FryUp: Lines on a former CFO

New Zealand's Cult of the CFO comes to an end while the music industry is doing just great

You had absolutely no idea

That YouTube could be coaxed into this. Admit it. The YouTube Piano Lines on the departure of Liddell So. Farewell then

Chris Liddell.

“Do more with less”

Was your motto.

Peter Klein’s turn now

To slurp down the dogfood.

You cut jobs

Thousands

And costs

In the billions.

It didn’t Matamata

That you didn’t buy Yahoo

All that bling

Was better spent on Bing.

But did you ever use Vista?

Chris Liddell, Microsoft's Kiwi CFO, to leave company

What’s the problem again?

You know how lobbyists for rights holders and similar people point to “rampant piracy” as the reason why we need to ditch inconvenient things like basic civil liberties and reverse centuries of jurisprudence that say we’re innocent until proven guilty and not the other way round?

Those claims have never been backed up with solid figures, and evidence is mounting up that the piracy allegations are lies, plain and simple.

What’s more, the entertainment industry isn’t doing too shabbily despite the worst recession in decades. In fact, NZ FACT and the likes call the New Zealand film and TV industry “burgeoning”, saying it contributes “an immense $2.5 billion” to the national economy.

The music industry seems to be doing rather nicely, thankyouverymuchly too, judging by annual reports such as the APRA/AMCOS one for 2009 that show turnover and distributable income going up “in a difficult year”.

Tell me again why we need draconian laws to police and terminate internet users’ accounts? Explain why the New Zealand public should put up with secret counterfeiting/copyright talks that could see overseas interests dictate our laws when there appears to be no need for such things.

Could this be a blatant, short-term maximisation of copyright income dressed up as protection for artists’ earnings and intellectual property rights?

OECD: Magnitude of counterfeiting and piracy of tangible products – November 2009 update

Jonathon Penney: Countering the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

750,000 lost jobs? The dodgy digits behind the war on piracy

Mainstream press waking up to the news that musicians are making more money

UK music critic: This is the golden age for music

APRA year in review 09

XKCD

IPhone or Droid?

Cartoon: www.xkcd.com

Robert X Cringely

Is there a Fox in Microsoft's hen house?

The House of Murdoch and the House of Redmond may be teaming up to kneecap Google. Newspaper publishers might like that idea, but you shouldn't Is Microsoft planning a secret news cartel that will ace out Google? Are Steve Ballmer and Rupert Murdoch in cahoots? That's the butt scuttling across the blogosphere, as reports leak that Bing has offered to pay News Corp actual cash dollars for exclusive rights to index its various properties (Wall Street Journal, FoxNews.com, et al). According to London's Financial Times: "Microsoft has had discussions with News Corp over a plan that would involve the media company being paid to 'de-index' its news websites from Google, setting the scene for a search engine battle that could offer a ray of light to the newspaper industry.... ...the Financial Times has learnt that Microsoft has also approached other big online publishers to persuade them to remove their sites from Google’s search engine." Microsoft using bribes to get what it wants? We are shocked, shocked to hear such accusations — well, except for the many times Microsoft tried to bribe consumers into using its products, that is. TechCrunch Europe has more on Microsoft's alleged overtures to other publishers (edited to remove unnecessary blather): "We’ve confirmed with our sources that ... Microsoft’s Peter Bale, Executive Producer of MSN UK... made a presentation to representatives of newspaper publishers such as the Financial Times, News International, Associated Newspapers, Germany’s Axel Springer and publishers from Poland and Italy, among others.... ...Microsoft plans to launch an assault on Google’s flank, by cozying up to major content providers, especially newspapers, that feel hard done by Google News. It plans to use Bing as a way to entice them out of the Google eco-system, into one where, increasingly, the content of major newspapers could well be found more often on Bing than on Google." Even if this story is true and Bing succeeds in locking up searches for all content from these publishers, this is a lame and desperate strategy for many reasons. As Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan sagely notes: "Ideally, what the AP or Murdoch want is an OPEC for news. They want to control the flow of news through the pipelines they think their news cartels control. As far as they’re concerned, they (and only they) have tapped into news reservoirs that exist. In reality, news is going to get out. Even if the cartel were solid and managed to all block Google (or another search engine), the news itself still flows."

In other words, trying to create a cartel for news is like trying to corner the market on oxygen. You can seal up all the doors and windows in your house, but people will still find a way to breathe. Murdoch, the Associated Press, and various other publishers have been whining about search engines and other aggregators "stealing" their content for years, even though technically they aren't doing anything of the sort. Google News and its ilk are merely summarising that content and linking to it. No, the people stealing the newspapers' content are the second- and third-tier blogs. But the blogs have no money, so they're not worth suing. Good Morning Silicon Valley's John Murrell has a fun take on it: "Once you get past the part about it being antithetical to the core values of the web and a disservice to all human beings, you can see the appeal of such an arrangement. Microsoft is willing to spend a considerable amount of money to distinguish itself from Google and increase its search share. Newspaper publishers are in need of a considerable amount of money to survive in the digital age and are looking for somebody, anybody, to pay for their content. And both parties, for different reasons, would be happy to see Google pressured into shelling out some bucks to index certain content. The problem is that if only a few publishers, even as big as News Corp, choose Bing exclusivity, Google's users may not even notice and the search-share needle won't budge." Here's what this strategy really means: It's a tacit admission that erecting a pay wall — which readers must climb over in order to access your content — is a dumb idea. The publishers want somebody to pay them for the right to access their content online. But deep down they know consumers aren't likely to do it, especially when they can get the same stuff for free elsewhere. So publishers are looking for deep-pocket types like Microsoft and Google (if they could) to foot the bill. Readers of a particular publication must then declare their loyalty to one search engine, or use two (or more) engines to get a full range of viewpoints. This doesn't help consumers one bit. Still, the notion of Ballmer getting in bed with Murdoch is just too juicy to pass up. It would be like Lex Luther hooking up with Darth Vader, or Snidely Whiplash teaming with Dastardly John. You've got to love it just for the entertainment value. Will exclusivity deals hobble search? Can the Google juggernaut be stopped? Post your thoughts below or e-mail me: cringe@infoworld.com.

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