The browser market is exploding with several big players like Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer leading the market and several others like Opera and Safari catching up. However, it looks like the market is not so saturated after all because Yahoo will be launching their own web browser called Axis later today.
The news was leaked by Launch through an email they got their hands on. The email subject read, “Yahoo! Axis launches on May 23- Redefining what it means to search and browse” and described the browser and its launch.
Yahoo! Axis is a new browser that redefines what it means to search and browse- enabling a seamless search experience on your iPhone, iPad, and even your desktop. Here are some highlights of how Yahoo! Axis brings search to life in a whole new way:
Smarter, Faster Search with Rich Design: Get instant answers and visual previews so you can continuously discover and explore content without interruption. Never leave the page you are on to view your search results again.
Connected Experience: Move seamlessly across devices, picking up wherever you left off as you move across your desktop, iPhone, and iPad. Recently visited sites, searches, saved articles, and bookmarks are automatically accessible across all your devices.
Personal Home Page: Get direct access to your favorite sites and content across all your devices with the customizable Home Page.
Yahoo has reportedly been working on Axis for a long time now, but the release will finally be coming today. With competition from some of the established browsers, Axis might find it a little hard to gain traction. But hey, you never know. A couple of years ago, Chrome launched out of nowhere and is almost the most used browser today. So Yahoo could go miles too.
However, lets hope that this is not another Yahoo product which they run for a while and shut down. If you are looking forward to download Yahoo Axis, you can visit the website http://axis.yahoo.com/ or catch up on some video demo of Yahoo Axis above. Yahoo Axis is available as a desktop download, you can also download it for iPhone and iPad
We’ll be doing a review of the product as well in a short while, so stay tuned for it.
Update: I tried downloading the browser but it the link is downloading a browser extension for Google Chrome or add-on for Firefox which does not work as of now.
If you have not been living under a rock, you already know about Yahoo’s patent lawsuit against Facebook, and Facebook’s counter-lawsuit. You must also be aware that AOL recently sold most of its patent portfolio to Microsoft — nearly 800 patents for $1.05 billion.
While Facebook itself bought itself some patent protection from IBM, we speculated that they may not be enough to properly defend itself, and that Facebook may need to buy some more. We also suggested that Facebook should buy AOL’s patent portfolio.
Apparently, Facebook has gone ahead and done exactly that. It has acquired around 650 of the AOL patents from Microsoft. Microsoft will now own around 275 AOL patents and applications, as well as a license to the ones it sold off to Facebook.
“Today’s agreement with Microsoft represents an important acquisition for Facebook. This is another significant step in our ongoing process of building an intellectual property portfolio to protect Facebook’s interests over the long term.” said Ted Ullyot, general counsel, Facebook.
The deal actually makes sense, as Microsoft owns a significant stake in Facebook, and has backed it since years. Facebook gets the patents it needs, and Microsoft gets the license to them, while retaining the patents it needed most.
“Today’s agreement with Facebook enables us to recoup over half of our costs while achieving our goals from the AOL auction. As we said earlier this month, we had submitted the winning AOL bid in order to obtain a durable license to the full AOL portfolio and ownership of certain patents that complement our existing portfolio,” said Brad Smith, executive vice president and general counsel, Microsoft.
Yahoo reported its financials for Q1 2012, with a slight increase in net revenue, which was $1.077 billion, up 1% year-over-year. However, its income from operations declined to $169 million, a 11% decline over last year. While its display ad revenue saw a 4% decline, its search revenue was up 8%.
Despite the decline in operating income, Yahoo’s net income actually jumped 27%, primarily because of earnings due to its equity interests in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan, which are currently valued at more than its actual operations.
Anyway, Yahoo plans to focus on its core digital content business in the coming days, and hopes to better monetize its massive audience. It has established a new structure around three groups – Consumer, Technology and Regions – bringing resources closer to users and advertisers.
It has also laid off a significant portion of its total workforce, to cut costs and save nearly $375 million in the next year.
In the last couple of weeks, it also sued Facebook in the hopes of making a quick buck before its IPO, and is looking to monetize its stake in Alibaba.
Yahoo also announced that it will be shutting down nearly 50 products that don’t contribute meaningfully to its revenue, as part of its restructuring effort. Besides its media content and social endeavors, it will also try to leverage its vast troves of user data to focus on its commerce business and generate additional revenue by providing better ROI to advertisers.
Scott Thompson is moving fast to create a new, leaner, meaner Yahoo. Whether or not his bets pay off is something we’ll know only in the next couple of years.
Earlier today news broke that Yahoo will be firing 2,000 employees as part of a restructuring plan. The number is huge. However, the lay-off was expected. Kara Swisher over at AllThingsD wrote about Yahoo’s restructuring plans. According to Swisher’s story, Yahoo hired the Boston Consulting Group to help Yahoo with the restructuring. The company has been through some seriously bad times. THe top management has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Yahoo’s current CEO Scott Thompson sent out an email confirming the lay-offs and explaining what Yahoo will focus on in the future.
Search is clearly no longer Yahoo’s game. Microsoft’s Bing powers Yahoo’s search and Yahoo pays 12% of its search revenue to Microsoft. The company has spread itself into areas it couldn’t generate any money from. Thompson hopes to fix this and has outlined three key areas for Yahoo to focus on:
Core Media and Communications
For a while Yahoo is being considered as a media company. Back in 2006, Om Malik wrote about Yahoo’s ability to aggregate content and monetize it. Yahoo has a few interesting content apps for the iPad too, if the company can leverage new content consumption devices to their advantage, they can regain some of their lost brand identity.
While Yahoo is being considered as a media company, they use technology for their operations. The company’s engineers have been working on newer web platform that can be used by independent web developers to tape together rich interactive web services. Mojito, Manhattan and Yahoo Pipes are some examples. Empowering developers to come up with their own web services using Yahoo’s platforms and Yahoo’s data is a pretty good way of getting the company back on track.
Thompson hopes to use data mining to understand Yahoo’s users and find ways to create value out of their massive data repository collated over the years.
In his email to employees, Thompson stressed on his strategy to regroup and concentrate resources towards these areas.
We are intensifying our efforts on our core businesses and redeploying resources to our most urgent priorities. Our goal is to get back to our core purpose – putting our users and advertisers first – and we are moving aggressively to achieve that goal.
The layoffs and restructuring is expected to save Yahoo $325 Million.
Facebook which filed its S-1 statement with the SEC on February 1, is planning to go public in May, according to a report by the WSJ.
Facebook’s IPO is expected to be the biggest internet IPOs of all time. It is aiming to raise $10 billion at a valuation of around $100 billion. It generated $3.7 billion in revenue in 2011, with a net profit of around $1 billion. Its earnings are expected to continue to grow rapidly in the coming years, as it monetizes its massive user base of more than 845 million users more effectively.
Facebook also halted trading of its shares on the secondary market earlier this week, which sparked off speculation that the IPO may be very near.
Facebook’s IPO is expected to create more than a 1000 new millionaires, with most of its early employees and executives hitting pay dirt. We could see the emergence of the Facebook Mafia, which would spark off the next wave of startups and boost angel investing in the valley.
We should also see more patent litigation activity against Facebook, right before its IPO, from the likes of Yahoo and others looking to make a quick buck.
Here are some interesting facts about Facebook’s IPO – Facebook IPO: Here’s What You Need to Know
Facebook is in a very vulnerable position right now, from a litigation point of view, as it is now in its SEC mandated quiet period right before its much awaited $100 billion IPO, and also because it hardly has many patents to defend itself against patent trolls and aging internet giants like Yahoo looking to make a quick buck by suing the hell out of more successful, but younger players who don’t have a huge patent portfolio to defend themselves.
It recently acquired 750 patents from IBM, primarily to defend itself against such litigation, but that may not be enough, and it may need to buy some more.
On the other hand, you have AOL, a dying relic of the dot-com bubble. Its market cap has shrunk to a fraction of its market cap in its glory days, and the value of its business may possibly be less than its patent portfolio.
It has 700-800 really important patents according to its CEO, with half of them incredibly important for internet users. This could be the ideal patent portfolio for Facebook, as it has a lot of patents related to fundamental internet technologies, IM, email, webpage rendering, search engine technology etc.
While AOL seems to think that the value of its patents is more than $1 billion, a patent advisory firm has estimated its value at only around $290 million. This could make it a very easy purchase for Facebook, which has around $4 billion in cash and marketable securities, and is set to raise another $5 billion in its IPO.
Yahoo recently sued Facebook for patent infringement over some ridiculous patents which shouldn’t have been issued in the first place, and was apparently expecting Facebook to approach it for a settlement instead of duking it out in the courts during its quiet period before the IPO.
After Yahoo, Facebook was hit with lawsuits by a Canadian IT company – Mitel – and even AOL was speculated to be going after Facebook with a revised patent application.
However, instead of starting talks for a settlement, Facebook has gone on the offensive itself. It has bought around 750 patents from IBM for an undisclosed amount, presumably to defend itself from litigation by Yahoo and other patent trolls. Instead of licensing patents from them for a fee, it will now look to cross license its newly acquired patents to them.
Facebook now has over 800 patents – 56 of its own, and the 750 it acquired from IBM. It also has 503 pending patent applications. It is good to see Facebook fighting back against these bullies, but other startups who are not as deep-pocketed as Facebook may not be able to. That is precisely why the patent system in the U.S. needs to rebuilt from scratch.
Update: Apparently, Yahoo has a license to many of IBM’s 750 patents, but the exact terms of licensing are not known.
It seems that Yahoo’s lawsuit against Facebook has opened the floodgates for litigation against the latter. Facebook has been sued by yet another company in the last week, and some more, including AOL, may be planning to sue it in the coming days, according to a report by Techcrunch.
Though Yahoo’s patent infringement claims against Facebook were criticized by almost everyone in the industry, there is a good chance that Yahoo will make some money off it, as it targets Facebook right before its IPO.
Apparently, some other firms want to cash in on Facebook’s IPO too, albeit in a different way. Mitel, a Canadian IT company, has also sued Facebook for infringement of two patents related to “automatic web page generator” and “pro-active features for telephony”. It is asking for damages as well as a royalty from Facebook.
Even AOL seems to be preparing to get in the game. It filed a revised application for a patent last week, which is related to the monitoring and automatic updates related to friends of the user on social network. The revised application seems to be aimed at focusing the patent on the features that Facebook is currently offering.
This may not be the end of it. Facebook, which is no stranger to controversy, may see a lot of such last-ditch attempts at making money by obsolete internet giants like Yahoo and AOL.
Last month, we saw a report that Yahoo was planning to sue Facebook for the patent infringement of some trivial patents related to website personalization, social networking and messaging. Well, it pulled the trigger yesterday, and actually slapped Facebook with a massive patent infringement lawsuit, claiming that Facebook’s News Feed, advertising methods and privacy settings infringe on its patented IP.
Since Yahoo was one of the first companies to the internet party, it has been able to build a significant patent portfolio in the more than 15 years that it has been operating in. Facebook is relatively a newborn, and hardly has any patents to defend itself with.
The move was apparently driven by Yahoo’s new CEO, Scott Thompson, and is being opposed by many of the top techies working at Yahoo.
The timing is perfect for Yahoo, and very unfortunate for Facebook, as it is just a couple of months away from an IPO. Yahoo has done this exact same thing in the past, right before Google’s IPO, and managed to settle days before the IPO with millions of Google shares.
Apparently, Yahoo is trying to repeat that, and hopes to make a bigger killing this time. I wouldn’t really blame Yahoo – it’s just trying to maximize shareholder returns. What’s at fault here is the archaic patent system of the U.S., which really needs to be fixed soon, if it really intends to foster innovation and not crush it.
Yahoo, the yesteryear Goliath of the internet, has apparently turned into a patent troll. It is one of the most recent companies to have entered the patent wars, and is gunning for Facebook. It is trying to force Facebook to license 10 to 20 of its patents related to website personalization, social networking and messaging, according to a report by NYT. If Facebook fails to sign a licensing agreement with Yahoo and doesn’t agree to pay it for their use, Yahoo is threatening it with a lawsuit.
“Yahoo has a responsibility to its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders to protect its intellectual property,” a Yahoo spokesman said in an e-mailed statement. “We must insist that Facebook either enter into a licensing agreement or we will be compelled to move forward unilaterally to protect our rights.”
Facebook hasn’t yet decided its course of action, and is considering its options. According to a Facebook executive, they haven’t yet had the time to fully evaluate Yahoo’s claims.
Yahoo’s timing is perfect, as Facebook is expected to go public in a couple of months, and would like to steer clear of any legal hassles that could derail its IPO.
Yahoo has one of the most valuable patent portfolios related to internet technology, with more than 1000 patents. Facebook may possibly be forced to license its patents. Given the opportunistic timing, it’ll be interesting to see how much money Yahoo is able to force out of Facebook’s sizable cash reserves.