ReadWriteWeb Acquired By SAY Media

In the years I’ve been blogging about social media, even before we thought that Web 2.0 was a cool and cutting-edge term, ReadWriteWeb has been among the feeds I follow. So I knew (or at least emailed and otherwise interacted with) Richard MacManus when he was an ambitious and hardworking blogger. I continued to follow RWW as it became a new media property (whatever that means) and added staff, such as Marshall Kirkpatrick.

I’ll continue to follow RWW as it moves into the third stage. Having been a blog and a media property, it’s now part of a media empire. RWW has been acquired by SAY Media.

Richard, sincere congratulations. I hope that this is a very profitable event financially. I also hope that it is not an exit from RWW for you as a blogger.

AT&T, T-Mobile, August, etc.

The big tech/business story of the week is the AT&T/T-Mobile deal: AT&T wants to buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom, and Telekom wants to sell, given the $39 billion price tag. One of the things I mean by “big” is “lots of coverage.”

If I had to pick two pieces of required reading, the first would be Om’s account of who loses in this deal. “It’s hard to find winners, apart from AT&T and T-Mobile shareholders.” I can’t see that consumers will win from a deal that reduces the number of mobile phone competitors in the USA to two (or three, if you’re Sprint, or a lawyer for AT&T).

The second piece of required reading was the agreement on my T-Mobile G1 phone, to see when the agreement expires. It expires in August this year. I expect the regulatory scrutiny to last beyond then. I’m not sure what I’ll do for a phone after August…

PollDaddy Becomes Automattic

Polls were one of the features missing from WordPress.com as at the start of 2008. Automattic addressed this in May, when a shortcode to include PollDaddy polls became available.

Now Automattic has acquired PollDaddy. For more coverage, see posts at ReadWriteWeb, WordPress.com, and PollDaddy.

The latter post includes the three points familiar to those of us following Automattic acquisitions: great fit in terms of people working together; acquired service will be improved due to Automattic’s infrastracture; service will remain committed to multiple platforms, not just to WordPress. For example, PollDaddy commit to improving support for support for MySpace, Ning, Blogger, Typepad, etc.

Microhoo

Danny Sullivan is working hard providing updates and analysis as things unfold. What things? In case you hadn’t heard, Microsoft has made a bid for Yahoo! It offered $31/share, which represents a value of $45B and a premium of 62%.

In its letter to the Yahoo! board, Microsoft identified four areas of synergy (I quote):

  • Scale economics: This combination enables synergies related to scale economics of the advertising platform where today there is only one competitor at scale. This includes synergies across both search and non-search related advertising.
  • Expanded R&D capacity.
  • Operational efficiencies: Eliminating redundant infrastructure and duplicative operating costs.
  • Emerging user experiences… such as video, mobile services, online commerce, social media, and social platforms.

At first glance, I find the first of these the most convincing. The second makes me reflect that Microsoft’s already huge R&D capacity produced Vista, while much of the software I like came from smaller, leaner organizations. Flickr is a case in point. I think that Yahoo! didn’t mess with Flickr, and I hope that Microsoft won’t.

“Operational efficiencies” mean more layoffs, in addition to the 1000 announced at Y! before the Microsoft bid. I’m not sure how many there might be, and how they might be distributed between the M and Y! sides. As for the last of the four areas: the buzzwords about “emerging user experiences” don’t add much to the case for the deal.

The Yahoo! board will give this offer very serious consideration. It would be hard to claim that Y! looks more ready to take on Microsoft and Google than it did when Jerry Yang took over as CEO six months ago.

To make more adventurous and premature predictions: the deal will go ahead; post-acquisition integration will be very difficult; Google doesn’t need to worry.

Update, to correct a couple of typos, and to note that Paul Kedrosky’s view is similar to mine, and he makes the Google point more vividly.

This is good news for Google, of course. It gives the company carte blanche for other large acquisitions, if needed, and, more importantly, it means that two elephants will be busily mating out back so that it can march merrily in the confusion to further share gains in both search and advertising.