Microsoft hook up with Yahoo (finally!)


It’s been one of the greatest “Will they, won’t they” relationships of all time…(perhaps beaten only by Mulder & Scully)

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 and now it turns out, (like nearly all cheerleaders in horror films), that yes they will:

Microsoft & Yahoo are inked a 10 year deal to combine their search businesses.

Taken from the official site for this announcement:

  • The term of the agreement is 10 years;
  • Microsoft will acquire an exclusive 10 year license to Yahoo!’s core search technologies, and Microsoft will have the ability to integrate Yahoo! search technologies into its existing web search platforms;
  • Microsoft’s Bing will be the exclusive algorithmic search and paid search platform for Yahoo! sites. Yahoo! will continue to use its technology and data in other areas of its business such as enhancing display advertising technology.
  • Yahoo! will become the exclusive worldwide relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers. Self-serve advertising for both companies will be fulfilled by Microsoft’s AdCenter platform, and prices for all search ads will continue to be set by AdCenter’s automated auction process.
  • Each company will maintain its own separate display advertising business and sales force.
  • Yahoo! will innovate and “own” the user experience on Yahoo! properties, including the user experience for search, even though it will be powered by Microsoft technology.
  • Microsoft will compensate Yahoo! through a revenue sharing agreement on traffic generated on Yahoo!’s network of both owned and operated (O&O) and affiliate sites.
    • Microsoft will pay traffic acquisition costs (TAC) to Yahoo! at an initial rate of 88% of search revenue generated on Yahoo!’s O&O sites during the first 5 years of the agreement.
    • Yahoo! will continue to syndicate its existing search affiliate partnerships.
  • Microsoft will guarantee Yahoo!’s O&O revenue per search (RPS) in each country for the first 18 months following initial implementation in that country.
  • At full implementation (expected to occur within 24 months following regulatory approval), Yahoo! estimates, based on current levels of revenue and current operating expenses, that this agreement will provide a benefit to annual GAAP operating income of approximately $500 million and capital expenditure savings of approximately $200 million. Yahoo! also estimates that this agreement will provide a benefit to annual operating cash flow of approximately $275 million.
  • The agreement protects consumer privacy by limiting the data shared between the companies to the minimum necessary to operate and improve the combined search platform, and restricts the use of search data shared between the companies. The agreement maintains the industry-leading privacy practices that each company follows today.
  • The bold and underlining is mine to highlight some of the key points. It looks like the awesomeness of Bing was a driving force behind showing Yahoo that this deal made sense and it certainly looks like the balance sheets will be healthier after all this!

    Another point to note is:

    “The agreement does not cover each company’s web properties and products, email, instant messaging, display advertising, or any other aspect of the companies’ businesses. In those areas, the companies will continue to compete vigorously”

    so at best, MS & Yahoo are Frenemies :-)

    I haven’t delved into the depths of this partnership and who will earn what when etc, but there is more info on that over at the official site:

    http://www.choicevalueinnovation.com/thedeal/Default.aspx

    ps: I’ve consciously stayed away from using the term “MicroHoo” :-)

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    NFL Stars show some skills


    I’m not a huge fan of NFL to be honest. I’ve tried watching a few Superbowls and I’m of the opinion that when it’s good, it’s pretty good…but when it isn’t good-it’s really boring-and that seems to be the majority of the time! I’d also never really considered that NFL stars have got “mad skills” for tricks and fancy show off party tricks…but this video shows that they certainly have!

    We’re all used to football (soccer) players showing off and also those is the world of basketball but this is something I’d never seen before-and it’s pretty amazing…enjoy :-)

    Thanks to RBK for the advert and Blograid.de for having the vid :-)

    Kevin Spacey on Twitter


    I’m a fan of Kevin Spacey and this video of him schooling David Letterman on the “intricacies” of Twitter is excellent.

    Letterman really doesn’t seem to know what’s going on and asks some classic questions…I particularly like his surprise at the thumbs :-)

    Good skills to Geeks are Sexy on this…

    Total Eclipse of the Heart: Literal Video


    It’s been a while since I’ve seen any new literal videos but we’ve got one now :-) While it isn’t made by the originator of the literal video craze/meme, it’s still pretty freaking awesome! Check out this great re-working of Bonnie Tyler below:

    Windows 7 WILL have IE


    The EU fuelled saga of IE8 in Windows 7 has taken another turn now-it seems Windows 7 WILL included Internet Explorer here in Europe. Microsoft have instead agreed with the EU’s idea of having a “ballot screen” allowing users to choose and download other competing browsers such as Firefox or (the instigators of this whole thing) Opera…This is a bit of an about-turn as MS were dead set against this idea initially.

    The interesting thing is how this affects the availability of Windows 7 upgrades in Europe. The last minute creation of “Windows E” meant that an upgrade version wouldn’t be available in Europe so users would need to do a clean install-which wasn’t an ideal situation. However with this change, perhaps we will get the ability to upgrade after all?

    It seems that Microsoft will continue with Windows 7 “E” until the EU formally accepts the Ballot proposal. Hopefully that won’t take too long (in the work of international law) to go through and Europe will be able to get it’s upgrade on! The RC installation of Windows 7 doesn’t expire until March 2010 so if they can get it wrapped up before then-that should suit everybody…expect those who’ve pre-ordered!

    Thanks to Mary Jo for this and as she updates, I’ll update :-)

    *Update* It seems that Windows 7 E may well still be the plan!

    *Update* There is now an official statement on the Microsoft PressPass site here. The most exciting bit is:

    “Under our new proposal, among other things, European consumers who buy a new Windows PC with Internet Explorer set as their default browser would be shown a ‘ballot screen’ from which they could, if they wished, easily install competing browsers from the Web. If this proposal is ultimately accepted, Microsoft will ship Windows in Europe with the full functionality available in the rest of the world.” (Bold mine).

    The EU should accept it as it was their/Opera’s idea in the first place so hopefully we’ll all be doing nice upgrade installs on our machines soon-whoo hoo!

    Windows 7 e

    Check out my sweet photo editing skills ;-)

    *Update* Opera now want the Ballot screen to be logo free (See techflash)! I’ve said it before that Opera are, and pardon my French, taking the piss…as formerly funny fellow Northerner Peter kay once said “Too far (Tony), too far”!

    Applocker & Windows 7


    What is Applocker?

    Applocker allows you to prevent programs from executing on desktop machines, through central administration. It is one of the many new features of Windows 7, although it is only included in the Enterprise version of the OS.

    It is similar to the “Software Restriction Policies” (SRP) from previous incarnations of Windows but much improvement with more power and greater flexibility.

    How does it work?

    There are 3 kinds of rules available with Applocker:

    Path Rules: Allows you to restrict program execution to certain directory paths, such as Program Files etc but is only effective if users are unable to install their own applications. Monitoring and tracking allowed folders can be time consuming and difficult.

    Hash Rules: Uses cryptographic hashes of executables to identify them. Very secure but can be time consuming as the hash must be updated after any updates to the program.

    Publisher Rules: Identify applications based on digital signatures issued by the publisher. While these are similar to “Certificate Rules” in SRP, they are more sophisticated. You can restrict execution to the:

    Publisher (I.e. Microsoft)

    Product name (such as Office 2007)

    File name (office2007.exe)

    File version (14.0.1.1 for example)

    All 3 rules can be applied to:

    Executables (.exe)

    Installer Files (.bat, .cmd etc)

    System Libraries (.dll etc)

    and all three rules allow the creation “exceptions” such as:

    “Allow Publisher “Microsoft” except file name mediaplayer.exe”

    In the Windows 7 deployment I’m working on, and I’m sure many, many more, AppLocker is if great interest to System Administrators. It’s ability to block programs will lead not only to increased security but could also be used for increased productivity-particularly in schools.

    You can see Microsoft’s Paul Cooke talking about AppLocker here.

    For a great look at the technical aspects of using and setting up Applocker-head over to 4Sysops here.

    Wu Tang Lego Videos


    The title says it all really-some bright spark by the name of “Davo” has created some awesome Lego based re-enactments of Wu-Tang videos and skits :-)

    There’s not much else to do but watch them. Unfortunately I don’t seem to be able to embed Vimeo vids here so here are the links:

    The Mystery of Chessboxin’

    Killer Tape Skit

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    Windows 7 has been RTM’d


    Windows 7 has now officially been RTMd-Released To Manufacturing, which means the final code has been set-no more changes now!

    I’m not going to go on about it too much as there are about eleventy million blogs talking about this right now-but hey let’s make it eleventy million and one :-)

    Not only is Windows 7 completed, but also Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V R2:

    Windows 7

    Windows Server 2008 R2

    Hyper-V R2

    Not long now til we get the final code :-)

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    When will I get Windows 7?


    It might seem that this question has already been answered with “October 22nd” but there are numerous different ways for people to access Microsoft software these days so here’s a complete list:

    OEM’s: 2 days after RTM (Release to Manufacture)

    Technet and MSDN Subscribers: August 6th in English and October 1st for other languages. *Update* The download will appear, as if by magic (!), at 6pm GMT tonight…so not long left!

    MS Partners via the Partner Network: August 16th in English and October 1st for other languages

    MS Action Pack Subscribers: August 23rd in English and October 1st for other languages

    Volume Licence customers with Software Assurance: August 7th in English and a couple of weeks later for other languages

    Volume Licence customers without Software Assurance: September 1st

    Home Pack Confirmed:

    Microsoft have confirmed (via the Windows Team Blog) that there will be a Windows Home Premium Family Pack, which can be installed on up to 3 machines! However-they have said it will be available in “selected markets” and no more…I’m waiting to hear back as to whether the UK has been selected :-) 21-07-09 Microsoft have told me they’ll be releasing “more details on the family pack in the near future” so keep checking back for updates!