Acquistions Week: CNet, Plaxo, Dictionary.com 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
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 News.com, 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.
Ask.com and Dictionary.com
If you’re a regular Bits from Bill reader you know how I feel about Ask.com’s parent company IAC. While I have nothing against Ask.com, the IAC MyWebSearch toolbar and it’s related applications are evil. I actually use Dictionary.com 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.