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Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Yahoo Hires Former Microsoft Exec

In an effort to help out Yahoo with its revenue problems, Yahoo has hired Joanne Bradford, a former Microsoft Corp. Executive.

Yahoo announced the recent hire in a press release Tuesday. Bradford was Microsoft’s head of their Media Network and resigned back in March after a 7 year stint with the software giant. She then joined Spot Runner Inc as their Executive Vice President of National Advertising Services before being swept up by Yahoo. Read more…

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Friday, September 5th, 2008

Microsoft Acquires Ciao

The Ciao shopping and price comparison sites, operating in seven European countries and languages, will now be the property of Microsoft. This follows the deal reached between the software giant and Greenfield Online, operator of Ciao, for $486 Million.

Ciao allows users to create lists of their favorite items, rate products, and provide feedback. Microsoft plans to incorporate Ciao into its Live Search portal in Europe. Read more…

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Friday, September 5th, 2008

Microsoft & Jerry Seinfeld Team Up

Apple has seen great success with its popular “Hi I’m a Mac” ad campaign, and now Microsoft has enlisted the help of Jerry Seinfeld for a series of TV ads.Seinfeld will earn a reported $10 million as part of the $300 million advertising campaign being launched by Microsoft.

The ads debuted on Sept 4 – I just by fluke happened to see the first ad when watching Kitchen Nightmares last night. I found the first ad to be funny, but personally think Microsoft has a little ways to go to catch up the Mac ads which in many cases are down right hilarious. You be the judge – take a look at the embedded video below and leave a comment with your opinion! Read more…

EARLY ACCESS TIP: On September 9th, 2008 Microsoft will be officially launching its free video email solution called “Windows Live Video Messages” which is supposed to allow users to freely send secure video messages to friends simply and easily using a web cam.

According to the official Windows Live Video Messages home page this service is not available to the public until September 9th but thanks to a back door entrance courtesy of LiveSide it is in fact open to those of you who would like to give it a shot.

The idea has caught on before and with sites like EyeJot that have much less restrictive requirements than Microsoft you may want to try those over this new offering. Read more…

Tuesday, Microsoft announced a new plug-in for Outlook 2007. Information Week reports on this collaborative effort between Microsoft Research and Office Labs. The plug-in targets email overload and “uses various algorithms to automatically identify the importance or urgency of e-mail messages delivered into an Outlook 2007 in-box.”

It will allow automatic prioritizing of emails, and allow user to pause email delivery.

Email Prioritizer affixes e-mail with between zero and three stars to represent the urgency or importance of a given message. The program uses a number of algorithms that take into consideration things like the name of the sender and whether the receiver is on the “To” line or the “Bcc” line of an e-mail to determine priority, though at this point Microsoft isn’t forthcoming with a full list of exactly what Email Prioritizer takes into consideration.

“Users can also set e-mail priorities manually by changing or assigning a star ranking themselves. These user settings can inform automatic prioritization: for example, if someone always sets e-mails from his manager to three stars, those e-mails will eventually begin to arrive already bearing the three stars.

Email Prioritizer also comes with a “do not disturb” feature that allows users to tweak Outlook’s settings so that no new e-mails arrive until set periods of time between 10 minutes and four hours have passed.

Office Labs is one of a number of public-facing Microsoft “labs” attached to product groups that Microsoft has created in the past few years, including Live Labs and AdLabs.”

by Bill Stroll, Sales Manager, StepForth Web Marketing Inc.
Celebrating over 10 years of web marketing excellence.

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Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Google Has Been Capped

News.com says Google is number 4. For a brief period of time last week Google’s market cap slipped from third to fourth position. Apple’s market cap reached $158.84 billion and edged out Google which was at $157.84. Wikipedia defines market capitalization as “…a measurement of corporate or economic size equal to the share price times the number of shares outstanding of a public company. As owning stock represents owning the company, including all its assets, capitalization could represent the public opinion of a company’s net worth and is a determining factor in stock valuation.”

The post states “Google’s share price is much higher, at $505.82 compared with Apple’s $178.97, but Google has only 314 million outstanding shares while Apple has nearly 886 million.” Microsoft is still the leader at $255 billion and IBM follows at $170 billion.

by Bill Stroll, Sales Manager, StepForth Web Marketing Inc.
Celebrating over 10 years of web marketing excellence.

Google’s earnings are in after the second quarter report was issued yesterday. While their net income is up from the same period in 2007 by approximately $325 Million (925.1 Million in Q2 of 2007, 1.25 Billion in Q2 of 2008), this is not as high as was expected – Wall Street was expecting to see $4.74 per share – actual earnings were $4.63 per share.

With the economy down on its luck Google still managed to make more than $300 Million – roughly a 35% increase over the same period last year.

Microsofts profits for Q2 are also up by roughly 46 cents a share. They saw earnings in Q2 of 2007 at $3 Billion, and an increase of 42% to $4.3 billion for 2008. These are impressive earnings, however, Microsoft’s online business did not help much in terms of this profit. Compared to 2007, Q2 of 2008 actually saw a loss of $488 Million!

Had Microsoft’s Internet division actually turned a profit, they would have achieved Wall Streets estimate of 47 cents per share, rather than their actual 46 cents.

Yahoo has not yet released their Q2 Earnings for this year. Their shareholder conference call to discuss earnings is scheduled for July 22 at 5:00pm ET.

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Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

To trust or not to trust…

I’ve had people ask me why I dislike using Internet Explorer so much.

I suppose part of the reason for my distaste is the behaviour Microsoft has displayed in the past and present. Forcing the use of their software has never sat well with me, particularly when the software in question is always so full of holes. Internet Explorer is infamous for bugs, ranging from major security flaws to simple annoyances and everything in between.

I just don’t trust software that has always had so many obvious as well as not so obvious problems. Read more…

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Monday, July 14th, 2008

Goodbye Windows Live Expo

I am not sure where I have been for the past two years, but today is the first time I have heard about Windows Live Expo – today is also the day I heard about its scheduled demise.

Apparently this classified ad platform was considered to be a major threat for Craigslist, and this month, on July 31, Microsoft will pull the plug and the classified service launched back in February of 2006.

Considering I work online and spend at least 8 hours a day sitting in front of my computer, for me to have never heard of Windows Live Expo, is probably a good indicator of why it was ultimately a failure – quite simply, Microsoft just didn’t do a very good job getting the word out.

Last year, Microsoft adCenter introduced changes to their Ad ranking system for advertising in the US. This represented a shift towards a more Quality Based Ranking system, along the lines of what Google AdWords and Yahoo’s Panama already have in place.

It appears that this change is now expanding into more widespread coverage. On the adCenter blog on Wednesday, Microsoft announced the introduction of this system to the Canadian and UK markets.

While it may seem Microsoft is only playing “catch up” with this initiative, they have been busy making other improvements to their system as well.

Though still low on the totem pole for market share, Microsoft is forging ahead with a level of energy that would seem alien over in the Yahoo trenches. With projects such as the Excel addon, Desktop Editor and Analytics, Microsoft may give Google some real competition in the not too distant future.

A scan of the Yahoo blog yields a host of “how to” and “tips and tricks” posts, but nothing particularly significant in the way of badly needed innovation.

In fact the last significant improvement Yahoo has implemented was the change to minimum bids. While that has been handy for getting alerts when minimum bids are about to become too low, it’s not been the sort of improvement that painfully awkward interface really needs.

There is speculation that Microsoft is overtaking Yahoo’s position for paid traffic as well.

While I don’t know if this is indicative of anything, I have noticed a recent decrease in the number of impressions in our own Yahoo accounts. Unfortunately, the bid prices have not decreased as yet.