Microsoft’s Yahoo Bid Rejected: Watch This Space!

Economics, The Interwebs 1 Comment »

Last week news broke that Microsoft had made a bid to buy rival search marketing company Yahoo for a figure of $44.6bn in a deal that would be made up of both cash and shares. When made, the offer was 62% above Yahoo’s closing market share price on Thursday.

The offer was made to Yahoo in the form of a letter to the board days after revenue forecasts had been cut and the company had committed $300m to try and revive its core business in 2008.

The offer to buy Yahoo came at a time when there is increasing belief that Microsoft’s existing business model is becoming more unfeasible in the internet age. The take over offer could therefore indicate a radical shift in how Microsoft perceives the internet and its own future within it.

With Google releasing a range of free online software alternatives for much of Microsoft’s offerings over the last year, the search market leader is certainly challenging the enterprise business model that software giant Microsoft in built upon.

Currently Microsoft makes the majority of its money by selling license fees to its impressive software packages installed on PCs and servers. With Google’s services available freely over the internet this immediately threatens the foundations the business is built upon.

Although there was much talk of counter bids and legal challenges from Google should the deal be accepted, many will rest easier in the Google camp with news that Yahoo has rejected at least the initial offer for its holdings.

With this take over bid Microsoft is undoubtedly after what it sees as the gems in Yahoo’s online advertising empire, a sector that Microsoft has thus far struggled to move into with any great success. Yahoo also has a range of online applications that could bolster Microsoft’s existing Windows Live online services for both businesses and consumers. It seems now Microsoft will have to come up with a better offer to in order to acquire those assets, meaning a steady re-evaluation of how valuable those assets are, and how important they actually are in Microsoft’s changing business model.

Yahoo said of the original offer that it “substantially undervalues” the company and was not in shareholders’ interests.

Originally worth $31 a share, the Wall Street Journal was quoted as saying that Yahoo’s board would be unwilling to accept any offer shy of $40 a share. That price is a 109% premium on the share price on the day of the original offer, and a price Yahoo has not traded at for over two years.

Although the original has now been rejected – worth $41.8b at time of rejection– the table was left open for further negotiations so watch this space as Microsoft could well sweeten its offer.
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Playstation 3 vs Xbox 360 : The Real Story

Gaming 1 Comment »

I recently got my long awaited PS3 console, and after two weeks of vigorous playing I thought I would write a post detailing my initial impressions, and whether the PS3 has lived up to the hype that surrounded the its launch, and whether I thought the Xbox 360 would have been a better choice in hindsight.

I am somewhat in an ideal position to write such a review as up until the arrival of my PS3 console I had regular access to its main competitor, the Xbox360. Due to this every opinion has been based upon a comparison of the two next generation games consoles.

To start with I will confess that I have always sided with Sony over Microsoft’s offering, and the Playstaion console has been my preference over the years and as such I have both the PS1 and PS2 consoles that are older brothers of the PS3. Because of this I have always found that I have had a physiological barrier that has prevented me from completely accepting the Xbox consoles, and as such I have never fully embraced them as any gamer probability should have.

That said once I gave the Xbox 360 a chance I was seriously impressed. Playing Fifa 2008 (as a popular game across both consoles that I was already familiar with), I was surprised with how similar the joy pad controls were on each of the two consoles. Looking somewhat foreign initially, the joy pad of the Xbox was both easy to adapt to and prevented the frustrating initiation period often common with other consoles.

In terms of game play too the Xbox was superb, and rigged up on a HD TV the graphics truly did look next generation. What amazed me was the difference in response to the joy pad controls, making the game so much more responsive than similar titles on the PS2 and the older Xbox.

The big disappointment for me was the online gaming facility of the Xbox3 360, a major reason I wanted to get a next generation console in the first place. Although great when in play, the Xbox delivers online playing capability through its Xbox live service which requires a fee of £5 a month or £40 a year. A sneaky hidden cost I thought and one which left a sour taste.

The Playstaion’s online gaming facility on the other hand is a free offering, providing game and system updates, downloads and internet access much the same as the Xbox 360 but without any additional fee.

The other drawback was that the Xbox 360 was also in need of a HD DVD player plug in costing £100 in order to play next generation movies, whilst the PS3 comes with a built in Blu-ray player, which more importantly is updatable. The built in next generation DVD player is a must for me, as realistically games consoles are treated increasingly like a hub for home entertainment systems, and any next generation console should be equipped for that.

Having purchased the 40GB version in order to stretch the games budget further I did however find myself without the backwards compatibility of the 60GB PS3 model. This at first disappointed me, but after a fortnight of gaming I realised how often you actually play older games on new generation consoles. The answer was almost never. In fact after buying the PS2 in never played a PS1 games on it, so if Sony needs to take this technology out to bring the retail price of the 40GB console down then that is a sacrifice I am willing to make. I still have the PS2 so can always open that back up if I get the any sudden nostalgic cravings in the future.

With everything taken into account the PS3 was impressive, and I think surpasses the Xbox 360 with the provision of free online gaming and built in Blu-ray player. A very good console and will be a market leader for several years at least.

PS3 9/10
Xbox 360 7/10

WordPress Security Update

blogging No Comments »

Just to give a quick update to fellow bloggers hosting wordpress blog software, an urgent security update has been released for blogs that have registration enabled.

The security update patches a vunerability in the XML-RPC implementation which though specially crafted requests users can gain editorial rights on posts across the blog.

WordPress 2.3.3 has now been released without the aforementioned vulnerability, and also provides fixes for a number of other bugs. If users want to keep their older version of wordpress they can download the only the fixed version of xmlrpc.php from wordpress which will remove the flaw.

IPv4 To Be Replaced By IPv6

The Interwebs 1 Comment »

According to an article published on the BBC this week the first steps are being taking in an effort to overhaul the internets core addressing system. These initial steps include update to the master address books for the internet, where they are now prepared in a new format known as IP version 6. The intention is that this will end the shortage of addresses that sites can be given with the pool of unallocated addresses predicted to expire in 2011.

The problem lies with the numerical addressing system the internet currently uses. If a user uses word to find what they are looking for online and therefore types in ‘The Shelf ‘ to the address bar, computers will use a numerical equivalent that is stored in the nets master address books load the requested site

Currently the majority of internet addresses are written in a format specified by version 4 of the internet protocol called IPv4. From the 4/02/08 root servers of the internet will have a small number of records added to them that are written in IPv6.

The result will mean that any computers using IPv6 will be able to find each other without involving any IPv4 technology.

Ipv4 was the fourth version of internet protocol but was the first one to be widely used. With 4,294,967,296 possible addresses available it is which is 20 years old and is now down to the last 14% capacity of unallocated addresses. IPv6 relieves this problem presenting potentially unlimited number of addresses.

Technical Comparison
Ipv4 uses a 32 bit addressing system and has four different class types, the class types are A, B, C, and D. An example of Ipv4 is 207. 142. 131. 235.

One of the main upgrades in IPv6 is in the number of addresses available for networked devices. For example, each mobile phone or other kind of electronic device can have its own IPv6 address. IPv6 allows 3.4×10^38 addresses. This is mainly due to the number of bits in each protocol.

2008 RBS Six Nations to be Tightest in Years

sports No Comments »

With the six nation 2008 about to lick off I started thinking about the surprise success of the English national rugby union team reaching last years world cup finals in France last year, and wondered what are chances of winning actually are.

Many are tipping the first game to actually decide this year’s tournament with Wales visiting Twickenham tomorrow. The fact remains though that this years is the most open Six Nations for years. No more can the once English juggernaut or the in-transition French claim to be overwhelming favourites with the recent emergence of both Wales and Ireland.

Odds:
To show how tight the tournament is Coral is offering best prices on France and England at 7-4 France and 9-4 England. France have won the past two titles but both have been on points difference from Ireland, who are priced at 11-2

Either way the tournament is always great to watch, especially for someone like myself who doesn’t follow rugby week in week out.

There is a couple online rugby games on the official six nations site that are also well worth a visit to kill the time between matches.

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