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Good Morning Silicon Valley






Posted on Thu, Jul. 10, 2003
Conway's dog breathing easier after Ellison speech

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is hell bent on acquiring PeopleSoft, so much so that he is willing to wait months if necessary to succeed in his hostile takeover bid. Speaking before an annual gathering of financial analysts Wednesday, Ellison made it very clear Oracle was willing to leave its offer for PeopleSoft on the table for the next year and even to wage a proxy fight to replace PeopleSoft's board. "This is very clearly thought out," Ellison said. "I think we're likely to be successful and we are very determined to see this through to the end. ... With or without us, PeopleSoft can't survive. They can't compete in this business in the long term." The Oracle chief also fired off a few entries for this year's annual Outrageous Ellison Quote contest, including this one on his war of words with former protégé and PeopleSoft CEO Craig Conway: "I think at one point, 'Craigey' thought I was going to shoot his dog. If Craigey and Bear were standing next to each other and I had one bullet, trust me, it wouldn't be for the dog."

Investors downgrade Yahoo to "disappointing": Investors hoping that Yahoo's financial results would justify the stock's recent run-up were disappointed yesterday when the company's bottom-line results failed to live up to some of Wall Street's optimistic projections. That Yahoo doubled its profits in the second quarter on revenues that surpassed the record it set at the height of the Internet boom is certainly impressive. Still, it failed to satisfy investors who have bid up the company's shares by 28 percent over the last month. "It's off," Deutsche Bank Securities analyst Jeetil Patel told The Mercury News. "The buzz out there, that they'd be significantly exceeding expectations, it didn't occur." Shares of Yahoo fell 9 percent to $32.30 in the early trading this morning. "We think the stock could be a little weak as a result of its recent 40 percent and 84 percent appreciation in the past month and three months [respectively]," wrote Anthony Noto, an analyst at Goldman Sachs. "The fact that Yahoo's results, while in line with consensus, were not as strong as aggressive expectations, leaving little room for upward estimate revisions."

Q  U  O  T  E  D

"People ask why we offered so little for PeopleSoft. Well, we thought we could get it for that. Why not give it a whirl? I didn't graduate from college, and I know that's held me back. But I know paying less is better than paying more."
-- Oracle CEO Larry Ellison

RIAA to celebrate 20th anniversary of manipulating music industry by crushing webcaster lawsuit: The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) may soon find itself in the same position as the file sharers it so loathes: on the receiving end of a lawsuit. The Webcasters Alliance, an organization representing about 300 Net radio stations, claims the RIAA is illegally manipulating the small commercial webcasting market in order to maintain its core monopoly, and is willing to go to court to prove it. "Today is the culmination of many months of frustration," Ann Gabriel, president of Webcaster Alliance, said in a statement. "After being told by RIAA attorney Gary Greenstein back in January that he didn't care if '25,000 webcasters went out of business because then people would have to get their music from AOL,' we became deeply disturbed by the anticompetitive attitude and actions of the RIAA and its members. This agenda is patently clear as we have watched the RIAA's actions, which have the effect of wiping out an entire industry of independent webcasters who represent freedom of choice and diversity for Internet radio listeners. It is time for the RIAA to be held accountable for their years of manipulating an entire industry and working to destroy the hopes and dreams of thousands of independent Internet radio stations. It is time for us to stand up and fight their illegal quest for monopolistic and manipulative control over the distribution of content and the American consumers freedom of choice."

Silicon Valley tech companies were largely unmoved by Microsoft’s decision to stop issuing options to employees. Shortly after Microsoft's announcement, a number of ventures stepped forward to say they would not follow suit, among them Cisco, eBay, PeopleSoft, HP, Intel, Siebel and Sun. Said Intel spokesman Bill Calder: "We certainly are not going to make any changes just because a company decides to go a certain way."

Area venture capitalist ready to throw money at start-ups again: Writing in Always On today, Aneel Bhusri, a partner at VC firm Greylock, sees some potential winners in the current investment environment. "We’ve been through these cycles before, and feel that right now is a terrific time to be investing in startups," Bhusri writes. "We're seeing a new generation of companies out there, started in the last six to twelve months. They're tackling difficult ideas, they’re looking for radical breakthroughs, and their burn rates are low. There’s a lot of talent available on the market." So which areas look promising in this new environment? Greylock is currently bullish on wireless data and IT infrastructure sectors.

Why news conferences should never be held in an Amsterdam hash cafe: Cisco CEO John Chambers' comments about an imminent recovery in the technology sector were apparently misinterpreted by the Dutch newspaper in which they were published (see "IT recovery spotted hovering over Area 51"). According to Cisco spokeswoman Robyn Jenkins-Blum, Chambers actually said the timing of a recovery was impossible to predict, but it would start with small- to medium-size businesses, followed by some large corporate customers and then telephone companies two to six quarters after the corporations. "There is nothing new in what John has been saying the last several quarters," Jenkins-Blum told Reuters.

It was inevitable, really. Google's practice of caching the pages of popular Web sites is drawing some unwanted attention from the publisher's of registration-only sites who claim it's cutting into their bottom line and copyright lawyers who say its legality is questionable. "Many of us copyright lawyers have been waiting for this issue to come up: Google is making copies of all the Web sites they index and they're not asking permission," Fred Lohman, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told News.com. "From a strict copyright standpoint, it violates copyright." For its part, Google is confident that the service is within the law. After all, it's a simple matter to bar Google from caching a particular page -- a simple "NOARCHIVE" typically does the job. "We've evaluated this from a legal perspective, including copyright law, and have determined that Google's cached page service complies with the law," a Google spokesman said.

SK Telecom -- kills bugs dead: Along with the ringtones and games, mobile phone companies typically offer their users, SK Telecom will soon add one more: mosquito repellent. Beginning July 14, Korea’s top mobile operator will offer its subscribers a download for cellphones that causes them to emit high-frequency sound waves that control mosquitoes within a range of one meter.

RIAA Bad: Campchaos, the outfit responsible for the infamous "Napster Bad" animation, has struck again. Its latest effort, "Sue All The World 2003," -- takes a well-aimed potshot at the RIAA's plans to sue thousands of individuals who illegally trade copyrighted music files. (Site absolutely not suitable for those with an aversion to profanity or vulgar humor)

Just in: Certain physics theories now under revision.

Off topic: Matrix ping pong (Thanks John)

Send Smoker Bags to Jpaczkowski@knightridder.com

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