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Breakfast Briefing: Microsoft's Scroogle attack, advice for Meg Whitman, Steven Sinofsky's new office

Breakfast briefing

Posted on 29 Nov 2012 at 08:50

Today's technology round-up includes an ugly spat between Microsoft's Bing and Google over paid-for search, Meg Whitman under the Microscope, Steve Sinofsky spotted at Starbucks - with a Surface - and how a skeleton team launched the BBC's news site nearly 15 years ago.

Microsoft: you’re being Scroogled

Microsoft has come out with a bizarre website to educate consumers about Google’s dubious Shopping practices. Angry that Google has gone back on previous assurances that its Shopping entries would remain uninfluenced by the financial clout of retailers, Scroogled tells users that their results listings are not ordered by "relevance" at all.

"In the beginning, Google preached, 'Don't be evil' — but that changed on May 31, 2012. That's when Google Shopping announced a new initiative. Simply put, all of their shopping results are now paid ads." And what’s Microsoft’s goal? Have one guess...

"We say that when you limit choices and rank them by payment, consumers get Scroogled. For an honest search result, try Bing."

However, according to Search Engine Land, Microsoft is throwing stones from the fragile comfort of its own glass house - because the company uses similar tactics.

"Great campaign, if it were true. It’s not," the site claims. "Bing itself does the same things it accuses Google of. It’s also another indictment of how little the FTC is doing to protect consumers from ‘search results’ they might not realise are ads."

HP's Whitman under the spotlight

Market Watch has examined how Meg Whitman has managed to outlast predecessor Leo Apotheker as boss of HP, even though she didn't change tactics on the $10.3 billion deal to buy Autonomy.

The article advises against suing everyone over the deal that has cost the company billions and threatens to rumble through the courts for years, and points out that Whitman was on board during the decision-making process. Plus, this is hardly the first time the company has overpaid drastically for a tech company.

Picture of the day – Steven Sinofsky on the rocks

Reach for the violins as former Windows boss Steven Sinofsky seems to be down on his luck and out of office space to work on his job application. Silicon Valley worker and tweeter Luke Wroblewski spotted the recently departed Windows chief working on a Surface tablet in his local Starbucks. We're not sure whether the pained expression is a reflection of the keyboard, the OS or the offers on the table, but something is clearly annoying the easily angered jobseeker.

Sharp seeking suitors to bolster business

The Wall Street Journal reports that troubled Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp is in discussions with a host of US tech companies for a cash injection.

Sharp has reportedly offered Dell a $240 million stake in the company in a bid to secure a stable supply of display technology, while the company is also courting Intel and Qualcomm, with Intel possibly matching Dell's investment and Qualcomm pitching in with a small stake. The negotiations come as Sharp's discussions with Hon Hai appear to be faltering.

How BBC News went online

The BBC’s online news site is 15 years old this month, and The Register has an in-depth, insightful look at how it was launched with a "skeleton" team - overcoming technical limitations as well as the inevitable bureaucracy at the broadcaster.

One challenge was how to build a CMS robust enough to support the BBC’s heavy workflow, with The Reg noting the site’s architecture is still largely in place today. Another intriguing point is the battle between the broadcast side of the BBC and the online news team for who would get to produce the sure-to-be-popular sports site - the latter won.

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