More Muddy Water in Microsoft-Yahoo, and What's the Deal With Time Warner?

Tax Day is finally over here in the U.S., and with the fear of missed deductions and prison sentences out of the way, we're back at full throttle here at Breaking News. Here's our post-tax tech roundup.

First up to bat is — for lack of a better moniker — the Yahoo mess. We all know where Microsoft stands, though there's been some suggestion they might be willing to let News Corp. in on a piece of the pie. Now it looks like everyone is going behind everyone else's back, as Microsoft does and doesn't want News Corp. involved, and News Corp. is talking to both Microsoft and Yahoo about partnerships to overwhelm the other. Google, for its part, is sticking to its advertising trial on, though rumor has it that CEO Schmidt has put formerly-felonious investment banker Frank Quattrone on retainer to advise Big Search on their options. Meanwhile, Yahoo is still trying to work out a deal to block Microsoft by buying AOL, but so far its — like everything else — "still under discussion."

Speaking of AOL, and more specifically its parent company Time-Warner, there's something funny in the air over there. On Monday, AOL signed a deal to become the sole online advertising outlet for Verizon, a major coup for the company, which has been struggling for longer than its management would like to remember. What makes the transaction strange, however, is that just last Thursday Verizon filed suit against AOL's parent company Time Warner for — of all things — false advertising. Apparently, Time Warner's cable division has been running ads that slander Verizon's FiOS service, and they're none-too-happy about it. One has to wonder who forgot to make sure the left hand knew what the right was doing...

On the subject of lawsuits, a divorce suit in New York has drawn attention for being the first — at least as best anyone can tell — to employ YouTube as a weapon to discredit ones hopefully soon-to-be-ex spouse. Tricia Walsh-Smith, an actress and playwright currently married to the President of Broadway's Shubert Organization, has posted a video on YouTube trashing her unhappy hubby and his family, a first according to several prominent attorneys in New York. The video apparently includes a walk down a very muddy memory lane and details of her sex life with her twenty-five-years-senior husband — details which she repeats, on camera, to an assistant who happens to answer the phone at Mr. Smith's office. Somehow it doesn't surprise us that she's best known for being the author of a play called Bonkers.

Do not, however, think that tech sours love, as a programmer from New Jersey has proven that given enough time and the right code, you can win a woman's heart via computer. Tammy Li loves to play Bejeweled, a quiet little game where you level up by shifting jewels around the screen to form groups. Last December, however, Tammy leveled up and shifted some jewels when she hit a high-score and discovered the marriage proposal her now-fiancé Bernie Peng snuck into the game's code. The company behind the game, PopCap, is as happy as Tammy and Bernie, and is giving the couple a trip to Seattle for their honeymoon and free copies of Bejeweled for all the wedding guests. Bernie described his feat of programming as "cool, in a nerdy way," but all Tammy had to say was "Yes."

In other news, if you don't blog, it's now impossible to run for office — at least in Malaysia. The mandate — which is bizarre enough in itself — is made even more heteroclite given the fact that not too long ago the same politicians were busy labeling bloggers "monkeys living by the law of the jungle." The party line has now changed to read "All candidates must have blogs. If not, they are not qualified to be leaders" — apparently an (over)reaction to poor performance in the last election, attributed to their opponents' eager adoption of online campaigning. Something tells us the move won't work out quite like they hope — with apologies to Gertrude, it's not quite a blog is a blog is a blog.

And now we must away, for pages ages page ages page ages.

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