Each Friday, we follow up on tech and media stories we covered a year ago.
Microsoft survives Seinfeld era: A year ago, the WSJ first reported that Microsoft was going to pay Jerry Seinfeld $10 million to appear in a series of commercials with Bill Gates. The commercials started rolling out in September to mixed reviews. And they didn’t last long: After a few spots, Seinfeld was out.
A year later, Microsoft has had some success with a new line of commercials called “Laptop Hunters,” which portray PCs as a better deal than ripoff Macs. And the company is pouring millions into commercials for its new search engine, Bing, which have only modestly improved Microsoft’s search share.
Mark Zuckerberg still has no use for Twitter: The Facebook founder’s first Twitter account, @zuck, was discovered by Valleywag’s Owen Thomas about a year ago. At the time, Zuckerberg was following nine people — his “inner Twitter circle,” we called it — and had sent out three tweets.
Later, a second Zuckerberg account surfaced, @finkd, which Zuckerberg used for a few weeks in February and March to send out 18 tweets. But nothing since March 13, despite an audience of 26,467 followers.
Perhaps Zuck was just checking out the scene while Facebook and Twitter were in acquisition talks. But since they fell through, he has no use for the service. (Meanwhile, Facebook keeps getting more Twitter-like, and recently acquired Twitter-like startup FriendFeed.)
CLEARly, a waste of money: On Aug. 20, 2008, we covered Verified Identity Pass’s latest funding round — a $44.4 million injection led by Spark Capital. The company, led by ex-journalist Steven Brill, was behind the CLEAR lanes that promised to make airport security a painless process for people willing to pay up. But it never took off, and CLEAR shut down this June.
Missing Muxtape: The RIAA shut down NYC-based music sharing site Muxtape a year ago this week. Though founder Justin Oullette said at the time that the site would not be “closed indefinitely,” its new format — a music platform for bands — is much different than its previous one, a roll-your-own mixtape site, which included mostly illegally uploaded music.
A year later, the platform is still “a work in progress,” with about 100 bands listed as users — none of whom we’ve ever heard of. And the site’s traffic has — not surprisingly — gone down the tubes. Muxtape.com drew 14,183 U.S. visitors in July, down from 115,000 last August, according to Compete.
Last week’s flashback: My, what a year to forget for MySpace, Yahoo’s summer of pointless moves, Google Android still no iPhone, Cramer’s Google BUY call was right, sort of. Read on →
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