Rick Spencer of Canonical, which distributes the Ubuntu version of Linux, revealed that Canonical has formed a revenue-sharing deal with Yahoo, which will see Yahoo become the default search engine in the Mozilla Firefox browser in the upcoming 10.04 version (aka “Lucid Lynx”) of the operating system.
Note that this won’t in any way effect the ability of a user to choose and use the search provider of their choice. It’s literally 2 easily discoverable clicks to change this setting, a simple matter of switching to that search provider in the chrome by clicking on the icon and choosing the desired provider. Note also that Yahoo! does not share any personally identifiable or usage information.
I am pursuing this change because Canonical has negotiated a revenue sharing deal with Yahoo! and this revenue will help Canonical to provide developers and resources to continue the open development of Ubuntu and the Ubuntu Platform. This change will help provide these resources as well as continuing to respect our user’s default search across Firefox.
The move is an interesting one for both Canonical and Yahoo. Yahoo needs to do whatever it can to gain search market share, and Ubuntu is a popular version of Linux.
“Canonical is unusual among major commercial Linux distributors in the sense that it doesn’t sell an ‘enterprise’ or ‘pro’ version of its software,” notes Ars Technica author Ryan Paul. “In an effort to make this approach sustainable, Canonical is experimenting with a number of different business models, including commercial support for end users, subscription-based Web services, and integration support for hardware makers. In the announcement about the search engine change, Spencer says that Canonical’s partnership with Yahoo will help to fund the ongoing development of the distribution.”
Terms of the deal between Canoncial and Yahoo were not made available. Meanwhile, the search and advertising deal between Microsoft and Yahoo is still pending. The effects of that on Yahoo’s market share remain to be seen.
Update: The FCC has sent letters regarding early termination fees to Google, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. In its letter to Google, it says:
…where new options may subject consumers to substantial ETFs, potentially from more than one entity, the Commission has a special interest in ensuring that consumers have a clear and complete understanding of the rates, terms, and conditions on which the communications services are being offered and the rationale for those rates, terms, and conditions. The combination of ETFs from Google and T-Mobile for the Nexus One is also unique among the four major national carriers. Consumers have been surprised by this policy and by its financial impact. Please let us know your rationale(s) for these combined fees, and whether you have coordinated or will coordinate on these fees and on the disclosure of their combined effect.
Original Article: Google made big waves in the mobile industry early in the year, and the effects of those waves are being felt quite hard by some users. The Nexus One’s release has gotten off to kind of a rocky start.
The issues plaguing customers of the much-anticipated Google phone have been widely publicized. Most of the gripes have dealt with Google’s customer service (or lack thereof) for the device, and trouble with 3G connections. More recently, however, complaints of outrageous early termination fees have popped up.
The trouble for users is that if they got the Nexus One with a two-year contract from T-Mobile, they end up having to pay about $550 to terminate early. The thing is, they have to pay T-Mobile’s regular fee, but they also have to pay Google a fee. Needless to say, that has caught some people off guard.
Google’s fee is a $350 “Equipment Recovery Fee”. It applies to customers who cancel their contracts within the first 120 days.
According to Niraj Sheth with the Wall Street Journal’s Digits Blog, “A Google spokeswoman said in a statement that the fee is “a way for the company to recoup the subsidy it gives to contract customers.”
“‘This is standard practice for third-party resellers of T-Mobile and other operators,’ she said. A T-Mobile spokesman said that the carrier’s early termination fee is standard for its customers on contract.”
While the combination of the aforementioned problems may not bode well for Google’s reputation in the mobile industry at the moment, the good news for the company is that they are projected to come out on top in the smartphone race eventually. Crunchgear says Google and Android will “own the smartphone market” eventually. Time will tell if that is an accurate depiction of things to come, but for now, people just seem upset.
Yahoo said today it is holding its second annual Key Scientific Challenges Program, which is open globally to any graduate student enrolled in a PhD program at an accredited institution.
The Key Scientific Challenges Program focuses on a number of issues, from developing algorithms that make information more personally relevant, to finding insights about online advertising and experimenting with new sociological models for how people engage with the web.
“Yahoo! and the entire online industry face challenges that are increasingly complex and require an interdisciplinary approach to solve,” said Prabhakar Raghavan, head of Yahoo! Labs.
“The Key Scientific Challenges Program provides graduate students an unmatched environment that brings together social scientists, economists, computer scientists, and statisticians to collaborate in an unprecedented way. The students get the benefit of testing their research ideas in the real world, and Yahoo! gains new perspectives on the technical problems core to improving the Internet.”
Winners of the Key Scientific Challenges Program will receive:
- $5,000 in unrestricted seed funding for lab materials, travel to academic conferences, professional society memberships, and other resources to drive their research.
- Exclusive access to selected global-scale Yahoo! datasets.
- Personal mentoring and collaboration with Yahoo!’s world-class research scientists.
- An invitation to present their work at the Key Scientific Challenges Graduate Student Summit, to be held in September 2010 at Yahoo! headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.
Applications for the program must be submitted by midnight PST on March 5, 2010. Winners will be announced in the spring.
Most estimates agree that there are almost 7 billion human beings on this planet, and even the biggest misanthropes must admit that a few of them are smart and capable. Yahoo apparently wasn’t able to encounter any keepers, however, as it’s stopped searching for someone to lead the company’s international division.
This position opened up in February of 2009 as Carol Bartz really began to reshape operations at Yahoo. Now, as reported by John Letzing, Bartz said during yesterday’s earnings call, “I didn’t find anyone who was up to our needs.”
Some critics might take this as an admission of defeat; it seems a bit ridiculous that a year-long hunt didn’t turn up anything. Or perhaps even scary, if Yahoo located some qualified candidates, but said candidates didn’t want to work for the company.
Still, the timing of Bartz’s announcement goes a long ways towards making things look better. Yahoo’s Q4 report was pretty good, after all – its stock rose in after-hours trading and is still headed up this morning – so this position appears to be less than critical.
When everything’s said and done, the new plan is for three Yahoo executives (Hilary Schneider, Rose Tsou, and Rich Riley) representing the Americas, Asia, and EMEA to report directly to Bartz.
Since the widely publicized turbulence between Google and the Chinese government erupted, there has been a lot of speculation about whether or not Google would continue to do business in China in any capacity whatsoever. The company stopped censoring search results in its Chinese search engine, and threatened to pull out of China before it would again do so. Talks between Google and China are expected in the near future.
Based on the latest words from the Chinese government on the matter, Google’s Android business should at least be safe in the country. Ministry of Industry and Information Technology spokesman Zhu Hongren is quoted as saying at a news briefing:
The Chinese government has maintained since the incident took place that as long as services comply with Chinese law, they will not block anything. There are still a lot of opportunities for Google to make money in China without the presence of its search engine, and it remains to be seen just which Google will continue to pursue.
The whole situation has been largely murky at best. The U.S. government has been involved because Google has alleged that the Chinese government was involved with the cyber attacks that kicked this whole thing into motion, and the Chinese government has denied any involvement and said that either way it should be viewed as a “business dispute” as opposed to anything that should effect relations between the two countries.
For our past coverage on the Google China situation, browse through our China tag.