What the Big Boys Have Been Up To

Some days are all about the Big Players — the multi-billion dollar businesses that seem to have their hands in everything. Yesterday wasn't quite one of those days but they certainly weren't on vacation either. Here's the scoop.

The now month-old bid by Microsoft to annihilate — er, assimilate, wait, appropriate — Yahoo took a new twist as Yahoo's Board extended the deadline to name director candidates, meaning Micrsoft's plan to oust the Yahoos with a shareholder coup has just been, well, cooped. Microsoft's Council of Evil is still pondering what to do next — no doubt while stroking white cats and twirling their mustaches — reportedly including a change to make the offer 100% cash-based, rather than offering 50% Microstock, which has dropped in the month since the offer was made. In fact, it's dropped so much that it knocked Big Bad Billy to number three in the richest-man rankings, the first time he's slipped off the #1 pedestal in thirteen years. We feel your pain, B — see, we're playing the violin.

Meanwhile, Satan's Little Helper was busy recruiting web developers to embrace the now-Beta IE8, even as the first-round of public testers were discovering that it fails the Acid2 test. The IE Pod People had an explanation, of course — something about cross-domain security and ActiveX, apparently related to whether the test URL involved "www." — but at least one tester reported the bug broke not only the test, but a number of other Vista components — fun stuff. Apple — not to be outdone — has announced its iPhone will have Microsoft Exchange support, allowing it to better compete with RIM's Crackberry line of smartphones, as well as a soon-to-debut development tools to provide for third-party applications on the iPhone. The cherry on top is a $100 million "iFund" backed by a legendary VC firm to provide funding for iPhone startups.

On the other side of the Atlantic, it was good news for Google, as reports leaked out that the European Commission will give the go-ahead in Big G's acquisition of ad-powerhouse DoubleClick, which has already received the greenlight from U.S. investigators. That's not to say it was all good news, however, as Google found itself on Uncle Sam's bad list over street-level images of a Texas military base. Despite the company's willingness to censor the images, the Pentagon still wasn't quite satisfied, and has banned Google from accessing U.S. bases for filming or making studies. Is it just us, or is it a little peculiar that they ever had permission in to begin with?

That's all for now &mdash tune in on Monday for more of the latest and greatest in tech news. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming, Scooby Doo Sings La bohème.

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