Around the valley: Yahoo plans personalized Internet, Facebook vs. Twitter et al, plus Cisco, Square and the Woz

Here’s a Friday grab bag of tech tidbits about Silicon Valley companies:

Yahoo will kick off the earnings party next week. CEO Marissa Mayer is in Davos at the movers-and-shakers confab known as the World Economic Forum, and she talked about what the Sunnyvale company is focusing on: personalized mobile Web. She says Yahoo will take the content that’s online, including user data such as social-network activity and check-ins and location, and provide an organized feed on the Web and mobile — a personalized Internet. Personal data should be owned by users and portable across platforms, she said, according to Bloomberg.

How will that work, considering many companies are eyeing one another warily and aren’t exactly keen to share? (See next item.) Ah, Yahoo will rely on its charm. Yahoo has strong partnerships with companies such as Facebook, Google and Apple, Mayer told Bloomberg TV in an interview. “Yahoo has always been a very friendly company. Our focus, in addition to technology, but also on media, it means there is an opportunity for strong partnerships,” she said.

• Speaking of not wanting to share, that appears to be what’s going on over at Facebook, which in the past couple of weeks has cut off both Twitter‘s new video-sharing feature, Vine, and Voxer’s voice-messaging app, from being able to access users’ Facebook friends. The Menlo Park-based social network isn’t the only one being stingy with its data; Twitter last year pulled Instagram users’ ability to find their tweeps. Then last month, Facebook-owned Instagram that photos taken on its service would no longer be displayed directly on Twitter. (See GMSV post.) Sharing? There’s no sharing in social networking! At least not among the companies that are fighting in that space.

Facebook, of course, has long battled Google over sharing data. There is no love lost and no sharing going on between the two rivals. (See Google to Facebook: Since you won’t show me yours, I won’t show you mine.) And lately Facebook has been increasingly pointing to its platform policy, which prohibits the use of Facebook’s platform to “export user data into a competing social network without our permission” — something TechCrunch says could “create a moat around Facebook” to its long-term detriment.

Cisco is selling its home networking business, including the Linksys router brand, as it continues to move away from consumer products, it announced Thursday. The buyer is Belkin, maker of mobile phone cases and myriad computer accessories.

In 2011, Cisco shut off its video-camera unit in a high-profile reversal of its foray into consumer market a couple of years before. (See Cisco’s Flip flop: It’s shuttering video-camera unit as it tries to refocus.)

Last month, Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers said “the days of boxes are over” amid the rise of mobile, and that the San Jose networking company would shift its focus to designing and selling software and services. (See GMSV post.)

Cisco shares are up more than 0.5 percent to $21.15 as of this post. They’re up about 25 percent since November.

• Trouble at Square? Keith Rabois, COO of the hot San Francisco payments startup, has resigned because of differences with CEO Jack Dorsey, according to AllThingsD, although statements from both Rabois and Dorsey don’t hint at discord. Rabois: “Square could not be better poised for greatness.” Dorsey: “We couldn’t have done it without him.” Sarah Friar, chief financial officer, will become acting chief operating officer.

• And no, the Woz says, that’s not how it happened. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says a minute-long clip, the first to be released from the upcoming movie about the late Steve Jobs, gets it wrong. The clip shows a young Steve Jobs, played by Ashton Kutcher, trying to sell a young Woz, played by actor Josh Gad, on the idea that computers could change the world. Woz said Jobs’ initial vision was less deep. “The ideas of computers affecting society did not come from Jobs. They inspired me and were widely spoken at the Homebrew Computer Club. … His idea was to make a $20 PC board and sell it for $40 to help people at the club build the computer I’d given away,” Wozniak told Gizmodo. Still, he said, it’s “just one clip,” and “the entire movie may be very good.” The movie, “jOBS,” is scheduled to open in theaters April 19.


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