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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

March 31, 2008 at 10:33 AM

Yahoo not holding back new initiatives with Microsoft bid pending

Clearly not content to sit still as the Microsoft boa constrictor patiently tightens, Yahoo has churned out several new initiatives in the past two months. The latest is Shine, an Internet site focusing on women that it launched today. The site is getting a positive initial reception.

So what do new initiatives like Shine — and the others reviewed below — add to the ongoing calculus of Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo? Will the executives in Redmond weighing an increased bid see these moves as examples of why they should pay more for Yahoo?

Let’s review some of the initiatives Yahoo has rolled out in the two months since Microsoft’s proposal:

Shine. Kara Swisher and others note that this is one more in a long series of examples of Yahoo’s media savvy. “For all its history, right down to today, even with all these dumb widgets competing for users’ attention, Yahoo continues to natively understand how to to entertain, inform and serve up their own and others content to consumers,” she writes.

OpenSocial. Last week, Yahoo got on board Google’s OpenSocial train. It’s a bid to make life easier for developers who want to build Web applications that work on several social networks. Yahoo gave few specifics on its plans. The alliance with Google and MySpace could easily be viewed as a snub to Microsoft, which, along with Facebook, is not participating in the effort.

Open Search Platform. Speaking of open, “If you didn’t realize it, Yahoo! is embracing openness like never before.” That’s how the company announced an initiative to enable third-parties “to build and present the next generation of search results. There are a number of layers and capabilities that we have built into the platform, but our intent is clear — present users with richer, more useful search results so that they can complete their tasks more efficiently and get from ‘to do’ to ‘done.’ ” Open is the new black among tech companies this year.

Research. Yahoo launched a new research lab in Haifa, Israel, focused on Web search. It expanded its India research operations with a new lab in Bangalore. That lab is focused on “next generation search and advertising technologies.” Of course, both Yahoo and Microsoft need all the help they can get in search, where Google continued to whittle away their market share last month.

Yahoo Buzz. The company’s updated extension to its main portal,, acts as an aggregator of what’s hot from around the Web based on “search term popularity, the number of times a story is e-mailed from Buzz, and the number of votes a story receives.”

Maven Networks. Yahoo bought the Cambridge, Mass.-based online video platform provider, for $160 million. Its technology is “used to manage, distribute and monetize premium online video content for over 30 major media companies, including Fox News, Sony BMG, CBS Sports, Hearst, Gannett, Scripps Networks, and the Financial Times” among others. One of Microsoft’s favorite reasons for buying Yahoo is the ability to “innovate in emerging user experiences such as video and mobile.”

Strategic partnership with T-Mobile in Europe. Yahoo made several announcements around its mobile search platform including a deal with T-Mobile to make Yahoo oneSearch the exclusive mobile search service for the company’s European customers.

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