Verizon to Rename Yahoo, Altaba after Purchase

It also looks as though Marissa Mayer is out of a job…

Verizon announced yesterday that it still intends to acquire Yahoo for its aforementioned $4.8B purchase plans. This is surprising to many, me included, as Yahoo revealed that it had a security breach where over 1.0B user accounts had been exposed. This large breach occurred six to twelve months prior to the attack in 2014 where 500M user accounts were compromised. This deal came about after CEO Marissa Mayer failed to turn the company around after her arrival in early to mid-2012.

It also looks as though she’s completely given up. According to Paul Sweeney, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, “…it looks like [Mayer’s] plan is to complete the sale of the operating company to Yahoo and let the lawyers and tax accountants figure out the best option for the stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan.” She is also out as a director, as she as well as six other key board members, including Yahoo cofounder David Filo and former board chairman Maynard Webb, will be stepping down. Webb was named Chairman emeritus.

Despite the additional, larger breach, Verizon still appears to be interested in the 23 year old company. After the sale of the company, Yahoo will change its name to Altaba – a combination of the words, “alternate” and Alibaba,” according to someone familiar with the matter. Yahoo owns stakes in both Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. And Yahoo Japan, where, according to analysts, is where the core of the sale’s value for Verizon lies. Verizon isn’t expected to gain a lot of value from its direct purchase of Yahoo.

Interestingly enough, according to the Wall Street Journal, Mayer is expected to stay with Yahoo after the sale to Verizon, though her exact role has yet to be announced.

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Yahoo Hacked – 1.0B Accounts Exposed

Dude… The Fat Lady is SO singing over at Yahoo…

yahoo exposed

  1. There are a few things that come to mind here:
  2. If I were Marissa Mayer, I would crawl under a rock and hide. Like… forever.
  3. If I were Verizon, I would run, not walk, so fast and so far away from the purchase of Yahoo, and I would NEVER look back (or second guess that decision)
  4. If I were a Yahoo user, I would set fire to my account and use the mail account that my ISP gave me. At this point a comcast.net mail account can’t be seen as a bad thing…

To be honest, this is beyond pathetic.

I’ve heard it mentioned that the security breach in question is the result of a separate, earlier attack that occurred in 2013, at least six to twelve months before the attack in 2014 that exposed 500 million accounts to hackers. I’ve heard that security analysts at Yahoo brought their concerns to the management team and the analysis was effectively ignored.

In a statement, Yahoo said they weren’t able to identify the intrusion associated with the breach. Hackers may have stolen names, email addresses, telephone numbers, MD5 hashed passwords, dates of birth, and in some cases, both encrypted and unencrypted security questions and answers.

The company has further admitted that hackers may have accessed all of this information due to a theft of source code, enabling them to manufacture a way in without requiring a password. Apparently, they were able to forge a cookie that allowed them to retrieve credentials that were stored locally. While Yahoo has invalidated the security questions and their answers as well as the forged cookies, the damage has already been done.

The thing that really irks me the most here, is that this was a bigger breach than the one that was reported in 2014; AND it occurred BEFORE the breach that got so much publicity. This hack is twice as big and in my opinion twice as damning. Verizon was already “evaluating” its purchase of Yahoo. If I were them, I’d evaluate myself right out of the deal. The assets aren’t worth the risk.

Yahoo has been severely criticized by six different US senators for taking two years to publicize the September 2014 breach that lost them 500,000 accounts. This latest breach occurred a full year or so before that, and its being revealed AFTER the 2014 breach.

At this point, Yahoo knows basically NOTHING. They have no idea who may have perpetrated the attack, which nation may have sponsored the hackers or the full extent of the information that has been compromised. As a result, Yahoo’s stock took a 2.5% hit in afterhours trading on 2016-12-14. At this point, I can see the value of the stock dropping more as Verizon “evaluates” their purchase plans.

As I said, Yahoo is over. Marissa Mayer is done as a CEO, despite the amount of promise she showed during the early part of her tenue with the company. Verizon should do themselves a favor and target other web content and properties . I think their money would be better spent on assets that weren’t compromised.

If I were a Yahoo user, I’d shut my account down, get a secure password manager, and change passwords and security question answers on all my financial accounts… and that’s just for starters. Yahoo has been around since the early 1990’s. A lot of users have a great deal invested in them, and all of that metadata may be compromised at this point. Better safe than sorry for ALL involved (including investors, Yahoo management and Verizon, as well as users)…

Are you a Yahoo user? Are you still using your Yahoo account? Are you concerned about this breach? What, if anything, have you done to protect yourself and your account information? Why don’t you meet me in the Discussion area below and give me your thoughts on the breach and on Yahoo itself as well as what you’re doing to make yourself safe.

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Notable Updates for the Week

All this… and it’s only THURSDAY!

There are two big stories that I want to cover quickly, as I really don’t want to stretch these out any longer than they need to be. Both are significant, however, and really do deserve some commentary.

Samsung Officially Discontinues the Note 7
Despite what anyone may think, this one surprised me a bit. I didn’t think that Samsung would kill the Note 7. I really thought that it would go away for a while and then come back as the Note 7.1 or Note 7.5 or something like that, after they figured out where to get batteries that don’t blow up in your pants…but I’m just sayin’…

note7-discontinued

It really costs a lot of money when an entire product is cancelled. It also really says a lot about what Samsung’s Supplier Quality program could and could not do when it came to batteries for this device. But again, I guess that’s just me.

It really seems as though Samsung threw in the towel a little early here.

However, according to TechCrunch, Samsung confirmed the status of the discontinued Note 7 to the Wall Street Journal… and that’s it. Samsung didn’t go into any kind of details or provide any additional information on how or why it stopped producing the device. They just stopped.

I also saw a report on The Verge indicating that Samsung was sending customers fireproof return boxes for their Note 7’s.

On the damage control side of things, I knew that the costs to Samsung would be big; but I got surprised here, again. According to Reuters, the cost of discontinuing production of the Galaxy Note 7 could cost Samsung up to $17B USD.

Yes.

That’s billions with a big, fat capital “B.”

When you couple that with the $19B USD stock hit (yes, again, that’s billions with another big, fat capital, “B”) that Samsung has taken, this whole fiasco has cost Samsung over $36B USB.

Yahoo Removes eMail Forwarding
In a move that’s CLEARLY meant to stop the flow of entrenched users from transferring their email to another service, it was reported, again, by TechCrunch that Yahoo is disabled eMail forwarding in all Yahoo eMail accounts that didn’t PREVIOUSLY have the feature enabled.

email_forwarding_discontinuedeMail forwarding is a pretty easy way to maintain your existing email flow while you transition from one address to another. You setup the forward at your OLD address, and have all of the mail received there, forwarded to your NEW address. You can then start socializing the new address while still insuring that you don’t miss any important email while things are changing over.

This is a common feature, and its one that every service – like GMail, Hot Mail (now Outlook.com) and other popular mail services – provides to users. The move here, to remove this feature is clearly one put in place by Yahoo to stop users from leaving after the announcement in September 2016 of a data breach that effected 500 million user accounts.

According to TechCrunch, Yahoo declined to comment on the removal of the feature and instead pointed users to a section of its help text that indicated:

“This feature is under development. While we work to improve it, we’ve temporarily disabled the ability to turn on Mail Forwarding for new forwarding addresses. If you’ve already enabled Mail Forwarding in the past, your email will continue to forward to the address you previously configured.”

Dear Yahoo – no one is buying your BS.

Mail forwarding has been around for years and it’s not something that should be considered an improvement or in any way “under development.”

All you’re doing is holding email users hostage… and it’s really rude.

Thankfully, I never had a Yahoo email account. I simply just couldn’t stomach the *.yahoo.com domain. I was an English literature major in college. I actually know what a Yahoo is. A definition of the word “yahoo” can be found here. It wasn’t always a good thing, kids…

It’s really a term of insult. Why anyone would name a company after a “crude, brutish, or obscenely coarse person” is beyond me… However, after removing the ability to redirect mail, or even, in some cases, deleting an email account (some users have reported that they couldn’t even delete their accounts…), they appear to be living up to their name sakes.

But would you look at that?! It’s not even the middle of the week (as of this writing) and already Samsung has lost upwards of $40B USD and Yahoo’s value is taking so much that even Verizon is considering backing out of their intent to purchase the company.

Boy… If I were Marissa Mayer… I’d be seriously thinking about jumping with that golden parachute of mine before the Yahoo Board takes it away from her…

But again… that’s just me.

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Yahoo COO Dismissed

 Further problems for Yahoo and CEO Marissa Mayer make its comeback less likely.
lesson_one_getting_fired

I saw recently on Linkedin where Marissa Mayer gave COO Henrique de Castro his walking papers. It’s unfortunate, as it indicates a couple of things:

1. The organization is still struggling a year  and a half or so after Mayer came on board

2. Her current strategy isn’t working

de Castro was Mayer’s first major hire as president and CEO of Yahoo. He was previously Google’s VP of Partner Business Solutions, and his role at Yahoo was to increase advertising revenue. From what I’ve been able to see on this, Yahoo’s display advertising revenue fell by 7% in the last quarter of 2013. They now sit third behind both Google and Facebook, respectively. de Castro was given a $64.6M severance package as well as an uncharacteristically cold exit.  From what has been reported by Bloomberg the separation as well as ReCode the announcement from Mayer were both very sudden and cold.  Even though Mayer brought him over from Google to help her turn Yahoo around, it’s clear the she and de Castro didn’t see eye-to-eye on the operation vision and direction taken over the last 18 months.

Yahoo is in bigger trouble than most people thought.  More than I thought…  This is the one good thing about Google, though.  They have a very diverse mission and product portfolio.  Yahoo was all about search.  Back in the mid to late 1990’s they were the “Google” of their day, if you will, leading the search industry with MSN (now Bing), Lycos and Excite falling, literally, far behind them.  Their biggest issues have been, at least in my opinion, timing (they went public in 1996), lack of an appropriate product diversity, and weak management.

Timing has been an issue for Yahoo simply due to events near the time of its birth. They were created in 1994, went online in 1995, and then shortly after that, Internet bubble burst.  Yahoo’s product portfolio was largely in Internet properties, apps, portals, as well as search, and its revenues tanked. Unfortunately, strategies implemented by CEO’s Jerry Yang (1996 – 2009) and Carl Bartz (2009-2011) didn’t do much for the organization, and it has continually floundered. Marissa Mayer has been on board now for about 18 or so months.

Frankly, I think she is running out of time. She needs to get something together quickly – I’m thinking she might have 6-12 months left to produce some results – or she may also be out of a job, and Yahoo’s board may have some tough decisions to make.  Mayer has to get it together, show clear vision and direction, along with a personnel strategy to get the job done. While she did have that in place with de Castro, his failure to execute isn’t helping her; and she may have to go back to the drawing board (or at least she better before the Board does…)

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Pull video from just about any website or streaming service with All Video Downloader

Viral videos are all the rage. Ever since “Charlie bit me,” finding the cute videos and keeping them before they’re lost to obscurity and time hasn’t been easy. This is one of the reasons why like All Video Downloader. It’s a multiplatform, video downloading tool.

All Video Downloader is freeware that allows you to download your favorite videos from all the major streaming websites. You can easily download videos from Youtube, Dailymotion, Vimeo, PureVid, Metacafe, and both Google video and Yahoo video. All Video Downloader lets you download and extract audio from video or encode videos in format of your choice for your computer, iphone, ipod, ipad, or android phone. With its built-in download accelerator, you can grab your favorite videos from YouTube in just a few seconds.

All Video Downloader is a great program that’s easy to use. The videos that it pulls down can be viewed on your PC, Mac or any compatible mobile device. The controls are easily understandable. While the price is right, its support for adult sites may not make it the tool of choice for everyone.

Download All Video Downloader for Windows | Download All Video Downloader for Mac

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Play and manage your music collection with MusicMatch JukeBox

Back in the day, “in the dark time…before the Empire,” I remember using a Diamond Multimedia MP3 player to listen to a new kind of music format, called MP3’s. Armed with a 8MB memory card, I was able to put about eight to ten songs on it before it filled up. I remember using this thing for about 4 or so years before I broke down and bought my first iPod. In the early days, before iTunes, MusicMatch JukeBox was the thing. It’s still around and still a decent MP3 player for your Windows PC.

MusicMatch JukeBox is a digital audio player which features a playlist library, CD ripping, and CD playback.  Its latest versions also touted online radio streaming and an online music store. The application has been around since 1992; and was originally developed by its founding company MusicMatch. Early versions only included simple jukebox features before becoming more advanced in later versions to include the ability to record mp3s from vinyl, cassette or microphone source.

MusicMatch JukeBox is compatible for Windows NT/98/2000/XP.  It is possible to install MusicMatch JukeBox 10.0 on Windows 7; but only if you install the program in XP compatibility mode.  Most users consider any version prior to when Yahoo! acquired MusicMatch JukeBox as a preferred version.  Yahoo! incorporated too many changes leading to the software becoming bloated and confusing. MusicMatch JukeBox was discontinued in 2008.

MusicMatch JukeBox is old and a bit long in the tooth.  However, on older, underpowered systems that run XP or earlier, this is probably the best music player available. Stay away from Yahoo! powered versions of the app, as they are bloated and problematic. Your best bet is to use version 7.5, as it was the best one, prior to the Yahoo! acquisition.

download MusicMatch JukeBox

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Keep the stuff that you love right on your desktop

Widgets… an easy and fun way to manage your daily activities. They can be used for a variety of functions, including alarm clocks, weight loss guides, news aggregators and many more. Of course, you may need a system that can help you manage all of your widgets, which is where Yahoo! Widget Engine comes in.

One of the major advantages of the service is its impressive graphics, which not only look nice but also provide a clear environment for displaying your widgets. Users can also enjoy a number of different skins, allowing you to completely customize your widget engine to suit your own personality.

The various widgets are all run from one program, the Yahoo! Widget Engine, although when they are opened they each appear as individual windows on your computer. Although this makes it easier to focus on one particular widget at a time, it does mean that widgets can soon begin to clog up your computer and take up space. It’s really just a matter of personal preference – if you don’t mind having a number of widgets open at once, then it is a good system to use.

Read full review | Download Yahoo! Widget Engine

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Xfire – an instant messaging systems for gamers

My oldest son is 6, and he’s turning into quite the gamer. Without being able to read well at all, he was able to complete Pokemon Silver on his Nintendo DSiXL, much to the surprise of me and most of the Geek Squad at the local Best Buy. We don’t have a an X-Box360 or PS3 in the house yet, as most of the games that you’d want those consoles for aren’t age appropriate for my boys. They also don’t have a gaming class PC available to them…yet. However, for those that do, you really want to check out Xfire. It’s a must have gaming utility for Windows

Xfire is the kind of gaming utility that you were wondering would make its way on to the internet a decade or so ago, it’s that cool. With it, you find the games you play. It then tracks how long you play them; and allows you and your friends to find each other so that you can play together.

Once you finally hook up, you can use Xfire to coordinate strategy, strikes and game play. You can chat with other Xfire users, as well as your friends on AIM, Google Talk, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo! Messenger without exiting the game. If you have a hoard to command or are trying to coordinate a multiplayer strike against the enemy, you can bring your friends into a group chat. Best of all, you’re not confined to texting or IM. If the situation requires you to keep your hands on the controls, you can bring everyone into a voice chat and bark orders without a hit to performance or ping.

Read full review | Download Xfire

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