Larry gets his voice back, but Eric does the talking
- Last Updated: 12:06 AM, July 14, 2012
- Posted: 11:52 PM, July 12, 2012
SUN VALLEY CHRONICLES
While Google CEO Larry Page has regained his voice, he left all the talking yesterday to Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.
Speaking at a press conference, Schmidt was mum on the nature of Page’s voice ailment but said that the CEO is recovering and was back in the office on Monday.
“He is talking, but talking softly,” Schmidt said.
Page, who has missed a big developer’s conference and the annual shareholders meeting, skipped Sun Valley as well.
Schmidt, who said he spend his days as executive chairman largely doing the speaking circuit, was on hand to show off Google’s new tablet, the Nexus 7.
A relaxed Schmidt riffed for an hour on topics such as the Google’s self-driving car and Sergey Brin’s Google high-tech goggles, which Schmidt said Brin only takes off when he sleeps.
Schmidt said Google could be a major bidder for sports rights in the long run.
“Eventually when the monetization is good enough, we’ll be able to add other sports” beyond cricket, which Google’s YouTube has offered on a subscription basis.
YouTube has been looking at content plays that could support a subscription model. He added that YouTube’s advertising has also been growing at astounding rates, although he declined to provide rates or ad revenue figures for the video-sharing site.
He pointed to music-video hub Vevo, which YouTube hosts in exchange for a cut of the ad revenue, as a highly successful video model for the Web.
Google is negotiating to take a stake in that business, which is backed by the major record companies, as part of a renewal of their ad partnership. Facebook is also vying for an ad deal with Vevo.
When asked about progress on the piracy rift with Tinseltown that exploded after proposed legislation to regulate illegal sites collapsed, Schmidt said DreamWorks Animation boss Jeffrey Katzenberg has been playing the role of corporate diplomat in talks with Hollywood.
One Hollywood mogul disputed the idea that Katzenberg was playing intermediary. “He is not speaking for me. He may speak for himself.”
On the topic of Facebook’s IPO, Schmidt said he wouldn’t criticize, adding that people should wait six months until Facebook had reported at least two quarters before judging.
“They are a great American story and creator of new wealth,” he said.
Malone takes Sirius shots at Karmazin
Billionaire John Malone refused to play nice at “summer camp” for media moguls, taking a few shots at Sirius XM chief Mel Karmazin.
Malone continued his tug of war over Sirius, predicting that he would gain control of the satellite-radio company and spin it off as a separate venture.
Malone’s Liberty, which owns 46 percent of Sirius, still needs approval from the Federal Communications Commission to complete a takeover.
When asked how Liberty’s case is going with the FCC, Malone said, “I just had dinner with [FCC Chief] Julius Genachowski tonight.”
Still, there’s just one thing standing in Malone’s way: Karmazin.
The longtime Sirius chief has urged the FCC to reject Liberty’s latest application to take effective control.
“He has incredible incentives [to get a deal done],” Malone told reporters at the Sun Valley Resort bar. “He’s telling people he’s underpaid. It’s a joke,” he said. “He has $120 million worth of share options at 50 cents,” adding that those options can exercised either at the end of the year or when there’s a change of control.
Ms. Jobs buys 2d home
Although late Apple visionary Steve Jobs was never a fixture at the retreat in Sun Valley, Idaho, it appears that his wife has taken a real shine to the place.
Laurene Powell Jobs, who inherited his Apple fortune, purchased a home in the area within the last few days, sources said.
The house, on the border with nearby Ketchum, Idaho, is said to be a small double A-frame home valued between $3 million and $4 million.
The house has three bedrooms, two-and-half baths and three fireplaces, and is located next to a river’s edge in a wetlands area.
Powell Jobs, who is expected to attend the annual conference this week, is Silicon Valley’s richest woman, worth an estimated $9 billion, according to Forbes.
Netflix boss Reed Hastings has been spending some time with Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes this week even though the two have tangled in the past over the sale of TV and movie rights.
Bewkes famously downplayed Netflix’s growing clout when he compared it to the “Albanian army.” We caught up to Hastings yesterday and asked if the chilly relationship was getting warmer. Hastings paused for a moment then said, “I would say the more we spend, the warmer it gets.”
Take Two’s Strauss Zelnick is among the video-game players interested in Vivendi’s 61 percent stake in Activision.
Zelnick, who is here in Sun Valley, doesn’t have the $8 billion to buy it outright but could be part of a bidding group, sources said.