From news that Yahoo and Google might call off their planned search advertising partnership to photos discovered on Facebook revealing Bono’s rendezvous with a couple of teenage girls in St. Tropez, there was a bit of drama this week that kept the news interesting.

Yahoo, Google may walk away from search deal: report

The never-ending drama that is Yahoo continues.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Yahoo and Google may announce next week an end to their plans to enter into a deal that would see Yahoo outsourcing some of its search advertising business to Google.

According to Reuters, “The two Internet companies have so far failed to reach an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice on implementing their search advertising partnership.

While it’s unclear what the eventual fallout will be if the deal collapses, it’s clear that both companies believed the deal to be important.

Yahoo stated that a deal with Google would provide a much-needed financial boost while Google saw an opportunity to expand its business by taking advantage of a competitor’s woes.

As I’ve pointed out before, this is Google’s first real regulatory challenge and given the company’s position, is unlikely to be its last.

While Google CEO Eric Schmidt initially stated that Google would proceed with the deal regardless, the fact that he might throw in the towel indicates that Google may have underestimated how difficult it can be to deal with regulators.

Note to Eric Schmidt: welcome to Microsoft’s world.

TSMC says PC chip shipments down 20 percent

If evidence of a global slowdown in the PC market was still needed, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which is the world’s largest contract chipmaker, announced that it expects “a 20 percent decline” in  computer-related chip shipments in the fourth quarter.

The company’s CEO, Rick Tsai, called this decline “very severe.”

As’s Brooke Crothers pointed out:

“TSMC is considered an industry bellwether because it makes graphics chips for both Advanced Micro Devices and Nvidia and manufactures a variety of chips that go into cell phones and consumer electronics devices as well as other chips for PCs.”

While the global economic slowdown’s negative impact on the technology business has not been unexpected, TSMC’s comments highlight just how significant that impact looks to be.

On the bright side, with global demand for PCs (and other technology products) decreasing, hopefully this will mean some great bargains for consumers.

Microsoft Office Follows Windows Into The Clouds

Microsoft has announced that lightweight versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint will be available online as part of the software company’s efforts to ensure that “the cloud” doesn’t pass it by.

These lightweight versions of its popular Microsoft Office applications will be available for free through the ad-supported Office Live or as subscription-based services.

If any company is capable of making cloud computing work for office productivity software, it’s probably Microsoft.

The company has the ability to leverage the Microsoft Office brand and because enterprises are already familiar with Microsoft, the company will likely have less difficulty convincing companies that its cloud applications are reliable, secure and supported.

As I’ve pointed out before, one of Google’s biggest challenges in acquiring enterprise users of its online suite of applications is that Google has yet to really establish itself as a company that can be trusted to provide enterprise-level support.

All this said, the real question is – are office productivity applications that are hosted in the cloud going to be all that attractive to businesses?

The answer remains to be seen but clearly Microsoft doesn’t want to let its competitors answer that question for it.

Bono’s private bikini party photos exposed by Facebook privacy issue

I’ve regularly pointed out the pitfalls of a society in which the widespread use of social networks and other technologies make maintaining one’s privacy a significant challenge (and constant battle).

One of the most popular and visible musicians in the world has learned this the hard way.

Thanks to the public Facebook profile of 19 year-old fashion student Andrea Feick, it was discovered that Bono, leader of the popular band U2 (okay, you knew that), spent some time with fellow musician Simon Carmody in St. Tropez with Feick and her 19 year-old friend Hannah Emerson.

Photos from the Facebook profile of one of those girls show Bono and Carmody having a lovely time with the girls, spending time together beach and partying on a private yacht thought to be owned by U2 guitarist The Edge.

Feick, who has apparently known Bono for a couple of years after meeting at a nightclub and who insisted to the Daily Mail that she and Bono are just friends, even posted a message on Facebook indicating that the rendezvous with Bono was planned.

Of course, nobody knows the full story but pictures that otherwise would have likely remained private pre-social networking don’t do Bono any favors.

Bono, of course, is a married man and for someone who has built a reputation as a crusader for the poor, his St. Tropez party on a yacht believed to be worth  £12mn probably doesn’t do his reputation any favors.

Contrary to Graham Cluley’s belief that this incident is a Facebook “privacy issue,” it’s actually an issue of common sense. Photos of Drama 2.0, for instance, engaging in all sorts of debauchery don’t exist online because I am careful about where and when I engage in debauchery, I don’t post photos online and I don’t associate with individuals who make it a habit of posting photos online.

At the end of the day, however, as incidents like this become more common, it’s increasingly evident that we’re our own paparazzi and I’ll go so far as to say that it’s a never been a better time to be a divorce lawyer.