Beth Callaghan

Recent Posts by Beth Callaghan

Weekend Update, 11/8/08

It was an eventful week–a new President-elect, Yahoo still playing the field with no takers, and the hovering recession beginning to hit a little harder, a little closer to home. It was hard to keep the story lines straight, so let’s approach it thematically.

Election 2008
Whether or not those voting machines malfunctioned or miscounted votes, Barack Obama was set to become the 44th President of the United States, much to the chagrin of comedians like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who–since the beginning of the McCain/Palin partnership–were handed once-in-a-lifetime material. Between the brilliant “Saturday Night” Live parody sketches of (and by) both Palin and McCain, and Obama’s victory speech, the other big winner (by a mile) was Google’s (GOOG) YouTube. All 500 video versions of the speech generated nearly seven million views. It doesn’t beat the nearly-naked Britney Spears, with over nine million views, but one can dream.

This week, Yahoo (YHOO) was kind of like a high school senior with a prom night dilemma: Since Microsoft (MSFT) backed out of acquisition negotiations earlier this year, Steve Ballmer insists there’s no deal, but there’s a lot of back-and-forth that makes BoomTown wonder. Google backed out of the much-discussed search ad partnership with the company after the DOJ made it clear that it was not going to happen without a fight. The also-much-discussed merger with Time Warner’s (TWX) AOL has not fared much better. According to BoomTown, where you’ll find the straight dope on all of the rumors, all of this (for starters) has turned CEO Jerry Yang into the Internet’s human pinata.
You know what they say: “Play hard-to-get and you won’t get got.”

Rupert Murdoch admits business is worse than he previously thought. Disney (DIS) admits that ad spending has been declining for more than a year. Does that make it official? Either way, reality sinks in further among the non-start-up set–Time Inc. is laying off hundreds and reorganizing the rest. Viacom (VIA) may or may not have layoffs. Among the start-up set, as witnessed at the recent Web 2.0 conference this past week, companies are in survival mode, getting lean for the downturn. Well, not everybody. MySpace’s over-arching theme, judging from this BoomTown video of the giant’s Web 2.0 party, is “Masque of the Red Death.” Party on, Garth–and have a pleasant tomorrow.

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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