The Circuit: Yahoo layoffs, Comcast and Julian Assange
- Yahoo, Inc. will lay off between 650 and 700 people today, mostly from its US units, according to Monday night reports from All Things Digital. Early rumors speculated that the Sunnyvale, Calif. company would reduce its staff by 20 percent, leading the company to issue a statement calling that figure "misleading and inaccurate."
For an insightful look at who might shape the future of Yahoo, check out the New York Times' quick profile of Masayoshi Son, the owner of the Japanese telecommunications company Softbank and a key investor in Yahoo Japan. Yahoo held on to the Japanese search market far longer than in the U.S., but started hosting Google searches on its homepage this month.
-Huge news as discussion over the Comcast-NBC merger moves forward: Comcast announced it will test a device that merges television and Internet. The new set-top box combines the Web with a digital-recording device. Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Glenn Britt told the Wall Street Journal that the company could start Internet video service that bypasses cable boxes as soon as 2011.
- WikiLeaks' Julian Assange is the Readers' Choice for Time Person of the Year. Assange beat his nearest competitor, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, by 148,383 votes. As Time notes in their announcement, however, Assange didn't dominate all platforms -- on Facebook, he was routed by Lady Gaga. Editors announce their choice on NBC's Today Show on Wednesday morning.
- Privacy headaches related to Google Street View continued Monday, as Google apologized to the people of New Zealand for violating that country's privacy laws. The New Zealand privacy commission ruled that the company breached the law while it gathered information for its Street View maps and inadvertently picked up data from unsecured WiFi signals. The company was cleared of criminal intent. Google has vowed to work with the New Zealand Privacy Commission in the future.
Privacy Comissioner Marie Shroff told Dow Jones, "I am pleased that Google has taken full responsibility for the mistakes it made here and that it has improved its practices to prevent further privacy breaches."
- In other privacy news, USA Today and Gallup released a poll Monday night that suggests most Americans do not want want to be tracked online. The numbers show that nine out of 10 of those polled pay little attention to ads, but 37 percent said that, given a choice, they would not allow advertising networks to personally tailor advertisements.
- A new feature on YouTube allows users to mark videos as "promoting terrorism," according to a report from Read Write Web, via the New York Times. YouTube lists videos showing how to train people for attacks or construct bombs as examples of what qualifies for the new category. In the article, George Washington University Law professor Jeffrey Rosen calls the new category's subjective nature "potentially troubling."
- Reuters reported that Toshiba and Apple have entered into a $1.19 billion agreement to make LCD panels, mainly for Apple iPhones. Production will start in the second half of 2011, according to the Nikkei Business Daily.
-A Goldman Sachs technology analyst predicted a rocky future for Microsoft Monday morning, as it faces competition from tablet computers. The analyst, Sarah Friar, cited a slowdown in Microsoft's top-line growth.
Then, Monday afternoon, Bits blog said Microsoft would debut new slates at the Consumer Electronics Show next month. Bits reported Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer would show new tablets from Samsung and Dell -- and may give a preview of Windows 8.
- Do you watch more media online or on your television? Forrester Research published a report on Monday afternoon suggesting Americans now watch as much television content online as they do on their good old-fashioned sets. The study did not however show a decline in television usage. Bits Blog pointed out one problem with the survey: it did not define whether those watching streaming video on their televisions were watching television or the Internet.
| December 14, 2010; 8:03 AM ET
Categories: Apple, Comcast, Google, Microsoft, Online Video, Privacy, Yahoo, comcast
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