December 21, 2006

Harry Potter Gets Owned by Cyber Squatters

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/21/2006 09:42:00 PM

Harry Potter has gotten owned by cyber Squatters aka domain squatters. When the title of the new Harry Potter book was released on JK Rowling's website, cyber squatters started snapping up domain names based on the book's title, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. JK Rowling's agency, Christopher Little, has registered many variants of the domain name like and, but apparently they missed many variants. The publisher Scholastic Corp. (Nasdaq SCHL) announced the name in a press release.

You can see that Christopher Little only registered Deathly Hallows on 12/21/06 which is when the title was announced - some poor soul at the firm almost missed it.
Christopher Little Literary Agency
10 Eel Brook Studios
125 Moore Park Rd


Created on: 2006-12-21
Expires on: 2008-12-21

However, squatters got names like and on December 21, 2006.


Created on..............: 2006-12-21 13:18:37
Expires on..............: 2007-12-21 06:18:38

Registrant Info: (FAST-12810728)
The Horcrux
Kaitlin Luther
23 Huluhulu Place
Kahului, Hawaii 96732
United States
Phone: +1.8082833122


Administrative Contact:
Mike Morgan
Mike Morgan (
Fax: +1.7098340744
12 Webster Place
Topsail, Newfoundland A1W 5M7

Silicon Engine, Inc.
7 Coach Road
Rancho Palos Verdes, California 90275
United States

Registered through:, Inc. (
Created on: 21-Dec-06
Expires on: 21-Dec-08

What is a name worth? Apparently enough to worth getting owned!

Publisher FeedBack on the Yahoo Publisher Network

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/21/2006 08:33:00 PM
Attention Google Headhunters: The Yahoo Publisher Network Team

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq YHOO) has been quietly testing Yahoo! Publisher Network, aka YPN, while Google (Nasdaq GOOG) AdSense has been making a big brouhaha about people making thousands of dollars per month or day using the service. Yahoo Publisher Network allows publishers to earn revenue from their websites like AdSense, when a user clicks on an ad. Publishers have both been complaining and also been raving about YPN.

Here's what publishers are saying about YPN.

1) Yahoo! Publisher Network has been suffering intermittent outages. According to Yahoo! itself, YPN was down on December 14, 2006.

Yahoo Publisher Babes: Yahooligans Busy having fun at PubCon2006 at the Palms. Yahoo had a scheduled outage during PubCon. No biggie.

Hi All,

YPN’s contextual ad product experienced a temporary outage yesterday. We identified the situation and had a resolution in place quickly. Ads are running properly but if you continue to see any problems, please reach out to a customer service rep.Thanks


Yahoo did not give a reason for the outage, but I am hearing that YPN has also been down several times this week. Publishers are reportedly seeing "HTTP 1.1/Unavailable" errors where YPN ads were supposed to show up. I wonder if this is a scaleability issue. Too much traffic? Growing too fast? The product is in beta, so you can't blame them. Then again, Yahoo! didn't report the outage, so I think they could do a better job with owning up to the outage. After all, why not come clean? The product's in beta anyway. That would be good news!

Yahoo Babes from PubCon 2006: Yahoo! delivers delicious results.

2) Some Yahoo! Publishers Are Getting Great RPC/EPC, but poor CTR. Some YPN publishers are saying that the revenue per click and earnings per click they get from Yahoo! is 3x or more than what they get from Google AdSense. Why? Yahoo has implemented a minimum bid of $.10 or higher on keywords, whereas Google AdSense can pay as little as $.01 per click. This could explain the big differential. The explanation for the poor CTR could be poor targeting. My sense is that Yahoo! does not crawl publisher pages as frequently as Google AdSense. As a result, ads are not targeted to the page level. Also, because YPN is in beta, that means the number of advertisers using the product could be alot lower, meaning there are fewer targeted advertisers using the system.

3) Fast growing publishers are seeing incrementally lower CPM rates. A few publishers are complaining that even though their traffic has increased on their site, their revenues have not followed in footstep. A publisher I know grew traffic by 10x over the last year and only saw a 2x increase in revenue. I have no good explanation for this. Impressions and revenue should grow in lockstep.

One reason I can think of is an imbalance between publisher supply of ad inventory vs advertiser demand: Yahoo Publisher Network may not be growing the advertiser base as fast as the supply of publishers coming online. I would buy this explanation, because it is simple to understand. Without sufficent numbers of advertisers bidding for Content Match keywords and rapidly growing network of publishers, advertisers could be quickly depleted of ad dollars and hence publishers would see lower incremental CPMs.

YPN: Taking Away the Cupcakes Before the Party Has Started?

Another reason: Yahoo! may be making revenue share adjustments in the background. Initially, the revenue share may have been high to compete with AdSense and woo advertisers. Then, maybe the revenue share has been lowered. If rev share goes from 80% to 70% to 60% to 50% to ... x% then you can have wild fluctuations in revenue. I doubt this is happening, because it seems too early. YPN has not launched yet, and cutting the revenue share early would make the product less competitive with Google AdSense which has a very well established base.

Many of these pieces of feedback came from established YPN publishers who are more knowledgeable about the program than I am. I hope YPN keeps improving itself. Good luck!

No More Grandfathered Bids for Yahoo Panama Users

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/21/2006 08:04:00 PM
I was trolling around to learn more about Panama, the new Yahoo Search Marketing Platform. There are many big changes and improvements in Panama completed by the engineering team at Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq YHOO)

1) No More $.01 Grandfathered Bids.
One of the key changes is that Yahoo! will not be honoring the grandfathered bids which were as low as $.01.

Important Note Regarding Grandfathered Bids :
In addition, our current minimum bid requirement of $0.10 will be enforced after an account is upgraded. This will impact your keywords that are grandfathered to bids below $0.10.

Many buyers who have old Overture accounts have been able to get around the minimum bid requirement of Yahoo because their minimum bids were grandfathered in when Yahoo! bought Overture. However, Yahoo is finally turning it off. That means keyword arbitrageurs who have been bidding $.01 per click will have to bid $.10 per click. The result: More revenue for Yahoo! + Tough times for the arbitrageur industry.

2) DMA Geotargeting. Another big feature improvement is Geotargeting based on States or by DMAs as defined by Nielsen Media Research. You can include and exclude different geographic regions down to the state level in the US and down to Zip code. It's very easy to use. Just point and click on the state or type in the zip code and you're ready to go.

3) Overture Bid Tool Being Removed. Another major change in the new Panama is that Yahoo! has removed the link to the Overture Bid Tool from the Yahoo! Search Marketing Home Page. The Overture Bid tool allowed advertisers to see how much an advertiser was bidding for a keyword. Sources at Yahoo! tell me that the Overture Bid Tool will be going away. That means advertisers will no longer be able to log onto and check minimum bids required for a keyword. I think one reason for this is that Yahoo! is implementing a smart pricing algorithm that takes into account not only the bid price for a keyword for the click thru rate of the ad.

All of these are pretty major changes for Yahoo! The driver of course for all these changes is revenue improvement. Whether these changes work, the proof will be in the pudding.

Saatchi Launches MySpace for Artists

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/21/2006 07:36:00 PM

It was only time before social networking stormed the art world and Charles Saatchi has created the first site for exhibiting works by art students. The site is called Stuart. Some students have already sold their artworks on the site. Saatchi and his brother were the founders of the global advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, which was the world's biggest before he and his brother Maurice were forced to leave, and formed M&C Saatchi. You could call Saatchi one of the best entrepreneurs in the art and creative world.

One student sold a work of art after less than 2 weeks.

"It worked out great for me. I was on there for less than two weeks and was contacted by (collector) Bernard Jacobson and sold him a piece. It was the quickest business in my life."

The site has a nifty feature that shows not only the artwork by students but whether they are online. Click on the Click to Chat and you can talk to the art students. It's a great idea.

The site attracted more than 2,000 art students to his new Web site, a follow-up to an earlier venture for artists that boasts 20,000 contributors.

"There is something thrilling about seeing the work of young artists for the first time even before their school shows," the reclusive collector said in a statement.

The site called "STUART" (standing for "student art") is a link from his main gallery address ( Saatchi has promised not to buy any art from the site for at least a year to try to make the site more independent.

Saatchi was born into a Sephardic Jewish family in Baghdad, Iraq, where the name Sa'atchi means a watchmaker; his father was an affluent cotton dealer. He has described as "life changing" the experience of viewing a Jackson Pollock painting at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

For all the starving artists out there, start creating Pollocks and start uploading them online.

December 20, 2006

The Web Now AJAXified and Commoditized.

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/20/2006 11:19:00 PM
Users love Ajax because Ajax apps load fast. Web services is now synonymous with AJAX. Ajax means faster development times, easier app development, but also commoditization of software developers. This is another sign of how the Internet and software development is getting commoditized by outsourced labor and better developers tools. Web 2.0 VCs and entrepreneurs now need to think about companies as creators of services rather than software packages.

Over 40% of developers working on Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) can now complete a typical SOA development effort within 3 months – more than twice as many as a year ago – according to results in the new Evans Data Corporation’s 2006 Web Services Development Survey to be released December 22. Additionally, over 60% of all SOA projects are completed within just 6 months.
In other findings from the December 2006 survey of over 400 Web Service developers:

* Half of developers working on Web Services are currently using AJAX or plan to do so over the coming 12 months. This is up from 45% six months ago.

* Determining return on investment for SOA is considered the number-one challenge to SOA development and deployment efforts, followed by getting organizational buy-in.

* In three years, two out of three SOA developers will be running the majority of their applications in managed code.

Faster cycle times means that technology no longer is a competitive advantage. As an entrepreneur building a product or VC investing in technology companies, it's time to throw out the outdated mode of thinking that technology creates a barrier to entry and create a new business plan, one that can't be replicated in 3 months.

5 Ways to Tell If Your Banker Friends Have Caught the Hedge Fund Flu

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/20/2006 10:56:00 PM
The WSJ’s Atlas of New Money reveals some astonishingly poor taste.

(1) They are obsessed with Nobu. So says the WSJ:

“And in the borderless world of global finance, hedge-fund tycoons’ spending is creating a global culture of wealth that looks alike wherever they spring up …They flock to hip clubs and the trendy restaurant Nobu in New York and hip clubs and Nobu in London.”


“Their arrival is drawing a wave of new restaurants and clubs [in Hong Kong]. Nobu is set to open its doors in Hong Kong this month.”

(2) They ghettoize themselves. London’s Mayfair is one of the hedge fund ghettoes. The enclave, which has been historically a bastion of old money, is now the most expensive place to do business with rents at $197 per sq foot, according to a recent Bloomberg article. Popular addresses in Mayfair include One Curzon Street (aka “Hedge Fund Hotel”), with tenants managing $25 BN in assets, and 25 Hanover Square.

(3) Their taste in music is simply shocking. A recent hedge fund charity event featured Sting, Elton John (as well as fish tanks, mechanical elephants) … need I say more?

(4) They’re so rich, even they can’t believe it. “Also on the rich list [of Australian business mag BRW] is 39-year-old Paul Evans, a British partner at Ironbridge, a private-equity firm. Coming from a long line of coal miners, Mr. Evans acknowledges he is richer than he ever imagined. ‘Sometimes, you just have to pinch yourself,’ he says.”

(5) They dress casually. Reports the WSJ: “young traders, casually clad in cashmere sweaters, jeans and Italian cotton shirts” are swarming all over Mayfair’s fab restaurants and social clubs. In Greenwich, they take it down a notch; the WSJ again: “Greenwich is defined by its private-money crowd, distinctive in their hedge-fund uniform — a blue open-collar shirt and khaki pants.”

Googlenezer Scrooge: No More Free Queries from Google API

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/20/2006 10:48:00 PM
Google has gone Scrooge just in time for the holidays and is deprecating (aka tech speak for shutting off) its Google Search API. It is turning on a new Google AJAX API sprinkled with ... you guessed it ... Google Ads! Sorry, Tiny Tim, no turkey for you for the holidays! Got to charge for the turkey to keep the heat on!

Executive Shuffle At Revver Shows Video Sharing is Tough Business

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/20/2006 10:41:00 PM
It's not easy starting a business. It's even harder picking the right ones to back. Just look at the shuffle at Revver which was backed by Bessemer Venture Partners, and you see how fickle VCs can be these days. They all want quick exits and they fast to pull the killshot on the executive management team that seems to be uber uncool. For one, I think that is the wrong approach.

Companies are built by teams and shuffling teams like shuffling a deck of cards in Vegas helps no one, because it throws all the entrepreneurial learning out the window. After all, how can anyone expect a few young entrepreneurs to act like seasoned executives in an industry where the business model is yet unknown? When you back guys like Ian Clarke and Oliver Luckett, you are betting that they're able to come up with something innovative through experimentation. Experiments fail often, and if Google has taught us anything, it's that it's ok to fail when you experiment because if you run enough of them often enough, one of them will hit the big jackpot.

Whole Foods: Bringing Venture Capital to Your Local Organic Family Owned Farms

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/20/2006 10:15:00 PM
I've been a long time fan of Whole Foods Market, Inc. (Nasdaq WFMI), the largest distributor of organic food products in America. What I like best about the company is that it provides organic products that are certified organic, meaning the fruits and vegetables they sell are grown under stricter guidelines than your average farmer's market. Of course, it comes at a price and Whole Foods is facing an identity crisis.

Many of the entrepreneurial farmers who initially worked with Whole Foods were small family owned farms, plowed by your local farmer. They were startups - sans venture capital. The original organic farmers were hippies from Santa Cruz and dropouts from Berkeley who wanted to go back to the land, kind of like your average disillioned tech geek today who dreams of launching a multibillion social networking company. Many of them moved to the Salinas Valley to drop acid while others moved to plow the land. However, over the last 30 years, organic has gone from hippie to yuppie to mainstream. I've always liked organics, but companies like Whole Foods now face a big challenge: How to convince its customers that its not selling out of its original roots as a single store in AustinNew Orleans (thanks for flaglerwrangler's reader comment) featuring wholesome food that works with entrepreneurial growers to bring great unique foods to your kitchen table.

Whole Foods faces several crises in its brand identity:

  • As the company has grown, Whole Foods has made 15 acquisitions and has had to tap into larger "industrial farms." It's grown at an extraordinary pace and faces a huge hurdle because Wall Street analysts value it at a huge premium to the average supermarket. I won't go into details, because you can look the details up, but the valuation of Whole Foods builds in some huge grow assumptions. Whole Foods has a target of 300 stores and $12 billion in sales by 2010, up from $4.5 billion last year. It's no longer a startup.
  • Another issue facing Whole Foods is how it will convince consumers that it's not just another Safeway - I recently strolled through Costco (Nasdaq COST) and I could find about 50% of the items I buy at Whole Foods for 33-50% less, things like dried dates, Silk Organic Soy Milk, Organic Honey Farm Yogurt, and Tangerines. The produce and vegetables are sourced from large organic farms like Grimmway Farms and Cal-Organic. That is killing the smaller farmers who can't compete on price. It's becoming mainstream.

I took a look at Whole Foods site to better understand its business it looks like they are aware of this identity crisis and are doing several things to differentiate itself. What struck me was how much of that strategy draws upon the venture capital model. CEO John Mackey wrote about this crisis in his blog where he talks about "Conscious Capitalism: Creating a New Paradigm for Business" John wants to make Whole Foods more conscious of its responsibilities and he plans to do what a VC would do:

-- Give $10 million a year in low-interest loans to help small, local farmers and producers of grass-fed and humanely raised meat, poultry and dairy animals.

-- Raise its standards of humane care for the animals who supply meat, eggs and dairy to the stores. Whole Foods has hired an "animal compassionate field buyer" to work with producers to ensure that they meet the standards.

-- Set up Sunday farmers' markets in the parking lots of some Whole Foods stores, including about 10 in Northern California.

I hope Whole Foods is able to build a bigger business and continue to bring down prices - I love cheap food and I love the variety that Whole Foods brings to my table. I also hope they will continue to continue promoting entrepreneurial farming activity. We could use more innovation in the grocery industry.

How to Fix FireFox - FireFox 2.0 Doesn't Start After Upgrade

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/20/2006 04:05:00 PM
If you automatically upgraded to FireFox 2.0 and after completing the upgrade, FireFox can longer connect, then it means your installation failed and you need to fix your installation. Here is how to fix FireFox.

1) To fix your installation for FireFox 2.0, go to FireFox Home page and download the installer for FireFox 2.0.

2) Double Click on the Installer Icon and follow the steps to finish the installation.

Installations and upgrades of FireFox often fail because of incompatible extensions. FireFox will check the compatibility of your various FireFox Extensions during your installation. It takes a while sometimes to check these extensions so be patient. If after an hour, the installation is still not complete and it hangs while checking for updated extensions, it means you may need to uninstall FireFox and then reinstall it again.

Create a Yahoo! SNOW Holiday Greeting Card

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/20/2006 03:44:00 PM

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq YHOO) has created a really nifty Holiday Greeting Card creator called SNOW which stands for Simulated Niceness of Winter - a pun off the fake niceness that so many of us display during the holiday season. You can type your own message and Yahoo will turn it into sound. You can even choose the voice that you want your voice greeting in. For the lazy ones, Yahoo has even included a few pre-canned greetings so you don't have to move a finger or move your lips. My favorite is the "I'm too lazy to send you a Greeting Card" greeting card. Check it out. It's so tacky, it's funny!

For all the overworked entrepreneurs and hedge fund managers and stock traders out there, Yahoo has created the ultimate greeting card tool for the holidays. Choose option number 2 from the greeting card options, copy and paste the email addresses of all your friends, family, and people you have not spoke to in the last 12 months and hit send!

December 19, 2006

We Called It - eBay and Tom Online Rumor Turns Out To Be True

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/19/2006 08:31:00 PM
eBay's Shanghai HQ are located in the Capitaland Building

Back in September, I wrote about a merger rumor between Tom Online Inc. (ADR) (Nasdaq TOMO) and EBay China (Nasdaq EBAY). After 3 months of behind the scenes work, it has turned out to be true. Tom Online and eBay are forming a 49/51 partnership (49 owned by eBay and 51% owned by Tom).

The title of the press release is "eBay Inc. and TOM Online Announce Joint Venture Agreement To Enable Next Phase of E-Commerce Growth in China." The truth is that Alibaba's Taobao service kicked eBay's butt. Alibaba is owned by Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq YHOO). If there is one bright spot in Yahoo!'s business, it is Alibaba.

The deal signals the end of Eachnet.

eBay EachNet, eBay Inc.'s China-based subsidiary, and TOM Online will combine expertise to build a new China marketplace in 2007. The new marketplace will bring together the strengths of both companies -- eBay EachNet's global e-commerce knowledge and large and active trading community in China, and TOM Online's local market knowledge and active wireless user base of more than 75 million.

It also requires eBay to contribute $40 million to the JV and Tom Online will be putting in $20 million.

eBay will have a 49% stake in the joint venture, and TOM Online will have a 51% stake. Both companies will make financial contributions to the venture, including a US$40 million cash contribution from eBay and US$20 million in financing from TOM Online. If mutually agreed, the two companies can equally share in an investment of up to an additional US$10 million. In addition, eBay will also contribute its EachNet subsidiary, while TOM Online will contribute local management expertise, technology, and brand. The formation of a joint venture will foster synergy among user communities and distribution channels, enhance rapid product innovation capabilities on a local platform, and promote mobile integration.

I give the thumbs up for EBay to partner. Basically, Tom Online will be running things from now on.

Wang Lei Lei will be chief executive officer of the JV, and drive the vision for the new local, China marketplace. eBay EachNet CEO Jeff Liao will provide management support from eBay to the JV. Liao will also continue to lead eBay's separate operations in China, including the expansion of eBay's business efforts in China to promote global trade by PRC-based sellers, as they ramp up their trading practices with people around the world.

eBay becomes the latest American company to learn that going into China alone is full of pitfalls.

Samsung Optical Joystick Phone

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/19/2006 07:25:00 PM

Samsung Electronics has introduced a CDMA 2000 1X EV-DO handset featuring an optical joystick. The 'Optical Joystick Phone', the SCH-V960, features a joystick which can be used with one finger allowing users to move a cursor to navigate the menu system. Users can also point and click on icons on the MyScreen interface and use the joystick to scroll through listings, such as a music play list. The V960 further features a 'Smart Lighting' feature which automatically controls the brightness of the LCD screen and keypad. The handset further comes with a 2 megapixel camera, GPS, Bluetooth, and microSD external memory support. The V960 will be launched in the Korean market at the end of December.

December 18, 2006

Google Finance Still Full of Bugs - Reports Focus Media Executives Go to Jail

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/18/2006 10:02:00 PM
Today, I typed in "FMCN" which is the ticker symbol for Focus Media Holding Limited (ADR) (Nasdaq FMCN) into Google Finance (Nasdaq GOOG), and found a shocking article entitled "Former Focus Media Execs Get Jail Time." Why would the Chinese executives of Focus Media be sent to jail after having created one of the most successful outdoor advertising platforms in China?

So, when I clicked on the Adweek news article, I learned that Adweek had written about a different Focus Media - based in the US and having nothing to do with the Nasdaq listed company.

Tom Rubin, the former chairman and CEO of Focus Media, was sentenced Wednesday to five-and-a-half years in federal prison for stealing up to $40 million from Sears and Universal Studios' ad accounts.

Tom Rubin, former CEO? Stole $40 million? Apparently, Google mixed up the US-based Focus Media with the Nasdaq listed Focus Media. It goes to show that Google has yet to work out all the bugs in Google Finance. Maybe that is why Google Finance has yet to graduate from beta.

GoDaddy Starts .COM Domain Name Price War with $5.99 Registrations

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/18/2006 09:33:00 PM

Just days after announcing a domain name registration partnership with Google (Nasdaq GOOG), GoDaddy has announced a .com domain name price war with its rivals. Today, I got an email in my inbox offering me .com domain name registrations for $5.99 per year. The coupon code for the offer is gdh1217, which you must enter when you check out.

GoDaddy is undercutting its rivals by a significant margin with this .com domain name deal. The best prices I could find for new domain registrations were:

Enom $6.95/year
Network Solutions $11.99/year
GoDaddy $5.99/year

GoDaddy sent its customers a bulk email promoting the offer:


At Go Daddy®, we thrive on competition, speed and power. IndyCar® star Danica Patrick is no different. While Go Daddy is the hottest thing on the Internet, Danica's tearing up the track.

Now we're combining our talents, and that can only mean one thing: The HOTTEST deals on the 'Net coming at you... FAST!

How's this for starters... $8.95 $5.99* .COM domains! That's right; register a new .COM at Go Daddy today and you save over 30%! Our best offer ever!

.COM is the perfect domain whether you want to promote your business, protect your brand, create a family scrapbook or announce a new arrival. Act now and it's yours at more than 30% savings!

Danica Patrick's already taking over IndyCar racing. And now she's helping us further our lead in the domain name industry! These savings end December 31, 2006, so order online at or call 1-480-505-8821 today! Simply enter source code gdh1217 in your shopping cart, or mention the code when you call.

Thanks as always for being a Go Daddy customer.


Bob Parsons
CEO and Founder

What is interesting is the economics of the offer. Verisign, Inc. (Nasdaq VRSN) operates the dot-com domain name registry and charges $6.00 per dot com domain registration according to the Revised .com Registrary Agreement with ICann. That means Godaddy pays Verisign the wholesale rate of $6.00 per domain registered. It also means GoDaddy will be operating at a loss of one penny ($.01) per domain registered under this promotion.

Of course, there is a catch to the offer. GoDaddy says the offer is limited until December 31, 2006 which means renewals will most likely occur at the regular rate of $8.95.

December 17, 2006

Orange to Build Google Phone

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/17/2006 03:45:00 AM
Google Inc (Nasdaq GOOG) has figured out another way to get you hooked: Google Phone or more aptly named GPhone.

Executives from Orange flew to Silicon Valley in California for a meeting at Google's headquarters, or 'Googleplex', to hold preliminary discussions about a joint deal. The companies believe that they have an affinity as brands that are perceived as both 'positive' and 'innovative'.

The provider of the phone would be HTC.

Their plans centre on a branded Google phone, which would probably also carry Orange's logo. The device would not be revolutionary: manufactured by HTC, a Taiwanese firm specialising in smart phones and Personal Data Assistants (PDAs), it might have a screen similar to a video iPod. But it would have built-in Google software which would dramatically improve on the slow and cumbersome experience of surfing the web from a mobile handset.

This would be a first for a major portal. Google acquired Android a year ago. Android was founded Andy Rubin, who previously started mobile-device maker Danger Inc.