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Posted at 8:03 AM ET, 12/14/2010

The Circuit: Yahoo layoffs, Comcast and Julian Assange

By Hayley Tsukayama

- 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.

By Hayley Tsukayama  | December 14, 2010; 8:03 AM ET
Categories:  Apple, Comcast, Google, Microsoft, Online Video, Privacy, Yahoo, comcast  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Upton urges FCC to finish Comcast-NBC merger review
Next: T-Mobile CTO Ray: If you like 4G, expect a delay on new devices


Are announced layoffs the reason Yahoo is off right now?

Posted by: fancar2000 | December 14, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

yahoo is down for me too - that's why most computer layoffs are not announced - just walked to the door and told bye bye

Posted by: Seveen | December 14, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Yahoo laying off people. Sad as always that people lose their jobs. But it seems to me that Yahoo lost its way years ago when it refused to compete toe to toe with MS and Google.

A former co-worker actually bought his house, and the mountain it sat on in Southern Oregon, with the Yahoo stock he acquired from money he got from a small inheritance. Real estate. Used to be more valuable than stock. Still is, it would appear, if you can hold onto it for a while.

Still, he should have taken my advice and bought Apple stock. That was 1997, when AAPL was under $14 and before two splits.

Posted by: leicaman | December 14, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The latter two have been Housecleaning current company CEO, Carol Bartz, a veteran Silicon Valley hired nearly two years, despite a lack of experience on the Web or in advertising - the main source Yahoo's revenue.

This week's round of the reduction should be concentrated in products American group Yahoo, which has already been revised since Bartz hired former Microsoft Corp. executive Blake Irving to run the division last spring. Yahoo Layoffs

Posted by: susan166 | December 14, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Yahoo will now be named "Nahoo" or "Nohoo" by the laid off employees.

Posted by: vk1537 | December 14, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

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