Roundup: Google's deals, Google's staff exodus, Silverlight, SunPower and more

Giant radio station company Clear Channel signs with Google — The two companies announced a multi-year agreement that enables Google to sell a guaranteed portion of 30-second advertising inventory available on more than 675 of Clear Channel’s AM/FM stations.

Want to be acquired by Google? Don’t call them — Google takes deal-making seriously, responding to every e-mail pitch, but responding to only about 10 percent of phone calls, according to an interview with one of its dealmakers. In the past, Google has also used a technique called Monte Carlo analysis to size up a deal, where computer algorithms are used to answer questions.

dekoh.jpgDekoh, an open-source challenger to Adobe’s Apollo, launchesРLike Apollo, the San Jose, Calif.-based Dekoh lets you build applications that can be used offline, but which incorporate Web data once an Internet connection is made.

apollodemo.jpgEBay’s Apollo product demonstrated — EBay’s application using Apollo, one of the first large companies that are offering a full-fledged product through the new technology, was demoed at the Web 2.0 Expo. Click on image at left.

Microsoft responds to Adobe’s Flash — Microsoft just unveiled its Silverlight product, which is its answer to Flash. The WSJ has a good summary. Like Flash, it is piece of software that when downloaded onto your computer lets you view Web sites with advanced features. Microsoft offers software tools called Expression Studio designed, for developers to build these features — which competes with Adobe’s recently launched Creative Suite 3. As the Journal says, this is an uphill battle for Microsoft, given Flash is already used by millions of Web sites and keeps innovating with things like Apollo.

leaptag.jpgLeapTag, another StumbleUpon-like company, launchesStumbleUpon lets you discover Web sites, and has gotten a lot of buzz. LeapTag, by contrast, wants to help you discover sites, but ones more tightly related to your expressed interests. You install LeapTag in your browser. As you surf, you tag pages you’re interested in, and LeapTag tracks this. Based on those tagged interests, it then offers up pages and other content for you to peruse. Somehow, this feels too late, and too demanding of input: When it returns results, you are supposed to vote whether you like it or not, so that it can learn more.

Dodgeball founder leaves GoogleDodgeball was an early company that let users notify their friends about their whereabouts with messages from their mobile phones. Twitter, of course, has stolen the buzz with its similar service. Dodgeball, bought a while ago by Google, was neglected, an example of how small operations can get lost within big organizations. Its founder Dennis Crowley has announced his departure. More here. This may be the first real case of big-company-disease being manifest so obviously at Google. “The whole experience was incredibly frustrating,” Crowley wrote. Besides Twitter, another company with momentum is Jaiku, a Helsinki, Finland company. Crowley’s departure follows the exit of video search expert David Lee, for StumbleUpon — and thus the wave of exits from Google picks up.

Clean-tech company fastest grower in Silicon Valley — The Merc has run its annual ranking of the valley’s largest and fastest-growing companies. SunPower, a solar company, is the fastest-growing company, tripling its sales last year. Industry data suggests solar-panel installations are growing 40 percent a year, up from earlier estimates of 20 percent. Google, though, has one of the highest profit margins of the valley’s companies, at 29 percent. The only company beating that is Linear Technology, which boasts margins of 39 percent. (Surely, the SGI reference must be a mistake?) Also, see the bigger package of stories here.

The newest tech site — The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg & Kara Swisher are launching AllThingsD.com, a new tech news site. Mossberg and Swisher are creators of the annual “D: All Things Digital” conference.