Microsoft, Viacom Still Holding Out
Some people just don’t know when to give up. It’s almost sad, really, watching them doggedly pursue something or someone past the point of all reason. And sometimes CEOs are just like that, y’know? Take Steve Ballmer or Philippe Dauman, for example. Months—years—after beginning one of those things that might have “seemed like a good idea at the time,” they’re still pushing that boulder up the hill.
Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom, faces such a Sisyphean task in his lawsuit against Google. First filed just over two years ago, the copyright suit against YouTube has continued to drag on—but Dauman isn’t giving up hope! Yes, never mind Google’s copyright detection software, or the fact that 57% of copyright takedown notices are bogus, or that YouTube is by far the most popular destination for professional and original video on the Internet (and thus a good place to own and place your content in the first place)—he wants his datgum content off YouTube.
Dauman reports to Business Week (as covered by All Things D) that the billion-dollar lawsuit is still in its discovery phase. (That’s the pretrial part where you collect evidence, in case you’re not familiar with it.)
Dauman assures us that there will be “a resolution.” In case you were wondering. (I guess he means this isn’t all just going to fade away like a bad dream.) Meanwhile, Dauman’s son really enjoys working for Google.
Steve Ballmer, if you haven’t guessed it already, is still holding out for a
hero deal with Yahoo. Yes, looks like it’s time for the monthly update from Steve—can’t you just picture him phoning Bartz at home? She checks the caller ID, sees it’s him, lets it go to voice mail.
Ballmer takes a deep breath when the line connects, but sighs when he hears the now-familiar greeting. “Hi, this is Carol. Tell me why I shouldn’t fire you after the beep!”
“Hi Carol.” He rubs a sweaty palm against his jeans. “It’s me, Steve. Just . . . calling to let you know . . . if you ever wanted to do something . . . you know . . . I’m still up for it. kthxbai.” And Steve returns to execrating himself, this time for reverting into lolspeak on the phone. Think he can call back and erase that last message to try again?
Okay, so that’s not really what he would say. All Thing D (again) reports that he’s totally chill about the sitch (that’s “sitch,” short for “situation,” not a typo where I meant some other word):
Principles first: “Whether or not there’s a partnership to be had with Yahoo, we think our own innovation… it’s not about Yahoo’s technology. It’s really about getting the pooled volume, because you actually can improve your product faster if you have more users.” If you have more advertisers, you can improve the product as well. “There are returns to scale. And putting the scale together is valuable.
“With that as context, we’re largely on the same strategy, with or without a partnership with Yahoo.” I’ve talked with Carol briefly, over the phone. “I’m sure when it’s appropriate, we’ll have a chance to sit down and talk.” I’ve known her for years. She’s straightforward and friendly “and when she’s ready, we’ll have that type of discussion. Whether a deal gets done or not, who knows.” People at our two companies talk all the time.
Like I said, totally chill. And he didn’t follow that with “So, um, Carol, if you’re out there, in case you lost my number, it’s . . .” (but don’t you think he wanted to?).
So, who’s getting more desperate—Viacom or Microsoft?