Top Takeaway from Yahoo!'s testimony to Congress

If you recall, we are to believe that it took Yahoo! leadership years to both recognise that their data storage systems had been breached, and then notify users that their data, including some personally identifiable information had been stolen.

When put in the context of the scandal around the recent Equifax breach, and the emerging understanding of how state actors may be infiltrating US data systems, Senator Bill Nelson seems to have said what everyone was thinking:

 “...only stiffer enforcement and stringent penalties will help incentivize companies to properly safeguard consumer information.”

Meyer had to be subpoenaed after she refused to appear voluntarily. You can read more about the hearing here.

Let's Gut Net Neutrality

If Trump truly cares about business growth and innovation, he'll work to keep Net Neutrality in place rather than to allow the below nonsense to take place.

 "FCC Republicans Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly sent a letter to five lobby groups representing wireless carriers and small ISPs; while the letter is mostly about plans to extend an exemption for small providers from certain disclosure requirements, the commissioners also said they will tackle the entire net neutrality order shortly after President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on January 20.

"[W]e will seek to revisit [the disclosure] requirements, and the Title II Net Neutrality proceeding more broadly, as soon as possible," they wrote, referring to the order that imposed net neutrality rules and reclassified ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act. Pai and O'Rielly noted that they "dissented from the Commission's February 2015 Net Neutrality decision, including the Order's imposition of unnecessary and unjustified burdens on providers." "

MS Acquires LinkedIN for $26,000,000,000.00

That's right, Microsoft ("MS") seems to have picked up $26 billion dollars.

Why? Well, aside from Cramer's musings about "cloud strategy" LinkedIN, a silicon valley based social network, focused on building and maintaining business relationships, and has a few key features that can help the Redmond technology giant:

  • Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIN has paying users rather than relying solely on advertisers.
  • A base of users which are constantly sharing information about what makes them money
  • An ungodly amount of data on businesses eager to share information on how they succeed
  • A human resources recruiting tool that allows them the inside track on talent like none-other.

It occurs to me that by using MS's Cloud services, mining LinkedIN data can lead MS to the inside track on innovative and even disruptive emerging companies. This would allow their strategy teams to identify opportunities for (1) lucrative partnerships and (2) promising investments. Despite the incredible cost of this acquisition,** such actions can lead MS to some very lucrative VC and strategic partnership concerns in the future, and that's very, very exciting. 

MS has had some mixed success with recent, large acquisitions. While Skype (2011 for $8.5 billion) seems to be doing fine, Nokia (2013 for $7.2 billion) turned into a disaster, as did their earlier attempt at mobile, Danger (2008 for $1/2 billion). In the online ad services game, which LinkedIN ties to, MS has had pretty poor success. Their earlier push for a presence in this market took the form of a 2007, $6.3 billion acquisition of aQuantive, the parent company of digital ad agency Razorfish owned by Publicis Group and Atlas Solutions, an adserver now owned by Facebook. MS wasn't able to make the subsidiary work and took a $6.2 billion write down of the acquisition in 2007 before selling the pieces off to the above-mentioned companies.

The LinkedIN acquisition also allows something else-- an ability for MS to expand it's deterministic unique identifiers of online activity. While LinkedIN will remain independent for now, MS will certainly add the user data to its existing Microsoft Account user interaction data and perhaps eventually combine the two, following users from recreational activities like gaming on Xbox and home video streaming, to their workplace activities like using LinkedIN and MS office. This means less tracking by less accurate, probalistic tracking identifiers like browser cookies, wifi netowrks, IP address tracking.

We'll be watching this closely.

**looks like $2+ billion over the current LinkedIN market cap of $24+ billion.