Quick Hits: Microsoft Moves in on Yahoo, Half of All E-Shopping Happens While Logged Into Facebook, More

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Microsoft’s acquisition of VideoSurf was big news yesterday, and today TechCrunch reports a twist: An as-yet-unnamed source says the sale price was not the $70 million initially cited, but instead was nearly $100 million. The Israeli “video discovery” service was founded only in 2006, but it’s counted such high-profile figures as Al Gore and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg among its backers, and Microsoft intends to integrate VideoSurf’s technology into its planned developments for Xbox Live, which include opportunities to search more comprehensively through content from both cable providers and online video services.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports Microsoft has signed a nondisclosure agreement with Yahoo, thus positioning itself as a potential bidder on the search granddaddy. Microsoft has reportedly been talking with a number of possible partners about the details of any investment or buyout. As Yahoo sells ads against queries entered into Microsoft’s Bing, Microsoft already has a vested interest in Yahoo’s future.

According to a study conducted by Sociable Labs, about half of all shoppers browsing e-commerce sites are simultaneously logged into Facebook. This isn’t to say they’re necessarily on Facebook, but whether they have a browser tab open to the social network or not, they at least haven’t logged out, which is a meaningful gauge of e-shoppers’ proximity to social media. Sociable Labs, which develops apps for e-commerce companies, collected data from visitors to its clients’ sites over the month of October; a daily breakdown of the stats shows anywhere from 49.4 (on a Thursday) to 53.7 (Sunday) percent were logged into Facebook.

Universal Music Group, the largest record label in the music industry,  is suing streaming music service Grooveshark to the tune of (we’re almost sorry for that pun) roughly $150,000 per purportedly-pirated recording. While Grooveshark users who post tracks for other users to share are protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the UMG lawsuit is aimed at Grooveshark employees themselves, whom the suit accuses of personally uploading songs illegally, en masse. Media outlets today have claimed various estimates for what the total sum might be of the damages UMG seeks, but $15 to $17 billion is a popular ballpark.

Business Insider reports Angie’s List really isn’t making money. The website (where users can rate their experiences with plumbers, electricians, roofers and other contractors),which claims to be supported by membership fees, hasn’t earned nearly as much from its users as it has from advertisers — and its earnings are out of step with its expenses. Prior to Nov. 17, Angie’s List had taken in $24 million from subscriptions and $38 from advertisers. Meanwhile, it had spent $48 million on its own advertising and $22 million to support the sales team. Business Insider has some graphs and a comparison to the similar plight of Yelp.


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