue to present challenges, I know we can weather this storm and emerge as an even stronger company when the economy begins to recover. We are still a very profitable company. Our cash flow is strong. We have made tremendous progress with our digital business. Each month, more than 26 million people visit Time Inc. websites. We know our consumers continue to value our magazines and websites. We have the top brands in all the categories where we publish and we’re finding exciting new ways to expand our titles beyond the printed page and the web. The importance of fact-based journalism has never been clearer given the many serious issues facing the world and our core competency, trusted editing skills, has never been more needed than in this time of too much information.

I’d like to thank you all for your continued hard work.

A.M.

Author: "Kara Swisher" Tags: "D5, D6, Media, News, advertising, Ann Mo..."
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Date: Tuesday, 28 Oct 2008 14:00

We’re posting all the interviews from the sixth D: All Things Digital conference that took place in late May.

Unfortunately, due to issues too complicated to go into, we have to post all the D6 interviews in several 15-minute parts (I know, I know).

But–as many readers have requested–they will all be available in their entirety in this column.

Here’s an interview Walt Mossberg and I did with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin and Verizon Wireless (VZ) CEO Lowell McAdam jointly. We paired the two together to talk about big issues facing the wireless industry, including low broadband speeds and high prices.

The video of the interview is in three parts, all of which I will post this week.

In this second part, McAdam talks about the wireless giant’s open network initiatives and the impact of aggressive efforts by Google (GOOG) in the space, termination fees and subsidy issues, while Martin discusses the key issues the FCC will be facing, including the transition of the broadcast industry from analog to digital and network neutrality.

Author: "Kara Swisher" Tags: "D6, News, analog, BoomTown, broadband, b..."
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Date: Monday, 27 Oct 2008 12:00

We’re posting all the interviews from the sixth D: All Things Digital conference that took place in late May.

Unfortunately, due to issues too complicated to go into, we have to post all the D6 interviews in several 15-minute parts (I know, I know).

But–as many readers have requested–they will all be available in their entirety in this column.

Here’s an interview Walt Mossberg and I did with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin and Verizon Wireless (VZ) CEO Lowell McAdam jointly. We paired the two together to talk about big issues facing the wireless industry, including low broadband speeds and high prices.

The video of the interview is in three parts, all of which I will post this week.

In this first part, Martin talks about why broadband speed is so slow and prices are so high (the U.S. apparently has density issues!), the difficulty of getting consensus in Washington, D.C. and more open wireless networks, while McAdams discusses the challenges with local governments.

Author: "Kara Swisher" Tags: "D6, News, BoomTown, broadband, conferenc..."
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
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