Roundup: Ebay stamps Jajah, iPhone a $1B ecosystem?, Verizon-Google spat, more

Here’s the latest action:
–Jajah gets shut out of eBay
–German cell-phone software vendor buys iPhone game maker
–Verizon secretly pressuring FCC Chairman to renege on wireless opening?
–Facebook advertisers are “selling shovels to other miners”
–Ballmer: Ads to make up quarter of Microsoft business
–Research firm Gartner predicts continuing chip-industry slowdown
–Google’s DoubleClick acquisition may face still more hurdles

ebay-jajah2.jpgJajah gets shut out of eBay — This was pretty predictable. As reported earlier, Jajah released a button aimed to give small businesses the equivalent of a free 1-800 number. eBay vendors could use it to let customers call them for free from their eBay page. However, eBay owns Skype, a competing service to Jajah, and quickly stripped Jajah’s buttons from the site within 24 hours.

German cell-phone software vendor buys iPhone game maker — The German company, Shape Services, has bought New York-based iPhone Applications List, showing how the iPhone has generated a platform of its own that’s creating quite a bit of excitement, and could eventually rival the iPod ecosystem. There’s an estimated $1 billion in sales annually of iPod add-ons, according to Dow Jones.

Verizon secretly pressuring FCC Chairman to renege on wireless opening?News reports suggest Verizon is lobbying behind the scenes, perhaps even in violation of FCC rules, to have the FCC water down provisions that would open up the 700 MHz spectrum to competition. The FCC has opened the spectrum to bidders in an auction, where the highest bidder gets to offer services over the spectrum, but must also let other service providers access the spectrum too. Verizon, a carrier worried that regulation would let Google or others encroach on its wireless turf, apparently is seeking to make the FCC ease up on a key requirement: that the winner of the bid (Verizon presumably thinks it can win the bid) must open up devices and applications if they use the spectrum. Now Google is crying foul.

Quote of the day: Facebook advertisers are “selling shovels to other miners” – You’ve got to like the analogy by the New York Times’ Brad Stone in his piece about Facebook. He likens Facebook application hype to the 1849 gold rush: “Some [Facebook] developers report earning tens of thousands of dollars in advertising with the applications they have created. Yet their applications are mostly running ads promoting other Facebook applications — a situation that recalls the earliest Gold Rush miners, who earned a living selling shovels to other miners.” Overall, very few people found significant amounts of gold.

Microsoft’s chief executive Steve Ballmer says advertising will make up a quarter the company’s business within a few years — Details here. “Over time, all ad money will go through a digital ad platform,” Mr. Ballmer told a gathering of European ad agencies and clients. “All media goes digital; all advertising goes digital.”

Google remove all ads from its social-networking service, Orkut – This is just the latest sign that social networks are having a much harder time being monetized than people appreciate. Users post pornographic images, and advertisers don’t want anything to do with this. Google said advertising appeared on only 1 percent of Orkut pages. The site is popular in Brazil, but has been accused of containing child pornography among other illicit material. According to research firm comScore Inc., Orkut attracted visits from about 25 million people in August. Perhaps never before has there been such a disjunct between a site’s popularity and such a depressing amount of money that can be made from it.

Research firm Gartner predicts continuing chip-industry slowdown — Already down 4.3 percent from predicted levels, chip equipment orders will stay at their current low levels until late next year, according to Gartner. The research revised capital spending forecasts for the semiconductor industry, trimming off $4.7 billion for a predicted total of $54.6 billion next year. Slowdowns in the chip industry have, in the past, foreboded a slowing of the entire tech industry.

Google’s DoubleClick acquisition may face more hurdles — Not just one, but two committees in the House of Representatives are considering holding hearings over Google’s proposed buyout of DoubleClick. The House Energy and Commerce and House Judiciary committees are reviewing the case, following a hearing last week by the Senate Judiciary’s Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Subcommittee. The hearings may have been sparked by rivals including Microsoft and Yahoo, who are actively making arguments against the acquisition to Washington’s lawmakers. It’s a good thing for Google that the company has already been busy hiring lawyers and lobbyists in Washington; it’s got some catching up to do.