CNET gets swallowed, Yahoo proxy fight to follow

Notes from the field

I think, therefore Icahn. Just when you thought the Yahoo-Microsoft deal was kaput, in steps everyone's least favorite uncle Carl Icahn to muck things up. In a letter to the Yahoo board, the curmudgeon billionaire scolded board members, then announced his intentions to buy US$2.5 billion of Yahoo stock and wage a proxy battle to unseat all 10 members. So after after he forces Yahoo to succumb to the advances of Microsoft, then what? Icahn cashes out, and we're left with this forced marriage from Hell. Nice. Advice to Jerry Yang: Just lay back and think of the stockholders.

And now a word from our sponsors. Tottering media giant swallows up one-time tech upstart whose best days are past. No, I'm not having an acid flashback to the Time Warner -- AOL disaster. I'm talking about CBS scarfing up CNET for US$1.8 billion. Admittedly a much smaller deal, but there's the same unmistakable aroma of desperation about it. Yet I can kinda see the logic. The mainstream TV networks suck at covering technology, the average age of a CBS viewer is just shy of three figures, and CNET is a brand name on the Web with a sizable audience of relatively young geeks. So there's "synergy" of a sort. And it looks like genius compared to Comcast buying Plaxo. I think the folks on Comcast's board have been huffing furniture polish again. Paging Carl Icahn, Carl Icahn to a white courtesy phone.

Update yours. Windows Automatic Update has been accused of many evil things, and now we can add one more crime to the list: killing rodents. Apparently, automatic updates are causing havoc for users of Word 2007, including crippling the mouse driver. As described by Christina Wood in her Geek Girlfriends blog, the problem happens whenever Word is open and Update decides to reboot your computer for you. The fix involves editing your Windows registry. As usual, Microsoft needs no help screwing things up, but it's unable to automatically fix them. (Are you listening, Carl?)

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