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Gideon Yu Is Out

Gideon Yu Is Out
Facebook CFO Gideon Yu is out.

Facebook chief financial officer Gideon Yu is leaving the company, representatives from the social network confirmed Tuesday.

"Facebook confirms that CFO Gideon Yu will be leaving the company," a statement from Facebook read. "Gideon has played an important role in helping us achieve our financial success, building a strong finance team and establishing the core financial operations of our company. We are grateful to Gideon for his contributions to Facebook and what we are trying to accomplish."

But there's more: It looks like the reason for Yu's departure is because Facebook still hopes to be on track to file for an initial public offering.

"Despite the poor economic climate, we are pleased that our financial performance is strong and we are well positioned for the next stage of our growth," the statement from Facebook continued. "We have retained (search firm) Spencer Stuart to lead our search for a new CFO and will be looking for someone with public company experience."

The report was originally published in The Wall Street Journal.

Yu, a former Google employee who was brought on board there when it acquired YouTube, had been hired fewer than two years ago, and the Journal reported that Facebook is currently hunting for a replacement who has experience running a public company. Prior to YouTube, Yu had been employed as "treasurer" at Yahoo. He also has side projects, joining the team of high-profile investors--including the new Google Ventures--in e-commerce start-up Pixazza.

Yu was one of the first in a string of prominent Googlers to join Facebook's upper ranks as it rose to the top of Silicon Valley's pecking order. Eventually, sales chief Sheryl Sandberg joined the company as chief operating officer, and public affairs czar Elliot Schrage was hired as head of global communications.

So now it looks like Facebook's plan is to push for an IPO. With Yu at the helm of its finances, rumors had swirled for months that it was looking to raise additional venture capital funding to fuel its exponential growth. The company will likely hit 200 million members worldwide within days, a mass that requires costly hardware and personnel around the globe. Persistent reports hinted that not only was Yu attempting to drum up interest in more funding, but that he was having a tough time doing so.

Facebook's valuation was hit hard by the recession, with private stock trading dipping to lower and lower values and Forbes magazine speculating that founder Mark Zuckerberg had lost his status as a paper billionaire as a result.

In November 2007, Microsoft invested $240 million in Facebook at a $15 billion valuation. These days, Facebook is lucky if its valuation is a third of that. But it eventually became evident that the $15 billion was never a reality: Microsoft's stake was in preferred stock, and the $15 billion was a term of the deal.

Going public is a risky move for any company in a recession, particularly one that is still on the road to profitability but not there yet. But for Facebook, with the quest for more venture funding growing increasingly fruitless, it may be the best road out.

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Conficker Working Group

Conficker Working GroupBlocking Conficker domain names: Will it work?

Over 100 top-level domain providers are trying to block the registration of tens of thousands of domain names.

On the eve of Conficker.C's expected activation date, April 1, more than 100 providers of top-level domains around the world are trying to block the registration of tens of thousands of domain names that the Conficker worm could start using Wednesday to get botnet instructions.

That effort started last February when the industry group, which included ICANN and Microsoft, got together to pull together a united front against the scourge of Conficker, a sophisticated piece of malware infecting millions of Windows-based computers around the world. It's called the Conficker Working Group.

Starting Wedneday, Conficker could be activated to scan for about 50,000 domain names per day -- a different 50,000 names each day for months -- in a process security experts believe is intended to allow the worm to locate instructions for downloads or destructive operations. It's suspected that most of the domain names are a cover to hide the real points of botnet control.

The idea is for the Top-Level Domain (TLD) providers to do what they can to block the registration of the tens of thousands of domain names Conficker appears programmed to search for. It's a process that those involved in say has been ongoing --though may not ultimately be successful.

"This is a case of the weakest link," acknowledges Roland LaPlante, senior vice president of Afilias, the registry operator that provides technical services to 15 TLDs including .info and .org. but also .Asia, along with BZ for Belize and .IN for India -- a total of about 14 million domains.

LaPlante says ICANN has been trying to coordinate the TLD providers around the world to block registration of the Conficker worm's programmed domain names, but it appears less than half of the TLDs are actively cooperating. Sometimes it's simply that there are small TLDs around the world run by one person who may not even answer the phone. He notes that the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has very limited authority to compel actions.

Afilias has blocked more than 300,000 names so far in the domains that it supports, and expects to block more than 1 million over the course of the year. Greg Aaron, director of domain security at Afilias, says most of the domain names in Conficker's scanning mechanism appear to be random combinations of letters.

Attempts at registering Conficker names are viewed as suspicious and referred to law enforcement, Afilias says.

So, while an attempt is being made to block Conficker's preferred domain names, the effort may not work if Conficker's creators find a willing source from somewhere in the world to supply domain names they want.

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Pistachio Recall

Pistachio RecallSalmonella Worries Prompt Pistachio Recall.

Calif. Company Taking 1 Million Pounds Of Nuts Off Shelves After Contamination Found.

A Central California company is recalling about 1 million pounds of pistachios over concerns of possible salmonella contamination.

Food safety officials are looking through Setton Farms' plant in rural Tulare County to see if it could lead them to the source of the contamination.

The recalls began last Friday when the Georgia Nut Company recalled its Kraft Back to Nature Nantucket Blend trail mix after some samples tested positive for salmonella. Setton Farms has started a separate recall of roasted pistachios, and grocery operator Kroger also has recalled some pistachio products.

No illnesses have been reported.

The California Department of Public Health said Monday it was tracking nuts processed at Setton Farms, a firm whose Web site describes it as the second-largest pistachio processor in the United States.

State authorities said Setton sent its roasted pistachios to Georgia Nut. Setton Farms has initiated a separate recall of three lots of roasted pistachios tied to the positive results in the trail mix, California officials said.

Kroger said the California firm also supplied the line of pistachios it recalled because of possible salmonella contamination. Those nuts were sold in 31 states.

Setton Farms did not immediately respond to calls for comment.

Dr. David Acheson, director of food safety for the Food and Drug Administration said the contaminated pistachios are not related to a recent outbreak of salmonella tied to peanuts, reports CBS News Correspondent Nancy Cordes.

The one million pound recall figure could grow as the company tracks its products, Cordes reports, and it will likely extend to all manner of pistachio products.

Right now, the FDA is advising Americans not to eat pistachios but not to throw away their pistachios either. Basically, people should hold on to their pistachios until the FDA knows more about which products are affected.

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Gary Sheffield Released By Tigers

Gary Sheffield Released By Tigers
Tigers release Gary Sheffield, look to get younger.

The Detroit Tigers knew they needed to make changes this season -- and in an unexpected move on Tuesday, the team released designated hitter Gary Sheffield. (Photo by Charles Krupa, AP)

The 40-year-old Sheffield hit .225 last season and just .178 this spring, but he still figured to be a fixture in the middle of the Tigers lineup this season. Instead, the Tigers will eat the $14 million they still owe him. The move will give the Tigers more flexibility on their roster and will open the door for Marcus Thames or Jeff Larish to fill the DH spot.

In addition, Detroit acquired 26-year-old outfielder Josh Anderson yesterday from the Atlanta Braves.

Sheffield is just one home run away from 500 in his career. Although it's unlikely any team will pick Sheffield up off waivers because they'd have to honor terms of his contract, there figures to be some team out there interested in Sheff as a part-time right-handed DH. Perhaps a return to his hometown of Tampa?

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ZoomInfoMicrosoft Dynamics CRM Integration With ZoomInfo Delivers Tools and Intelligence to Expand Customer Relationships, Drive Sales.

Sales Executives, Marketers and Customer Relationship Managers Gain Access to Unparalleled Information on People and Companies From Within Microsoft Dynamics.

ZoomInfo, the most comprehensive source of business information on people and companies, today announced that ZoomInfo is fully integrated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Businesses using Microsoft Dynamics CRM can now leverage the powerful capabilities of ZoomInfo from within Microsoft Dynamics CRM to identify new leads; expand intelligence on existing customers, qualify prospects and create targeted marketing and sales campaigns.

ZoomInfo is a streamlined business information search tool designed to help sales and marketing teams access in-depth sales intelligence on companies and people. Providing detailed and fresh data on 45 million people and 5 million companies, ZoomInfo allows sales teams and marketers to accelerate prospecting and shorten sales cycles with the creation of intelligent targeting through more qualified leads. Complementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM existing capabilities, ZoomInfo provides a centralized platform for aligning the needs of marketing and sales teams -- enabling sales and marketing to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts by leveraging a single data source across the organization.

"It's important to have good visibility to be able to accurately predict your business," said Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM at Microsoft. "Microsoft Dynamics CRM gives organizations the power to improve customer interactions. The integration with ZoomInfo's search engine can help give Microsoft customers additional insight into their customer base."

Following on the heels of ZoomInfo's announcement of Enhanced Company Data and ZoomInfo Lists, the integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM continues ZoomInfo's effort to expand its offering to provide a complete portfolio of services and tools for every stage of the new business acquisition process.

"Our customers are demanding new and innovative ways to access information that will make them more effective in connecting with existing and potential customers," said Sam Zales, President of ZoomInfo. "By integrating ZoomInfo with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we are further empowering marketing and sales executives with the information they need to be effective and efficient in their job."

About ZoomInfo

ZoomInfo is the most comprehensive source of business information on people and companies in the world. ZoomInfo is used by sales and marketing professionals to find leads, recruiters to uncover talent and by business professionals to find detailed information on people and companies. ZoomInfo's semantic search engine gathers publicly-available information from the Business Web -- millions of company websites, news feeds and other online sources -- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, then automatically compiles it into easy-to-search and easy-to-read profiles. ZoomInfo currently has profiles on more than 45 million people and 5 million companies, and its search engine adds over 20,000 new profiles monthly.

More than 6 million people search every month. And over 3,000 customers, including Yahoo!, Microsoft, Oracle, PepsiCo, and 20% of the Fortune 500, subscribe to ZoomInfo's premium service products. ZoomInfo is privately held and based in Waltham, Mass.

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