Beth Callaghan

Recent Posts by Beth Callaghan

Weekend Update, 12/12/08

In this week ramping up to the holidays, good cheer–unsurprisingly–was hard to find. 2008 may well be remembered as the year the econalypse stole Christmas.

Yahoo (YHOO) was bereft of cheer, for sure. BoomTown covered its long-dreaded layoffs and published Jerry Yang’s complete memo to Yahoo staff about the painful process, which began on Wednesday. Ex-Yahoos from all corners of the company declared their preferences (and vented) to BoomTown about the as-yet fruitless search for a CEO to replace Yang, who laid himself off last month. But wait–Digital Daily pointed out a singular moment of misplaced cheer–akin to fiddling while the proverbial Yahoo burns–as the company, uh, celebrated the holidays with a bafflingly lavish year-end party last Saturday–four days before its massive layoffs began.

Digital Daily covered a lot more bad news this week–even some for Apple (AAPL). Belkin, historically the largest exhibitor at January’s MacWorld, announced it won’t be at the convention this year. In addition, registrations for the annual Macfest are down 20 percent since last year. Fairchild became the latest in a long procession of semiconductor companies to lower estimates in the face of dwindling demand, and IPO activity dropped 50 percent in 2008, according to Ernst & Young’s year-end Global IPO Update. What’s that word? Oh yeah, schadenfreude. In a cold bit of circumstance, almost any company can feel a little bit better by comparing itself to Nortel (NT), which lost an astonishing 97 percent of its value this year.

MediaMemo wrote about CBS’s (CBS) appointment with the piper–it spent $1.8 billion on CNET last year, and started paying the consequences this week. The re-org of the entire CBS Interactive group is laid out in Quincy Smith’s memo to its staff. Hulu was hurting this past week, too. Its traffic dropped sharply in the absence of Tina Fey/Sarah Palin viral videos. There was at least one happy anomaly in this week’s news, though: Microblogging site Tumblr brought back memories of the heady early days of Web 2.0, announcing a $4.5 million-dollar round of funding from Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital.

On the Mossberg front, Walt is on a holiday break, but Personal Technology is not. Nick Wingfield sat in for him this week with a column about digital projectors, which are getting smaller and more portable. And in anticipation of Mac-themed holidays for Windows PC users, Katherine Boehret discussed reliable methods of getting data from a PC to a Mac.


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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