CNET: Yahoo has a new owner, again. “Apollo Global Management on Wednesday said it had completed its acquisition of Yahoo, formerly part of Verizon Media. The private equity firm in May agreed to acquire Verizon’s media group — which included brands such as Yahoo and AOL, as well as ad tech and media platform businesses — for $5 billion.”
Axios: Verizon sells Yahoo and AOL to private equity firm for $5 billion. “Verizon on Monday announced that it will sell its digital media unit, including Yahoo and AOL, to private equity firm Apollo Global Management. Details: Apollo will pay $5 billion for a 90% stake in the business, with Verizon retaining a 10% stake.”
PC Magazine: Google’s AI starts answering Verizon support calls. “This week, Verizon announced that it has started piloting Google’s Cloud Contact Center Artificial Intelligence in a bid to deliver, ‘a more natural and streamlined digital experience.’ Verizon believes using Google’s tech will lead to shorter call times and more satisfied customers, with the added bonus of the company being able to deal with more customers calling each day.”
ZDNet: Verizon introduces open-source, big data coronavirus search engine. “As we struggle to get a grip on exactly how COVID-19 makes us ill and what we can do about it, researchers have created over 50,000 articles. That’s a lot of information! So, how do you make sense of it all? Verizon Media is doing it by using Vespa. This is an open-source, big data processing program to create a coronavirus academic research search engine: CORD-19 Search.”
BGR: Verizon to give subscribers 15GB of free data during the coronavirus outbreak. “In a press release published a short while ago, Verizon said that its waiving overage charges for residential and small business wireless customers whose economic situation has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus.”
Mashable: FCC confirms wireless carriers broke federal law by selling location data. “At the center of the investigation are all four major U.S. carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. It is unclear at this time which groups will be penalized, and what that penalty will look like. Further documentation on the specifics of the violation is forthcoming.”
Motherboard: Verizon Launches ‘Private’ Search Engine After Years of Violating Its Customers’ Privacy
Motherboard: Verizon Launches ‘Private’ Search Engine After Years of Violating Its Customers’ Privacy. “Verizon has spent the better part of the last decade mired in privacy scandals and lobbying the government to ignore or legalize its bad behavior. Now it’s launching a new privacy-centric search engine, apparently hoping you forgot all of that ever happened.” It’s apparently Bing in a privacy wrapper, and I’m as cynical about the offering as this Motherboard article.
NPR: Internet Historians Mourn Loss Of Cultural Record As Yahoo Prepares To Delete Groups. “Yahoo Groups was once a place where people turned to find out what was happening in their communities. Then Facebook, Tumblr and other sites came along, making Yahoo Groups obsolete. So earlier this fall, Verizon, which now owns Yahoo, announced it will delete the archives of every Yahoo Group. That was supposed to happen this coming Saturday, but Verizon just announced it will extend the deadline until next month. NPR’s Neda Ulaby reports Internet historians and activists are scrambling.” I can’t find any other mentions of the deadline being extended at the moment, but I’ll keep an eye out. And why am I banging on about this? Because it’s going to happen again. And again. And again. And somebody has to care.
Ars Technica: Verizon reportedly blocks archivists from Yahoo Groups days before deletion. “An ad-hoc group scrambling to archive as much content as possible from Yahoo Groups ahead of the site’s final demise next week is running into trouble as more than a hundred volunteer archivists say Yahoo’s parent company, Verizon, has banned their accounts.” This is a big steaming pile of you know.
TechCrunch: Verizon is selling Tumblr to WordPress parent, Automattic. “Six years after Yahoo purchased Tumblr for north of $1 billion, its parent corporation is selling the once dominant blogging platform. WordPress owner Automattic Inc. has agreed to take the service off of Verizon’s hands. Terms of the deal are undisclosed, but the number is ‘nominal,’ compared to its original asking price, per an article in The Wall Street Journal.” Axios is reporting that it was less than $20 million. From $1 billion purchase by Yahoo to reportedly less than $20 million. And just to make this as fun as possible, I’ll note that the sale price of Tumblr was apparently less than Marissa Mayer’s severance pay of $23 million.
Engadget: US carriers say they’ve stopped selling location data. “You might not have to worry quite so much about carriers selling your phone location data to less-than-diligent third parties. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon (Engadget’s parent company) have provided responses to FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel’s request for an update on the practice, with all four saying they’d halted sales to aggregators sometime after promising to do so back in June 2018. “
Ars Technica: Refunds for 300 million phone users sought in lawsuits over location-data sales. “The four major US wireless carriers are facing proposed class-action lawsuits accusing them of violating federal law by selling their customers’ real-time location data to third parties. The complaints seeking class action status and financial damages were filed last week against AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint in US District Court for the District of Maryland.”
The Verge: Verizon is looking to sell Tumblr after squandering its potential. “Verizon is seeking a buyer for Tumblr, the blogging platform it acquired along with other Yahoo assets in 2017. The Wall Street Journal reports that Verizon has approached other companies in recent weeks that could be potential new homes for Tumblr. The platform hosts 465.4 million blogs and 172 billion posts, according to its about page. The Journal notes that the sale process ‘is ongoing’ and might not result in any transaction.”