Skype’s Missed Call, Yahoo’s New Search

EBay takes a hit as its $2.6 billion bet on Skype hasn’t exactly panned out. Yahoo! updates its Web search service to better compete with rival Google. And it turns out that if you want a deal you have to ask for it.


EBay losing Skype bet

EBay said it will take a $1.43 billion charge related to its Internet phone division, Skype. EBay paid $2.6 billion for Skype in 2005, and $530 million of the charge is a payout to early investors. The other $900 million is a write-down in Skype's value. (AP in Yahoo! Finance) Skype has more than 220,000 members, and is now profitable, but not as much as eBay had hoped when it paid top dollar. With Skype, eBay was “buying users instead of revenue and profitability,” said Piper Jaffray analyst Aaron Kessler. “We are almost going back to year 2000 types of errors.” (The New York Times, free registration required)

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Yahoo! rolls out new search site

Yahoo! rolled out a newly redesigned search service last night, as the No. 2 search engine tries to win market share from Google. The new Yahoo! Search is designed to provide more useful and relevant information, including quick answers, audio, photos from Yahoo’s Flikr site, and videos from Google’s YouTube. (MarketWatch) Google, Microsoft, and IAC’s Ask-dot-com search sites have also recently adopted some version of this “universal” search strategy. ( Analysts said Yahoo! faces a tough fight against Google. “One search at a time, that’s how you win this battle,” notes Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li. (Los Angeles Times, free registration required)

Radiohead upends music industry

Acclaimed British rock band Radiohead is releasing its new album, “In Rainbow,” as a download through its Web site, and asking fans to pay what they wish for it. (The New York Times, free registration required) Radiohead, free agents since their last album, say they are not trying to revolutionize the music business, which is struggling to figure out how to price music. But “this is all anybody is talking about in the music industry today,” said longtime R.E.M. manager Bertis Downs. (Los Angeles Times, free registration required) The first trial of an individual accused by the record labels of freely sharing music files is set to start today. (AP in Los Angeles Times)

You're reading this on outdated technology

Some computer networking pioneers think today's Internet is woefully inadequate. The Internet grew out of the Defense Applied Research Projects Agency's 1969 ARPAnet program, and the 40-year-old technology is starting to show its age as modern users demand more bandwidth for video and voice communications services. But instead of just grousing about it, several pioneers have joined the slew of entrepreneurs starting up businesses to increase network speed or capacity. "The Internet wasn't designed for people to watch television," says former ARPAnet manager Larry Roberts. "I know because I designed it." (The Wall Street Journal)

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