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Google Breaking Away from Net Neutrality? Not exactly

Update:  See this Google post regarding the allegations from The Wall Street Journal Google is changing its positive stance on net-neutrality. The Google post notes “The Journal story also quoted me as characterizing President-elect Obama’s net neutrality policies as “much less specific than they were before.” For what it’s worth, I don’t recall making such a comment, and it seems especially odd given that President-elect Obama’s supportive stance on network neutrality hasn’t changed at all.”

In addition, Google has now not made the Top 10 Trust companies on the San Francisco Chronicle list.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that it has received documents citing Google has approached ISPs and Cable companies to strike a deal to get priority in traffic, which violates net neutrality. Google has always been an advocate of this principal. The WSJ says “One major cable operator [is] in talks with Google says it has been reluctant so far to strike a deal because of concern it might violate Federal Communications Commission guidelines on network neutrality.”If we did this, Washington would be on fire,” says one executive at the cable company who is familiar with the talks…” Google responded by strongly denying the allegations saying “Google remains strongly committed to the principle of Net neutrality, and we will continue to work with policymakers in the years ahead to keep the Internet free and open.” More recently, Microsoft and Yahoo quietly broke a coalition part about two years ago. President Elect Barrack Obama strongly supports net-neutrality.

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Google Android Gets New Partners, Sales to Skyrocket


The Google Open Handset Alliance today has just announced 14 new members are on board for further developing and adopting Google’s Android Mobile OS. The new companies include Sony Ericsson, Toshiba, Garmin, ASUSTek, AKM Semiconductor Inc., Telco Vodafone, among others. Ericsson has also previously announced it plans to release a Google powered device by mid 2009. “Sony Ericsson is excited to announce its membership of the Open Handset Alliance and confirm its intention to develop a handset based on the Android platform,” said Rikko Sakaguchi, CVP and head of Creation and Development at Sony Ericsson. The most notable news here is that Vodafone is on board, who has more than 280 million subscribers. The GPhone is expected to sell about 500,000 units by the end of 2008 (manufactured by HTC), and will only sell more given the new partnerships in 2009. The GPhone is free for partners to use while other mobile operating systems are significantly more costly. I can tell you from experience that each Windows Mobile license costs about $7 per unit, while Symbian costs about $3 per unit. Clearly, there is a lot of money for companies to save when they sell millions of units.

Read the full story

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Yang says Yahoo For Sale, Will Microsoft/AOL Buy?

Jerry Yang spoke in front of more than 1,000 people at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Fransisco where he provided his commentary about the last year and also expressed he and the Yahoo board of directors never at any point had any regrets concerning the failed acquisition with Microsoft. Yang also says that he went back to Steve Ballmer (CEO of Microsoft) to re-interest MS though to no avail. Yang has confirmed Yahoo is not in any direct acquisition talks with Microsoft and he notably refused to comment about a possible acquisition with AOL. We can expect Microsoft’s interest to re-open assuming serious talks develop with AOL. Most importantly, Yang went on to say “to this day, I’d say the best thing for Microsoft to do is buy Yahoo,” and he added: “We’re willing to sell the company.” Very interesting. Yang has been very heavily criticized (probably rightfully so) for not accepting the Microsoft acquisition bid for about $33 per share, considering Yahoo stock is now trading at about $12 and it isn’t expect to recover to $33 anytime soon. In more recent news, Yang also expressed disappointment towards Google who recently dropped the Yahoo ad partnership after antitrust concerns from the US Justice Department and strong critisism from various corporate opponents including Microsoft. Complete information from the Web 2.0 Summit can be found here.

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Google, Yahoo Change Partnership deal for Fed

Google and Yahoo are trying to develop an online advertising partnership in the search realm. However, officials are threating to block the alliance because of competition and anti trust concerns. The main revisions to the deal appear to be a decrease in the duration of the partnership and Yahoo’s total incremental revenue must not exceed 25%. Yahoo has estimated the deal would bring in $800 million in incremental revenue, though the fed is cutting that by about half for concerns cited. Yahoo needs this deal to increase decreasing profits and to boost its share price. The Association of National Advertisers, Microsoft, including others, have expressed significant concerns over the deal. Today, the price of Yahoo stock is trading at about $12.75, where only a few months ago Microsoft was offering $33 (including premium) for an acquisition. Analysts do not believe the stock will recover and that Yang should have accepted the deal to maximize shareholder value.

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