Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

G5 Idled? Check! Name Tags On? Check! Weeklong Mogul Fest in Sun Valley Will End With Zuckerberg-Gates Chit-Chat.

In case you haven’t heard, the tech and media moguls have jetted their private planes to Sun Valley, Idaho, for the exclusive annual Allen & Company confab and are probably easing into the cocktail hour just about now.

Break out the Kistler Chardonnay and name tags!

(I secretly love that the 300 moguls all wear name tags, even though they are all so fabulously famous.)

Among the highlights for the weeklong confab beginning today will be an interview of Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg by Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, in which I assume they will fall all over themselves in a race of mutual admiration.

To be fair, it seems genuine and Sun Valley is not for unpleasantries anyway.

While Allen & Company — in its investment banker mode — likes to keep the schedule a state secret, it never is, so I am here to tell those planning their time in Sun Valley that the chit-chat will be Saturday.

Also sure to get a lot of ink, since all the owners and possible marks, um, potential buyers, will be there: Whither Hulu?

The premium online video service is famously for sale, and the moneybags at Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo (smaller bags!) are all taking a gander.

It will not be sold by week’s end, of course, although there will be all kinds of breathy media coverage as the powerful players shuttle to and fro from their gratis luxe condos in noisy hush-hushery.

Who will then come over to the bar to tell the gathered and increasingly drunken reporters — press is not invited in, but they’re there like kudzu all week — all about it.

Of course, there will be some cute anecdotes about the rich and famous — one year, it was News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch losing some item of his wife’s in said bar with everyone scurrying around to find it.

If Us Weekly were covering Sun Valley, that section would be called “Moguls Are Just Like Us!”

Actually, they’re not at all — mostly, they are meaner and more aggressive and greedier, although endlessly riveting.

That’s why the most awkward part of the event will be all the Sun Valley photos that appear without fail of these powermongers in shorts and fleece.

(Note to newcomers: Very few look good in shorts and fleece.)

Lastly, it would not be a modern Allen & Company Sun Valley gathering without continued fretting and fixating on the digital onslaught, even though there are scads of those invited techies competitively mountain biking the pretty mountains there.

This year’s focus will be the IPO gang from Zynga, Groupon and, of course, Facebook, whose insane market valuations are the envy of the media gang, who are mostly older and continually grumpy about it all.

But, the kids love this Internet thing and so the moguls will cope with the change, even as what happens in Sun Valley — power playing, but with a better view — never ever changes.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik