Weekend Update 09.26.09–The Cougar Hunter Edition


Kara was half James Bond, half Indiana Jones in the cities and jungles of BoomTown this week. She jet-setted, jet-lagged and still managed to report on a genuine cougar fight.

BoomTown waved goodbye to merry old England and racked up some more frequent flier miles early in the week heading back to the techie embrace of Silicon Valley. Before her tray table was locked, though, Kara made a quick stop at music darling-of-the-moment Spotify. Daniel Ek, founder and CEO, hopes to bring its pay-per-month music service to millions of American mobile devices, to add to its hefty presence in the U.K. and Europe.

As D-Force One touched down at AllThingsD headquarters, one of the valley’s original major players shook things up with a $100 million branding move. Yahoo (YHOO), possibly now spelled Y!hoo, changed its brand in support of an overall shakeup of its services. Kara hearkened back to the D conference and wondered if rebranding the company Y!#@&$oo might have been more appropriate, considering CEO Carol Bartz’s preference for “salty” language.

And not to be left out of a worthy chuckle, BoomTown brought readers the inside scoop on the cougar that came to town. Yes, a cougar–or mountain lion, if you’re from California–was seem roaming the hills above Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash., campus this week. The company circulated a fairly priceless memo that included tips on how to successfully fight a cougar. Any such advice against snow leopards, however, was omitted.

As Kara was jet lagging, John was running full-tilt over at Digital Daily. On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission released a new proposal to institutionalize Net neutrality. The proposal would ban Internet service providers and data deliverers from prohibiting or throttling content to promote their own services. John pointed out that it wasn’t too surprising that AT&T (T)–and Republicans–weren’t too happy with the move.

While politicians exercised their series of tubes, Microsoft (MSFT) was busy shadow-tablet boxing. John filed a report about the first Microsoft device designed exclusively to compete with a product Apple (AAPL) doesn’t make. The “Courier,” as the two-page “tablet-book” is called, features some decidedly un-Apple-like interfaces, unless of course you look a little farther back to the days of the Newton.

To finish out the week, Digital Daily took the AllThingsD time machine back to 2003, when Apple was rolling out its revolutionary MMS service. Sometime Friday, iPhone users were suddenly able to share pictures with friends over the air. Unless they already use Flickr, Facebook, or about a zillion other apps that basically do the same thing.

MediaMemo explored its inner, or maybe outer, geek this week, beginning with the Gizmodo annual gallery show. The charity event featured musical Tesla coils, Star Trek props and a “Microsoft Surface”-like computer with a mud-based (not joking) user interface.

Peter continued the browsing theme, reporting that Yahoo and Google were both back in the market for acquisitions. Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt said he had his checkbook open again, now that “the worst is behind us.”

Even if Yahoo and Google are in a buying mood, one particular VC firm isn’t feeling so flush. New York’s Union Square Ventures opted out of the latest round of Twitter fund-raising. Peter hazarded a guess that the now-famous $1 billion valuation may have had something to do with it.

Across town at the Mossberg Solution, Katie gave readers a complete rundown on the Microsoft Zune HD. The iPod-hunting media player is now in its fourth generation. The player got high marks in the style and widgets categories, but still needs a solution to the confusing “points system” purchase interface. The problem with Zune isn’t the player, it seems, but the stuff Zune isn’t connected to.

It’s going to be another week of electro-awesomeness here at AllThingsD. Until then, always remember that you should never turn your back on a cougar. The safest way to escape is to buy it a pomegranate martini and squeeze out the window of the men’s bathroom.

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