Archive for the ‘Bill Gates’ Category

February 26, 2008 1:41 PM PST

Bill Gates to get LinkedIn

Just a short while after abandoning Facebook due to being overwhelmed with friend requests, Bill Gates plans to experiment on rival service LinkedIn.

On Thursday, the Microsoft Chairman will post a question related to “how technology can be better utilized for charitable causes” to LinkedIn’s entire 19 million members. I’m interested to see whether Gates finds LinkedIn scales to someone of his stature any better than Facebook.

The move comes as part of a set of announcements that LinkedIn plans to make on Thursday. A pitch from LinkedIn noted the company will have a revamped home page to show off as well as a “notable advertising announcement.” They declined to say whether said announcement is with Microsoft, however.

Microsoft provides ad-serving to Facebook thanks to a sizeable investment in Facebook, while Google has an exclusive and pricey deal with MySpace. Google recently noted challenges in getting social networking deals to pay off.

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Google in its sights, Microsoft opens up Content Ads beta program

By Jacqui Cheng | Published: August 21, 2007 – 09:06PM CT

Microsoft announced yesterday via the Windows Live Blog that it plans to extend its Content Ads beta program to all US customers who wish to advertise on MSN properties. Previously, the program was limited to a small selection of advertisers and the MSN sales team, but it will now be available to the public to test out starting on August 29. The ads will be displayed on select Microsoft properties—such as Real Estate, Money, MSN, and Windows Marketplace—and will eventually expand out to other Microsoft-owned properties and “premium partner sites.” If Content Ads manage to take off as well as Google’s AdSense program, then competition between Microsoft and Google could heat up and force both to offer even better options to advertisers and, eventually, publishers.

The Content Ads program offers contextually generated ads, which means that it displays ads that match up with other keywords found on a particular page—an article about bears might display ads about bear traps or teddy bears. Up until now, the content offered through the Content Ads program was severely limited, but Microsoft hopes that by opening up the program to all US advertisers, there will be a much wider selection of ads available to the MSN network.

Microsoft is offering its advertisers features like keyword-level pricing, so that advertisers can opt to pay different amounts based on different keywords, and separate content and search bidding, which will allow advertisers to decide whether they want to advertise on search pages, content pages, or both. Microsoft also says that once it expands the program out to more of its properties, ad campaigns will automatically be expanded to include the new sites.

Content Ads are Microsoft’s answer to Google’s AdSense, and many hope that Microsoft’s opening the program up to the public will introduce more meaningful competition in the space. Another major player in the market would offer more choice and hopefully fuel more competition, not only in technology and features, but also in pricing and terms.

Microsoft has been on the warpath recently in an attempt to catch up with Google by rolling out its own user-uploaded video site and, more recently, offering extended online storage options. If the Content Ads program matures past the beta stage and takes off, it could mean major changes to how direct marketing is handled online, and that strikes directly at the heart of Google’s revenue.

Discuss Print

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Google: Microsoft’s Yahoo! Bid Raises ‘Troubling Questions’

Google fired back today at Microsoft’s bid to buy Yahoo! in a blog posting here by Google

But, of course, Google says there’s more at stake than just its status as the dominant Internet company:

So Microsoft’s hostile bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions. This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It’s about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation.

Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC? While the Internet rewards competitive innovation, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies — and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets.

Could the acquisition of Yahoo! allow Microsoft — despite its legacy of serious legal and regulatory offenses — to extend unfair practices from browsers and operating systems to the Internet? In addition, Microsoft plus Yahoo! equals an overwhelming share of instant messaging and web email accounts. And between them, the two companies operate the two most heavily trafficked portals on the Internet. Could a combination of the two take advantage of a PC software monopoly to unfairly limit the ability of consumers to freely access competitors’ email, IM, and web-based services? Policymakers around the world need to ask these questions — and consumers deserve satisfying answers.

Google clearly won’t take this deal lying down.

Yahoo! and the Future of the Internet — The Official Google Blog

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Microsoft: We’re Ready For The Post-Gates Era

Executive Bob Muglia says leadership at Microsoft remains strong and more than ready for change.

In a two-year time frame after the launch of Windows Vista, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) will have lost some of its most veteran executives to retirement and new career paths, not the least of which is chairman and co-founder Bill Gates, who’ll be taking on a more part-time role this July.But in a series of interviews, long time Microsoft employees tell InformationWeek that the company’s more than ready for change.

“These are all great guys and there’s no question that all those guys have a lot of institutional knowledge and they’ve contributed a massive amount to the company,” said 20-year Microsoft vet and senior VP Bob Muglia. “But one of the great things about all of them is that they brought that knowledge and gave it to a lot of other people that are still here and are also really engaged.”

VP S. Somasegar, an 18-year employee who now runs the company’s developer division, said that in some ways, no company could ever replace a founder like Gates who transformed an industry, but argued that because of that dispersal of institutional knowledge, leadership at Microsoft remains strong.

“The company has evolved with a deep set of leaders that we have created a sort of deep strength just below the Bill and [CEO] Steve [Ballmer] level,” he said.

Muglia is one of those, a long rising star whose role is among those changing. With the retirement of business division president Jeff Raikes approaching later this year and the hiring of former Macromedia CEO Stephen Elop to take his place, Muglia will be working directly for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and will become a bit more involved in the corporate side of running Microsoft, while still retaining control over the server and tools business.

“It’s just the evolution of a long term, successful company that’s going to be successful into the future,” said Ted Kummert, Microsoft’s VP in charge of SQL Server and a 17-year vet. “What survives is what’s the company’s about. It’s ultimately what we build that makes us successful today.”

The list of those who have recently left Microsoft or are now leaving reads like a who’s who of vets and top execs: Bill Gates, former co-president of platform and services division Jim Allchin, senior VP of Windows Brian Valentine, VP of Windows Core Mike Short, business division president Jeff Raikes, GM of platform strategy and Gates confidant Charles Fitzgerald, M&A chief Bruce Jaffe, and CIO Stuart Scott.

Plenty of long-time Microsoft employees remain at the company’s helm, including Ballmer, Muglia, senior VP and CTO David Vaskevitch, Windows chief Steven Sinofsky and entertainment and devices president Robbie Bach, among others. But there’s also a new guard that includes folks like chief software architect Ray Ozzie, COO Kevin Turner, newly hired Raikes replacement Stephen Elop and CIO Tony Scott who are just learning the reins.

Still, some change in direction is inevitable with a shifting leadership, a fact Muglia acknowledged and applauded.

“New ideas are a good thing,” he said, citing the company’s interoperability agreement with Novell (NSDQ: NOVL). “That’s something that would never have been done years ago, and some of that’s from fresh thinking.”

Likewise, relatively new talent at the top like chief software architect Ray Ozzie are focused heavily on positioning Microsoft to succeed in the age of the Internet. Whether they’ll maintain the pace of success Gates and the other old-timers have set remains to be seen.

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