Here’s the latest (updated) action.
MySpace exodus begins? — Silicon Valley companies have long been vulnerable to start-up fever: Employees leaving to join faster-growing start-ups, lured by potentially lucrative stock options. Now Carol Werner, VP of sales at MySpace, in charge of West Coast sales, has left to join Mochi Media, a start-up that offers an ad network for Flash games. This shows that non-valley companies are prone to the exodus problem too. Good, because we’re getting tired of writing on the flood of departures from Google and Yahoo.
Yet another Googler leaves, to Benchmark — Speaking of the exodus from Google, Jonathan Teo, a former engineering manager at Googler reportedly active in the company’s international expansion, has joined Benchmark Capital, as an “investor.” Benchmark is known for insisting on absolute equality among its general partners, but the terminology Teo uses to describe himself (“investor”) may suggest he’s not a full partner. Normally, this would mean he’s an “Entrepreneur in Residence,” a title Benchmark gives to promising entrepreneurs who reside at the firm until they find a start-up idea worthy of backing. Valleywag, which first reported the news of Teo’s move, suggests something else is up, but it isn’t clear what. We’ve asked Benchmark for comment. (Photo via Friendster) [Update: Benchmark partner Steve Spurlock got back to us to clarify Teo’s role. Teo is the firm’s first “vice president,” a new staff position which mandates him to go out to “meet as many great entrepreneurs as possible, to expand our network.” However, Teo will not make investment decisions, not take board seats, and will not attend board meetings on behalf of the partners. All decision-making remains equally divided among Benchmark’s existing partners.]
Hewlett-Packard reports “spotty” slowdown in U.S. computer sales: HP said that its earnings rose 16 percent to $2.1 billion and revenues rose 11 percent to $28.3 billion in the fiscal second quarter that ended April 30. But in a conference call HP CEO Mark Hurd acknowledged that sales of computers in the second quarter was spotty in the U.S. market. Almost all of the growth came from international sales, which account for 70 percent of HP’s business. PC desktop revenues were flat, while notebook sales climbed 31 percent in the quarter. Sales of industry-standard servers (based on Intel and Advanced Micro Devices chips), were also flat. HP plans to wring the costs out of Electronic Data Systems if the company’s proposed $13.9 billion merger goes through. The results were in line with expectations. HP is the world’s largest technology company and so its earnings results are a bellwether for technology.
Russia’s Google to go public: Yandex said it is preparing for an initial public offering on Nasdaq in a transaction that could raise $1.5 billion to $2 billion. That may sound like a lot, but Yandex is viewed as the “Google of Russia.” That would give Yandex a valuation of $5 billion. The company has the biggest site in Russia and it is ranked third in all of Europe, ahead of Yahoo and Microsoft. Globally, Yandex is on eof the ten-biggest web sites.
Microsoft loses lawsuit to Alcatel-Lucent: Microsoft lost a patent lawsuit to Alcatel-Lucent over technology used in business telephone networks. Microsoft had accused Alcatel-Lucent of infringing four patents for software in a system that integrates phones with computers for calls, messages and video conferences. The International Trade Commission ruled that there was no violation.
The last one was clunky: MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte unveiled the XO-2, the second generation laptop from the One Laptop Per Child nonprofit organization. The last one had a narrow keyboard and a lot of lackluster features. Next to a PC, it was hard to see anyone getting excited about it. But the new laptop for kids in developing countries looks better, with two touchscreens and a book-like format. The new machine is expected to launch in 2010 and it will cost $75. The cost of the machine is probably up in the air, since Negroponte promised the original OLPC would cost $100; but when the machine debuted last year, the cost was $175.
Techmeme launches search function: The tech blog news aggregator Techmeme has managed to grow to a remarkable size without a search function. Now, after 32 months in the works, the site has added a search function. Founder Gabe Rivera says he put in the simple search box because so many users are increasingly dependent on Techmeme for information and wanted to find things they saw on it earlier.
Google News launches on Google Earth: Google has now added the ability to integrate Google News into its Google Earth application. The company announced the mash-up on its Lat Long blog about geographic issues. As pictured, you can now visit sites on the map of the world and see Google News stories associated with each location. Google News draws on stories from more than 4,500 sources. You can zoom in on areas of personal interest and view either national or local headlines.
YouTomb offers videos taken down from YouTube: With a high-stakes copyright infringement from Viacom still pending, YouTube doesn’t have much appetite for videos that are risky. But YouTomb, a project created by MIT Free Culture, will give those videos a second life. The goal of the project is to identify how YouTube recognizes potential copyright violations and mistakes it makes in the process.
VB's research team is studying web-personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.