"Yahoo striking a Microsoft search deal first makes more sense" than closing a merger with AOL, writes overproductive BoomTown blogger Kara Swisher. Tracking the complicated, self-conflicting relationships between Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft and Google is like trying to read Prince Valiant without a cheat sheet. Swisher's latest megapost fills in more details, but doesn't lead to anything more definite than "both Yahoo and AOL have to get to the core of what they are and are going to be." Ah, more layoffs.
It's becoming a holiday tradition: Google announces a holiday party for Silicon Valley reporters at its Mountain View headquarters, and Valleywag's invite gets mysteriously lost in Gmail's ever-canny spam filters. The invitation for the December 8 event, held again at the Googleplex's Cafe Slice, is nontransferable, so we can't accept any pass-along invites, alas.But here's a clever idea: The RSVP form allows you to suggest a colleague in your place. It would be a pity if jealous colleagues at, say, the New York Times filled out the form for John Markoff and suggested they attend in his place. I just declined on behalf of AllThingsD's Kara Swisher — though she could always crash as the guest of her wife, Google executive Megan Smith. Here's the full invite:
A disclosure statement is an odd place for a wedding announcement. But that is where conference organizer and AllThingsD blogger Kara Swisher has buried the news that she married her longtime partner, Google vice president Megan Smith, last night, before the passage of Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban, made same-sex marriages illegal once more. (The couple had had previous ceremonies — including, while we're disclosing things, one that I attended — but this was the first one that was a legal marriage under California law.) This would be no one's business but their own, except for the fact that Swisher actively covers Google and its rivals.
Mountaineer, philanthropist, and longtime Microsoftie Jeff Dossett has a new claim to fame: He's brave enough to join Yahoo — but it took a while to convince him. Two months ago, Dossett, who joined Microsoft in 1991, went through a curious back-and-forth: BoomTown's Kara Swisher reported he was leaving Microsoft to join Yahoo. A Microsoft rep promptly denied the report, claiming Dossett was leaving a job at the software giant's MSN Web business, but looking at other opportunities within Microsoft. We could speculate about how Microsoft and Yahoo were bidding for Dossett's services, but the real lesson here is: Never, ever believe a Microsoft flack. Dossett replaces Scott Moore, who's leaving Yahoo as reported.
Click to viewProfessional annoyance Kara Swisher, the BoomTown blogger, went to a how-to-survive-the-downturn gabfest, and all she got was this lousy video. Captured on her Flip camera: Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis, who didn't predict the downturn; Nirav Tolia, the Epinions cofounder — an entrepreneur — who hasn't laid anyone off since the last bubble burst and is surely rusty; Google investor Ram Shriram, who has way too much money to care about such mundane affairs as a recession; and Fast Company videoblogger Robert Scoble, who is cheerfully clueless as ever. The bright side: If Scoble is saying companies need to conserve cash, perhaps we've hit a market bottom.
Halloween's on a Friday. With people already more worried about keeping their jobs than actually doing them, you might as well plan on writing the workday off. Trying to figure out a clever costume in which to pester your remaining coworkers? Valleywag has done the work for you. Print up one of these masks, designed by Valleywag interim creative director Richard Blakeley, on the finest-quality office paper you can steal from the supply closet, follow our tips on how to act the part, and you're good to go. Select from our list:
How to wear it: Soccer mom meets Castro lesbian, with a denim shirt and blue jeans. Oh, and a Pure Digital Flip camera. How to scare them: Find a tech-company executive. Insist on interviewing them. Blurt out the most annoying questions you can think of. If they flinch, threaten to disinvite them from your exclusive Wall Street Journal tech conference.
Eyebrows cocked? Smirk at the ready? Then you, sir, are qualified to tack on wry analysis to the day's news at AllThingsD.com. Good thing Peter Kafka, Kara Swisher's latest hire at the Dow Jones-backed tech blog, is a continent away from John Paczkowski, Swisher's incumbent snark machine. Put the two in the same office, and they might just spend all day raising their eyebrows at each other.