Yahoo Holds Its Sixth Hackathon in India

Over the weekend, Yahoo! India hosted the 6th edition of Yahoo! Hack (21st worldwide) in Hyderabad to celebrate “unrestrained innovation”. The 24 hour hackathon attracted two hundred and fifty participants including students as well as professionals, and received fifty six hack submissions. About 8% of attendants at the event were woman, which is a percentage point higher than last year’s event at Bangalore.

Yahoo-Hack-Steam-Punk-Logo

While Yahoo! Hack didn’t have the scale of Microsoft AppFest that was organized in Bangalore, it still managed to get quite a few decent hacks. The grand prize winner was a mobile app called PlanMan!, which enabled Workflow Management through SMS and Missed calls. It was developed by Varun Kumar Nagarajan, Arun Kumar Nagarajan, Raghu Ram, and Amit Bharti. Other prize winners included an app that could use the smartphone’s accelerometer to automatically detect car accidents and alert emergency services, a travel app that could fetch info about real-time info about a train from a PNR number, an iOS app which offers users basic information about the city they are visiting like weather forecast, public transport, city hospitals, hotels and restaurants, Facebook friends who live in the city, and a finance app that claimed to use artificial intelligence to predict stock values.

Yahoo-Hack-Session

BT.com Dumps Yahoo mail over Hacking Claims from Consumers

BT.com is getting a major makeover, and an even bigger part of this makeover is its decision to dump Yahoo! Mail for its six million customers. BT is one of the largest and the oldest telecommunication companies in the world. It has a decade old deal with Yahoo! Mail for providing mail accounts to new subscribers. However, recently, a large number of these subscribers started complaining about hacking attempts, which led to this decision. This decision by BT will have an adverse effect on Yahoo! mail service and give its CEO Marissa Mayer a bad day at work.

BT-Yahoo

BT has used Yahoo! as the default mail provider for its customers for over a decade now, but starting February this year, a number of users accounts were hacked and used to send spam mails. Although an investigation was launched into the matter in March, users continued complaining on the BT online forum.

The decision to ditch Yahoo mail is part of a bigger plan, which includes many changes and improvements in BT’s consumer offerings. BT’s Consumer Division Director, Nick Wong, has said,

The new BT.com will feature breaking and exclusive news and features from a dedicated team of journalists at the Press Association covering areas such as news, entertainment and lifestyle. With BTSport.com also launching in the summer, we’ll bring customers exclusive live sports action as well. The new BT Mail will include the features and functions such as in-built anti-virus and anti-spam applications.

Along with a super-massive email deal, Yahoo will also lose a substantial amount of traffic to its homepage, which was set to Yahoo.com for all BT subscribers by default. Now, BT will promote its own news service on their homepages. In other news, British Sky Broadcasting recently struck a deal with Yahoo! for providing email accounts to its users.

This decision by BT will force Yahoo to rethink the features it is (not) providing to its users, and how close these features are to the ones that users really want and need.

Read more at their official announcement.

Yahoo Redesigns Flickr and Gives Away 1TB of Free Storage

Looks like Yahoo isn’t done yet after the $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr. The tech giant has finally made an attempt to make its once popular photo-sharing service Flickr alive again, with the hopes to reboot the service not only in a beautiful manner, but bigger and better than anything else.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer on Monday took stage to debut the all new redesigned Flickr photo site, including an announcement of 1TB free storage to all its users, which is enough to host nearly 537,731 photos in “full original quality” (6.5 megapixels). The downside, however, is that everyone who opts for the free storage will be seeing ads.

Flickr is now a whole new experience. The redesigned Photostreams and Sets layout is cleaned up to display the pictures in a proper grid fashion. Along with that, it is now easier to share photos on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, email, and of course, Tumblr.

The new layout also has a cover photo just like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, where users can edit it and replace the default picture with any of their existing uploaded photos. The photos are displayed in a grid format, where users can open them in a new page or simply mouse hover the cursor and click on the double-arrowed button to open in lightbox.

Flickr Photostream before

Flickr Old

Flickr Photostream after

Flickr New

The Explore option, which is quite a known feature on Flickr, has been added to the navigation bar, which shows off the most popular uploaded images on a day-to-day basis. There is also a little slideshow button on the second navigation bar, which on clicked will switch to full-screen mode and you can navigate through the photos.

The redesign also comes to mobile devices on iOS and Android. On the other hand, Flickr Pro is no longer supported on the site as many of the features have been integrated with the free account. To quote Marissa Mayer’s words, she says “there’s no such thing as Flickr Pro, there is no such thing as professional photographers.” However, Flickr provides two options to upgrade their account: Go ad-free and Double your space.

The ‘Go ad-free’ option, of course, will remove ads displayed on your stream, which is priced at $49.99 a year. The ‘Double your space’ option will give you an addition 1TB of space for $499.99 a year, which I think is very unlikely that anyone would want to buy it. 1TB itself is a huge amount of space.

Flickr Upgrade

Yahoo is the new buzz now. What more can we expect from the new CEO? Only time will reveal.

And just in case you didn’t notice, visit dearmarissamayer.com

 

Yahoo Acquires Tumblr for $1.1 Billion

The acquisition is now official. Yahoo! in an official statement announced the acquisition of popular blogging platform Tumblr for approximately $1.1 billion, all in cash. In comparison, it’s just a little more than what Facebook paid for Instagram last summer.

In a blog post, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer promises that it “won’t screw it (Tumblr) up.” The CEO said that it plans to run Tumblr independently, and Tumblr founder David Karp will remain in his role as CEO. Mayer says that Yahoo will be helping Tumblr to “get even better, faster.”

With this acquisition Yahoo adds itself to the list of established Internet companies, including Google and Facebook that have spent more than $1 billion to acquire startup companies in hope of expanding their services and gaining an edge in growth.

Many Tumblr users are now worried whether Yahoo would screw it up, however, CEO Marissa Mayer has promised to evolve Tumblr to a better and faster blogging platform. She adds, “both Tumblr and Yahoo! share a vision to make the Internet the ultimate creative canvas by focusing on users, design – and building experiences that delight and inspire the world every day.”

On the other hand, this acquisition could be a part of Yahoo’s rebuilding strategy, which the company has been trying to build stronger core for the last couple of years.

Here’s how Mayer made the announcement:

Yahoo Acquires Tumblr

Yahoo’s stock was down 0.3% Friday, trading at $26.50 a share.

Update:

Yahoo! also made an announcement that it’s official blog is now located at yahoo.tumblr.com

Yahoo! Sitebuilder is Still Stuck with Java Version from 2008

Over the last few years, we have seen a number of exploits and vulnerabilities in Java. Oracle released Java 6 update 39 earlier this month fixing several security bugs. This was probably the last security update for Java 6, as Oracle had said earlier that there would be no security updates for Java 6 after February. However, you will be surprised to know that there are some top-notch organizations that still ask you to install age-old versions of Java.

java

Sitebuilder is one such tool from Yahoo! Sitebuilder can be used to whip up really simple websites within a few minutes. It is not the kind of tool developers would boast of, and I do not know anyone who uses it. However, the tool very much exists, and is distributed by Yahoo!. Most of us would not care about using it, but there are people who would want to skip the technical knowhow and just the website out.

Here comes the interesting part- Yahoo Sitebuilder comes with Java 6 update 7, which came out back in the summer of 2008. That version of java is severely flawed and outdated. The Sitebuilder tool cannot be blamed either, as it talks about support for Windows Vista at best, which makes it look like no one at Yahoo! cares about Sitebuilder either! However, what is of importance is that Sitebuilder is being distributed by Yahoo! and given the number of hacks and malware Java is attracting lately, Yahoo! should take care of this and thus prevent the spreading of Java vulnerabilities.

Yahoo Acquires Stamped; Focused on Mobile

Yahoo seems to have made its first startup acquisition under the reign of its new CEO, Marissa Mayer. It has acquired Stamped, a new mobile recommendations app, which lets users save and share their favorite books, movies, music and restaurants etc with their friends.

It also allows users to follow the recommendations of other influential people like celebrities.

It seems to primarily be a talent acquisition, and a part of Yahoo’s major mobile push. With Stamped’s team, Yahoo will start building out a major mobile product development team in New York.

Stamped’s existing offerings will be discontinued soon.

Marissa Mayer clearly outlined in Yahoo’s Q3 2012 earnings call that it is focused on mobile now, and will have to pivot to a mobile-focused strategy in the coming months. This could be the first major move that shows where her priorities lie.

The exact acquisition amount hasn’t been revealed yet, but it’s likely to be low.

Apparently, Stamped’s CEO, Robby Stein, has worked with Mayer at Google before, as an associate product manager, a program led by Mayer herself.

Yahoo seems to be on the right path with Marissa Mayer leading the charge. She might be the best person to make Yahoo a juggernaut on the internet again, a space which it dominated a decade ago.

Yahoo Reports Q3 2012 Earnings, Revenue Tops $1.2 Billion

Yahoo just posted its earnings for the third quarter of 2012, and managed to beat expectations. This was Marissa’s first full quarter as CEO, and Yahoo seems to be moving in the right direction.

Yahoo made $1.217 billion in quarterly revenue, down marginally year-over-year. However, adjusted for traffic acquisition costs, its revenue was $1.072 billion, roughly 2% up year-over-year.

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, said:

“Yahoo! had a solid third quarter, and we are encouraged by the stabilization in search and display revenue. We’re taking important steps to position Yahoo! for long-term success, and we’re confident that our focus on quality and improving the user experience will drive increased value for our advertisers, partners and shareholders.”

The top management has been shuffled quite a bit since Marissa stepped in. Yahoo has made some key hires and redesigned its entire product strategy. It launched quite a few new products and services, and sold some of its stake in Alibaba to raise around $7 billion in cash.

Yahoo’s cash and cash equivalents increased to $7.560 billion by the end of the last quarter.

It reported net income of $3.161 billion, but its actual operating income was only around $152 million. Its stock is up around 5% today.

via Yahoo – PR

Alibaba Buys Back 20% Stake From Yahoo for $7.6 Billion

Alibaba and Yahoo have had a very tenuous relationship, with the former trying to buy back its stake from the latter since years. Last month, it was revealed that Alibaba was trying to raise close to $8 billion in order to buy around 20% of its stake from Yahoo.

In a press release today, Alibaba announced that it had completed the repurchase of its shares from Yahoo In a transaction worth approximately $7.6 billion.

The transaction includes around half of Yahoo’s 40% stake in Alibaba, valued at $7.1 billion, and a one time cash payment of $550 million related to their existing technology and intellectual property licensing agreements.

Jack Ma, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group, said:

“The completion of this transaction begins a new chapter in our relationship with Yahoo! We are grateful for Yahoo!’s support of our growth over the past seven years, and we are pleased to be able to deliver meaningful returns to our shareholders including Yahoo!. I look forward to working with Marissa Mayer and her team in our continued partnership.”

It was initially expected that Yahoo would return most of the cash to shareholders, but under Marissa Mayer’s reign, that cash might be put to better use and fuel the growth of the aging giant through acquisitions.

Microsoft Advertising Introduces Bing Ads and Yahoo! Bing Network

Microsoft has announced rebranding of adCenter to Bing Ads and the launch of Yahoo! Bing Network, formerly known as Search Alliance.

Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance was born two years ago and reaches 151 million people today. The network includes the reach and benefits of Yahoo! Search and Bing partner publisher sites. Earlier this year, Microsoft brought all advertising marketing programs from Microsoft Advertising to the Bing umbrella. The latest announcement is a step in the same direction of streamlining a single digital advertising platform.

Bing Ads is a reimagined and improved way for managing campaigns on the Yahoo! Bing Network. Along with the rebranding, the platform has introduced a new Import Campaign feature which allows advertisers to import their search campaigns from Google Ad Words into Bing Ads. This will give their campaigns greater visibility and reach beyond just one search platform. Also, the new Editorial Exceptions feature will help advertisers resolve any editorial disapprovals during and after the ad submission process. With ongoing enhancements to the Bing Ads Editor tool, advertisers have an additional resource for tracking performance and identifying growth opportunities.

The Yahoo! Bing Network represents 70% of all searchers in the US, 20% of which are unique to the Yahoo! Bing Network. According to a comScore report quoted by Microsoft, searchers on Yahoo! Bing Network in the U.S. are likely to spend 24% more than the average searcher, and likely to spend 5% more than Google searchers.

Alibaba Raising $8 Billion to Buy Back Shares from Yahoo

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, which accounts for most of Yahoo’s value right now, is raising close to $8 billion, in order to buy back nearly 20% of its stake from Yahoo for $7.1 billion.

Alibaba will be selling $1.5 billion worth of convertible preferred shares, $2.6 billion worth of common shares, and will raise close to $4 billion in debt in this round of financing. The sale of convertible shares will value it at nearly $43 billion.

Yahoo will make a windfall on the sale of half of its stake in one of the most valuable private internet companies to date. It acquired a 40% stake for $1 billion in Alibaba more than 7 years ago.

Alibaba has a revenue run rate of more than $3.6 billion this year, with revenues growing more than 60% in the first half of 2012. Its valuation is now more than twice Yahoo’s.

While Alibaba is eager to buy back its stake from Yahoo, the latter is getting back up under the reign of its new CEO, Marissa Mayer, after struggling to stay relevant in the internet space in the last couple of years. The deal is expected to close in Q4 2012.

via NYT