Tag Archive: yahoo


Jimmy Pitaro

Jimmy Pitaro

Earlier today, Disney said what is likely not much of a shock to anyone – that it was handing over the reins of its interactive division to one of its two co-presidents, Jimmy Pitaro.

That means John Pleasants, who was the other co-president and was located in Silicon Valley, is leaving the kingdom, merging the games and media units under one leader in Los Angeles. Pleasants, as happens in these kinds of things, will be a strategic consultant to Disney Interactive.

The reorganization of the unit comes three years after Pitaro, a former Yahoo media exec, and Pleasants, who came to Disney via its acquisition of Playdom, were paired. Disney Interactive recently reported its second quarterly profit of $16 million on sales of $396 million, in what has been an uphill effort over the past decade for the entertainment giant.

Under the regime of former CEO Michael Eisner – many digital moons ago and which I covered since I am so dang old – Disney bought search engine Infoseek and tried to create a portal called Go.com. That failed, and was one of many efforts to define the media company’s Web goals. More recently, in 2008, Disney gathered most of its Internet properties under Steve Wadsworth.

Then came the pairing of Pitaro and Pleasants. And now, just Pitaro.

Disney said it “will move forward with a singular strategy for driving revenue and advertising across key platforms and franchises,” such as Disney Infinity – a big Pleasants project – and Club Penguin.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer may be retiring, but the man could never be described as “retiring.” Ballmer was a frequent speaker at D conferences, so our video archive holds a sense of his legacy and his tone over the past decade.

At D5 in 2007, Ballmer demoed the first Microsoft Surface (the big multitouch table), said “We’re firmly behind Zune,” and told Walt Mossberg that Microsoft would never develop a phone.

Ballmer and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates appeared together at D6, where they discussed the early days, their working dynamic, walking away from buying Yahoo, and gave a preview of Windows 7. Here’s the first part:

Ballmer introduced Microsoft’s new search play, Bing, at D7:

And at D8, he appeared with Microsoft’s then-Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie to discuss competition, tablets and the notion of syncing. Ballmer admitted, “We missed a whole cycle” of smartphones, and they both critiqued Android.

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791629321 520x245 Yahoo bundles up its fantasy games into a new Fantasy Sports app for Android and iOS

Yahoo has launched its newest Fantasy Sports app for iOS and Android that comes with a new redesign and mobile drafting. This is the first app that integrates technology from the company’s recent acquisitions, Bignoggins Productions and Loki Studios.

In a blog post, Yahoo’s Product Director of Mobile Fantasy Sports Ron Belmarch writes that users can sign up, draft a team, and win the league championship from wherever they are. The app also includes notifications to help keep fans up-to-date on what’s happening with their favorite team.

Screen Shot 2013 07 25 at 10.39.36 AM Yahoo bundles up its fantasy games into a new Fantasy Sports app for Android and iOS

The company says it recognizes that Draft Day is one of the most important dates for fantasy football players. The updated app includes mock drafting capabilities to prepare users for the actual thing – and it’s not just for football as this feature will be implemented soon for basketball, hockey, and baseball.

When the time comes, users (or managers, as they’re called) will be able to handle the competition and get the players they want from any device they have. Mobile drafting lets them pick players, set their queue, check the results, and even chat with other managers to perhaps plan a strategy or execute a trade.

Screen Shot 2013 07 25 at 10.49.19 AM Yahoo bundles up its fantasy games into a new Fantasy Sports app for Android and iOS

This mobile app is the first since Yahoo acquired Bignoggins Production and Loki Studios earlier this year. Players should be able to see the integrations when they use the Fantasy Sports app.

With Bignoggins Production, the technology behind its popular Fantasy Monster and Draft Monster apps has been used in the Fantasy Sports app. Yahoo acquired Loki Studios for its location-based mobile gaming offering.

Yahoo Fantasy Sports for iOS and Google Play

Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Yahoo!

If you’re itching to shed that old, embarrassing Yahoo username in favor of something a little more age appropriate, we’ve got good news. Mayer and Co. have just opened up a wish list to request inactive usernames. Plug in your five moniker requests (in order of preference) by August 7th, and if you’re first in line for an account that hasn’t been used in over a year, it’ll be yours by the middle of the month. Once the search giant sends a message to your inbox, simply click the included link within 48 hours and the re-purposed account will be yours. After the initial period, folks will be able to add usernames to a watch list, and will be alerted when they become available. Worried that password recovery messages sent from other services to reused addresses could be a security issue? Yahoo is too.

Read the full story at Engadget.

Yahoo!

Yahoo just released its mixed Q2 earnings, and a few sentences may have given the answer everyone was waiting for – yes, Yahoo still has plenty of cash to pursue more acquisitions. Evidence of this lies in the company’s share buyback program. “During the second quarter of 2013 Yahoo repurchased 25 million shares for $653 million,” one can read in the release. Those are part of a bigger $5 billion program. These shares can be reissued and sold for cold cash any day. Back in September 2012, Marissa Mayer decided to sell 40 percent of Yahoo’s stake in Alibaba for $7.6 billion. $3.65 billion was set aside to reinvest in Yahoo shares, proving that the company is confident in its own future. “We are happy to announce that as of today we have essentially completed our commitment to return $3.65 billion from our Alibaba Group proceeds to shareholders, repurchasing a total of 190 million shares,” wrote CFO Ken Goldman in today’s earnings release.

Read the full story at TechCrunch.

Tumblr

Tumblr has quietly stopped indexing adult-oriented blogs in search engines and in Tumblr’s internal searches, a move that has raised new questions about whether the popular blogging service will crack down on porn in the wake of its acquisition by Yahoo. An FAQ doc for adult-oriented blogs, apparently published in the past couple of months, distinguishes between blogs that have occasional adult content and those that publish it regularly. The former continue to be indexed in search engines; the latter are not. Valleywag, which reported on the changes today, accused Tumblr of beginning to push porn into “an internet sex ghetto.” But it’s unclear how broadly the updated policy is being applied. Searches for porn Tumblrs on Google and on Tumblr itself continue to yield results by the thousands. And the same social features that help other Tumblrs go viral – following, liking, and reblogging – will continue to surface new porn content on Tumblr even if porn blogs disappear from search engines.

Read the full story at The Verge.

Lets_Get_Physical-feature

Courtesy of a plethora of very irked Yahoo employees, here is the internal memo sent to the company about a new rule rolled out today by CEO Marissa Mayer, which requires that Yahoo employees who work remotely to relocate to company facilities.

“Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,” reads the memo to employees from HR head Jackie Reses. “We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

Painfully awkward as this is phrased, it means every Yahoo get to your desks stat!

I reported earlier today that the move will apparently impact only several hundred employees, such as customer service reps, who work from home full time. But numerous sources told me that the decree extends to any staffers who might have arrangements to work from home just one or two days a week too.

The changes begin in June, according to the Yahoo memo.

After that, employees who work from home must comply without exception or quit. One top manager was told that there would be little flexibility on the issue.

The anger from impacted employees was strong today, because many they felt they were initially hired with the assumption that they could work more flexibly.

In fact, even waiting for the cable guy is questionable. “And, for the rest of us who occasionally have to stay home for the cable guy, please use your best judgment in the spirit of collaboration,” wrote Reses.

The tone and tactics have infuriated some at the company. Wrote one impacted Yahoo employee to me: “Even if that was what was previously agreed to with managers and HR, or was a part of the package to take a position, tough … It’s outrageous and a morale killer.”

Most tech companies encourage workers to stay on their campuses, offering free food and other perks. But none enforce such rules beyond staff needed to operate an office.

“Our engineers would not put up with that,” said one tech exec. “So, we’d never focus on it.”

In the comments section of my first story on the HR change at Yahoo, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg wrote:

“For anyone who enjoys working from wherever they like in the world, and is interested in WordPress, Automattic is 100% committed to being distributed. 130 of our 150 people are outside of San Francisco.”

The issue is an interesting and controversial one, with some certain that working at home is the wave of the future, while others considering it hurtful to productivity.

Well, we’ll presumably see which this way goes in time.

Earlier, when asked about the change, a Yahoo spokesperson said the company does not comment on internal matters. The memo was released after my story on the change was published this morning.

But, you don’t need any comment when you can read for yourself the new working order at the Silicon Valley Internet giant:

YAHOO! PROPRIETARY AND CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION — DO NOT FORWARD

Yahoos,

Over the past few months, we have introduced a number of great benefits and tools to make us more productive, efficient and fun. With the introduction of initiatives like FYI, Goals and PB&J, we want everyone to participate in our culture and contribute to the positive momentum. From Sunnyvale to Santa Monica, Bangalore to Beijing — I think we can all feel the energy and buzz in our offices.

To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.

Beginning in June, we’re asking all employees with work-from-home arrangements to work in Yahoo! offices. If this impacts you, your management has already been in touch with next steps. And, for the rest of us who occasionally have to stay home for the cable guy, please use your best judgment in the spirit of collaboration. Being a Yahoo isn’t just about your day-to-day job, it is about the interactions and experiences that are only possible in our offices.

Thanks to all of you, we’ve already made remarkable progress as a company — and the best is yet to come.

Jackie

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