Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Acquistions Week: CNet, Plaxo, and WinPatrol?

While Microsoft wasn’t able to acquire Yahoo, there were a number of friendly mergers this week.  In a time of economic trouble it seems that acquisitions may be the answer.

    CBS and CNet
CBS and CNet

Very big news for CNet which has been struggling to find a direction lately. The assets, especially their personnel is a big win for CBS. While the Wall Street Journal says, “CBS to buy online pioneer CNet for 1.8 billion” they do CBS a disservice.  CBS was one of the original partners with IBM in the creation of Prodigy in the late 80’s.  I was working for Sportsline in the early 90’s when CBS added their name to the service and it was a great deal. I also wrote about my project with CBS to stream a news feed into chat discussion rooms during the war in Kosovo. While CBS hasn’t been as visible as other media companies, they’re also an online pioneer.

I’m a big fan of CNet even though they haven’t been giving WinPatrol as much attention as they used too. I frequent, I always check their product reviews before making a purchase and I subscribe to CNet videos via TiVoCast. I’m very excited about this deal and expect CNet will experience growth and higher visibility. I can’t wait to see David Letterman’s “Top Ten Reasons CBS purchased CNet”.

Comcast and Plaxo
I’ve never been a fan of Plaxo.  I tried it once and they were sucking in my entire address book before I knew what was happening. It was frightening because I thought they might be sending out invites to my contacts. Leo LaPorte said it best on Twitter when he said “I don't want Comcast to have my personal info. I really don't want them to have my friends info.” If you’re like Leo you can delete your Plaxo account by clicking here. I’ll be sticking with LinkedIn.

Comcast is mistaken if they think customers want anything more than faster broadband access.  I recall when I first installed Road Runner over 10 years ago they bragged about how much content they would have.  Like most people, the first thing I did was change my home page back to where I wanted to go and bypassed any of their content. and
If you’re a regular Bits from Bill reader you know how I feel about’s parent company IAC.  While I have nothing against, the IAC MyWebSearch toolbar and it’s related applications are evil. I actually use but if I start seeing ads to download Zwinky, MyWeb Searchbar or other IAC Media applications I will be blocking it.

WinPatrol and ?
I was honored for the 2nd time this year by a reputable company wanting to add WinPatrol to their product line.  In both cases, it would have meant that WinPatrol would have increased development and a long life.  Unfortunately, I’m old and spoiled so I wasn’t able to accept the offers.  Any deal would have to allow for me to retire in comfort so I could spend my time writing here on my blog and on leaking my thoughts on Twitter.

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Blogger TeMerc said...

The problem with almost any company buying WinPatrol, aside from the obvious fact they wouldn't offer you enough, is that likely also would not be nearly as rich in integrity, ethics and down right concern for the end user as you are Bill.

WP came to be what it is today because of the passion you have for Joe regular Net user.

Aside from it beginning as a neat program you wanted for yourself and it landing into a much needed area of concern. Who knew guarding your start up programs would turn into the security concern it is now.

Your desire to give back to the Net what someone with less than good intentions took away was almost a natural progression.

Apps like this, created out of love and devotion will likely flounder under anyone else's control.

Sorry if comments like that turn away any other suitors, but maybe one's who do come a-knocking will take that into consideration.

You rock, and Scotty rocks, keep it going.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Corrine said...

Whew! I nearly had heart-failure reading that headline in my RSS Feeds!

Indeed, as temerc said, you have a passion and integrity that is exemplary. I suppose the day will eventually come when you decide the offer is too good to turn down, but in the meantime, I am proud to use and recommend WinPatrol. I am also proud to call you "friend".

6:15 PM  
Blogger cel said...

Anytime I have seen a good program sold to a large company it gets so bloated it dogs out the computer.

Thank you Bill for not selling.

I realize you probably could retire if you sold Scotty but he would be so sad.:)

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill I'm pretty sure I echo what most are writing to you or just think about it and we're so glad that WP is staying in your hands. Selfish we righteously are. That's the biggest of your success I believe.
Regards Steve

9:39 AM  
Blogger Gordon Bennet said...

I agree!

1:47 AM  
Blogger SummitPK said...

I deeply appreciate the commercial ethics you maintain with WP. Don't sell out, you will likely sell to a modern day "stealth consumer raper" and your product will go down the tubes with PC Tools, PC Pitstop, eTrust Pest Patrol and other once reputable, useful, and reliable manufactures and sellers of protective software gear for our modern mal-environmental warfare.

I fought battles with each of these named companies to stop them from automatically annually charging my credit card without my approval for their software products that I had previously purchased with the naive assumption that I was making a one-time purchase like usual when software products were like books and shoes, you bought them once and didn't expect to be charged every year for the same purchse.

That sucks, and it ruins my day, and it ruins my life because it has become a way of life that affects my life constantly and makes me into a daily combatant against runaway capitalistic greed and ingenuity.

Back to the subject. Your product is good and is sold under solid old fashion terms of payment, reliability, and lack of back handed sneaky trickery.

I support you with my PLUS account.

A word of warning to the rest of the world: "continuous protection" in the mal-ware environment used to mean that your product is running in the background to ward off nasty things invading your computer while you work. Now the term means continually (annually or more continually) charging you over and over again as stealthily and skilfully as possible for the product you thought you already paid for! AND if you ever try to contact them to stop the stealing, well, prepare to be completely blocked out from contact by there elaborate online contact options. There is no option for "Cancel my Account>" I is an evil world out there in money land. Don't think anyone makes something for YOUR benefit without wanting to extract every possible dollar from you (forever) that they can by any means possible. Except for Bill and WinPatrol.

Don't sell Bill. You can sleep at night without conniving in your brain how to rip off more people without getting caught and be happy with your contribution serving as an example antidote to the evil world of stealth software thieves.

David in Colorado.

7:33 PM  

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