Thursday, August 6, 2009

Microsoft to hire Yahoo staff for the online search business

Microsoft Corp will hire at least 400 workers from Yahoo Inc if government regulators approve the companies' proposed Internet search partnership, and Yahoo will receive $150 million to cover any unexpected costs during the switch to new technology.

The details emerged in a regulatory filing that elaborated on an agreement announced last week. Sunnyvale-based Yahoo said then that an unspecified number of its 13,000 employees would be offered jobs at Microsoft after the Redmond, Washington-based software maker assumes control of the search results and search advertising on Yahoo's Web site.

The transition is supposed to begin early next year, assuming the alliance is approved by antitrust regulators in the United States and Europe.

Microsoft will pay $50 million annually during the first three years of the 10-year contract to supplement the revenue that Yahoo will receive from the ads appearing alongside its search results. The $150 million in guaranteed payments weren't mentioned last week.

The filing said Yahoo can use the $150 million to pay for unforeseen transition costs. Yahoo's stock has fallen by about 15 per cent since it unveiled the Microsoft deal, largely because announced terms didn't include a large upfront payment.

The disclosure probably won't ease the disappointment much, given analysts had anticipated Microsoft paying $1 billion to $2 billion for access to Yahoo's search engine.

Most of the revenue from the Microsoft deal will flow from ad commissions. Yahoo will receive 88 percent of the search ad revenue during the first five years of the contract. After that, Yahoo's commission will range from 83 percent to 93 percent, depending on whether it still handles some of the ad sales in the partnership.

The main reason Yahoo decided to turn over its search engine to Microsoft was to save money. If Yahoo wants to save even more on technology, it
has the option of adopting Microsoft's online mapping service replace of its own, according to the filing.

Yahoo Chief Executive Carol Bartz has already made it known she isn't impressed with Yahoo's online maps. As it is, transferring 400 workers to Microsoft would prune Yahoo's current payroll by about 3 per cent.

Yahoo will lay off some workers if the Microsoft deal goes through, Bartz said last week. Tuesday's filing didn't provide any layoff projections. Although it also has been jettisoning workers because of the recession, Microsoft finished its latest fiscal year end in June with 93,000 employees -- an increase of about 2,000 people from the previous year.

Microsoft is counting on the Yahoo partnership to help it reverse years of losses in its online operations and siphon some traffic -- and ad sales -- from Internet search leader Google Inc.

Yahoo's search engine is the second largest, making it the quickest way for Microsoft to gain ground on Google. Even so, Microsoft and Yahoo combined have less than 30 percent of the US search market compared to 65 percent for Google, according to comScore Inc.

To keep Yahoo happy, Microsoft will have to produce ad revenue per search that is within a certain percentage of Google's industry-leading rate. If Microsoft doesn't hit the target, Yahoo can abandon the partnership before the contract expires.

The filing didn't specify how close Microsoft has to come to Google's revenue per search. Microsoft estimates that Google gets 7 cents in ad revenue for every search, while Yahoo gets 4.3 cents and Microsoft gets 3.9 cents, according to a PowerPoint slide Microsoft mistakenly posted online.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Indian teams among finalists of Cisco Developer Contest 2009

Cisco has announced the 10 shortlisted teams from Phase 1 of Cisco’s global Developer Contest - ‘Think Inside the Box’ - which includes two Indian teams. The shortlist of teams for the final phase was from nearly 110 teams and 900 registrants from 75 countries. These ten teams will vie for 3 winning positions at the end of the final phase. This global developer contest gives developers an opportunity to build exciting Linux-based applications on the Cisco Application Extension Platform (AXP), and win a share of the $100,000 prize pool.

Suresh Kumar, Gopinath Bailur and Gokila Sudarshan, members of Team Ideate, and among the 10, have created an Application Suite for IP Telephony (ASIT). This suite is designed to bring savings to organizations by blocking unauthorized voice calls and reducing network operational costs by automating the telephony installation and verification processes.

Rajesh Kotagiri of team Enhancers designed a local Advertising Mesh Networks which is a proposal to create a platform for local advertising management using the Google AdSense network. This platform aims to create a distributed advertisement-serving platform hosted on the AXP, which will help retail stores use their existing infrastructure to display advertisements on LCD screens. The solution also enables a new revenue stream for businesses, as these advertisements would be carried over existing networking infrastructure.

The global contest ‘Think Inside the Box’ began in October 2008, and was an open challenge for engineers to stretch their imagination and create innovative prototypes with the Cisco Integrated Services Router Application Extension Platform, an open network platform. This application developer contest conducted by Cisco promotes the concept of the network as a platform, and aims to recognize outstanding implementation ideas for application development.

A maximum of three members in each team were allowed to participate and the phase 1 closed on February 27, 2009 culminating into the announcement of the 10 finalists. The entries submitted to this contest are judged by a panel of industry experts and academicians for innovation, technical complexity and overall usefulness of the product.

Finalists will develop their proposed applications on the Cisco AXP platform, and will have remote access to a Simulation Lab hosted by Cisco for developing their applications. The finalists will also present their implementations to a panel of experts comprising senior-level Cisco executives along with other industry luminaries. Three winners will be selected based on weighted judging criteria, and they will receive $50,000, $30,000, and $20,000 respectively.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Does US lead among spam nations?

The US leads the world in the sending of spam, according to a study.

The study by IT security solutions provider Sophos showed that spam originating in Russia has dropped significantly. It also claimed that some 16.5 per cent of all spam mails sent in the second quarter of this year came from the United States.

Russian spammers - previously a highly active bunch - were only responsible for 3.2 per cent of all spam sent, which puts them in ninth place on the list.

Second place went to Brazil (11.1 per cent), followed by Turkey (5.2) and India (5.0).