Weekend Update 9.19.09–The Real World, Silicon Valley Edition

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Geekfighting may never become its own UFC event, but following tech news this week seemed, in places, like a view to a big, well-funded cage match. Things got so rowdy that Kara Swisher could hear them all the way across “The Pond.”

Before heading off on her tour of Euro-BoomTown this week, Kara set off for Carlsbad, Calif. to visit with Warren Buffet and the ladies of Fortune. Après Buffet, readers were treated to an exclusive interview, Kara-style, with Loïc Le Meur, Seesmic founder and namesake of the Web’s cutest logo. Kara wasn’t just visiting Europe for some cute overload, though. She wired back a report on the Oxford Social Media Convention, where she spoke on social media’s effect on business. Kara rounded out her week with rowdiness and the legal tantrums of Skype founders Zennström and Friis.

Closer to home, Digital Daily covered the media battle between Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG), which recalls a shoving match between the prom king and the captain of the football team. Apple continued to insist that it was still “studying” the proposed Google Voice app for iPhone, while Google insisted that it had already been rejected. It’s tough being the popular kids.

Between the smartphone scuffles, Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein was urging everyone to play nice, even as Palm still may have to fight for survival.

The Silicon Valley malevolence even spread to Gotham early in the week. MediaMemo got the backstory on how the New York Times was hacked into spreading malware to its Web visitors. The explanation: It sold an ad to hackers, who posed as mild-mannered VOIP client Vonage (VG) to make the purchase. Meanwhile in a related–or not–story, Microsoft is seeking and suing some mystery malvertisers who perpetrated a similar scheme with ads sold by the software giant. Whether it is a growing trend or a few overachieving hackers, it was a tough week in ad land.

Amid all the kneecapping and eye-gouging, all things Mossberg was a helpful calm in the storm. Walt liked the new features in iTunes 9 and found it uncluttered, easier to use and more intelligent than its predecessor. Also among the hits were upgraded management and improved content-sharing.

Mossberg’s Mailbox was stuffed full of sage advice about online backup as the kids go of to college, compression and the vinyl vs. digital dilemma, and some on-target advice for the family genealogist making the switch from PC to Mac.

The Mossberg Solution delved deeper into email mastery with some unmissable tips and tricks for Microsoft Outlook users. Katie made an industry standard better, and even gave readers a peek into some coming attractions for Outlook 2010.

Tune in next week. We’ll keep bringing you the blow by blow ’til the final bell.


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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google