Beth Callaghan

Recent Posts by Beth Callaghan

Weekend Update, 11/21/08

Another week, another five work days into a recession. There were a few distractions along the way, of course.

BoomTown reported Monday in a major scoop that Yahoo’s (YHOO) Jerry Yang will indeed be stepping down as soon as the Yahoo board can find a suitable replacement. Digital Daily argued that it was perhaps the best thing Yang could have done for the troubled company. Early trading on Tuesday saw a 14 percent rise in stock price–an addition of nearly $2 billion to Yahoo’s market cap. Happy days didn’t last long, of course. All it took was a statement from Steve Ballmer reasserting Microsoft’s (MSFT) lack of desire to buy the company to send its share price plunging to $9.

Microsoft is allegedly coming close to settling on a new head for its digital business, not for lack of lost time, though–BoomTown predicts the winner will be Qi Lu, Yahoo’s former head of search. We’ll know soon, supposedly. In the meantime, Microsoft is busy trying to woo Verizon Wireless (VZ) away from Google (GOOG) as its default search partner on many of its devices. It’s willing to pay from $550-$650 million–twice as much as Google’s paying, allegedly–to own 60 percent of all searches made from mobile devices.

Digital Daily had more news of the continually declining economic situation (OK, econalypse). This week, the harbinger of doom was the precipitous fall in corporate IT spending, which will be, uh, about $0 over the next 90 days, according to Changewave. That just about lines up with the fact that online spending is at its lowest level in seven years. Meanwhile, concerns that current economic conditions will last much longer than previously expected prompted a tech selloff that kicked tech’s ass all the way back to 2003. Good times.

On a happier note, now everyone knows how to make serious cash from social media: Run for president. In the 21 months of his campaign, Barack Obama’s online machine raised half a billion dollars. Listening, Mark and Chad? How not to make money: Ask Axl Rose. In a pioneering move, the fabled Guns N’ Roses album, “Chinese Democracy,” launched on MySpace (NWS). Not so pioneering: Crappy sales. Of the tons of fans who tuned in, less than tons bought the album. In a nonsocial-networking move, YouTube will host its first-ever offline party in SF this weekend–Obama Girl, Fred Figglehorn and other viral phenoms will be in attendance. Don’t worry, BoomTown is going so you don’t have to.

MediaMemo followed the burgeoning saga of Mark Cuban’s battle with the SEC on charges on insider trading–more to come, no doubt. Motrin was also in the hot seat this week for its insensitivity toward women in its recent campaign aimed at, well, women.

Walt Mossberg gave Research in Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry Storm a comprehensive review on its launch date. For the smartphone’s details and a video of of its many features in action, check out Personal Technology. Covered in Mossberg’s Mailbox this week were some pros and cons of buying an e-reader, and details about the lack of FireWire as a stumbling block for buying a new MacBook (AAPL).

In The Mossberg Solution, Katherine Boehret takes a look at VideoSurf, a video search engine that searches videos by “seeing” the images that appear in them.

(Note about the placement of stock symbols: MySpace is owned by News Corp., which also owns this Web site, and the MacBook is an Apple product.)

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald