The Buzz - 14

FINANCIALS

Compensating Larry

Oracles annual proxy statement filed Aug. 23 is an interesting read (at least for folks that like Securities and Exchange Commission filings). The best part: the footnotes. Heres a look at Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellisons home security costs.

Ellison had a fiscal 2006 salary of $1 million with a bonus of $6.4 million. But the "other compensation" category is where the fun starts. Ellisons compensation in the "other" category was $1.83 million. Included in that sum was $1.82 million for Ellisons home security, which Oracle said "are appropriate business expenses." In any case, Ellison needs more security than he had last year when Oracle paid $1.37 million. In 2004, Oracle paid a mere $531,000 for Ellisons home security.

PARTNERSHIPS

eBay, Google snuggle

"Co-opetition" is a funny thing. Just witness the partnership between eBay and Google, announced on Aug. 28. Google is attacking eBays PayPal franchise with its Gpay payment system and could become an e-commerce rival, too. So whats eBay do? Partner with Google, a company that controls much of the traffic flow to eBay sites, for its international operations. Yahoo is eBays partner of choice in the United States.

Welcome to co-opetition, a game of keeping enemies as close as they can get. Nevertheless, the deal is a bit of a shocker. "We are surprised that eBay would partner with Google given the level of competition between the two," said Thomas Weisel Partners analyst Christa Sober Quarles in a research note.

Quarles, based in San Francisco, breaks the deal down and unearths a few oddities:

• Google will provide text ads to eBay outside the United States. Take-away: Google got an exclusive deal and eBay had little sway in the partnership given Google has a large lead over Yahoo when it comes to monetizing ads abroad. The upside, according to Quarles, is that eBay is taking advertising more seriously and is moving away from being strictly a marketplace.

• eBays Skype and Google Talk will partner on international text ads and explore interoperability. Take-away: Google wins, and eBay loses. Skype has all the users—113 million or so—and Google Talk is just getting traction with roughly 400,000 users. "It is our understanding that Skype is only seeking interoperability on the chat side (not VOIP), given Google Talk has significantly fewer users," Quarles said. "What is surprising, though, is that eBay would outsource the monetization of Skype and give Google a great opportunity to develop a local click-to-call ad network."

• Skype will also add Googles Toolbar. Take-away: Google girds for Vista. "Google has been spending significant sums of money on Toolbar deals, signing with Dell and Adobe Systems and integrating Toolbar with this deal and the Fox deal, suggesting the company is girding for bigger competition with Microsoft when Vista launches," Quarles said.

Overall, Googles eBay partnership bolsters its already dominant standing internationally and thwarts MSN from getting distribution for its AdCenter listings, Quarles added.

BLOGWATCH

The Top 10 presentations ever

The folks at the knowhr blog cooked up a list of the top presentations ever given, in no particular order. Heres a sampling and the rationale behind them. For the full list, see www.knowhr.com/blog/2006/08/21/top-10-best-presentations-ever.

• Steve Jobs introduces the Macintosh in 1984. KnowHR blog comment: "Back then, Steve dressed like Tucker Carlson circa 2006, but black tee shirts and jeans or double-breasted jacket and bow tie, this Macintosh unveiling rocked the house."

• Dick Hardts Identity 2.0 presentation at OSCON 2005. KnowHR blog comment: "Heck, I didnt even care about virtual identity and still watched this one five or six times."

• Seth Godin talks about Marketing at Google in 2006. KnowHR blog comment: "Technology doesnt win, but it sure gives you a chance at marketing. Godin knows the story, lived it, and tells it."