Message of the Microhoo Stand-Off: We Need More Business-Savvy Novel Writers!

February 12, 2008 at 9:06 am | Posted in Business | 2 Comments
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Who is going to write the novel covering the Microhoo story? It’s pure drama material!
_Microsoft makes a bid to buy Yahoo for $44.6 billion
_Yahoo rejects the bid: They want more
_Microsoft does f**k all to increase their bid – instead they’re attempting a hostile acquisition! Steve Ballmer is pissed! Their press release:

It is unfortunate that Yahoo! has not embraced our full and fair proposal to combine our companies. Based on conversations with stakeholders of both companies, we are confident that moving forward promptly to consummate a transaction is in the best interests of all parties.

We are offering shareholders superior value and the opportunity to participate in the upside of the combined company. The combination also offers an increasingly exciting set of solutions for consumers, publishers and advertisers while becoming better positioned to compete in the online services market.

A Microsoft-Yahoo! combination will create a more effective company that would provide greater value and service to our customers. Furthermore, the combination will create a more competitive marketplace by establishing a compelling number two competitor for Internet search and online advertising.

The Yahoo! response does not change our belief in the strategic and financial merits of our proposal. As we have said previously, Microsoft reserves the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure that Yahoo!’s shareholders are provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in our proposal.

Shudder. That sounds awful, like playing poker against the superior chip leader. Yet think about a little novel, focusing in on two lower members of staff and Yahoo and Microsoft who over-identify with they companies… who’d be able to write it?

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Ballmer kitteh sez: I Can Haz Flickr?

February 8, 2008 at 12:01 am | Posted in Blogging | Leave a comment
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Ha! Everyone and their dog were blogging about Microsoft’s bid to buy Yahoo this week – even Austrian ‘quality’ newspaper Der Standard dedicated its front page to this topic. The internet is really having a stranglehold on our minds and economy, isn’t it? Today I’ll add my five cents as well: by reposting Knowprose’s icanhascheezburger variation:

I can haz flickr

Originally uploaded by TaranRampersad a.k.a. Knowprose

An Email to Yahoo/Flickr regarding privacy leak

January 26, 2008 at 12:44 am | Posted in privacy | 2 Comments
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Here is a copy of my email to Yahoo (for Flickr) Germany (they automatically forward me to the German site, due the my IP I suppose), addressing the privacy issue raised by the 30boxes mashup (I wrote about that here). I picked the ‘Infringement of Privacy’ label, hopefully I’ll get a response, hopefully they’ll fix that problem.

Dear Yahoo,

I just learned that, due to an open API at Flickr, it is now possible to extract and MATCH ones nickname and email address and make that connection public. That means: Knowing someone’s email address suffices to retrieve that person’s flickr account.

This is currently possible using the services of a website called www.30boxes.com. 30boxes offers a calendar services and claims to allow people to do the following:

* organize your stuff
* plan your day
* keep up with your friends

Unfortunately, in their interpretation, a friend is someone whose email address you know (an unfortunate misunderstanding that could also be witnessed in the recent disclosure of shared items to everyone in your contact list at Googlemail)

Similarly, keeping up with your friends at 30 boxes works the following way: Once you have signed up, you can “Find buddies” by entering the email addresses of people you know (of course, knowing someone’s email address does _not_ mean that you are friends!)

30boxes then attempts to retrieve data from the APIs of – among others – Flickr, Twitter, Myspace.

What is disconcerting here is that it, in the case of flickr – matches nicknames and emailaddresses, meaning that the privacy that the nickname offers is jeopardized.

I, for instance, entered the email of a friend (which I am not going to type in here, as I am also going to publish a copy of this email on my blog) and immediately received a link to her flickr account – I am very sure that she isn’t too pleased about this.

I am probably lucky that 30boxes wasn’t able to match my email address with my flickr account (for which ever reason) – nonetheless, I wonder whether:

a) Flickr knows about this vulnerability of their API

b) this vulnerability is covered by the terms and services (I doubt that I would understand the legal language that defines the use of APIs, hence I haven’t checked myself).

In any case: The fact that one HAS the opportunity to chose a nickname does, in my view, suggest that the connection between nickname and email address should also NOT be revealed to third parties nor made public, e.g. publicized in the 30 boxes mashup.

Furthermore: If a user gives out his or her email address, that does not necessarily mean that he or she also meant to allow this person to see his or her flickr account. This is, however, the consequence of opening your api to third parties like 30 boxes.

Your feedback is very much appreciated.

Best wishes

Anaj Blog

I might have to send emails to Twitter, Myspace etc. as well.

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