Code/red: Yahoo’s Not-So-Coming Attractions and RadiumOne Ranting
// HAPPENING TODAY
- Apple and Samsung head back to federal court in San Jose to bore the bejesus out of the long-suffering jurors hearing the case. Today’s big highlight: The reading aloud of 56 pages of jury instructions.
- Digital media outfits will host “NewFronts,” their annual imitation of TV’s “Upfronts,” where they try desperately to convince advertisers to spend their TV money on the Web instead.
About What You’re About to Read
Between 1999 and 2007 I wrote a daily newsletter and blog for the San Jose Mercury News called “Good Morning Silicon Valley,” charting tech’s historic boom and ignominious bust with what I hope was levity, healthy skepticism and credibility. It was a great time to be writing broadly about tech, particularly if you didn’t take it too seriously and SEO concerns didn’t rule out headlines like “HP, Vatican to develop new ‘Holy See Plus Plus’ programming language” and “Google guys to Playboy: They’re real and they’re fabulous … no, our options, you idiots.” And I had a blast doing it. Which is why I’m thrilled Walt and Kara asked me to again perform triage on the day’s tech news with Code/red. New times deserve a new column, but the mission’s the same: To entertain and inform with a daily collection of short news items, scoops, comments and commentary, aided and abetted by whoever’s reading. I hope you’ll join me. Got a tip or a comment? Reach me at John@recode.net. Subscribe to the email newsletter version of the column here.
Yahoo to Unveil New “Buy Advertising on This Thing That Doesn’t Exist” Plan
Yahoo will show off its new array of video shows to advertisers at its “NewFront” presentation tonight. But even if marketers want to buy into Marissa Mayer’s pitch, they’re going to have to cool their jets. Sources say most of the stuff Yahoo will be hawking tonight won’t exist until 2015 (and that’s even later than the TV guys!). That’s not totally surprising, given the fact that Yahoo has been rushing to find stuff it can sell. Yahoo will tell advertisers that the delay is a bonus for them, since they can insert themselves directly into the yet-to-be-filmed shows.
No, but That’s the Real Promise of Cloud Computing
HBO “Veep” Selina Meyer: “Do they even have bathrooms in this building or do they put their turds up in the cloud?”
Ooh Look, Larry King Is Interviewing
Sure, “Vic Gundotra is interviewing,” the rumor that appeared on Secret days before the quarterback of impressively well realized Google social failures like Buzz and Google+ abruptly left the company, is hard proof that noteworthy news does occasionally bubble up on the anonymous messaging app. But even better, it’s evidence of a developing sense of humor on what otherwise seems to be a slam book community of San Francisco and New York assholes and casual encounter evangelists. To wit, the “is interviewing” meme that it recently birthed, which as you’ll note from the art above has already had its way with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple design guru Jony Ive and President Barack Obama.
Also “Unpredictable”: Rupert Murdoch on Twitter
Rupert Murdoch: “Just completing week in Silicon Vy. Exponential increase in innovation, not just here but world wide. Implications (jobs?) unpredictable.”
Still in Development: “Keeping Up With the Ballmers”
Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studios on Monday unveiled its first lineup of shows tailored directly toward the 85 million gamers that own its Xbox console, and it’s pretty much what you’d expect: A pair of projects based on the Halo franchise, a series about robotic human servants, a stop-motion animated show by the folks behind “Robot Chicken” and a Western featuring the undead.
Fired RadiumOne CEO Announces New Rant Targeting Platform
Former RadiumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chahal, whose career at the ad tech company ended over the weekend following fallout over his pleading guilty to two misdemeanors in a San Francisco domestic violence case, doesn’t know when to stop, it seems. Late last night, the high-profile entrepreneur penned his second I-am-the-victim-here blog post, criticizing the board that sacked him, as well as my boss, “social media blogger” Kara Swisher, for leading the mob that supposedly forced its hand. The way Chahal tells it, RadiumOne’s board — Adams Street Capital’s Robin Murray, in particular — was “ecstatic” at his misdemeanor pleading, which it felt would not undermine RadiumOne’s upcoming IPO. But then “social media became the court of public opinion,” and the board succumbed to “haters” and asked for his resignation. That’s clearly an obvious way for the very indignant Chahal to frame the story, but it’s also not exactly how it went down. Sources tell Code/red that RadiumOne’s board had already essentially decided to sack Chahal by Saturday morning — well before Swisher reported that they were mulling his fate. Sources added that the board had also been talking to PR crisis firm Brunswick Group that afternoon to manage the ensuing spectacle.
Something to Keep in Mind as Apple Builds Out Its Electronic Payments Business:
Asymco’s Horace Dediu: A comparison of iTunes accounts and Amazon Active Accounts.
And as Any Bad Piggy Will Tell You, Foundation Building Ain’t Easy Around Here
Rovio, the Finnish gaming outfit behind the Angry Birds franchise, announced a 52 percent drop in its 2013 net profit from the year prior. What happened? According to Rovio CFO Herkko Soininen, 2013 was “a foundation-building year.”
Asimov Estate Readies Patent Claims for Self-Driving Cars, FaceTime, Entire Web
Isaac Asimov on 2014, in 1964: “Much effort will be put into the designing of vehicles with ‘Robot-brains,’ vehicles that can be set for particular destinations and that will then proceed there without interference by the slow reflexes of a human driver. … Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books.”
Mr. Watson, Come Here, We’ve Been Subpoenaed
If the Supreme Court finds that Aereo really is just a clever way to violate copyright law and summarily tosses it into the footnotes of television history, it will be a blow to innovation the likes of which we have never before seen. This according to Aereo investor and media mogul Barry Diller, who on Sunday equated a shutdown of the Web TV service with the eradication of the telephone. “What would our television and communications be like without the videotape recorder?” Diller asked CNN. “I mean, what if there was no telephone? … You just can’t conceive it. I believe that Aereo is the same thing.”
I Prefer to Think of It as Monty Python’s Fish Slapping Dance …
British crime novelist Philip Kerr: “One person will tweet this, and another will tweet that, and before you know it, as we say in England, it’s handbags. Meaning, you’re two effete idiots trying to hit each other with handbags.”