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Microsoft's Major Moolah
Microsoft reported its fiscal Q1 2011 earnings yesterday and - woohoo! - they make a lotta cash their in Redmond: "Operating income, net income and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $7.12 billion, $5.41 billion and $0.62 per share, which represented increases of 59%, 51% and 55%, respectively, when compared with the prior year period." That's earnings of 7 or 5 BILLION dollars -whichever you prefer as Office, Windows and Xbox do the heavylifting. The company beat Wall Street expectations as Matt Rossoff of The Business Insider reports that there was a tiny bit of gloom: "Online's still a dog. Ad revenue grew 13%, but overall revenue was up only 8%. No discussion of the huge loss." Read it. Read the earnings release. And, here's the earnings call slides (PPT). Also live blogging the call was the WSJ's Digital blog which noted, "There is a question about Microsoft's commercial online services -- its 'cloud' offerings for businesses. Mr. Klein says this is 'obviously a big growth area for us.' Some of the offerings are aimed more at midmarket customers, and some are targeting larger companies. Microsoft is 'getting growth in both,' he says."
Akamai Beats Street
Akamai reported its Q3 2010 earnings and posted a 21% earnings increase which beat Wall Street expectations according to Bloomberg. CEO Paul Sagan identified potential new customers on the earnings call: "There's a lot more opportunities for growth [for Akamai] and we think the growth rate is accelerating the same with the growth in the online advertising space. We're just being an explosion of interest among commerce customers here and across-the-board. And the guys lower on the list are getting bigger. So someone who is maybe an Internet retailer [that] was too small five years ago is a great target today." Sagan also noted Akamai president David Kenny's roles and responsibilities saying, "[Kenny] is helping us figure out how to grow even more internationally. But he is a balanced executive with responsibility for operations across-the-board. He truly understands how the cloud is going to revolutionize businesses not just media, not just international business." Read the release.
Read the transcript on Seeking Alpha.
Eric Picard Joins TRAFFIQ
Former Microsoft executive Eric Picard has joined TRAFFIQ as its Chief Product Officer. In addition to his previous responsibilities at Microsoft, Picard has been an articulate voice in online advertising and, according to the release, has "been the catalyst behind numerous groundbreaking technology innovations across such diverse areas as rich media advertising, 3rd party ad serving, mobile advertising, automated creative optimization, video advertising" and more. Read about it. Also joining Eric Picard at TRAFFIQ is Lori Goldberg, most recently from Razorfish who will take over as SVP of client services.
The Nielsen blog posts a snippet of a recent speech by Pradeep Pant at Kraft Foods who shares how his company is winning in the APAC region. The Nielsen blog paraphrases Pant: "Kraft’s innovation efforts are centered on deep consumer and shopper insights and leveraging the best of 'GLOCAL' (think globally, act locally). (...) Mr. Pant highlighted a number of consumer and shopper trends in the region, which are potentially huge opportunities for companies." One of them is "Evolved Snacking." GLOCAL more here.
Spongecell CEO Ben Kartzman (AdExchanger.com Q&A) sees a shifting landscape that puts "quant jocks" and math mavens in charge of media as he writes in MediaPost, "Data folks are moving into media and changing the landscape. So what does this mean to our industry? If history tells us anything, it's that the big players now won't be the big players in 10 years, digital media will be media and leading the charge will be Math Men." Read it, you know you want to.
Economizing With An Ad Network
Mediaweek's Lucia Moses reports that The Economist is starting its own ad network that will comprise Economist.com and "about 30 niche sites like those of Christian Science Monitor and The Nation whose content spans politics, culture and ideas. Executives said the channel would launch with 11 million monthly unique visitors in the U.S., with a goal of reaching 21 million globally. Read more.
CTR Is Dead -And Costly
CEO Russ Glass of Bizo talks about avoiding "online advertising's $1 billion mistake" on Marketing Profs. What does he mean exactly? Well, Glass thinks marketers shouldn't be optimizing to click-through rate (CTR) for starters and writes, "If you value the online display advertising industry at $10 billion, and we assume that most networks and sites are optimizing to the click today, we estimate that the value lost to the industry is well over $1 billion and growing rapidly as the industry expands.Read more.
Yahoo! Gets Levinsohn, Ku To Microsoft, Wojcicki Elevated
ClickZ's Zach Rodgers reports that Ross Levinsohn has replaced Hilary Schneider at Yahoo!. Read more. Where this leaves stealthy, pub-side platform 5 to 1 is unclear. Levinsohn is co-founder and co-chairman of that company. Rodgers also reports that Google's Susan Wojcicki is now an SVP instead of just a VP. Ch-ching! Also, former Yahoo! ad products chief, David Ku, has been swooped up by Microsoft and annointed a corporate SVP of New Initiatives according to TechCrunch. His responsibilities will arc beyond Bing according to TC. Read more.
The Rubicon Project takeover of Fox Audience Network assets may be getting closer. TechCrunch's Erick Shoenfeld reports, "In preparation for the sale, or continuation as a standalone business, about half of [FAN's] 300 employees were let go yesterday, most of them sales people. Rubicon is more interested in the ad technology." Read more. It remains to be seen if the reconfiguration of MyAds scheduled for this weekend is a pre-cursor to an announcement.
More hirings in the data-driven ad space as x+1 announced that it has made former Yahoo! agency rep Michael Dubin as its vp of agency sales, and he will be joined by former Time Inc. Digital sales exec Matthew Wong who will drive U.S. west coast sales. Read it. The Trade Desk announced it has hired former Ebay'er Adrienne Dutt Buhmann as Director of Platform Solutions. Read the release.