Tag Archives: yahoo

Yahoo! confirms Tumblr deal, said to update Flickr

flickr2

Yahoo! Inc said on Monday that it is is acquiring blogging service Tumblr for $1.1 billion cash while sources said it was preparing to unveil updates to the company’s Flickr photo-sharing site.

Yahoo! Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer will detail changes to Flickr at a press event in New York, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

The deal, which will use about a fifth of Yahoo’s $5.4 billion in cash and marketable securities, is the largest by far since Mayer took the reins in July seeking to reverse a multi-year decline in Yahoo’s business and web traffic.

“Per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business,” Yahoo! said in a statement on Monday.

Mayer has been tweaking Yahoo!’s services and adding features designed to win back users and advertisers who have fled the web portal in favour of competing sites such as Facebook Inc and Google Inc. Improvements to Flickr in December helped Yahoo! top 300 million monthly mobile users, up from just 200 million at the end of the last year. An acquisition of Tumblr would add a social network of 108 million blogs that’s popular with a younger audience.

Tumblr is one of the web’s most popular hubs of so-called user-generated content. The deal will provide Yahoo! with a much-needed platform in social media to reach a younger generation of users less tied to Yahoo!’s traditional web portal and e-mail services.

Analysts, contacted after the deal was reported on Sunday by the online publication All Things D, said Yahoo! was paying a hefty premium.

Media reports have pegged Tumblr’s 2012 revenue at $13 million. The privately held company, based in Manhattan, does not disclose its financial results.

The New Flickr: What it Means for Flickr Pro Users

flickr2

Yahoo unveiled some big changes to Flickr on Monday, both in terms of features and overall design. One of those changes is that free users are no longer limited to a certain number of photos; instead, everyone gets 1TB of space for their full-resolution photos.

With that change comes an end to what used to be the biggest difference between free Flickr accounts and Flickr Pro. As it turns out, that’s by design. In addition to lifting the previous upload and storage limits, Flickr is quietly discontinuing its Flickr Pro accounts (existing Pro users can continue to use Flickr Pro) and shifting to a different type of upgrade model.

If you’re an existing Flickr Pro user, the new changes might be confusing. We were annoyed when reading the new FAQ on account types. That’s why we dug into the changes, and reached out to Yahoo for clarification on what the changes really mean for Flickr Pro users.

Which Flickr Pro Features are Now Available for Free?

The biggest advantage of Flickr Pro was that more than 200 photos were viewable in a photostream, users could only upload 100MB of photos a week and photos were not displayed in full resolution.

With the new Flickr, free users now get 1TB of photo uploads, and the maximum photo size is now 200MB (it was 10MB for free users before). What’s more, all users can create collections, post to up to 60 group pools and limit the maximum image size available to others.

Free users can also upload full HD videos up to 1GB each, with playback of three minutes.

Which Features are Still Limited to Flickr Pro?

The old Flickr Pro accounts included unlimited storage space, and that means it can exceed 1TB.

Flickr Pro users also get to view view counts and referrer statistics for their images. Lots of professionals often like this feature because it shows where a photo has been used or linked across the web.

Flickr Pro users can replace photos (without having to reupload), archive high-resolution original images and enjoy an ad-free experience.

Although storage and bandwidth are unlimited, they do come with a caveat. Flickr Pro users are limited to image sizes of 50MB and video sizes of 500MB. If you want to upgrade to the larger file sizes, you’ll need to convert from a Flickr Pro to a free account.

Can I Buy a New Flickr Pro Account Now?

No. Flickr Pro accounts stopped being sold as of May 20, 2013. Existing Flickr Pro users can continue to use the service or migrate to a free account.

Can I Still Keep my Flickr Pro Account?

Yes. Last year, Flickr migrated all Flickr Pro accounts into recurring accounts. As long as your account is by way of a recurring subscription (currently quarterly, yearly or for two years), you can continue to renew your account once it expires.

If your Flickr Pro account was the result of a gift certificate, it’s possible that because it is not recurring, it and its benefits will end once it expires.

How Long Can I Keep My Pro Account Active?

We asked Flickr how long Flickr Pro users would be able to continue to renew their accounts and were told, “There are no plans for Pro renewals to go away.”

Renewal rates will also remain the same as they are now.

What Happens if I Convert to a Free Account

Certain Flickr Pro members have the option to switch to a free account by Aug. 20, 2013.

Switching to a free account will bump users to upload limits of 200MB per photo and 1GB per video, but will also cap users at 1TB of space. Other features such as replacing photos and the ability to look up referrals and statistics will also disappear.

 

Yahoo sweeps out CEO tainted by inaccurate bio

Yahoo swept out Scott Thompson as CEO Sunday in an effort to clean up a mess created by a misleading resume that destroyed his credibility as he set out to turn around the long-troubled Internet company.

Ross Levinsohn, a 48-year-old executive who oversees Yahoo’s media and advertising services, is taking over as interim CEO.

Yahoo lured Thompson away from eBay’s PayPal in January to end a financial funk that has depressed the company’s stock for years. Although Yahoo remains one of the Internet’s most-visited websites, the company’s financial and stock performance has suffered in the face of competition from companies like Google and Facebook. The company’s foibles have exasperated investors who have seen Yahoo go through four full-time CEOs in less than five years without delivering on repeated promises to revive its revenue growth.

Thompson’s abrupt exit after just four months came as part of the latest shake-up on Yahoo’s board of directors, which has been in a state of flux for several months.

Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock and four other directors who had already announced plans to step down at the company’s annual meeting later this year are leaving the board immediately. All five of those directors signed off on the hiring of Thompson, a move that made them all look bad by the recent revelation that they didn’t catch an inaccuracy that had been circulating about his educational background for years.

Three of Yahoo’s vacated board seats will be filled by activist hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, a disgruntled shareholder who dropped the bombshell that led to Thompson’s departure, and two of his allies, former MTV Networks executive Michael Wolf and turnaround specialist Harry Wilson.

Alfred Amoroso, a veteran technology executive who joined Yahoo’s board just three months ago, replaces Bostock as chairman. After all the changes have been finalized, Yahoo will have 11 board members.

The appointment of the new directors ends a potentially disruptive battle with Loeb, who was waging a campaign to gain four seats on the company’s board. Loeb wound up settling for three board seats and the satisfaction of ushering out Thompson, who antagonized Loeb in late March by telling him he wasn’t qualified for the board.

In a statement issued through Yahoo, Loeb said he is “delighted” to join the Yahoo board and promised to “work collaboratively with our fellow directors.” Loeb’s fund, Third Point LLC, has invested about $1 billion to build a 5.8 percent stake in Yahoo.

Although Yahoo Inc. gave no official explanation for Thompson’s departure, it was clearly tied to inaccuracies that appeared on Thompson’s biography on the company’s website and in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The bio listed two degrees — in accounting and computer science — from Stonehill College, a small school near Boston. Loeb discovered Thompson never received a computer science degree from the college and exposed the fabrication in a May 3 letter to Yahoo’s board. The revelation raised questions about why the accomplishment had periodically appeared on his bio in the years while he was running PayPal, an online payment service owned by eBay Inc.

Yahoo initially stood behind Thompson, brushing off the inclusion of the bogus degree as an “inadvertent error,” but harsh criticism from employees, shareholders and corporate governance experts prompted the board to appoint a special committee to investigate how the fabrication occurred.

“Yahoo has a circuitous way of getting to the right answer, but I believe they have gotten to it,” said Stifel Nicolaus analyst Jordan Rohan.

Thompson, 54, spent much of the past week scrambling to save his job. He sent out a memo to employees to apologize for the distractions caused by news of the illusory degree and then sought to assure other Yahoo executives that he wasn’t the source of the inaccuracy. He blamed a Chicago headhunting firm, Heidrick & Struggles.

In an internal memo last week, Heidrick & Struggles denied Thompson’s accusation. “This allegation is verifiably not true and we have notified Yahoo! to that effect,” CEO Kevin Kelly wrote to employees. On Sunday, a spokesman for the firm declined to comment.

Thompson’s rapid downfall leaves Yahoo in turmoil amid a reorganization that had only just begun. Last month, Thompson laid off 2,000 employees, or 14 percent of the workforce, in the biggest payroll purge in the company’s history, and had started to identify about 50 services that he wanted to close or sell.

Now it falls to Levinsohn, whom Thompson had promoted to a more prominent role last week, to get Yahoo back on track. He joined Yahoo 18 months ago when the company was still being run by Carol Bartz, who was fired in September. Before coming to Yahoo, Levinsohn had won fans running Fox Interactive, the Internet arm of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire at News Corp.

“This may seem like a great deal of news to digest, but as you are all keenly aware, Yahoo is a dynamic, global company in a dynamic, global industry, so change — sometimes unexpected and sometimes at lightning speed — is something we will continue to live with and something we should embrace,” Levinsohn wrote to Yahoo employees Sunday in a memo provided to The Associated Press.

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Jordan Rohan thinks Levinsohn’s media background may make him better qualified to be Yahoo’s CEO than Thompson, whose experience is rooted in electronic commerce.

“Ross Levinsohn is common-sense executive, a pragmatic operator who people love to work for,” Rohan said. “He is the right guy for this job.”

Carlos Kirjner, a senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein also suggested Thompson’s experience running PayPal’s rapidly expanding service made him a bad fit at Yahoo.

“It is very different to be CEO of a growth company, making choices between opportunities, and to be CEO of a company in turnaround mode, whose parts are declining or losing share,” Kirjner said.

Thompson’s inaccurate resume might have been more forgivable at a company that was posting big returns for its shareholders, said James Post, a management professor at Boston University. But it’s likely that Third Point was looking for an excuse to get rid of Thompson, Post said.

But Yahoo’s stock has been sagging since it squandered an opportunity to sell itself to Microsoft Corp. in May 2008 for $33 per share, or $47.5 billion. Yahoo’s stock hasn’t traded above $20 since September 2008. The shares ended last week at $15.19.

“Yahoo has been embattled for such a long time that there are a lot of people prepared to believe the worst about that company,” said Post, who specializes in corporate governance and professional ethics. . “When you’re angry at the management and the board, when nothing’s going right and you’re losing money, it’s understandable that shareholders would adopt an ‘off with their head’ attitude.”

Brian Wieser, a senior analyst at Pivotal Research, said he believes Thompson’s ouster will be a positive move, removing an overhanging distraction and adding board members with new perspectives. Wieser said employees he’d talked to believed Thompson was showing a lack of appreciation for some of Yahoo’s business units, and that morale had degenerated even more during his tenure. “It was bad,” Wieser said, “and went to worse.”

Wieser said that Third Point is “exactly the kind of investor every company should want,” since the hedge fund is apparently trying to heal Yahoo, not break it up. “There are no barbarians at the gate here,” Wieser said. “They’re actually trying to help.”