Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Justice Department to MicroHoo: Please, Sir, May I Have Some More?

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Although it is not a particular surprise, because Microsoft and Yahoo execs had previously said they expected as much, the Justice Department lobbed in a “second request” for information about the search and online advertising partnership the pair struck earlier this summer.

A Microsoft spokesman confirmed the request to BoomTown.

“As expected Microsoft and Yahoo received an additional request about the agreement, as we said when this agreement was announced,” said Microsoft’s Jack Evans. “We anticipated this deal would be closely reviewed and we continue to be hopeful that it will be approved by early 2010.”

Simply put, the Justice Department wants more information about the 10-year deal and will do more investigation before approving it–or not.

This kind of review is typical in deals of this magnitude, although it is unlikely to be as fraught as Yahoo’s attempt last year to form a similar partnership with Google.

That deal collapsed after regulators indicated that they would oppose the arrangement, which caused Google to pull out.

At the time the partnership was announced in July, execs at both Microsoft (MSFT) and Yahoo (YHOO) said a lot of scrutiny was likely from Justice, although they were also confident that it would go through.

And, indeed, there seem to be no major objections from publishers and advertisers, as was the case with Yahoogle, even though a privacy group has raised some concerns.

Even Google (GOOG) has been unusually quiet about the deal, perhaps because its nearly 70 percent of the search market makes it the behemoth. Together, Yahoo and Microsoft have close to a 30 percent market share.

The deal must also be approved by European regulators, according to the terms negotiated by Yahoo and Microsoft. But since Google’s share there is even higher, roadblocks seem unlikely.

Meanwhile, according to numerous sources, Microsoft and Yahoo are separately working on transition plans in order to move quickly once it gains regulatory approval.

While they cannot work together as yet at a detailed level, Microsoft will eventually be absorbing hundreds of Yahoo search engineers as part of the deal.

So as we all wait in breathless anticipation, enjoy this hysterical video version of the famous gruel scene in the movie, “Oliver,” with the lines speeded up and then slowed down:


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work