Daily: Is Yahoo! a media company or a technology company?

When I worked at Yahoo! ten years ago during the age of Terry Semel, Yahoo! was being turned into a media company. I always saw this strategic move as a mistake – the strategic error that allowed Google to usurp Yahoo!’s position in search and elsewhere. The Internet is first and foremost about data. That means companies should look at the Internet as a sales/information/marketing channel with unique qualities that other channels don’t have. Foremost among those qualities is ‘big data’. The Internet is a treasure trove of data that helps a sophisticated company tweak its offering to customers and sell more product, whether that be books, rental properties, advertisements, videos or what have you while increasing customer engagement and satisfaction.

For the Internet-only operator, this presents a bit of a problem because they are thinking ONLY about the Net and therefore can succumb to the temptation of putting data on a lower strategic rung. That’s always a mistake. And that’s what Yahoo! did that caused them to lose their way. For example, in the group I was in, jobs, Yahoo’s approach was to take what was offline and move it online. So the Yahoo Jobs unit would staff up with sales people to call corporate recruiters and place as many ads on their site for jobseekers to find as possible. Basically, Yahoo was a more efficient recruitment aggregator. But, there was a lot of other job data out there that Yahoo was missing, simply because it was operating in the finite pool of its sales channel’s reach. The right approach therefore would have been to supplement these jobs in some way with jobs data scraped from the internet as a whole, with Yahoo operating basically as a searchengine for jobs that gave favorable placement to paid job adverts the sales staff came up with. That’s of course what indeed.com does and they ended up killing Yahoo’s business model, forcing Yahoo to sell to Monster and quit the business.

The same thing goes for email, Yahoo! News and a bunch of other divisions. Yahoo felt that it was a media company that curated content that people wanted to go to. Google felt that it was a data company that curated data and segregated that data into different buckets. The Google model wins. For me, Yahoo!’s outsourcing search to Microsoft was the ultimate strategic mistake. So now that a former Googler, Marissa Mayer, is the head of Yahoo!, Yahoo! is turning itself back nto a technology company. Is it too late though? We’ll see.

Analysis: Yahoo CEO’s comeback plan homes in on technology, not media | Reuters

“Long torn between whether it should focus on media content or on tools and technologies, Yahoo under Mayer is being positioned firmly in the latter camp, according to sources inside and outside the company.

Her hires, acquisition musings, and other early moves hint at an ambitious, technology-driven comeback plan designed to revitalize aging but well-trafficked properties such as Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Sports.”




Analyst Puts iPad Mini Build Cost At $195, Pricing Said To Start At $329 For 40% Gross Margin | TechCrunch


“estimate of the BOM and manufacturing costs of an iPad mini will start at $195 for a 16GB Wi-Fi only version, and range up to $254.50 for the 64GB, LTE + Wi-Fi edition. His estimates are based on educated guesses, existing price and component lists from other Apple devices, and reported suppliers of parts for this new tablet. Separately, 9t05Mac has information indicating price points of $329, $429 and $529 for 16, 32  and 64GB Wi-Fi only models of iPad mini, and $459, $559 and $659 for Wi-Fi + LTE versions in corresponding capacities. That works out to a gross margin of 40.73 percent at the low end, and 61.38 percent for the fully loaded iPad mini.”

Small iPad may be big problem for Kindle – MarketWatch

““A smaller, cheaper iPad will devastate competition,” predicted Forrester mobile device analyst Sarah Rotman Epps.”

‘iPad mini’ build cost estimated to start at $200, may retail for $299

“A preliminary breakdown of expected component and manufacturing costs finds that Apple is likely to spend $195 to $254 in building the various models of its rumored 7.85-inch iPad, and is projected to sell the tablets at lower-than-usual margin rates “

Multiple sources say Google will unveil three new Nexus devices on October 29th | Android and Me

“The information being distributed to Google employees matches up with previous rumors from the last month. Google is said to introduce a Nexus 4 smartphone by LG, a Nexus 10 tablet by Samsung, and a Nexus 7 tablet with 3G modem by ASUS. There is no mention of any other devices, like the rumored Nexus 5 by HTC, but it’s always possible that Google has some surprises in store.”



German September Tax Revenue Climbs as Growth Picks Up – Bloomberg

“Tax collection rose 4.2 percent last month from a year earlier, led by intake at the level of Germany’s 16 states, the ministry in Berlin said in its monthly report today. Revenue in the first nine months rose 5.6 percent from a year earlier.”

Anger grows over large companies’ tax bills as attention turns to eBay and Ikea | Business | guardian.co.uk

“The focus on the tax affairs of the internet auction house and the Swedish retailer comes amid increasing anger about Starbucks, which Reuters exposed last week as not having paid corporation tax in the UK for the past three years. The Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakeshott called for the chief executive of the US coffee company to appear before a parliamentary committee after notching up £1.2bn of sales in the UK. “[Chief executive Howard] Schultz must come to parliament and come clean on why they pay so little corporation tax,” said Oakeshott.

The internet auction site eBay and Ikea are the latest companies to face scrutiny after the Sunday Times reported that eBay legally channels payments through Luxembourg and Switzerland to avoid paying nearly £50m in tax in Britain. Ikea is said to have legally halved its corporation tax bill in the UK by siphoning off profits abroad in the form of royalty payments to a sister company.”

IMF’s epic plan to conjure away debt and dethrone bankers – Telegraph

“an assault on “fractional reserve banking”. If lenders are forced to put up 100pc reserve backing for deposits, they lose the exorbitant privilege of creating money out of thin air.”


US Election

Mitt Romney still struggling to convince Pennsylvania’s female voters | World news | guardian.co.uk

“Obama’s lead has grown smaller in the Democratic-leaning state but women say they are unimpressed by Romney at debates”

Libertarian Gary Johnson may sway swing states in presidential election

“Presidential swing states with libertarian and independent streaks, such as Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire, are where Johnson threatens to be the biggest factor (Johnson’s home state of New Mexico appears to be leaning toward Obama). And his presence on the ballot appears to imperil Romney’s support more than Obama’s.
Conservative voters who are only lukewarm about the Republican candidate might be tempted to instead cast their vote for Johnson. Because of his social views, he could steal some support away from Obama on the left, too, though perhaps not as much.”

Obama Judged Winner of Second Debate

“Americans who report watching the second presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney believe Obama did a better job, by 51% to 38%. That is a sharp reversal from the first debate for which Romney was widely regarded as the winner.”

Romney Tied With Obama at 47% in Latest NBC/WSJ Poll – Bloomberg

“In a nationwide survey conducted Oct. 17-20, Romney pulled even with the incumbent Democratic president for the first time this year, showing the race continuing to tighten as the Nov. 6 balloting approaches. The poll of 816 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.”



Record trade deficit blamed on EU, China | The Japan Times Online

“Japan logged its biggest fiscal half-year trade deficit ever on Monday as the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and strained relations with China put the brakes on exports, government data said.”



Tim Harford — Article — Believe the hype in hyperinflation

“There’s a lesson here: regardless of the fears of some US Republicans and German hard-money fans, hyperinflation is not produced by central bankers. It is the result of a total failure of the political system.”

interfluidity » Forcing frequent failures

“I’m sympathetic to the view that financial regulation ought to strive not to prevent failures but to ensure that failures are frequent and tolerable. Rather than make that case, I’ll refer you to the oeuvre of the remarkable Ashwin Parameswaran, or macroresilience. Really, take a day and read every post. Learn why “micro-fragility leads to macro-resilience”.”

High fiscal multipliers undermine austerity programmes | Gavyn Davies

“article, written by IMF Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard and Daniel Leigh, presented evidence that the fiscal multiplier [1] in the advanced economies is considerably larger than had been assumed when fiscal austerity plans were set in train in most economies in 2010. The implication, if they are right, is that austerity is much more damging to output in the near term than was anticipated. As a result, the planned fiscal retrenchment could be hard to sustain in the next few years, not only in the eurozone but in the US and UK as well. In fact, we are already seeing signs of this in peripheral Europe and the UK.”



The Dark Side of Thomas Jefferson | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine

““One cannot question the genuineness of Jefferson’s liberal dreams,” writes historian David Brion Davis. “He was one of the first statesmen in any part of the world to advocate concrete measures for restricting and eradicating Negro slavery.”

But in the 1790s, Davis continues, “the most remarkable thing about Jefferson’s stand on slavery is his immense silence.” And later, Davis finds, Jefferson’s emancipation efforts “virtually ceased.”

Somewhere in a short span of years during the 1780s and into the early 1790s, a transformation came over Jefferson.”

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