Bing Overtakes Yahoo, Google Still Wins

comScore has released U.S search engine rankings for December 2011, and Google, unsurprisingly, still leads the pack by a huge margin.

Microsoft’s Bing, even after burning billions of dollars in marketing and R&D, still hasn’t made a dent on Google’s market share. Yahoo, on the other hand, is slowly bleeding to death.

Comscore Search Engine Market Share

Bing had 15% market share in the U.S. in November which increased to 15.1% in December. Google had 65.4% U.S. market share in November which is now up to 65.9%.

Yahoo which had 15.1% market share lost 0.6% – 0.5% to Google and 0.1% to Bing. So effectively, Bing is gaining tiny amounts of search market share from Yahoo, which is powered by Bing’s technology, while Google continues to add to its already considerable numbers.

AOL and Ask are like zombies with 2-3% market share each, with no growth. With Yahoo having given up months ago, Bing is the only real competitor to Google right now. Newer alternatives like DuckDuckGo are still rounding errors in terms of market share. By the looks of it, Bing isn’t going to topple Google any time soon. Hopefully, Bing will at least turn a profit in a couple of years, instead of dragging down Microsoft’s overall margins.

Yahoo Finally Gets a New CEO. It’s PayPal President Scott Thompson

Yahoo Four months after unceremoniously firing Carol Bartz, the Yahoo board has finally picked a new CEO. Scott Thompson, who is the president of PayPal – a division of eBay, will be leading the struggling internet giant from next Monday. He will also be appointed to Yahoo’s Board of Directors.

“Scott brings to Yahoo! a proven record of building on a solid foundation of existing assets and resources to reignite innovation and drive growth, precisely the formula we need at Yahoo!,” said Roy Bostock, Chairman of the Yahoo! Board. Under Thompson, PayPal grew from 50 million to more than 104 million active users in 190 countries worldwide, increasing the number of merchant partners to more than 8 million globally, and growing revenues from $1.8 billion to $4+ billion in 2011. Before his stint at PayPal, Thompson also worked as chief information officer at Barclays Global Investors.

Thompson’s name was suggested yesterday by Kara Swisher, but is otherwise somewhat of a surprise. He is the black horse that almost all industry analysts missed, and he certainly has his task cut out. Thanks to the lack of vision and clarity of Yahoo’s previous leaders, the internet giant is now a mere shadow of its former self. Yahoo arrogantly resisted Microsoft’s takeover attempt, and then later failed to find a buyer as its stock price continued to plummet. Yahoo failed to encourage and cultivate innovation, and instead drove away many of its talented engineers and leaders. In his statement, Thompson said, “Speed is important but we will attack both the opportunity ahead and the competitive challenges with an appropriate balance of urgency and thoughtfulness”. Let’s hope that he succeeds.

Yahoo Reveals Top Search Queries of 2011

iPhoneYahoo has revealed the most searched queries of 2011, and the list is as pointless as ever. Big news stories such as revolutions in the Middle East and floods in Thailand and US failed to find a place in the top ten, while celebrities continued to dominate public interest. As many as five out of the top ten queries were celebrities. However, somewhat surprisingly, iPhone managed to edge out everyone and land at the top of the table. This is the first time since 2002, when PlayStation 2 had topped the list, that a gadget managed to climb to the top.

The iPhone is followed by Casey Anthony, whose trial was extensively covered by the US media. Casey Anthony was accused of murdering her two year old child Caylee Anthony, and was found not guilty of murder or manslaughter. The entertainment industry occupied positions three through eight with Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, Lindsay Lohan, American Idol, and Jennifer Aniston.

The Japan Earthquake and Osama Bin Laden, which were only two major news related queries to make the cut, form the bottom of the list. The Fukushima Earthquake that had a magnitude of magnitude of 6.6 on the Richter scale, caused a Tsunami and threatened to trigger a major Nuclear meltdown, while Osama Bin Laden’s death concluded a ten year old hunt for the world’s most notorious terrorist.

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL Team Up to Combat Phishing

In spite of spirited efforts from email providers, browser developers, and security firms, phishing continues to be a major nuisance. There are already repositories like Phishtank that rely on crowdsourcing to identify phishing campaigns. However, crowdsourcing is not nearly nimble enough to tackle phishing scams that often require just a few hours to cause the intended damage.

Now, a new Cisco spinoff called Agari is trying to tackle the problem by combining multiple sophisticated approaches including authentication of the sender, message analysis, and end-to-end email channel visibility. Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL, who are amongst the biggest email providers, have joined hands to provide metadata about emails passing through their networks to Agari, which uses its cloud infrastructure to analyze more than 1.5 billion messages every day. It doesn’t receive the actual messages, but might receive suspicious links contained in the message along with miscellaneous metadata. Agari, which is launching today, has Facebook and some of the largest financial institutions, social networks, and ecommerce companies as its customers. Besides the aforementioned four email giants, file sharing website YouSendIt, social network LinkedIn, and Cisco are also part of its trust fabric network.


“Facebook can go into the Agari console and see charts and graphs of all the activity going on in their e-mail channel (on their domains and third-party solutions) and see when an attack is going on in a bar chart of spam hitting Yahoo,” for instance, Daniel Raskin, vice president of marketing for Agari, explained to CNET. “They receive a real-time alert and they can construct a policy to push out to carriers (that says) when you see this thing happening don’t deliver it, reject it.”

Agari, which had been operating in stealth mode for the past couple of years, protects 50 percent of U.S. consumer e-mail traffic and more than one billion individual mailboxes. During its stealth phase, it rejected more than one billion messages across its email partners. Agari believes that by having end-to-end visibility over most messages it can rapidly react and stop phishing campaigns in their tracks.

E-Commerce Giant – Alibaba Group Interested to Acquire Yahoo

At the China 2.0 conference at Stanford on Friday, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma stated that he is “very much interested” in acquiring Yahoo, despite the company going under heavy loss.

During a speech, Jack Ma told that Alibaba is keen on buying the Internet giant Yahoo. He stated – We are very interested in Yahoo.Jack Ma Our Alibaba group is important to Yahoo and Yahoo is important to us. There are so many people who are interested in that, and we are also talking to them

Alibaba now falls in line with the increasing list of companies which are interested in buying Yahoo, including software giant Microsoft, Hellman & Friedman, Andreesen Horowitz, and the private equity firm Silverlake Parnets, which have already approached Yahoo, but failed to strike a deal. It was  rumored that Yahoo’s co-founder and one-time CEO – Jerry Yang – was planning to buy the company most probably by acquiring 50 percent of the shares, and take control over it, again.

On February 1, 2008, Microsoft offered $44.6 billion to buy the Internet giant, but Yahoo was holding out for $37 a share and the offer was withdrawn. Yahoo’s share in 2008 valued at $31 a share, and today the figure is entirely reversed as the stocks are trading at $13.

However in 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo made a deal in which Microsoft would provide search services to Yahoo in exchange for search ad revenue. According to the deal, Microsoft will power Yahoo’s search technology for 10 years, also gaining access to Yahoo’s search technology assets. Microsoft in return will give Yahoo a percentage of the ad revenue generated alongside those searches.

Despite having rejected the $44.6 billion offer in 2008, Yahoo has certainly failed to deliver a tough competition to Google and Facebook. During the reign of Carol Bartz, Yahoo closed down most of its valued services in an attempt to focus on simplifying and enhancing mobile Web experiences.

Alibaba’s interest in acquiring Yahoo is a fascinating fact. Yahoo owns about 40 percent of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, which it acquired several years ago. Despite several tries by Ma to acquire the stakes back, they were rejected by former CEO Carol Bartz.

Last month, Yahoo had to sack its CEO Carol Bartz since her performance at Yahoo had mostly been effortless. Timothy Mores was appointed as the interim CEO of the company.

Jerry Yang to Buy Yahoo; Top Shareholders Set to Fire Yahoo! Board of Directors

While Yahoo’s former Chief Executive Carol Bartz who didn’t really deserve the post and had to be ousted, there are a lot of speculations that are cooking up all over the web. A U.S. based business/internet news blog Business Insider noted a rumor that Yahoo’s co-founder and one-time CEO is planning to buy the company – most probably by acquiring 50 percent of the shares, and take control over it, again.

However, Chairman Toy Bostock isn’t really pleased with it, and doesn’t want Yang to take control over the company. Perhaps a lot many people would rather not want to see Yang back in action again.

Jerry Yang

The only reason why Yang could possibly be interested in buying Yahoo is because the company’s shares shot up after the departure of Bartz. Yang currently holds 3.63 percent of Yahoo’s share, while his fellow co-founder, David Filo, owns 5.80 percent.

However, one of Yahoo’s top shareholders Third Point, which owns nearly 5.1 percent of the company said in a letter to Chairman Roy Bostock, demanding to sweep changes in both the Board of Directors and the Company leadership. The letter indicates that the current board has made inappropriate decisions, one of which stated that the board was quite reckless to hire Carol Bartz as Yahoo’s CEO, who
Yahoo literally lacked experience in advertising and Web 2.0

Here’s a quote from the letter –

It is time for new leadership at Yahoo.   Yahoo’s investors, employees, clients and users deserve it.     We look forward to having what is great about Yahoo make headlines, encouraged and communicated by new CEO and Board leaders.

The letter also states that Jerry Yang and the board “made a gross error” for rejecting the offer of $33 a share from Microsoft in May  2008, which is depressing and frustrating at Yahoo’s current stock price of 13.61 per share. CEO of Third Point Daniel S. Loeb, in his letter has mentioned the most valid points, and I’m sure the other stakeholders are likely to agree with it.

Although Yang has no real chances to own the company, shareholders would definitely get a new set of team on board, and help generate enough revenue and increase its share price.

End of Carol Bartz as CEO; The Downfall of Yahoo Under Her Reign

Carol Bartz was removed from the Chief Executive post by the Yahoo Board of Directors after 2 years of holding it. They have now appointed Timothy Morse for the post until a permanent CEO is appointed.

The news was confirmed after a leaked internal email which Carol sent to all Yahoo employees, stating that she had been ousted –

To all,

I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.


Goodbye carol Bartz

However, Yahoo confirmed the exit of Bartz in a press release yesterday.

“On behalf of the entire board, I want to thank Carol for her service to Yahoo during a critical time of transition in the company’s history, and against a very challenging macro-economic backdrop,” said Roy Bostock, chairman of Yahoo’s board.

The reason why Yahoo had to sack Carol Bartz was perhaps she lacked experience in advertising and Web 2.0, and wasn’t’ really a “revenue driver”. Now that Tim Morse has been appointed as the CEO (for the time being), analysts say that he would turn out to be “much worse” than Bartz. Both lack the ability to think big and out of the box.

Bartz succeeded Yahoo’s co-founder Jerry Yang as CEO on January 13, 2009, and as a part of the turnaround strategy, amid the tough competition with Google and Facebook, she arbitrarily sacked over a hundred employees and closed some of Yahoo’s less popular services, which could have probably given back a tough competition to its competitors, if improvised appropriately.

Her performance at Yahoo has mostly been  effortless. When she was announced as the new CEO of Yahoo in 2009, Yahoo’s stock price closed at $12.41 per share. A year after that, the stock price slightly scaled up to $16.70 (a 32% increase) which was pretty good for Yahoo. However, on the other side, Yahoo’s competitor Google, was almost +100% at the same time. Apple was up by +270%, and Microsoft by +50%. The +32% was good enough for Yahoo, but the performance under her tenure has been lagging.

Yahoo Stock September 2011

However, Yahoo’s share in 2011 dipped to 13.1%, while Facebook and Google saw a rise of 17.9 percent and 9.3 percent respectively, and more interestingly, Yahoo’s stock climbed up by 6% (or 81 cents), to $13.72 in the afterhours trading on Tuesday after the   removal of Bartz.

Also Read:  Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz tells Michael Arrington From TechCrunch to F*ck-of

So You Want to Kick the Google Habit? [Editorial]



Google Everywhere

It is hard to go online today without touching one or more Google products or services. If it is not search, it may be email, YouTube, Blogger, Picasa, Docs, or Calendar. Google has truly blanketed us with their web-based app offerings. Heck, even the Google Doodle is a conversation topic!

In this editorial, I shall discuss how you can kick the Google habit, what I am using now as alternatives and why you probably won’t be able to replace certain Google products today. Ready to move away from Google? First, some background.

Why un-Google?

Some of the reasons I personally decided to look for alternatives:

  • Google became a part of virtually everything I did online. I used GMail, Google Reader, Google Finance, Blogger, Picasa, Picasa Web, Google Docs, Google Search, Google Calendar and Google Maps. I felt uncomfortable putting such a large portion of my online life in Google’s hands.
  • Google morphed from the cool little startup building fun stuff for consumers, to a dominant public company whose revenues essentially came from just one product. That’s the key most (96%) of its revenues (and profits) came from search advertising. In other words, it needed other ways to make money. The most obvious way to do so would be to extend the arm of advertising, their main revenue-generating product, into other products. I realized I was the merchandise.
  • Google seemed to get Apple and Facebook envy. Apple was growing rapidly across all their product lines and at very high profit margins, and Facebook was taking eyeballs and key talent away from Google. This led to some bad attempts to mock Apple and Facebook publicly, which of course delighted the Google developer and enthusiast community but came off as being negative to me. If you make a great product, you don’t need a negative campaign.
  • Aside from philosophy, some of the competing products started becoming better, and Google’s products started getting worse (more on that within my descriptions) prompting me to start Project Un-Google which was an effort to use fewer and fewer Google products, hopefully reaching a point where I did not depend on any Google product at all.

Whether it is for philosophy, or hedging your web app bets, it is good to know there is life outside Google when it comes to products and services online and offline. There is usually a strong resistance to change, especially if you have a long history with a product. There is a high cost for transferring the old stuff, and learning your way around a new product/service. However, these challenges are not insurmountable, and I hope you take a look at some or all of the products I list here as an alternative to Google. If you have ideas of other products I may not have mentioned, please let me know!

Popular Google products

Here are some of the Google products/services I will be comparing to competition:

  • Search
  • Picasa
  • GMail
  • Calendar
  • Documents
  • Groups
  • Finance
  • Blogger
  • Chrome
  • Maps/Directions
  • Talk/Chat/Voice

I realize Google has many more products, appsand services, but I did not look at products like Book Search which are very niche. My attempt here is to look at the commonly used products and services only.

Bing Webmaster Tools Integrate Yahoo Data

The Bing Webmaster team has announced the integration of Yahoo traffic data into Bing Webmaster Tools reports. Bing Webmaster Tools will now be showing integrated data from Yahoo within certain areas and reports. At this time the data will be combined, not selectable. The transition happens in August, although September will be the first full month of combined data.

Bing Webmaster Tools help site owners to drive more visitors to their site using Bing data on search queries, crawling, and search traffic.   They can see their site as Bing does, optimize for search, share site information with Bing, and view a comprehensive list of sites that are linking to their site.

In Bing Webmaster Tools, the Traffic summary report and Page Traffic reports will be impacted, although no actual rankings will be affected by the combining of data within Bing webmaster Tools. On these pages, both Bing and Yahoo! logos will appear above the graphs.

  1. Impressions will go up based on combined data numbers across both search engines
  2. Clicks will go up based on combined data numbers
  3. Click Through Rates (CTR) as appropriate for above (change only due to the mathematics involved in the first two items)

Yahoo’s MoviePlex to Feature Free High Quality Bollywood Movie Streams

Yahoo! India has launched a new portal called Movieplex, which will offer high quality Bollywood movie streams for free. Yahoo will be partnering with leading movie production houses in India to periodically introduce new movies.

“Over 30 million Internet users consume 1.7 billion videos every month across India (according to comScore January 2011 figures). Movieplex is an example of how Yahoo! connects people to what matters to them the most and Indian movie lovers now have the best full-length movies available to them at their convenience, remarked Arun Tadanki, MD of Yahoo! India.


Much like YouTube’s BoxOffice channel, Yahoo Movieplex is advertisement supported. Movies available at launch included “Rock On!!”, “Dil to Bachha Hai Ji”, “Aakrosh”, “Rann”, “Lamha”, “Crook”, “Rakht Charitra”, and “Rakht Charitra 2″.

In a country like India where piracy is rampant, movie production houses have been gradually warming up to the idea of leveraging the web. Rajshri group, which is one of India’s oldest and largest Movie and TV production houses, has its own online video-on-demand portal. Other third party services like NyooTV have also been gaining popularity. Although poor broadband penetration and below par internet speeds pose a serious challenge, forward looking initiatives like these are probably the best way to tackle piracy.