Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Yahoos React and Write in–Via Gmail

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.

To begin, I will admit I am a goof.

When I posted my item titled “Terry in Turnround,” I included two pictures from Flickr. I did not link back to the service properly and I also should have given credit for the lovely photo of Tom Cruise and Terry Semel arm-wrestling (don’t ask!) to the very talented Mitchell Aidelbaum. We were working quickly to get the site itself launched and it was a careless oversight. Apparently, according to sources, it made for lively (and irked) discussions in Yahoo’s internal emails, although I did write that I thought Flickr was a winner in the actual post and Flickr founder Caterina Flake was perfectly gracious about it after I sent a mea culpa via email.


In any case, despite my efforts to sully this site with bugs, it has been fixed by our tech genius Beth Callaghan, so you can all go back to making magic over there in Sunnyvale. But here’s a nice photo of Terry Semel from Yahoo’s PR site that I believe is A-OK for posting.

But while I am back on the topic of Yahoo, I might as well report on some reaction I got from a variety of Yahoos who wrote me (all, I might add, from their Gmail addresses) about my various suggestions to pull Yahoo out of its doldrums. All were in agreement that management confusion has made life tough there, with one noting that morale “has been pretty low and we need a better idea of our major goals.”

Another noted quite correctly that “the odds of Yahoo spinning out search are slightly higher than Microsoft deciding to become a nonprofit, but it does make the point that Panama alone isn’t going to solve the problem. More fundamentally, the market needs a counterweight to Google in search.”

To do that, several suggested that Yahoo as a whole merge with Microsoft’s MSN service to put a big dent in Google’s market share. Well, you’d have to be living under a rock not to be aware of the variety of discussions, including acquisition, that have gone on between Microsoft and Yahoo over the years, a move that has often been championed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Many think such a thing is more likely now than ever, and it makes some sense (and, as usual in these kinds of megamergers, nonsense). Also always in the mix, a possible merger with America Online, which would be an interesting return of Semel to the Time Warner fold. Personally, I would like to see an independent Yahoo, which, as I said in my last post, has some amazing and impressive assets to leverage and improve upon.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus